Phoenix With Kids

Beginner Camping Tips and Tricks for Families

Jana Tingom

Beginner Camping Tips and Tricks for Families. Are you new to camping? Planning a family camping trip can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before, or if you’re bringing the little ones along. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We have some beginner tips to make your experience a breeze.

A few things to consider first:

Backyard Camping – Why not start with a trial run right in your own backyard? It’s a great way to test your gear and let the kids get a taste of real camping before the big adventure. Trust us, it’s a win-win!

Borrow from Friends – Don’t rush to buy everything. Reach out to friends or family who may have camping gear you can borrow. This way, you can figure out what works best for your family without breaking the bank. Our family camping essentials list can give you an idea of what you might need.

Meal Prep – Before we head out, I do some meal prep. I cook up all the yummy meat in advance, chop those veggies and fruits like a ninja, and plan quick, easy meals that my kiddos already love. That way, we spend less time cooking and more time having fun with the fam in the great outdoors.

Toys: We also have a small backpack of camping only toys. Inside, you’ll find a cute play camping tent, magnifying glasses for observing nature’s wonders, toy binoculars to spot wildlife, pretend camping food for imaginative play, and adorable bug catchers.

Now, let’s move on to our family’s camping checklist. Feel free to customize it according to your family’s needs!

The Essentials:


Sleeping bags (or sheets & blankets)

Sleeping pads or air mattresses

Portable crib for younger kids

Pillows & children’s favorite sleep items

Clothing & Useful Equipment:

Clothing (plus extras for kids!)



Diapers (if needed)

Camp chairs

Beach blanket

Baby wipes (versatile for various uses)

Basic first aid kit



Toiletries (for each family member)

Toilet paper

Camp towels (one per person)

Flashlights/headlamps (one per person)

Fire starting tinder, kindling & firewood for the fire pit

Matches or lighter

Insect repellent

Beginner Camping Tips and Tricks for Families

Camp Kitchen:

Camp stove & propane/butane


Plates, cups & utensils (plastic utensils simplify things)

Cooking utensils, pots & pans

Cooler with ice

Reusable water bottles for everyone

Portable high chair or booster seat for younger kids

Food items for meals, and plenty of snacks

S’mores supplies + roasting sticks

Water & other preferred beverages

Formula or baby food for infants (if applicable)

Paper towels

Trash bags

Fun & Games:


Glow sticks

Favorite games, coloring books & crayons

Other items we love:


Portable Ninja course

Books to read

Swiss Army Knives

Fishing Gear

Swim vests (if needed)

Kayaks and paddles

Remember, this is just a starting point. Feel free to add or subtract items based on your preferences and specific needs. And browse these blog posts for more tip about camping and ideas of where to camp!


  • Jana Tingom

    Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

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