Essential family camping list

family camping list

After a ton of camping this summer I’ve learned a thing or two about what to bring… and what to leave behind! Sample mistakes: On our big trip in June I packed way too many clothes – we spent 90% of the time in swim suits. The next trip I forgot the frying pan AND sauce pan so we couldn’t cook at all.

And on our latest camping weekend our drivers licenses weren’t where they were supposed to be and we’d no other photo ID on us, so it was a real headache checking in to the camp site.

I’ve had a list from the start, been adding and scratching out for months now, and have finally whittled it down to the essentials.

Your essentials list will depend on:

  • number of people
  • time of year / weather forecast
  • how many meals per day you intend cooking yourself
  • activities planned
  • and whether you intend camping by your car or hiking in to a remote spot.

    This list is based on 2 adults plus 3 children (aged 2 to 6 years old), temperatures of Max: 30C, Min: 15C, cooking breakfast and lunch ourselves (eating dinner out), planning lots of swimming, snorkelling and walking, and staying at a camp site with all facilities.


    Ground sheet
    Rubber hammer
    Extra pegs


    2 double duvets (bulky yes, but worth it for the comfort. We shove them in the space between the back and front seats so the kids can lean forward and rest their heads on them on a long car journey)
    2 double and 1 single inflatable mattresses, air pump
    5 small cushions (for pillows)
    2 double sheets, 1 single sheet


    2 folding chairs
    Fold-away table and chair set (seats 4)
    Camping stove
    Folding table for stove

    Kitchen stuff

    Gas for stove
    Glasses, plates, cereal bowls
    Spoons, forks, knives
    Can opener, bottle opener, scissors, tongs, vegetable peeler
    Chopping board, sharp knife
    Frying pan, saucepan
    Coffee pot
    Cooler with ice packs
    Tea towels, paper towels, tin foil
    Basin, scrubber, dish soap, wire scrub

    Basic food

    Pre ground coffee beans, teabags
    Olive oil in plastic bottle
    Salt, pepper, sugar
    Breakfast cereal
    Tins of beans, olives, tomatoes
    Gallon of water


    Obviously this will depend on the expected weather but generally I would make sure everyone has at least:
    One good warm top
    Rain jacket
    Sun hat and glasses
    Extra pair of footwear

    If there are laundry facilities where you are going you might as well plan to make use of these and cut down on the amount of clothes you need to pack.

    Activities stuff

    Swim suits
    Beach umbrella, buckets, spades
    Masks, snorkels, arm bands
    Hiking boots
    Child carrier for hiking


    Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, tooth brushes and paste, moisturiser etc.
    Nappies, wet wipes, bum cream
    First aid
    Insect repellant
    Small mirror


    Small dustpan and brush
    Extension cord (optional)
    Toilet paper
    Pack of cards, toys, books, frisbee
    Phone chargers
    Plastic bags
    Rope / clothes line
    Washing powder
    Clothes pegs
    Kids backpacks
    Maps, guide books

    Good to have

    Extra gas, spare batteries

    And don’t forget!

    Your passport or other photo ID – essential for checking-in anywhere in Spain.

    Safe travels happy campers!!

  • 5 Comments Add yours

    1. Linda Cashman says:

      Hi there,
      Great article about camping. We’ve been putting it off but someday soon. This list you’ve put together is well worth hanging onto, for camping amateurs like our family.

      Linda 🙂

      1. Grainne says:

        Thanks Linda. Good luck with future camping adventures, bet you’ll be a pro in no time! Gra x

    2. Lyncho says:

      Good list. It’s all that little stuff that makes all the difference when far from home.

    3. Cloda Ryan says:

      Great list thanks for taking the time to put it together. Think another essential is picnic blanket for outside tent and also those large yoga type mats for under blow up beds, for cold weather. I’m excited to get our first camping trip organised soon and will certainly be returning to your list.


      1. Grainne says:

        Good thinking Cloda on mats and picnic blanket. Enjoy your first trip, hope ye get the weather! xx

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