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20 of the Best Hacks for Camping with Kids

It’s that time of year again. School is out, the temperature is rising and camping season has arrived! Camping with kids can be a fun family outing, but it can also be a bit challenging. I’ve compiled some of the best tips for parents who are looking to make their next camping trip more enjoyable for everyone; particularly the children. I think you’ll find these hacks for camping with kids useful!

An image of a glowing tent at night with the title: 20 Hacks for Camping with Kids You Need @ PieIronsAndCampfires

It’s finally summer, and it’s the perfect time to get outdoors with your kids! Camping is a great way to spend some quality time together in nature. Before you go out on your next camping trip, be sure to check out these awesome tips for making sure that everyone has a fun and safe experience while enjoying the outdoors. 

Best Hacks for Camping with Kids

I asked some of my favorite bloggers to share their best hacks for camping with kids!

#1 Bring a Potty Bucket

Bring a potty bucket that you can keep in your tent for middle of the night bathroom breaks. You can find them online at reasonable price points and they’re perfect for middle of the night bathroom wake ups!” – Nick at Career Camper

Note: I can say, the Lugabaloo saved me when camping with my little ones!! It’s so much easier than holding your little one over a composting toilet or port-a-potty.

#2 Wind Up Flashlights

“My best hack for camping with kids is to take wind up torches (flashlights). The kids can have fun winding their own and there’s less worry about flat batteries. And remember the marshmallows for toasting and making damper on a stick, yum!” – Sarah Brooks at Aussie Home Cook

#3 Fun Activities for Kids

“We are a family that loves camping and I always pack some activities before leaving home such as printable nature treasure hunts, kid card games and glow sticks for nighttime fun are always a hit.” – Amanda at Gluten Free Tranquility

“Save up empty egg cartons and take non-toxic paint when camping. Put the paint in the carton for less mess and find some fun rocks to paint and hide around the campground. It’s a fun camping activity that keeps them active, outside, off screens, and is great for bonding as well.” – Thena at Hodge Podge hippie

“I’ve been hiking and camping with my son since he was a baby. My best hack for camping with kids is to come up with several ideas of activities your kids will enjoy during your camping trip. Is there a place where you can rent canoes or kayaks? How about some easy hiking trails nearby? Don’t forget to plan a few rainy day activities you can do inside your tent or RV!” – Kristen at Ready Go Hike

“Since space is limited in your vehicle, tent, or RV give your kids a plastic storage container with a lid for them to pack a favorite toy, book, or other stuffed animal. Have them leave room for the treasures they collect on the camping trip. This will also help cut down on messes and losses. –Diana Hansen at Let’s Camp S’more

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#4 Easy & Fun Snacks

“Meal prep some easy snacks to have on hand like granola, chex mix, protein bites, granola bars, etc! Fun snacks for the campfire that can be made by kids, anything on a skewer are key to fun!” – Rebecca at Strength and Sunshine

“How about snack buckets? I got sick and tired of kids opening up the coolers, digging in the camping box and making a mess and 10 bags of opened food. They each have their own snack box with single serve snacks, fruit and juice boxes.” – Pauline a Mama Bear Outdoors

“One word: s’mores!! But seriously, the most important thing for us had been to make it fun, do things we couldn’t do at home (eg. look at the stars), and do s’mores at the end of a nice day of hiking. But really it’s all about the s’mores!” – Joanne at Ugly Duckling Bakery

#5 Keep Away the Bugs

“Soak rosemary sprigs in water then wrap in foil. Poke a few holes in the foil and toss this in your fire. It repels bugs and smells nice. We also do this at home for backyard bonfires.” – Sara at Sweet Silly Sara 

#6 Stay Clean & Dry

“Kids can sometimes be scared of a camp shower, that’s why body wipes and dry shampoo are two of my camping essentials. This is one of the last things to do before you go to bed. Kids can take turns cleaning themselves off with body wipes in the tent for privacy.” – Julie at Julie Measures

“This is a must with little kids under 8. Pack a pair of dry clothes, socks and underwear in large ziploc bag and leave it in your vehicle. Only use it for a last resort. This way if all the clothes get soaked your little one will have some dry clothes to change into for the ride home. – David at Dad Life Lessons 

#7 Nap Time

“Inside the tent can be too hot for little ones for their afternoon nap. What we did was find some shade, add our sons favourite blanket and watch him as he had his nap. He loved sleeping on his blanket outside and we didn’t have worry about him overheating when its way too hot.” – Samantha at Recipe This 

#8 Have a Back Up Plan

My biggest advice for camping with young kids (mine are 1.5 and almost 3) is to have a backup plan… and a backup plan for that backup plan! For example, you might have planned on the entire family sleeping outside all night in your tent, but your youngest hears a scary noise. With your backup plan of sleeping with him in the car, you already had the car set up for as much comfort as possible! Also, we like to give our boys special things they can only use on camping trips, like a new flashlight or fishing pole. Finally, remember that it takes practice! The more you do it the easier it will become with your family.” – Siobhan Alvarez at Mimosas & Motherhood

Some of My Favorite Hacks for Camping with Kids

1. Pack lots of fun snacks and marshmallows for roasting over the fire.

2. Bring new or old favorite board games and card games for your kids to play with.

3. If you have plans for each day, create an activity schedule so that the kids know what’s going on next.

4. For easy fun while camping, choose activities that require little or no equipment e.g., sing-along songs instead of arts and crafts; playing in creek instead of playing with toys.

5. If you have young kids, bring an extra tent to set up for toys and games.

6. Get everyone a head lamp. Your kids will love them!

I have so many great memories of camping with my kids. The more you do it, the more you realize what works and what doesn’t. And it never hurts to get ideas from others who have been there, done that!

I hope you’ve found some helpful tips in this blog post about camping with kids. What’s your best hack for camping with kids? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

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