Packing Hacks for Camping with Kids


Packing to go camping with kids can be stressful. I grew up camping, and I knew when I had a family we were going to go camping as well. One of the first things I told my husband when we met was that he needed to either love or fall in love with camping. In his mind, he thought I meant glamping, which is camping with all the amenities of a hotel and/or resort. He was quite shocked to find out that I had never actually been glamping, and I preferred boondocking.

When it was just the two of us we started with a tent. Then we had two pop-up campers. When our pop-up got ruined during winter storage we got a 17-foot camper (yay for finally having a bathroom), but we quickly outgrew that when we had two more kids. So finally last year we bought our 30-foot camper for our family of six.

Our kids were all very young when they started camping. They were 6 months, 5 months, and only 4 weeks old on their first trips. They get so excited every season when we start the countdown to our first trip because they love camping. Usually, when I tell people our vacations every year consist of camping in the woods I get responses like “That is so much work”, “That isn’t a vacation” or my all-time favorite “Who enjoys living like they are in the 1800s”.

Surprise! We enjoy it! I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we actually love living without electricity, internet, and cell service. It is a nice break from the chaos that life can be, but with that said it can be a lot of work to pack for camping when you have kids.

To kick off the camping season, here are some packing hacks that we started to use:

Coordinate Outfits

I used to just throw outfits into a Rubbermaid container and go. Now I print each kid a list of what to pack. We sit as a family and pack together. For little ones, I bundle outfits together for each day. This way I can take out an entire outfit in the morning. It may take a little bit longer to prep, but it is more organized. There is also less mess when they go to get dressed for the day while on vacation.

Meal Plan & Have a Snack Basket

We try to meal plan and make any foods that we can ahead of time. This way we can either freeze it or put it in the fridge. I have learned to take the snacks out of the boxes and put together a snack basket that the kids can reach. Since the kids are playing outside and running around more they always seem to be hungry and asking for more snacks.

Fewer Toys & Container Packing

We have a toy basket that stays in the camper with coloring, playdough, and smaller toys. Then we have a container that has the outdoor toys. This way we can leave it outside underneath the camper out of the way. They bring their bikes, scooters, some balls, and corn hole, but that is it for toys. When we go camping, we want them outside enjoying the fresh air as much as possible.

Dedicated Camping Supplies

It is a lot easier when you have dedicated equipment and supplies in the camper. We have one of everything that we need. For meals, we use plasticware and paper goods. Over time we have bought things specifically for the camper. Instead of packing and unpacking these items stay in the camper.

Even with the bigger camper, we still use these packing tips. Having an organized packing routine has helped us no matter if it is a short or long road trip. We save time, decrease stress, and limit the amount of “junk” we pack!


  1. My husband and I have always camped and just recently started taking our kids along. It’s such a nice break from everything.


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