Packing for a Camping Trip Requires A-Type Attention So U Don't BlowUp the Campsite, Etc. WHAT TO PACK FOR FAMILY CAMPING

5 Sleeping Bags - Check!
But, mysteriously, only 4 made it home...?

We are headed out for a – gasp! – two night camping trip next weekend and already I’m scratching my head about how we’re going to do this now with 5 sets of gear and over 48 hours of safety and sustenance and shelter to tackle.

I was such a pro camper back in the single days with my mountain-man boyfriend and his Camping Whisperer ways. And now, with my more suburban husband, the load falls on me, at least with the nickety-poo details that every wise woodsman and woman needs to know/have/do as they pack-up for an overnight in the sticks.

For example, on our last camping trip a month ago, the brand new Camp Chef 2-burner camping stove we got on sale at REI made it WITH us to the campsite…… all shiny and ready and excited to thunder out boiled water for some Raman Noodle concoction deliciousness or a hot cocoa treat in the crisp, dewy, spring morning. But the quintessential directions for the brand new stove were somehow pulled out of the box by some wandering fingers and left at home.


Talk of winging it flew around the campfire. We can wing it!? Attach the nozzle to the flozzle and turn this and then that. Poke. Poke. Poke that button. Who needs directions?

One giant, hairy eyeball later to all parties involved: HOW did the directions not make it into the car?…it was ixnay on-the ove-stay. We all ate crunchy noodles and poured the coca in our mouths and washed it down with campground water. Now that's winging it.

My point being, anal retentiveness during preparation for camping is a necessary quality. You just can't forget directions to a brand new item you've never used before that could blow up the entire campsite #19. It must make it into the car. 

Thus, a linear thinker’s list of all lists must be developed and followed, each item checked off with drill sergeant or Martha Stewart intolerance: "YOU MUST REMEMBER ZE SPORKS!" German accent, harsh.

Alas, something is always forgotten. But better it be your spork than your fire-starter. Or you’re rubbing two sticks together desperately while your kids throw rocks at you and your spouse channels the Ritz Carleton and Sophia Vergara from Modern Family who no doubt, never wants to camp.

So make your lists, fine outdoorsy people. And I shall too. May we revel in our need for control in this one area of our lives. If not for the safety of our family as we sleep out miles from home under the stars, then also for the sanity and well being of a weekend together of bonding. With as little: “I wish I was home in my own bed,” as possible.

Carry On and check out these fantastically tweaked out Camping Lists on the websites below. If you have your own list, attach a link in the comments section.

--Outdoorsy Mama

Camping Gear Lists -broken down by gender, age, ie: "my wife’s duffel bag"


  1. Camping trips should be relaxing adventures whether a family trip, romantic rendezvous, or a trip seeking adventure in the back-country. Whether a camping enthusiast or a novice, there are basic things that all people should be aware of and prepare for in advance of a camping trip.

    Camping Info

  2. I have never camped with kids, but I so agree with you. I would have a gigantic list with me to check off. I would not want to be without a usable stove!

    1. haha! leslie you can tell by how late in the game i am to responding that i really DO need a long list! ;) thanks so much for commenting and YES, pack your stove and the directions too xa