Family Camping Checklist

Morale-Boosting Gear

If temperatures allow, dress your child in layers, topping shorts and a T-shirt with overalls and a long-sleeved cotton shirt. This outer layer can catch a lot of debris, from roasted marshmallow bits to dirt and grime, leaving the underneath layers clean enough to wear all day.

It's a good idea to wear long pants and close-toed shoes with socks when camping anyway; they help protect children from poison ivy and chance meetings with critters. Because temperatures can cool significantly as the sun goes down, pack a windbreaker, hat and gloves. When camping near a lake, beach or other swimming site, be sure to pack swimming suits and beach towels, as well as life jackets.

If you are tent camping, but would still like a few creature comforts when it comes to hygiene, consider a state or national park. These parks usually have running water, and this means warm showers and bathrooms with toilets that flush. Just be sure to pack your own toilet paper (you never know when you'll need it) and your own bath towels. Flip-flops or any type of water shoe can keep feet free from pebble pokes on the way to the bathroom, and keep bare feet off public surfaces in the shower. What else do you need? The following items can be real morale boosters:

  • Diaper wipes aren't just for baby bottoms. These little helpers come in handy for wiping sticky hands and faces, as well as dirty picnic tables.
  • Plastic baggies, and lots of them. They can be used for everything from keeping extra clothes dry to packing wet swimsuits for the trip home. If you are camping with an infant, they're a great way to seal in the odor of soiled diapers.
  • Bug spray and sunscreen in multiple forms. Try spray-on sunscreen for little ones who don't like the feel of lotion. Or supplement mosquito spray with wristbands soaked in a bug deterrent comprising essential oils, like Bug Bam.