How to Pack for the Family Camping Trip

Family camping offers an exciting break from routine as well as a fun filled vacation. With some forethought, careful planning and following some simple tips, the entire family can enjoy a successful camping trip.

Whether using a big tent to accommodate the whole family or several individual ones, it is important to inspect each tent before packing. Tents should be bug-proof, waterproof and ready for assembly. Be sure all the necessary hardware is packed with each tent. The foundation of the campsite depends on a properly assembled tent so be sure to pack everything necessary to make them sturdy and protective.

Warm sleeping bags and pillows are just as necessary as tents. Sleeping bags made with a nylon shell provide the best protection from moisture and wind. It’s also important to consider what will be used under the sleeping bag. Available padding ranges from foam layers to the luxury of air mattresses. Choose according to individual comfort needs.

Consider the activities the family will be enjoying during the camping trip. The variety of outdoor activities available can include horseback riding, canoeing, fishing, boating, water skiing, hiking and many more depending on the location of the trip. Make sure the equipment packed for any activities has been inspected and is properly functioning. It’s a good idea to plan for family activities that can be enjoyed when the weather is not cooperating with the trip. A supply of board games, battery powered electronics and books should be brought along, just in case.

Thoughtful meal planning will guide the packing of the food supply for the trip. It is best to plan on meals that are easy to prepare and filling. Writing out the meal plan will help organize shopping and packing ensuring no missing ingredients. Measured dry ingredients can be combined in advance and packed in zipper plastic bags.

Remember to label the bags for use with the correct meal. This will lessen the amount of space needed to pack and store food. Using plastic containers to store dry goods like cereal, chips or any other boxed item will provide more protection from moisture and critters. Make sure there is enough ice in the cooler to keep the food fresh.

There are some housekeeping points to remember when packing for the camping trip. Take along a broom to keep the campsite neat. A supply of rope will be useful for hanging wet clothes and suspending food garbage at night to keep it out of reach of the nocturnal raiders. Sleeping bags can be aired out during the day by hanging them on the line, as well. Cleanliness is still important even while roughing it.

Be prepared for changes in the weather. Have some adequate rain gear as well as a warm jacket or heavy sweatshirt to adapt should the weather turn unpleasant. Remember that nights spent outdoors can get pretty chilly no matter what the season is. Make sure to pack warm sleeping clothes. Everyone should have at least two pairs of shoes in case one gets wet. Young children should have a good supply of extra clothes to accommodate their sensitivity to cold as well as their propensity for messes.


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