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Like every mom, I totally want my kids to experience everything–but in a safe, comfortable way. That’s why I feel it’s important for me to have everything I need on-the-go for my active kiddos. Especially when we’re hours from home on a weekend get-away in the woods. That’s when I make sure I have everything on this list of 20 Things to Pack when Camping with Kids.
20 Things to Pack when Camping with Kids
Duct tape. It’s my firm belief that I need a big-ole roll of this no matter where I am. I can baby-proof the world with this stuff–and have something to close my tent flap with when the zipper breaks. This is why it’s first on the list.
First-Aid Kit. Really this should be first, but I’ve done amazing things with a piece of duct-tape before (I was even ready to tape a wound closed with it one time, but we had super-glue, so I used that instead). So, my priorities are a little off.
Rain jacket or poncho. It’s not guaranteed to rain, but you never know.
Baby wipes. Sticky little hands, even when camping are ewww. Also works for wiping off picnic tables, stinky bottoms and dirt-covered sippy cups.
Stuff to make s’mores. Every kid needs this experience. Just do it. Want to try something crazy? Check-out this “inside-out” s’mores recipe. The kids will think it’s sooo cool to do over the fire.
Metal sticks for s’mores or hangers. Really, you’re going to slide a REAL stick into my marshmallow? And expect me to eat it? I think not.
Water shoes. Regardless of whether you think there’ll be water available to play in. They will find it.
Clothesline with clips. You’ll want those clothes to dry after they’ve played in the muddy water. If you use chip-clips, they can pull double-duty for chips, too. If you forget the clothesline, make one out of duct tape. See?
In-camp shoes (like sandals or an extra pair of sneaks). Yeah, I accidentally stepped on a coal once when I was 12 because I was wandering around camp barefoot (despite my mom’s ardent instructions to do exactly the opposite). Don’t let your kid be like that (although I did think it would be really cool to go to school on crutches).
Foot cleaner. See above. And also, the last thing I want when we get home is foot-fungus (yuck!). So, I make everyone cleans their feet every night before we crawl in the tent. I love Puracyn® Plus Foot Wash & Skin Cleanser, because it’s non-irritating, non-toxic, steroid free, and so it’s perfect for cleaning tootsies that might have blisters, which we seem to get a lot.
Books. Down time? Sounds like a good time to read.
Extra clothes. My brother once fell in the lake 4 times in one day. Bring extras.
Calamine spray. You’re kidding me. Ever heard of poison ivy? On a 4-year old?
Something to start a fire. Like the dumbest thing I ever did camping–forgot the matches. Nothing like going to the store five minutes after reaching camp. My husband ascribes to bringing waterproof matches and his own tender, too. Smart man.
Bug Spray. No west-nile for my kids. Nope, nope, nope-dey, nope. Even if their dad calls it something cute like “river bug”. Not. Happening.
Sunscreen. I don’t like sunburn–neither does my kid. Apply liberally, regardless of shade, overcast, whatever. Expect to use 1 spray-can a day with 2 kids.
Colorful rope and stakes to mark off “play area”. Yeah, go ahead, you try corralling kids with “that tree to that tree to that tree…”.
Shovel for digging. Kids love to dig. Dig it?
Cinderblocks or rocks to block-off fire. Yeah, go back up this list and check out #8. I’m sure there was a barrier when I was 12 (because my parents are very responsible folks), but I got hurt anyway. Do your best to make sure that your kid isn’t repeating my mistakes. If you put a barrier between the kid and the fire, it greatly reduces the chance that little feet will step right-on into the flames.