Top 10 Camping Essentials that Families Forget

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I asked Nate the other day, “What do you think Wet-Naps, a spatula and a clean pair of socks have in common?” His answer was way, way off the mark. No, they're camping essentials!

Must-Have Camping Essentials

These things are all on my list of camping essentials that families forget!

camping essentials

We spend so much time outdoors that I have a few must-haves I always pack extras of when we're going outdoors with a group, since these items are so often left behind by our fellow travelers.

father backwoods camping with toddler

And while you're packing this stuff up, don't forget to check out our comfortable camping supplies list, too!

Camping Essentials For the Whole Family

camping shade

Sun shades

Because sometimes your spot is out in the wide, wide open.


Or flashlights…I just prefer to have my hands free. A lot of families think that the firelight or their car lights will suffice for these camping essentials, but those don't really cut it when you're tromping out in the woods in search of a bug-less space to pop a squat. Just sayin.

dirty face camping


Camping can get messy, and paper towels won't cut it. Wet-Naps get the job done and are gentle on our skin when we're fighting harsh cold or intense summer sun. Stick the little packets in your bag for you're out-and-about. I've even used them in place of baby wipes for quick diaper changes.

Bug spray

Don't become mosquito food. This is one of those must-have camping essentials that I'm always passing around to the whole group. The kind we took on our Hollywood Sign hike is our go-to brand (and yes, we've tried them ALL).

toys to take while camping

Outdoor toys

We opt for durable toy trucks, buckets and shovels. These are must-have camping essentials to keep the kiddos entertained.

Extra socks

Because they WILL get wet/dirty/lost. Honestly, this one should probably be top of the list. You may want to grab some extra pairs of underwear while you're at it. Socks are so versatile, though, you'll definitely want a ton. We've wound up using them as pot holders, gloves, makeshift tourniquets. Socks MUST be in your bag, and lots of them!

ground blanket

Blankets or tarps

We lay them on the ground to give the little guys a place to kneel down and play around.


People usually remember plates, cups and forks. However, cooking and serving utensils are camping essentials that often get left behind.

lots and lots of hats


Sunglasses are great, but you really should bring hats to protect your face from the sun in summer, or beanies in the winter.


Otherwise, morning can be a serious drag. We often bring a Keurig machine for our camping coffee, but you can go old-fashioned with a stovetop kettle, pour-through apparatus, french press, cold brew or even instant! I often drink black coffee when we camp, but if you're feeling REALLY fancy you should give our butter coffee a whirl.

Top 10 Camping Essentials that Families Forget

 What camping essentials has your family forgotten?


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