Sleeping under the stars is a chance to enjoy the great outdoors, but what should you pack to make it more appealing to the Inside Isabellas like me? My general rule about outside is to make it as much like inside as possible. Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a good mountain view or a walk on a beach, it’s just that I need to feel comfy while doing it. Otherwise, I might as well be jogging, and y’all know how I feel about that.
So, I decided to round up some of the best family camping gear — camping essentials you’ll want when you head into the great wide open. This guide includes the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the little extras that will make your time outside special. I’ve also included a few items that are not necessarily essential but would be useful for those who want to get out there more often or just have an easier time, in general.
Ready, set, go — outside!
Because someone always needs a Band-Aid. This first aid kit has an impressive 250 items, including a knife and a set of glow sticks.
Take your cooking gear to go with this adorable backpack. I love how there’s a pair of empty jars for seasonings.
Sure, you can have individual tents for sleeping, but there’s something special about having a big camping tent under which everyone can gather. This one, which sleeps 12, has little nooks so campers can feel like they have their own space.
(Wo)man was not meant to sleep on the hard ground. At least, not if she can help it. These inflatable sleeping pads have little pockets of air that will make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.
This camping griddle is large enough to cook for the whole fam at once (because having to wait for pancakes can make for hangry campers).
Durable enough for the outdoors but pretty enough to use inside, this enamel camping cutlery set has everything: forks, spoons, bowls, plates, and mugs.
Illuminate your campsite and keep your phone charged with this handy lantern. The solar-powered device will stay on for 50 hours on low power.
This wood-burning mini stove promises to fit any pot or pan you’ve got, all while keeping the flames contained and safe from little hands.
All you need is hot water for these meals — open the pouch, add the water, stir, and eat right from the container. Even if you have your own supply of food, it’s a good idea to keep a few of these on hand in case of emergencies.
More than a cooler, this Coleman is a powerhouse. The company promises the 54-quart cooler will keep ice frozen for up to four days — great for long weekends outdoors.
This interlocking cookware set packs up like a dream — and will take care of almost any cooking needs on the trail. It’s also lightweight and all the pieces fit together, making it easily portable.
Get away from it all, including nasty little skeeters, with a hammock covered with mosquito netting.
Take the afternoon off and daydream in this top-rated lounger (over 7,900 perfect, five-star ratings). Available in 15 colors and patterns, the 8-foot long inflatable sofa weighs only 2.8 ounces.
The Coleman camping cot inflates easily and perches on its own frame — an ideal option for those who can’t sleep at ground level.
No one likes doing dishes, but carting YOUR dirty dishes to a spigot is So Not Fun. This set of two collapsible sinks allows you to clean up at your campsite…no balancing a bunch of dishes required.
What’s your Must-Have on a camping trip? Share your favorites and recommend some cool camping gear we might’ve missed in the comments below!
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