Camping With Kids – Camping Gear

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Camping Gear

Here are the links If you missed camping with kids part one, or part two.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

If I still haven’t convinced you to go sleep in a tent with your kids yet, I clearly have my work cut out for me. If you are only here because you are hoping for some mildly amusing witticisms, I clearly have my work cut out for me. Let’s get to work!

We still have a ton of gear to cover that has nothing to do with the tent!

Now that your tent is up, it’s time to set up camp.

For the campfire:

  • Folding camp/bag chairs. – They’re comfortable, your beverage has a home pocket on the arm, they come in a ton of oh-so-stylish iterations. They even make them in pint-sized versions so your very small munchkins can feel like cool big people (that’s you, try not to forget).

 

  • Foldable small table – We always bring one of these for easy setup of roasting supplies or pie iron supplies, especially since your picnic table is not likely to be directly next to the fire. 

  • Fire starters – These are able to be purchased, but save yourself some money and make them with stuff you’ve got around the house. Like dryer lint. I know you have dryer lint. I have enough dryer lint to fashion multiple sweaters. I’m actually considering a business venture based on that, but don’t tell anyone about my great lint idea, okay? Okay. Don’t know where to start with making fire starters? Lucky for you – I have a link to this super tutorial of DIY fire starters, right here! Easy peasy.

  • Matches or Lighter – Trust me, nobody wants to be the person that looks at their spouse and says, well I didn’t pack the {insert various extremely important piece of gear here}, I thought you did?! I like to have a little plastic handled box labeled “FIRE” – seems intuitive enough – in the firebox, I include a long-handled lighter, matches as a backup to our lighter, in case disaster strikes and it won’t light, and fire starters.

  • Firewood – Perhaps the most obvious item so far, but you’ll likely have to source your wood from a pretty close range to the place you are staying. Many of the state parks (at least in MN and WI) have very tight restrictions on wood transportation, due to some pretty wicked bug infestations, like the Emerald Ash Borer. If you’ve never heard of the dreaded EAB, it’s basically wiping out every single ash tree, in a scene eerily reminiscent of the great American Chestnut blight. Because I will stop at nothing to bore my audience, the American Chestnut numbered about 4 billion until about a century ago. Then, a devastating fungus hit the scene and literally obliterated the species.  As I was doing research on Chestnut blight for a well-known ecological society… just kidding. I was Wikipedia-ing for fun.  Yes, chestnuts, for fun… I discovered that the largest fungus-free stand of American Chestnut remaining is about 30 minutes from here! Though, scientists predict, even that stand of trees will ultimately perish.  Wow. If that wasn’t a little off topic, I don’t know. Here I was thinking I couldn’t make it to 1000 words.

  • Roasting Sticks – Beloved of all family camping memories, is the idyllic scene of a warm, happy family, joyfully roasting their mallows and weenies over the soft glow of a friendly campfire.  They don’t show you the part where one of the small children errantly lays down the roasting stick and her brother gets branded.  Just a note, make sure you always know where the roasting sticks are placed, then keep your kids away from it. My brother will probably never forgive me.  I love these particular roasting sticks because the pokers point backward. With a crew of little boys, it’s always best to take it easy on the pointy objects.

Things You’ll Want to Make Camp More Home Away From Home and Less Terrifying Night in the Woods:

  • Laundry Line – This is just rope tied between two trees. Except it’s not. It’s also a very important laundry hanging line. The ability to hang up your wet stuff when camping is not a small thing. Stuff does get wet. Little people get dirty. Sometimes it rains. You might do dishes or need to wipe tables. If you are really lucky and your kids let you escape camp long enough to hit the showers, you’ll want a place to hang your wet towel. I usually like to have a few clothespins along as well, if it’s breezy everything doesn’t need to hit the ground. My kids are usually filthy anyway (I mean, every day. Not just camping.) But it’s nice to think that maybe my clothes can stay off the ground.

  • Hand washing station – Of all the things my parents did camping, setting up a hand washing station at camp was pretty much brilliant and memorable. Because of their setup, we weren’t always using up the water we’d hauled over for drinking and cooking. Hand washing where you sit for all your meals also tends to lead to mud slicks right where you walk and sit.  If there is a place you do not want a mud slick, it’s there. The kids will be in it incessantly. People will be irritated. It goes nowhere good people! Instead, my parents picked up a solar shower, a little plastic bag essentially, that allegedly heats up to shower-ish temp in the sun. They strung that sucker to a tree and also attached a nylon with a bar of hand soap in it.  Rub your hands on the soap, pop open the spigot on the shower, rinse hands.  You can also use bungee cords to attach a roll of paper towel right there or have that handy nearby.

  • Waste Management – You will make waste. It just happens. Some of it will be recyclable, some you’ll just burn, but some will just need to go in the garbage. Garbage bags can sometimes be tied to the end of a table, or more typically just sit slumped over on the ground somewhere. To combat garbage bag shlump, and increase the odds that my kids actually throw their garbage into a garbage receptacle, I picked up one of those pop-up yard waste bins, and we can actually line it with a garbage bag!  Odds are now much more in our favor these days.  Don’t leave your garbage at your campsite. It either needs to be thrown out to the camps main garbage bins every night or put into your vehicle until morning. Why? Because the animals come out at night.  Raccoons would be the primary offender, followed by skunks, and bears. None of which you particularly want on your campsite.  As an aside here – we once went camping in a park with a pretty rampant raccoon problem due to campers thinking the animals are ‘cute’ and feeding them. Somebody, not naming any names, left some trail mix on the picnic table and we could hear raccoons running amuck in our screen tent.  My husband, dear thing that he is, went out of the tent, in a t-shirt and tighty whities, and threw a hatchet at them.  I’m almost sure the raccoons just laughed at him. So did I. There was not much trail mix left in the morning.


  • Lantern and Stand – The lantern is pretty much a must, the stand is a nice extra. A good lantern puts out a pretty awesome amount of light. You can get battery lanterns, kerosene, and liquid propane. Honestly, there are probably even more than that. We use a liquid propane lantern that we absolutely love. We can sit at a picnic table and play board games at night, or just light up the site so we can clean up after the late night revelry.  The stand is handy if you want your light a little higher up, this allows it to illuminate your site a little more.

  • Hatchet, shovel, basic tools or multi-tool – Best to be prepared and bring a small toolkit. Make sure you also have the ability to change a tire… we’ve lost tires on two camping trips now. Just lucky, I guess.
Our First Camping Trip Together
  • Screen Tent – A good screen tent is not a necessity, but again, a really nice thing to have. If your site isn’t as shady as you’d hoped, or the mosquitos are out like a flock of hungry chupacabras, you will be so happy that your picnic table is under the protection of a screen tent.

  • Backpack/waterbottles/small snack bags – File this under hiking supplies. If you decide to hike or walk and explore, it will be nice to have some snacks and water bottles along.

  • Ergobaby – Don’t forget either a big wheeled stroller or a baby carrying device of some sort. The drawback of strollers is that they really have a hard time off-roading on some types of trails, but if you plan to do more low-key hiking, no stairs, paved, a stroller is great. I adore my Ergobaby, it has been by far the best baby carrier I’ve owned to date. It has built-in sun/wind/cold protection attached, it’s incredibly comfortable for me. None of the babes have complained, so let’s assume they like it too.

 

     

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Our next camping with kids adventure will cover some camping activities for kids and families – it’s going to be a good one, be sure to subscribe to my list so you don’t miss it!

If you think I’m missing anything incredibly important, please feel free to let me know in the comments. If you think cookie dough ice cream is better than mint chocolate chip, do NOT let me know in the comments. In fact, you really need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Meal planning worksheets and camping checklist is ready to roll here!

 



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