Like any new experience, though, the task of preparing for an inaugural family camping trip can seem rather daunting, so the editorial team at Outdoor Families Magazine has made it our mission to help families organize the ultimate camping bin storage system, a downloadable camping packing list, and deliver tons of family camping tips for such trips. Read on, then sit back, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors.
Most frequently car camping families rely on a camping packing list to make sure nothing is left behind. If this summer marks the first time you’ve ventured out for an overnight in nature, try this basic, printable camping packing list created by the OFM team for a quicker getaway to the forest, beach, or mountains.
Family Camp Hack : A large garbage bag works great for dirty laundry.
THE FAMILY CAMPING PACKING LIST
The foundation for family camping bin organization starts with two sturdy, 70-quart plastic bins and one 16-quart plastic bin. For your camping packing list, we recommend the clear variety for easier tracking of items inside, and a strong latch or snap-type top is a must to ensure these meticulously-packed containers don’t spill on campground dirt or inside the car. The three family camping bins we will cover are the Utility Camping Bin, the Kitchen Camping Bin, and the most important, Kid Camping Bin, all of which include essentials for lighting, cooking, cleaning, playing, and more.
In the next section, our camping packing list will go over the must-haves for the Utility Bin, including camp hacks and suggestions for lighting up your campsite and the perfect family first aid kit. You can keep reading below or just download our FREE printable camping packing list now and start getting organized!
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The Utility Camping Packing List
It’s a constantly evolving effort to be more efficient when on family camping trips, so now it’s time to sit down and take inventory of what your family’s essential camping packing list needs are. Even if you’re not a list-maker by nature (or even a frequent user of the word “inventory” for that matter), being prepared when you’re out in the middle of nowhere with a toddler or a teenager, is a sanity-saver.
Family Camp Hack : Unzip your sleeping bags, during the day, so they will air-out and dry.The first large family camping bin, which we will call the “utility shed,” houses essential camp hack items for visual acuity, burning, and cleaning. Think of it as the junk drawer of family camping bins, only more organized.
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- 6 propane tanks
- 2 long lighters
- 2 lanterns
- 2 flashlights
- 3 headlamps
- Various extra batteries
- 2 single burner stoves
- Biodegradable dishwashing soap & scouring pad
- Dust pan & small broom
- 2 mallets
- Garbage bags
In the next section, our camping packing list will go over the must-haves for the Kitchen Bin, including a winning camp hack, suggestions for durable campsite cookware, and family camping essentials like marshmallow roasting sticks. You can keep reading below or just download our FREE printable camping packing list now and start getting organized!
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The Kitchen Camping Packing List
Large camping bin number two, which we lovingly refer to as the “kitchen sink,” holds the items you will use to prepare and cook meals. Keep in mind, a camping bin doesn’t need to be built overnight. By all means, start by stealing from your own kitchen, slowly adding dedicated pieces to each camping bin.
Family Camp Hack : Get max performance out of your ice chest by pre-cooling with ice at least six hours before loading.
Sporting goods stores and outdoor retailers are great places to start the search for items, particularly during seasonal sales and staff are generally happy to share their favorite camp hack. Next thing you know, a beautifully organized camping bin will be sitting on a garage shelf, packed and ready, making it easier for you and your family to head out into the Great Outdoors.
*Camping packing list shown accommodates a family of three; two adults and one child.
- 1 roll paper towels
- 2 rolls toilet paper
- 3 quick-drying towels (such towels can be found at outdoor stores or car accessory stores)
- 1 pack baby/body wipes
- Aluminum foil
- Salt & pepper (with a tight closing cap so reduce spillage)
- Olive oil (HINT: use a travel size plastic squeeze bottle with a flip lid for a tight seal while traveling and easy opening access for cooking)
- Large frying pan (cast iron, well-seasoned, or non-stick both work well)
- 2 large pots (many campers prefer cast-iron dutch ovens, but any solid pot will work)
- 3 plates (We love melamine-ware sets! They are durable and affordable)
- 3 bowls
- 3 cold cups
- 3 hot cups
- 3 forks
- 3 spoons
- 2 serving spoons
- Grilling tongs
- Marshmallow/hot dog roasting sticks (try to refrain from trimming bushes around the campsite)
- Wine bottle opener
- Can opener
- Knife (buy one that comes with its own sheath for safety)
- Flexible plastic cutting board
- Coffee percolator or cool single cup pour over
- Tablecloth with fasteners (available at outdoor stores the outdoor section of local retailers)
In the next section, our camping packing list will go over the ALL important Kid Bin, including a useful camp hack and suggestions for creative and engaging campsite fun and activities that will further connect your babes to Mother Nature. You can keep reading below or just download our FREE printable camping packing list now and start getting organized!
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The Kid Camping Packing ListThe need for a camping bin dedicated to kids may seem counter-intuitive, but even with Mother Nature’s endless supply of dirt, rocks, and sticks, children still get bored. The biggest camp hack we can impart to make family camping enjoyable is never underestimate the comforting effect a handful of thoughtful toys have on a child who is away from home.
Family Camp Hack : If your kids are first-time campers, try sleeping in the backyard first.
Camping trips offer a wide array of ways to engage kids, so invite them to the packing party. Use our camping tips and tricks to get them involved in camping packing list making and checking items prior to departure, making preparations as much fun as the trip itself! Another great camp hack for family camping, whether you’re car camping or bike camping, is once at the campsite, hand over a bit of control by delegating simple chores and watch a previously uninterested kid blossom into an energized, confident campground leader.
- Glow Sticks
- Markers, crayons & paper
- Magnifying glass
- Bug catching set
- Playing cards
- Travel games
- Star chart
- Journal and colored pens or pencils
- Disposable camera
Still have more family camping gear to buy on your list? Check out our recommendations on the best family camping tents under $100 and our favorite kids family backcountry camping backpacks.
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