We Don’t Camp Without These 10 Things

10 Things We Don’t Camp Without

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Call it tent camping or car camping, we call it fun! This is my family’s basic checklist. We don’t camp without these 10 things. So let’s jump in!

1. Tent

We love our Coleman Instant Setup Tent. Ours is an older model and we love it! The claim is that it sets up in 60 seconds and the first time we used it my husband timed me:

Assembled in 58 seconds by myself!

When the kids help it takes a few extra minutes, but we are still done in less than 5 minutes.


We are looking at a larger tent for next summer and debating between these two tents:

Tough decision!

2. Sleeping Pads

We use a collection of Therm-a-Rest pads that we have collected over the years. They are compact, add comfort and warmth, and inflate without a pump which means no noise and one less thing to pack. Win-win!

These are our favorites:

3. Sleeping Bags

We are big fans of Kelty Sleeping Bags.

Check these out:

Our kids use Kelty Sleeping Bags too.

4. Lanterns and Flashlights

You need light. Lanterns are necessary for around the campsite. These are great options:

Flashlights and headlamps are perfect for trip to the bathroom at night and nighttime hikes.

Our kids LOVE:

Coleman Kids Glow Stick. Easy to use, fun to play with.

5. Ice Chest

Until recently we had a very basic ice chest. It served us well and with careful packing we were able to keep everything cold with no problem.

But then we went on a week long trip and it was HOT! The ice kept melting and we were stopping to dump the water and refill the ice daily. It was annoying so we decided it was time to upgrade.

Coleman claims this ice chest will keep ice for 5 days. It is perfect if you have limited space, as we do.

If you want to splurge, this is the ice chest for you:

6. Skewers

It’s not a camping trip without S’mores! These skewers are great because the prongs are close enough to hold marshmallows and they telescope to keep kids a safe distance from the fire and pack into a compact bag.

They are sturdy enough to roast hot dogs and bratwurst without bending. Dinner is served!

7. Camp Stove

I’ve written about my love of my STOK Tourist before and you can read all about it here. They can be hard to find, but can’t be beat for versatility if cooking for a small group.

If you like idea of the STOK Tourist and can’t find one, this Coleman Camp Propane Grill/Stove is a good option.

Prefer a standard camp stove? Try this:

Grilling more your speed? Check these out:

8. Enamelware

I have to have my coffee so an enamelware percolator is a must-have. Enamelware takes me back to my childhood, so I’m partial to it.

Enamelware is amazing because you can use them on a campstove or over the fire. You can buy sets of dishes and flatware, a percolator and mugs, or the percolator by itself. Buy what you need and grow your collection over time.

Don’t know what you need?

First, start with the percolator and mugs. Then add to your collection as you go.

When I was a kid we used a version of the Coleman Family Cook Set for our pots. It’s a nesting set and the handles detach so it takes very little space. Perfection!

9. Tool Kit

A well stocked tool kit has saved us on many occasions. Here’s what we keep in ours:

  • matches/lighters
  • screwdriver
  • pliers
  • scissors
  • pocket knife/leatherman
  • hammer or mallet (We like this claw hammer because it is light enough for our kids to use.)
  • hatchet or ax
  • cash (We’ve become so used to using plastic for all our purchases that sometimes we forget that cash is king when camping. We keep small bills for purchasing firewood, exchanging for coins at the showers and paying for an extra night when the mood strikes.)

10. First Aid Kit

Buy a complete kit or create your own. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • bandages in a variety of sizes
  • antiseptic wipes/wound cleaner
  • antibiotic ointment
  • blister care/prevention
  • bug spray
  • sunscreen
  • anti-itch cream
  • tweezers (We seem to get a lot of splinters.)
  • pain killers
  • burn cream
  • instant cold packs
  • allergies? Don’t forget your allergy medicine.

I like to have my first aid kit organized so I can find what I need while my kid are screaming quickly. This first aid kit is great for that. Labeled compartments keep you organized, it’s stocked with a variety of supplies, and it’s compact. There’s a larger version too with even more supplies.

Surviveware Large First Aid Kit

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