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Our family has been camping on and off for
nearly 25 years, mostly in tents. You can benefit from our experience.
Use your camping checklist to prepare for your family's campout.
This is not an exhaustive outdoor checklist. You will need to
customize and add to it for your
family's personal use.
On the other hand, you may not need all these items. Use this original camping
checklist to give you ideas about what might be needed anywhere outdoors, whether at the campsite
or on the trail.
Your camping checklist can be used to re-stock your camping
equipment after you return.
After you customize this list, make a master copy to keep with your camping gear.
Also keep this checklist with you as you camp and update it during your
items that are running low and refill as soon as you get home.
A customized camping checklist can track your family's outdoor
Make changes to your out-of-doors checklist according to how you actually
Be aware of scented toiletries; they may attract insects and animals.
- Scroll down past the camping checklist for more camping
tips. I have gleaned these from our own experiences over the years so I
know they really work!
Print this free Camping Checklist. (Requires a PDF file reader such
as Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Camping tips we've learned over the years.
- Use a camping checklist!
Seems obvious, but a lot of folks try to wing it. What that will
accomplish is a ton of frustration at the campsite when you realize
you've forgotten a handful (or more) of vital items. Do yourself a
favor and follow your customized camping checklist! While camping, keep
your checklist handy and mark down any items that you should
refill, change, or you wish you had brought. Take care of those items
as soon as you unpack at home.
- Pack double and ahead of time.
I keep a separate 'camping bag' full of camping clothes and supplies for each family
member, based on my camping checklist. This includes personal items and
toiletries. When it's time to
camp, I simply grab everyone's bag and I'm ready to go. When we return,
I do laundry and re-pack the bags for the next camping trip. This tip
alone has allowed us to continue camping! Before I did this, the prep
time was too much work. Now it's a breeze.
- I preplan all meals and do as much advance preparation as
All chopping, browning, etc. is done before we leave. The goal is that
all meals can simply be assembled and heated up at the campsite. Some
meals I freeze in freezer bags ahead of time and then just thaw
and heat at the campsite. You may want to do more cooking on site. We,
not and this method also cuts down on clean-up time in camp. My husband
does most of the cooking at the campsite and he is very happy with this
method. I also keep in mind the cooking utensils listed on my camping
checklist and I don't prepare a meal that needs additional equipment.
- Avoid leftovers.
The size of our meals is also carefully planned. To satisfy extra
I bring lots of snacks/fruits. The point is that it's difficult to
store leftovers at the campsite, so we try not to have any.
- Brings plenty of hand sanitizer and premoistened wipes.
This eliminates much mess and keeps kids and adults fairly clean when
it's time to snack. I keep one of each (hand sanitizer and box of
wipes) on the picnic table and in the
tent. Sometimes water supplies are tricky, which means you may have to
conserve water. This method helps with that challenge, as well. I have
listed these items on the camping checklist, too.
- Bring extra clothes for kids.
LOTS of underwear for the preschoolers. Imagine having diarrhea at the
campsite (it has happened to us). How many undies will you need (double it)? Also, be
sure and have extra plastic bags, like the type we all get at stores
and then throw away. These can be used for a variety of things at the
campsite, such as laundry or rock collections. Believe me, you'll need
some bags! (Yes, they're listed on the camping checklist!)
- Everyone gets their own bag.
If possible, pack everyone separately. Why? Because at night, in the
dark, it's much easier to find junior's pj's when you only have to
search through one bag, not three other people's clothes, too. It just
- Bring enough fun.
Games - both the inside and outside variety - need to be handy when you take a family camping. Board or card games for inside the tent or camper; especially for those rainy afternoons! Badmitten, a frisbie, simple toss-and-catch games are perfect for outside. Always pack the fun!
- Plenty of flashlights.
We started out trying to share flashlights. Bad idea. I've never met a
kid who didn't want to be in control of his/her own flashlight. Well,
adults do, too. It's worth the extra batteries. Leave the electronics
at home and bring the batteries. On your camping checklist, you can
mark the battery sizes you need for easy restocking at home.
To summarize: use your camping checklist, plan and prepare ahead, and
you will be able to
focus on your family time together, NOT on the camping details.
And don't forget to grab your own free Mama Tools parenting tips reports here. There are lots of helpful ones to choose from.
Comments from visitors to our site:
"I have always used a list and endured much
ribbing for it, but it is well worth it! I also take twine and
clothes pins for hanging towels and swim suits and dishpans a
dishdrainer and silverware organizer much like I have at home. It
never fails we also need a sunburn relief spray or gel. I have
also come across a great little invention they are bug nets they open
up like umbrellas and fit over your clean dishes as they dry or over
your food as you are cooking disposable shower caps also work great to
fit over bowls of food until you eat! I really enjoyed your site
"Thank you for the camping checklist it sure had things that I hadn't thought about taking with us. Thanks so much!"
"Thank you very much. Well organized checklist and practical tips."
Colleen Langenfeld is a mother with over 29 years of parenting experience and helps other busy moms around the globe at www.paintedgold.com.
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