Anything that makes life a little more pleasant when camping with kids is a winner I reckon, so I’ve created this list of handy gear that might just do the trick…
I’ll keep chucking things on the list as I discover them.
As always, I’m learning too, so let me know what your must haves are by adding a comment below 🙂
Dish Washing Bucket –
So, I discovered, when our kids were two and three years old that they were actually perfectly capable of washing the dishes without help and actually doing a good job of it. Who knew!
All I have to do is dry and put them away.
The key is the right sized bucket to use that is deep enough that the dishes can be submerged and even soaked for a bit without using a huge amount of water.
I got this pop up laundry tub from BCF, it packs down flat and is the perfect shape and size for the dishes.
This is one of the jobs in the jobs for the kids when you’re camping post, it’s a great way to keep them occupied and useful at the same time.
Solar USB Charger –
You can pick these up pretty cheap these days, like this one on Kogan for $49.
Charge your lamps, phones, laptop, kids DVD players, iPads etc when you are camping without power.
After my spectacular falling off the no screen wagon when Max was about three I now understand the beauty of a DVD on a rainy day when you’re camping.
Or trying to pack up camp. Or maybe just needing a few minutes of alone time 😉
Water Filter –
While I can suck it up and ignore it when the water tastes a bit funky but the kids, not so much.
I keep a 15 litre drinking container in the back of the car and fill it up at service stations, parks or wherever else I can find a tap running on town water.
Sometimes they smell/taste a bit crap and this is a good way to sort it.
It attaches to a hose so you can use it to fill up whatever you want.
Collapsable Bucket / Feet Cleaning Station –
I got the perfect collapsible bucket for the job from BCF the other day, it’s the 7 litre pop up tub.
It’s the right size for feet and packs up pretty small so it’s easy to stash.
Just make sure you get a rectangular one cos feet + round bucket, it doesn’t work so well.
Chuck it at the door of the tent/van with a towel next to it and get them in the habit of washing their feet before they go in.
Saves a whole lot of dirt/sand/mud getting in the beds and mine think it’s a bit of a novelty too, the washing feet bit that is 🙂
Microfibre Towels –
If we are anywhere near the water the kids are in and out of it every five minutes and I end up with a never ending stream of wet towels that I can’t get dry.
I finally got my hands on some micro fibre towels that seriously dry in ten minutes, it’s great. Problem solved.
I got them from a discount store in Belrose, Sydney called Over Stock Plus for a great price and I’m really happy with them but they don’t offer online purchases.
Another option is this Outrak Microfibre Towel at BCF.
They also pack down a lot smaller than normal towels and take up less room in the machine if you do make it to a caravan park and decide to do a very expensive load of washing.
Compact Table –
A table is a no brainer I know and you’re all across that I’m sure but, they usually take up sooooo much space 😐
I got my hands on this Spinifex Square Aluminium Folding Table the other day and it’s awesome. The top basically rolls up, or sort of concertinas up and fits into a bag.
It packs down to the size of the kids camp chairs, wipes down easily and water runs straight through it if there is a spill rather than wetting every single other thing on the table at the time.
Kids Camp Chairs –
I actually thought this was a bit of a nice to have and not a need to have for a while and I’ve since changed my mind.
Watching them trying to eat dinner while sitting on the floor is painful, slow and messy.
Also, the chairs I got have a drink holder as well so it saves a whole lot of spills.
I got these Junior Camp Chairs from BCF, Maxi got the shark and Ivy the monkey, they love the novelty factor of the animals.
Plus, they like them and who can blame them I guess, I like my chair too!
Portable Fan –
It has completely changed up our experience with the kids, a big one being that they can sleep in the van now on hot days and not cook.
If you aren’t in a van or don’t have access to 12 volt power then there are other options for tent camping like this OZtrail Portable Fan And LED Light.
You can get one at Tentworld for under 30 bucks and they run on D batteries.
If you have kids who still sleep in the day or you are heading off when it’s a bit warmer then this is one luxury that you will love.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a bucket, a porta potty or a regular potty, anything is better than taking a sleepy kid outside at night and either trekking to the loos or digging a hole in the bush.
Also, if like me you are often solo with two or more little ones, then you don’t want to leave one in the van asleep while you take the other to the toilet when it’s a bit of a trek.
If your kids are older and you are remote camping then for sure, this probably won’t be as necessary but I gotta say, this has been a lifesaver for me and has allowed me to take the kids to free camps and all sorts of places without a drama.
It’s also great for caravan parks when the kids can’t do bush wees and the toilet block is 12km away.
DryNites Mats –
These were an absolute game changer for me when our kids moved out of nappies at nighttime.
I get them from Coles, check out recent pricing and availability here.
The packet says to put the mat under the sheet but I stick it on top so that if we have an accident I don’t have any sheets to hand wash in the morning.
They stick really well, don’t move around at night and they are soft and comfy enough to sleep on. If they don’t get wet I reuse them.
There’s no way I’m going to be able to pack enough extra sheets every time we head off and these things have been a lifesaver.
Dry Bag –
I’ve got four of these Outdoor Bags from BCF, they are super cheap and really practical.
They are semi waterproof so I can chuck the kids damp/dirty/muddy gear in there and put it in the back without wetting everything else.
I also use them for dirty washing as they keep stinky stuff in quarantine.
You can put them in the washing machine with the clothes when you do a load to keep them smelling good.
Head Torch –
Great for the kids when they are getting around at night and also handy when it comes to keeping track of said kids at night.
Also a bit of a novelty factor and good for keeping the them entertained for hours after the sun goes down.
Just be warned, teaching them how not to rock around a campsite staring into fellow campers faces with a headlamp on is a bit of a mission with the little ones and it doesn’t endear your kids to the neighbours!
There’s a huge range of quality and price but I figure you don’t want to spend a fortune if it’s for the kids. You can get this Energizer Vision Headlamp for under 20 bucks at BCF.
Baby Wipes (or a washer in a ziplock bag) –
Hand washing, face washing, spill cleaning, degreasing, you name it, a wipe will probably fix it.
Every parent who camps will tell you they are a lifesaver and they are telling the truth.
I still have them on hand all the time but I’m starting to feel a bit guilty about the environmental impact so I also have a few face washers that I wet and keep in a zip lock bag for faces and hands.
I just rinse it clean after every use and then put it back in the bag until I need it next.
Then I chuck the washer in with the dirty wash at the end of the day.
Waterproof Outdoor Mat –
Another of my most used items. I started off without them and suffered three days in black sand with two kids and haven’t made that mistake again.
There are so many options for outdoor mats, have a bit of a look around and see what’s available.
My thing is that they have to be soft to sit on, light, fold up pretty small, easy to clean and be waterproof as there are always spills and I leave them out overnight whatever the weather.
Dry Bag –
That old chestnut, when you’re packing up and you chuck the kids in the pool/ocean/river to tire them out before you drive off but you have nowhere to stash all the wet gear. Enter stinky car/van/caravan.
I always have one of these dry bags for chucking anything that is dripping wet in until I get somewhere where I can deal with it.
Resealable Bags –
These things are GOLD. I use them for packing food, clothes, damp washers for face cleaning, shoes and a bunch of other stuff.
Sometimes when we are camping for a week I put one outfit per day for each kid in a bag and then I know if I pull one bag out it’s got undies, socks and a complete outfit for the day. Saves me digging around in their bag.
Also great for putting shoes in before you pack them.
My favourite size is the 27cm x 33cm.
If you need some ideas for toys to take along with you then check out road trip and camping toys that don’t take up too much space, it’s a list of the stuff I take along for my two when we hit the road.
Also, check out camping with kids in cold weather for some more ideas of things to take along when it gets a bit chilly.
For an easy to navigate list of all the posts available check out the index, that way you can find the posts relevant to you without having to dig around for ages.
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