What to pack for a family camping trip

Everything but the kitchen sink? Nearly. We made a checklist.

4 min read 97%

What to pack for a family camping trip

Everything but the kitchen sink? Nearly. We made a checklist.

4 min read 97%

How to pack for camping

First time camping, or always leaving the essentials behind? We’ve taken the sting out of the process with this ready-made camping checklist plus tips from the experts – now get packing!

Unfortunately, the best way to remember what must go on a camping trip is usually formed by what you’ve forgotten in the past. But it’s the humble pillow that I struggle to remember. A rolled-up jumper just isn’t the same. Not for a minute.
Simon, camping expert, author and dad to Tom and Elliot

Campsite Gear

With bedding, we make our beds then roll it all up and store it in a sack (like a sleeping bag) as it makes for a super quick set up each night, especially if it’s raining.
Emily, camping pro and mum to Otis, 4 and Mac, 2
  • Tent, tent repair kit
  • ground tarp x2
  • stakes & guy lines, mallet
  • flysheet, tent rug
  • lighting, wood
  • sleeping pad, camp bed/air mattress
  • sleeping bag, pillows
  • camp chairs

Campsite Kitchen

  • Stove/grill
  • fuel (bring extra)
  • matches (in waterproof container)
  • cookware & utensils, dishes
  • foil skewers, kitchen roll
  • washing up bowl & brush/sponge
  • biodegradable dish soap
  • Food basics, snacks for day one
  • salt & pepper, seasonings & sauces
  • coffee, tea bags, sugar, water
  • picnic blanket
  • small fold-up table
  • bikes & helmets

Personal Stuff

We hear everything from “we forgot to pack the tent” to “do you have any chorizo for my BBQ paella”. I am also always asked for first aid kit bits and stuff like Gaffer tape, glue, even a needle and thread. I would make a kit up with all these bits and keep it in your tent bag.
Laura, assistant manager of Higher Moor Farm Campsite, Dorset
  • Towels, face cloth
  • toilet paper, toiletries
  • suncream, hand sanitiser
  • hairbrush/comb
  • meds, sanitary supplies
  • contact lenses/glasses, sunglasses
  • hot water bottles
  • pjs, clothes & undies
  • waterproofs, swimwear
  • hats, cosy socks

Kids’ Stuff

So you’ve remembered the tent, the torches, and enough camping chairs for everyone. But what about the favourite toy? In our case, forgetting to take Patrick and Scruffty (the cuddly dogs) was a big mistake. If you want to do your best for the whole family to get a good night’s sleep – pack the cuddly toys!
Simon, camping expert and author and dad to Tom and Elliot


  • insect repellent, first aid kid,
  • clothes pegs, clothes rack or line,
  • torch, head torches,
  • extra batteries & bulbs,
  • safety pins, pocket sewing kit,
  • tissues, Huggies® Wipes,
  • pocket-knife, binoculars,
  • fire blanket, candles & matches,
  • water bottle, water filter/tablets,
  • phone/device chargers, flask
  • dustpan & brush,
  • duct tape, rubbish bags,
  • compass, notebook & pens

Simon McGrath's top car-packing tip

On a practical level, the first thing you’ll want to do is get the tent pitched, especially if it’s raining. So, don’t pack it at the bottom of the boot – if you can keep it at the top so that it can come straight out of the car once you’ve arrived at your pitch, the start of the holiday will be much easier.

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