This list of smart camping hacks for camping with kids has my friends thanking me for the tips after I tell them. We’re all about stress-free camping with kids and with this free printable, you will be too!
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The Best of the Camping Hacks: Bins for Everything
My husband is an organizing genius! If you ever see us, you’ll see the car or truck packed like a Tetris-master took on the job. His secret is large, clear bins.
All clothes, tents, and sleeping bags are separate from our camping tote system. That way, we can have them in the tents where they’re needed. We do know people who like to keep all the clothes in a tote, too, so do what works for you.
Today, I’m going to share with you the most genius of our camping hacks which allow us to stay organized before, during, and after camping: we have totes for everything!
General Campsite Supplies Tote
- first aid kit
- Alite quality camp chairs that fold up small (Kawartha makes a frugal version)
- sunscreen, bug spray, and a tick key
- citronella candles and sage (stored in an airtight bag until ready to throw on the fire) for mosquito control
- headlamps (all the kids get one, too)
- safety whistles
- lanterns (even the ones which go in the tents are put in here)
- collapsible hiking poles
- duct tape and string/twine (we use these more often than you think)
- book about the area (usually full of goodies like poisonous/venomous creatures, poisonous plants, area wildlife, trail maps, etc.)
- egg carton fire starters and waterproof matches
- rain ponchos
- tarps, paracord, and carabiners (for creating dry areas in the rain or shade from the sun)
Bathing and Swimming
- antibacterial wipes and/or baby wipes
- large towels and washcloths
- shammy towels or microfiber towels
- laundry line and clips
- floaties / arm floats
- extra water shoes or flip flops
- hats and sunglasses (extras)
- dry socks (you can never have too many dry, clean socks when camping and hiking)
Campsite Meals and Hydration (Non-Food items)
- eating utensils
- serving and cooking utensils
- marshmallow roasting sticks (we don’t store these with the general camp supplies because we camp with bears in the area)
- biodegradeable soap
- foil, storage bags, small food storage
- reusable water bottles
- note: we don’t store our camp stove or gas in the tote but we do store extra parts in case it breaks
Food (Dry Goods)
This is one we vary the contents all the time. If I am cooking from my favorite camping cookbook, I know exactly what (and how much) of everything dry I need. I usually meal plan using that book (and family requests) and then stock this bin.
For the most part, the dry goods items I always include are:
- waterproof matches (yep, we put them in here, too)
- multipurpose tool
- spices (check out this GENIUS hack from REI); tic tac boxes work great, too
- cooking oils
- dry cereal/granola
- snacks for the kids
- trail mix
- rice (both for eating and drying out any electronics which might get damp)
Entertainment Tote for Camping
This is a small tote for us because we want the kids figuring out what all there is to do in nature.
- craft supplies (paints, crayons, etc.)
- scavenger hunts (get our free camping scavenger hunt here)
- games (see our favorite camping games here)
Get the Camping Hacks Tote Bin Printable Here
Bonus Camping Hacks
A few years ago our friends introduced us to this collapsible water bin and we’re in love. We don’t use it for drinking water but do set it up pretty early on when we set up our campsite. It gets used a lot.
From teeth brushing and hand washing, to cleaning off feet and washing pots, this thing comes in handy. We hang a couple of towels and washcloths nearby for easy access and fill it a few times over as many days.
Double Sleeping Bags
Hear me out… When my husband first proposed this, I thought he was crazy. Friends, I’ll never go back to a single sleeping bag when camping with the family!
We bought this double sleeping bag (and pad) for Jeff and I (and the kid fits in it too, if you were wondering…). If you have 2-3 kids, a double sleeping bag would work GREAT for them, too! It’s less to pack and they can all share the job of keeping the tent tidy.
What Are Your Favorite Camping Hacks?
Tell me below and I’ll add them to this list! I love learning from friends, fellow campers, and would love to hear from you.