Packing list for family camping

I’m packing for an overnight family camping trip with my 5-year old Alexander. We are going to Portola Redwood State Park.

My biggest pain point with travel with kids (especially travel with toddlers and babies) is figuring out what to pack. Well, I am going to blog all of my packing lists so I won’t lose them, and it speeds my packing the next time I take a similar family camping trip.

Packing List for Family Camping (1 5 yr old, 1 dad):


  • tent, 2 person, with rain fly (note: does NOT work for 2 adults, 1 child, and 1 toddler/baby)
  • tent pad
  • extra tarp/pad (for putting stuff on in front of the tent and keeping it clean
  • Thermarest inflatable pads (or if my wife is coming, I think she wants an air mattress!)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Pillow

Food Preparation:

  • Coleman stove with propane
  • Matches
  • Firestarter
  • Charcoal briquettes (Matchlight version for easier lighting)
  • Plastic Tablecloth
  • Duck Tape (to tape down the tablecloth on the table)
  • Gallon water jug
  • Ice Chest
  • Pots and Pans (non-stick)
  • Plates, cups, utensils, napkins, wips
  • Detergent and scrubber/sponge
  • Cooking Oil
  • Trash bags
  • Ziploc bags (gallon and quart; always have extra ziplocs, they always come in handy)
  • Purell
  • Paper towels
  • Fork, Bowl, Colander, Knife
  • Mini Cutting Board
  • Cup (plastic, for hot liquids, can be purchased at REI)

Menu for dinner/breakfast:

  • This time we are doing burgers and hot dogs, grilled over the grill at the campsite
  • Last time we did spaghetti and meat sauce, with precooked ground beef in the ice chest, mixed into canned sauce
  • Breakfast: pancake mix, eggs, cooking oil, maple syrup, strawberries
  • Beverages: coffee (instant), hot chocolate bags

Evening around camp:

  • Coleman battery operated lantern
  • Headlamp (wish I had 2 of them)
  • Flashlight
  • Folding Chairs (from Costco)
  • Down jackets/vest
  • Comfy shoes (sneakers, Crocs)


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Quick dry towel
  • Wipees (Huggies are the best IMHO)

Emergency Pack

  • Matches
  • Knife
  • Compass
  • Rope
  • Small emergency thermal blanket (can be purchased at REI, size 2″ x 2″ x 4″; I have carried it on 10+ camping/backpacking trips and never had to use it, but always feel better having it.)
  • Spare shoelaces
  • Cloth bandage for wrapping around sprained ankle
  • Med kit: Neosporin, Band-Aids, Scissors, Pain relievers, etc.

Daytime activities:

  • Hats
  • Sunscreen
  • Backpack
  • Water bottles
  • Snacks
  • Good hiking shoes for me and Alexander

So that is it. Seems like a lot but I guess its no big deal since we are just car camping. And this one is easy because we are leaving the baby behind with mom.

Anything I missed?

Author: Mindaugas Markus

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