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Family Car Camping Packing Guide

Picture-595My husband and I used to be minimalists when it came to camping. Literally all we would take was a headlamp, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. No tent, no pillow, no plastic egg holder. Then we had kids.

These days, to be a camping minimalist would lead to sleepless nights and I shudder to think what else. I still want to get outside and enjoy sleeping under the stars, but this time we’ll do it with our sweet little people snuggled up next to us.

So I present to you our family’s ultimate camping packing guide. My goal is that on Friday morning, we could grab a couple of bins, some food, and get on the road with out scrambling around gathering everything needed to survive a few days away from civilization.

Packing List

Here is a free printable packing list. I laminated my packing list and use a white board marker to mark off items before we leave.

Odds & Ends Bin


This bin contains:

  • First aid kit
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Matches
  • Garbage bags
  • Flashlight & lantern
  • Toilet paper
  • Rubber mat to place outside the tent
  • Rope (for clothes line)
  • Fly swatter
  • Rain ponchos
  • Firestarters
  • Hatchet
  • Fishing supplies
  • Small broom & pan
  • Camp stove
  • Propane

Here’s the breakdown of this bin:

Picture 303First aid kit – Ours contains: disposable gloves, Bandaids, triple antibiotic ointment, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, tweezers, scissors, hydrocortisone cream, medical tape, and Ibruprofen PM (which I take before bed and helps me sleep when camping).

Picture 304

Fire making stuff – Firestarters made of egg cartons, crayon wax and dryer lint (see tutorial here), matches, lighter, and a long grill lighter.Picture 305

Cleaning stuff – Trash bags, small dust pan and brush, extra quart and gallon sized Ziploc bags, and a rubber doormat to put right outside the tent. This gives you a place to put your shoes so you don’t get dirt inside the tent.Picture 306

Fishing gear – basic tackle box, extra fishing line, and baitPicture 307

Sunscreen, bug spray, and toilet paper. Ziploc bags keep everything dry.Picture 308

Cooking – Camp stoves (small and large) and propanePicture 309

Camp shower (which doubles as a handwashing station), fly swatter, and hatchet.Picture 310Lights – Flashlights (one for each person), extra batteries, and a propane lantern

Kitchen Supplies Bin

I have another bin to keep all of our kitchen supplies in. Technically, the stoves and propane are “kitchen” related, but it’s nice to keep them away from what you will actually be eating on.

Picture-5  This bin contains:

  • Plates, mugs, and utensils (our mugs double as bowls)
  • Spatula / Large spoon
  • Wine opener
  • Can opener
  • Tongs
  • Cast iron pan
  • Pots, lids, handle, steamer basket
  • Kettle
  • Clothes pins
  • Salt & pepper
  • Aluminum foil (heavy duty works best)
  • Roasting sticks
  • Pocket knife
  • Dish towels and scrubbing sponges
  • Dunk Bags
  • Bronner’s Magic Soap
  • French press coffee maker
  • Wash tub

Picture 20

Cooking Set – Small and large pot, cast iron pan, steamer basket (also functions as a colander), spoon, and spatulaPicture 21

Dishwashing – wash tub, sponges, scrubbers, dish cloths, Bronner’s Magic Soap, hand sanitizer, large dunk bag for drying the dishes (hang from a tree limb)Picture 28Tableware – Plates & mugs (I found these retro plastic ones on eBay), forks, spoons, knives, and a mesh bag for storage and to dry the clean dishes (ours is a lingerie laundry mesh bag)Picture 29Hot drink supplies – French press, insulated mug, tea kettlePicture 301Other kitchen items – Heavy duty aluminum foil, egg carrier, salt and pepper, pocket knife, can opener, wine bottle opener, and clothes pinsPicture 302We made a cute marshmallow roasting stick bag from the pant leg of an old pair of jeans.

Other Items to Bring (not in a bin):

  • Tent
  • Cooler
  • Refillable water jug
  • Sleeping bags
  • Pillows
  • Camp chairs
  • Backpacks
  • Toiletries
  • Camera
  • Towels
  • Ice / Water / Food

Here is a free printable packing list to help you check off all the items. I hope this inspires your family to get packing and go camping this summer. Happy trails!


One thought on “Family Car Camping Packing Guide

  1. Pingback: June 2015: Month-At-A-Glance | Bright Hope for Tomorrow

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