Taking your kid on a camping trip is sort of like getting him ready for the first day of school. It's up to you to get him excited and make sure he has the tools he needs to succeed. In fact, he can use some of the same supplies for a camping trip as for the first day of school like a comfortable backpack, crayons, and snacks.
You don't want to overload your kid's backpack, since children already tire more easily on the trail than adults do, but let him pack a few activities, like binoculars and a nature coloring book. Bring one or two of his favorite toys to help him feel more comfortable at the campsite and keep him from getting bored.
Younger children require a bit more planning. If you're camping with an infant or toddler, bring a very comfortable baby backpack, since you'll be carrying him when you go on day hikes and a baby seat so he'll have somewhere comfortable to hang out when you're busy pitching the tent and making food [source: GORP].
For a child still in diapers, bring extra trash bags, since not all camp sites have bins. Don't forget to throw some spare diapers and plastic bags into your pack when you head away from the campsite for a day hike or afternoon by the lake.
You'll also need a comfortable tent that's easy to set up. When you have kids in tow you'll be glad to have the extra space and something that you can set up quickly. Kids are more sensitive to cold, so you need either a child-sized sleeping bag that's rated for below-freezing temperatures or a pair of sleeping bags that zip together, if you plan on co-sleeping on your camping trip [source: Oregonian].