If you are like most people, a family camping trip usually starts off without a camping with kids checklist. It comes with grand ambitions of leaving early in the morning, pitching the tent together, some sort of recreational activity, and then relaxing by the fire roasting marshmallows while the Instagram worthy meal heats up and the picnic table is set. What usually happens, however, is a mad scramble to pack the car that extends close to noon, you end up at McDonald’s for a late lunch, and you pitch the tent in the dark while the kids groan about being hungry. You then realize you brought hot dogs, but forgot condiments. Trust me, I’m not throwing shade, we’ve been there more often than we’d like to admit! And you have landed here so we are making a few assumptions.
Fortunately, after three kids and countless outdoor adventures, we feel pretty good about the essentials of camping with toddlers and young kids. This break-down has been curated after years of fine-tuning for a minimalist list of car camping essentials and fun activities, leaving behind the camping gear you just don’t need!