Camping gear for family car camping, as with any camping adventure, depends on your preferences and comfort level. At first glance the list may appear extensive, but many of the items will be shared with other members of your family. When you return from a trip or two, eliminate the extras you thought you would use and did not. After a few trips you will know your family’s requirements and the best way to pack your camping gear for family camping.
Obviously you will need a tent on most occasions. Make sure the one you buy is big enough for your group, and also sturdy enough for whatever conditions you may encounter. You don’t want the wind destroying it.
Tent heaters. There are a variety of portable heaters on the market.Portable propane heaters are also a good choice, because they require no electricity, and they are fuelled by clean, efficient propane. In the great outdoors, fast, clean-burning LP heaters provide hundreds of uses.
Ground cloth. This is a requirement in many campgrounds. Most caravan parks have a rule about this and the ground sheet should be made of shade cloth to allow the grass to breathe.
Tarp(s) – these can be used to cover the ground under your tent. The tarp is a good piece of camping gear for family camping, and it must be smaller than the floor of your tent instead of catching the rain by extending beyond the tent. Tarps are also excellent to cover wood.
Lanterns & their accessories, including tree hangers. A lantern or two hanging from a tree increases the light in your area. Tree hangers can also be used for citronella candles that are in buckets. If you bring gas lanterns include mantles, include batteries or a re-charger for a battery lantern.
A gas cooker, preferably with 2 burners, plus a separate single gas burner for boiling water.
Quality flashlights. Flashlights that hang around your neck come in real handy at night.
Stake hammering mallet with a hook on the other end.
Small broom for sweeping your tent or a dust pan and brush. A brush is great for sweeping dirt off your tent before packing it away.
Small rug or preferably a rubber mat for outside the entrance of your tent. Of course, it is a good idea to take your shoes off before entering the tent. A clothes line with clothes pins.
A couple of coolers. One for the food and the other for the drinks. Although the metal coolers are somewhat heavier, they keep the food and drinks colder and do not use as much ice.
Ice. Block ice lasts longer than cubes. You can also use 1 or 2 liter plastic pop bottles, fill them with water at home, and then freeze them. Put the frozen bottles in your coolers, and when the ice melts, you also have drinking water.
Two 5 gallon water containers. Look under Canteens, Coolers & Water Carriers.
Leather gloves for handling fire tools and your Dutch oven.
A large and small Dutch oven, and a long handled pot holder for lifting the lid off the ovens. A natural fibre brush to brush off coals. A round cake rack to lift meat off the hot base and allow air to circulate beneath the food.
Cast iron Wok or large cast iron frying pan that can be used on either a gas burner or an open flame campfire.
Stainless steel billys and a kettle for cooking on coals or an outdoor stove.
Long-handled BBQ tongs, short tongs, 8 long metal skewers.
Stainless steel cutlery and assorted utensils, plates, bowls, and storage bowls with lids for leftovers. Tupperware is excellent or deep 15 inch tubs with snap-on lids. These make wonderful storage for just about anything: food, clothes, kitchen stuff, etc. They are waterproof and can be stacked. Be sure to use one for your fire starting items such as matches and lighters.
Thermos and thermo lidded coffee mugs.
Quality hiking style boots are a must, as well as quality shoes that can be worn in water or adjusted for climbing.
Toiletries, dish soap, hand soap, and towels. Biodegradable products are essential for use in natural and wilderness areas. These products contain no phosphates, making them different from typical domestic products. Phosphates do not break down in soil or water over time like biodegradable soaps and shampoos.
First Aid Kit. A first aid kit is a must, whether car camping or backpacking deep in the wilderness. It is a good idea to keep a manual or book with detailed medical information and first aid methods in your kit.
Camping Gear that
Makes Life Easier
Folding step ladder. This really helps when you need a little extra height.
A fire pit grill or grate and steel wool/steel brush for cleaning the grate.
A maul could be handy if you need to split fire wood, and a small hatchet.
Bungee cords and bungee loops can be used for everything. Bring a bunch. These can also be used to make a quick clothesline at the campsite. Just find a couple of trees that are close together and loop a couple of cords around the trunks and hook together. Hang your wet swimsuits, towels, and other wet items. The bungee cords can be used to strap down your cooler to a picnic table. This helps keep any critters visiting your campground at night from prying open your coolers.
A dining shelter or Kelty Sunshade would be an excellent investment for your family’s comfort. It is quick to put up, and compact to carry. You will not miss it unless you need it. A dining shelter is big enough to dine and cook under, and it even helps hold a nice dome of heat from the stove on cold mornings. The shelter can be used as a sun shelter or just to keep the direct sun off of coolers and other camping supplies. The shelter can be moved after it is pitched by a couple of people. A screen house is also good, but keep in mind the more slant to the sides means more rain will get inside.
Camping chairs, a folding camp table, cots and a quality hammock.
Milk crates. These can be used to pack gear. They keep loose items from falling out and they are tough enough to ratchet strap down. The crates can be used as campfire stools, and to carry firewood and campfire stones.
Citronella candles for those pesky mosquitoes.
A Dutch oven, is a must. It is the most versatile piece of camping gear. Most everything you can cook at home can be prepared in a Dutch oven.
Port-a-potty with its chemicals and tissue. The number of people visiting National Parks and State Recreation Areas has increased tremendously. Due to this increase, the Bureau of Land Management has instigated some new policies. Some of these Parks require that campers use portable toilets with holding tanks.