How to Pack Smart when Camping with Kids

Camping with kids, especially young ones is always an enjoyable experience, but often involves bringing an extraordinary amount of equipment. Camping in general requires packing a lot – only to double it when you bring the kids.

Successful packing requires careful planning and being an expert at Tetris to make everything fit in your car. Here are a few of our top tips one packing for camping.

How to pack smart when camping with kids

Add extra storage with a roof top bag 

Too much gear to fit in your car? Get a roof top bag to expand your storage space.  We have a Thule Bag for the roof of our car and love it.  It is light enough that even when full one person can install it on top of the car.  We always load it full of the soft stuff like sleeping bags, pillows, life jackets and clothes.

Make a list 

With the amount of belongings that you need to bring, it is easy to forget something essential. If you leave packing to the last minute, you are bound to forget something important, especially with two kids constantly demanding attention.

About a week before our camping trips, we start making a list of everything we will need to pack and add to it as the week goes on.  A packing list not only keeps you organized and helps you remember all  your essentials, it also lets you gauge how much to bring for your trip.  We often use our packing list as a way to cut down the amount of gear we bring.

Keep everything in one place

We now keep all our camping gear together in the garage so we can grab it and go.   At the start of the summer, we load up our Thule bag with all the essentials so we just have to pull it out of the garage and put it on top of the car.  If you stay organized, unpacking after a camping trip is much easier.  No more spending time looking for flashlights or sleeping bags if they all stay in the same place.

Camp with other people

Divide and conquer!  You don’t need as much gear when camping with other people. If you’ve planned in advance, there should be no need to pack two camping stoves or multiple sets of dishes. Make sure you are organized and know who is bringing what so you don’t end up in the middle of the woods with lots of food but no stove.

We like to camp with another family  so the kids can entertain each other and give their tired parents a bit of a break!  It’s an added bonus when the other kids are old enough to take care of your little ones.

If you are tent campers, try to join up with people who have a trailer. This knocks your camping list down to the essentials since your friends with a trailer will already have everything else. Plus then there is a washroom!

Have any great tips for packing up to go camping?  We would love to hear about them in our comment section below.

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