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Kid Camping 101

As I raise my two girls in a world dominated by technology, gadgets, and screen time I’m realizing how difficult and essential it is to get them outside more and “off the grid”.  

Camping is one of the most rewarding ways to get outdoors with kids, it can also be a complete disaster.  As a parent, I feel compelled to get it right.  I think the best way to raise my kids to cherish and protect our wild places is to get them outdoors and make sure they love the time they spend there.  So here’s a compiled list of tips from my friends and I for camping with kiddos to build lasting outdoor memories.


  1. Kid-specific Headlamps: hands free light is priceless (well…$20, Wiz headlamp by Black Diamond is a good one)
  2. Backpack with water reservoir (they carry their own water and snacks!)
  3. Small “play tent”, sun shade, or pop-up canopy
  4. Large bottle of hand sanitizer, “washing station”
  5. Folding toilet seat and baby wipes
  6. Sunscreen and bug repellent (or bug repellent lantern)

Optional (…but awesome)

  1. Glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets (great for camping, halloween, etc)
  2. Outdoor activities:  Bug box, firefly jars, star map, binoculars or telescope, bubbles, card or travel games, animal/bird/plant identification cards or book, toy box (bucket, shovel, frisbee, ball)
  3. Walkie-talkies
  4. Portable speaker
  5. Solar charger (RAVPower is a good one)
  6. Kid-sized camp chairs
  7. Kid carrier/backpack (Osprey or Deuter)
  8. Outdoor dutch oven
  9. Folding s’mores sticks
  10. LED light strand for tent (mtnGLO from Big Agnes)