Weekend camping checklist

Last weekend we went camping with dear friends whose daughters are close in age to ours ( the younger ones are only 16 days apart!). We have been going every year, since the little ones turned two ( so five years now ) and it is the highlight of the summer for my daughters as they love spending a whole weekend in the company of their favourite friends; exploring, giggling and sharing. These are the memories our girls will treasure for a lifetime.

I’ve known my friend Lizzie since we met in Sydney at a working hostel when we were in our early twenties. She is also British and lives in the South East. We make sure we get together every six weeks or so with our daughters as we always have a wonderful time together and they are often mistaken as sisters as they have a deep bond. We are so lucky that our girls get on so well too as this isn’t always the case.


Camping is tiring and there is lots of organising for the parents, but nothing beats running about in the outdoors, barefoot and free, so it is totally worth it!


I have written camping lists over the years but I always seem to lose them, so I thought I would write another and share it here this time so that I know where to find it when I need it (!) and in the hope that it might also help someone out with their camping packing. There is always so much to consider when packing for a camping trip with young children I find. I try to make these times as special and memorable as possible and I pack with comfort in mind. Of course, things could be more basic than this and I imagine this will be the case as the children get older,  but if you have room in your car, these little luxuries make for a comfortable and more enjoyable experience I think. Lizzie helped me add a few more items to my list so it is as comprehensive as possible! Take or leave whatever you think isn’t necessary 🙂

This list is for a long weekend of camping. We never camp longer than three nights as we don’t sleep very well and the girls ( and we) start to get a bit overtired.  Longer camping trips might require more organisation?

I take all the kitchen items and other camping gear in one or two big plastic boxes as they stack well in the car and are easy to carry.

Anyway, here goes. The optional extras are in pink!

  • Tent and extra tent pegs ( you always need them!) and a hammer.
  • Camping mats or camp beds.
  • Sleeping bags or duvets and blankets ( we even bring a sheet for our camping mats sometimes and the girls each lay on a sheepskin for extra warmth!) and pillows.
  • Rugs, plastic sheets, picnic blankets etc (to make the tent more comfortable inside and for sitting outside and picnics ) and  a selection of cushions for lounging on
  • Spare tarpaulin (for rainy days).
  • Camping chairs and folding table for the cooker to go on plus a folding picnic table and chairs.
  • Gazebo ( for shade).
  • Spare pop up tent ( for children to play in or for quiet time with books, colouring in  and toys ).
  • Cool box and cool bag ( for storing food in) and ice blocks.
  • Windbreak ( for windy British weather! Good for cooking behind!)
  • Mesh food cover ( to protect food from flies/wasps etc).
  • Portable cooker and gas canister.
  • Portable bbq with charcoal (and oven gloves).
  • Kettle, frying pan, big pan, smaller pan, colander, thermos (for picnics). 
  • Chopping board, grater, wooden spoon, tongs, turning spatular, tablespoons ( to double as serving spoons), can/bottle opener, corkscrew ( or penknife with multi-functions), apple corer ( for delicious baked apples!).
  • Large-ish plastic (or glass) containers with lids for salads or storing left over food in). 
  • Large water dispenser and/or several bottles of water.
  • Washing up bowl or plastic trug, sponge, all purpose cloth,washing up liquid, tea towels x 2 and washing up gloves.
  • Large black sacks ( for rubbish).
  • Kitchen towel and toilet paper.
  • Dustpan and brush ( for cleaning tent afterwards – much appreciated with all the crumbs I find in there!)
  • Table cloth and clips.
  • Washing line and pegs and string for all kinds of things!
  • Foil ( for baked apples and popcorn) – I only use aluminium foil on camping trips as i don’t know any alternatives for this at the moment.
  • Cutlery roll including: knives, forks, teaspoons, peeler, scissors, sharp knife and napkins.
  • Plates, bowls, cups and glasses ( we use enamelware). 
  • Torch and camping lantern to hang up in the tent. Batteries for these.
  • A  camping lighter, matches, candles, tea light candles.
  • Firewood, newspaper, firelighters and some kindling ( or pick up in the forest)
  • Plastic trug for ice and beers.
  • Wipes ( for all manner of things) and a potty (can be useful to have with you if your children are scared of the dark).

Other idea of things to bring:

  • First aid kit : bug spray, tea tree oil cream ( for cuts), lavender oil ( for all manner of problems!), sting relief cream and/or zapper, plasters, homeopathic arnica and aconite,  rescue remedy and tweezers.
  • Wash bag and towels.
  • Pyjamas, warm socks and warm cardigans for everyone and hot water bottles and cowls if forecast is really cold at night.


  • Bunting, decoration, solar fairy lights and glass jars for candles ( to hang from trees) to make the pitch pretty – and make sure the fairies pay us a visit 🙂 


  • For the children :  clothes, teddies and teddy sleeping bags ( that I made a few years ago),

DSC03782.JPGbubbles, summer books, fans ( for hot days) and glow sticks ( totally un-environmentally friendly so I only buy them once a year on this trip-the girls love them!)  and rubber easy clean slip-on shoes ( like crocs)

  • Open ended craft materials, games and books like these.


  • For hikes : sturdy footwear for  hikes, rainwear and wellies if rain is forecast – hopefully not!
  • Basic Food : Olive oil ( or coconut), sea salt, tea, coffee, milk, plenty of snacks.


And psst :  bring some fairy magic with you too 🙂 


The girls made the fairies a rope ladder, a hammock and a leaf shelter and fairy trampoline. Lucky fairies! We were richly rewarded in the morning with little sequins and scatterings of fairy dust.


Magical times 🙂 May you enjoy your camping experiences as much as we do!

Not the best photos especially those in the dark/dust, but hopefully they still capture the atmosphere a little. 


2 thoughts on “Weekend camping checklist

  1. Pingback: Summer books for Children | amothershares

  2. Pingback: Goings on | amothershares

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