Camping World

Family Camping Vacations: The Great Outdoors and the Basics


If you’re already an avid camper or already take money saving family camping vacations, then you probably have well established equipment ideas. Better yet, you probably have your preparation and packing process down pat. However, for those of you who may be considering family camping vacations and are new to camping, here are a few of the essentials, basics, and some things that you simply may not have thought of or remembered.


The most important thing to have for your camping adventure is shelter. Shelter from the possible extremes is essential. Even if you are not surrounded by inclement weather, things such as spiders and snakes do exist and the need to protect you and your family from them is all-important. Whether you plan on using a camping trailer or a tent, your shelter should fit your family’s style and needs.

Of course, a little research goes a long way when first purchasing your tent. Ask your friends and family who have camping experience which brand they use and prefer. Go to many of the different sporting goods stores and even shop around online a little bit before settling into any one choice.

Camping tents come in various shapes and sizes:

  • 2-person tent
  • Family tent
  • Dome tents
  • Stand up tents

A great idea is to look into food tents once you have made up your mind which sleeping tent you want. Food tents can protect and preserve food against weather and animals as well. Keeping your food safely tucked away and far away from your sleeping quarters is an excellent idea – even if we were in a tent, I always put the food in the car overnight… that seemed to work well.


Once you have selected what size and style tent you desire, it is a good idea to purchase sleeping bags that are warm and waterproof. Also, think about buying a blow up single mattress for those in your party who do not like “roughing it” as much – I’ve seen some great choices. And because of the way we humans are constructed, pillows generally make for more comfortable sleeping.

Camping at some times of the year and in some locations, such as those surrounded by mountains, can get very chilly at night, so you probably want to take along extra thermal blankets and sleeping bags to cover up in.


The location of your campsite will dictate how much and what to bring. If you are close to a food supply store, you can pack a little lighter. However, if you are really roughing it, you can always bring along canned and dehydrated food just in case.

  • Camping stove with fuel and lighter or if you are bringing your barbeque, then charcoal, matches, and lighter fluid
  • Frying pan with a lid
  • Pot with a lid
  • Cooking skewers
  • Can opener
  • Tongs for turning sausages and hot dogs
  • Spatula for flipping burgers

Of course paper plates, napkins, and utensils and cooking foil are a must, along with plastic cups. Don’t forget to bring tons of water.


You will also want to bring some extra miscellaneous items with you that you may not have thought of originally:

  • Lanterns
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Flyswatters
  • Garbage bags
  • Soap, sponges, and scrubbers for dishes and a basin to wash stuff in
  • Camping chairs
  • A sewing kit
  • Toiletries including toilet paper
  • A car battery charger for your cell phone

friendly_garter_snakeThese are just the basics to get you started on your camping adventure. And, of course, don’t forget the photo gear – you’ll want great pictures of your family enjoyment, and the great scenes and sights you see while you’re there.

Camping World

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