Lists: The Key to Successful Family Camping

Tents are set up in campground

Camp Is Set Up…Let’s Enjoy!

Maps, driving directions, packing lists, playlists – these are the fodder for a good road and camping trip. Here are some lists to help you get organized.

Camping Packing List

Packing Bin for Camping

Clear Plastic Packing Bins Help Keep Campers Organized

I highly recommend going to your local hardware store (or dollar store) and buying some totes for your equipment (if you haven’t already). These are waterproof, pack easily, help you keep things tidy at the site, and (best of all) can be used to store stuff for your next trip. Bigger totes are great for your ‘kitchen’ and gear, and small shoebox-sized clear totes are a great place to store everyone’s toiletries and your first aid supplies.

Camping Pack List to view our packing list, adapt it, and make your own. When your version is ready, laminate a copy and keep it with your camping gear along with a dry-erase marker. That’s packing made easy!

Playlists for Road Tripping (and Campside Music)

It pays in advance to think about the kind of music (or books) you’ll play in the car, and at the site. If you’re traveling through beautiful mountainous regions or away from big cities, you’ll find the radio just isn’t reliable. And our family has experienced that staying away from videos and sticking to audio cuts down on carsickness, promotes conversation, and helps wean us off of “screen time” so we’re ready to enjoy camping. Here are some of our recommendations:

Entertainment For the Car

  • Mr Bach Comes to Call (a story of a child who is visited by Johan Sebastian Bach)
  • Beethoven Lives Upstairs (you get the gist)
  • Barenaked Ladies’ Snacktime
  • Murmel Murmel Munsch (or any collection of Robert Munsch books on tape)
  • A bestselling book on tape for mom and dad (in case the kids fall asleep)

Road Trip Tunes: W Family Summer Jam (mix and match with your own seasonal faves):

  • Fool – Tegan and Sarah
  • Sing – Travis
  • Golden Slumbers, Carry that Weight, and The End – The Beatles
  • Give Life Back to Music – Daft Punk
  • My Oh My – Tristan Prettyman
  • Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
  • Kangaroo Court – Capital Cities (chorus contains the word “shut up”)
  • Wolves at the Door – The Waking Eyes
  • Say Anything – Tristan Prettyman
  • What I Wouldn’t Do – Serena Ryder
  • Lose Yourself to Dance – Daft Punk

Things to Check Before You Go

You’ve got your gear and tunes, you pack the night before, you’re ready to rock. Here are a last few things to check before you leave:

  • Campfire ban – can you actually have a fire at this location, at this time of year?
  • What are the sources of firewood if fires are permitted?
  • Are there any safety warnings and do you need any special additions to your first aid kit? (e.g. our lake had a swimmer’s itch warning so calamine lotion was a must)
  • Have you alerted at least 3 people to your plans and when they can expect to hear from you?

Sometimes it seems the prep is overwhelming, but it pays.

What are your tips for getting ready? And what are one or two camping items you can’t live without?

Written by: Morgan Wescott

Published: August 14th, 2013

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Avatar by vancouvercampingmom

Morgan was raised on camping by her father and maternal grandparents. A life-long Vancouverite, she is a tourism instructor at BCIT and Royal Roads University and a customer service trainer. Morgan lives in East Vancouver with her family and puts a heavy emphasis on family travel as a way to learn, grow, and reconnect.

3 thoughts on "Lists: The Key to Successful Family Camping"

A hammock, coffee maker, and skipping ropes would all be great additions to our camping kit. I will look for an aeropress. I’ll confess we drink instant when we camp – it’s not the same!

Avatar Heather Ranson says:

Ok this will sound very west coast, but I couldn’t live without our Aeropress coffee maker. I also love our hammock.

Avatar alennalang says:

Yes nothing like waking up in the morning and drinking camping coffee in the outdoors. Even the smell of it is soothing! We also like to take skipping ropes because our daughters can tie it to picnic table and jump rope.

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