Mommy's "Must-Haves" for Camping

Updated on July 24, 2019
Doniell Cushman profile image

Doniell is a mother to an overly active special needs preschooler. Her family enjoys camping, and playing in the great outdoors.

July 4th Camping, 2019
July 4th Camping, 2019 | Source

Camping? Yes Please!

Many families with young children enjoy camping as a way to travel, vacation, or play outdoors. Mine is no exception to this rule. We packed up and headed out for a few nights in North-Eastern Washington state.

Before even heading out, I knew that I needed a variety of things that could have easily been forgotten or overlooked for most families/parents of young ones. Here is a short list of some necessary items to bring along with you to make being your best mommy possible!

Campfire | Source


Toiletries should not be overlooked. You want to look your best and smell/feel your best without hassle. Here's a short inventory:

  • Dry Shampoo
  • Bar of glycerin soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush & paste
  • Floss
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Hair-ties or clips
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Personal roll of TP
  • Pocket mirror
  • Q-tips

Leave the makeup, creams, masks, lotions, body wash, etc. at home. The most you should splurge on here is dry shampoo. Make sure everything fits into a small make-up bag that you can pack into your duffel or purse. Don't bring more than is necessary, because then you'll just be loaded down.


This seems straight forward, but moms ... let's be real here. We can't take every pair of comfy leggings with us because they could get ruined. Use this basic checklist, and make sure you're changing undies often, and re-using clothing that isn't dirty or smelly.

  • 1 sports bra
  • 1 underwire-free bra
  • 2 pairs of undies per day (JIC you run into hygiene or period issues)
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of durable shorts/capris
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 3 t-shirts/tanks
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 pair of tennis shoes that can get dirty and roughed up
  • 1 pair of sandals or water shoes (you'll be so thankful!)
  • 1 pair of warm pajamas (you can substitute a t-shirt top or shorts if it's too hot, don't bring 2 sets)

Anything that gets overly smelly or dirty can be rinsed out at the faucets or in the lake near your campsite. If you need, you can even scrub it with the bar of soap you've brought. Air dry wet clothing in your campsite. Layer up if it gets chilly out, and bring your rain jacket with you anywhere you think it might even possibly rain.

Lake Sullivan, WA
Lake Sullivan, WA | Source

Dining Musts

We don't need much to be successful when dining whilst camping. The biggest decision you must make is really between using disposable vs. washable dishes and utensils.

  • Dishes (plates or bowls)
  • Silverware
  • Mugs (If you are going to make coffee or tea)
  • 1 water bottle per person
  • Camp-safe teapot OR percolator (seriously, just pick one)
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Ziploc baggies OR Tupperware (for left overs, or if something breaks open)
  • Campfire safe grate OR camp stove w/propane
  • 1 Iron Skillet, and 1 camp-safe pot
  • Vinyl tablecloth that can be wiped clean
  • Lysol Wipes

Make sure that the campsite is always kept clean, and any trash is disposed of immediately, or into a hard-sided vehicle to avoid wild-life interception. After using iron skillet or pot, rinse off and wipe down thoroughly. We usually do this at the clean water spigots at campsites. Any remaining food stuffs should be wiped into trash prior to this. Make sure if you decide on tea or coffee, you pack the appropriate ingredients/materials.

Roasting sticks can be made from nature, no need to purchase and bring them unless a health condition prevents this. One less thing to worry about packing and cleaning, plus family fun finding and making them!

Selkirk Mtns.
Selkirk Mtns. | Source


We all bring along things not exactly essential to survival, but that is needed to have a safe and fun trip. This little list can be useful to make sure you've got what you need to make this possible.

  • First-Aid Kit (include aspirin/ibuprofen, and Tums or Rolaids)
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Cap or visor (I prefer my Adidas visor)
  • Vitamins & medicines you take regularly
  • Water toys (floats, guns, kayak, etc.)
  • Folding chairs that can be easily carried. (Maybe to the beach, or when hiking.)
  • Deck of cards
  • 1-2 outdoor games (Horseshoes, Corn hole, Cribbage board, etc.)
  • 1-2 books with length that can fit in your bag
  • 1 towel per person
  • 3 toys that can be played with outdoors per child (such as trucks, soccer ball, etc.)
  • Ladies' multi-tool (for slivers, hangnails, camp setup/breakdown etc.)
  • Digital Camera with extra battery and SD card (I recommend at least 16G)
  • Headlamp instead of flashlight
  • Dog leash, bowl, food, & bed

Of course this list is just basic. You may need to add or delete from this list as needed for your particular situation. I however find that having all these things on hand make mothering your kiddos and doggies a bit easier.


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