Simple 7: Camping gear for kids

(Laurie Tisdale)

Many adults equate camping with rugged outdoor adventures.

However, most kids look for entertainment wherever they go, and camping in the outdoors is no different. Outdoor entertainment can be skipping rocks in a stream, catching fish beside the campsite, or climbing up rocks. There are some pieces of camping gear my kids always request we bring.


The first piece of gear I would recommend is a headlamp. This versatile piece of equipment can be used for nighttime exploring, getting ready for bed, or finding lost teddy bears during the night.


Binoculars are also a great piece of gear to bring along camping or hiking. For kids, I don’t recommend getting anything fancy or expensive. My kids love watching birds overhead or even looking at bugs up close.


Backpacks or day packs are another piece of equipment we don’t leave home without. Having the kids tote some of their own belongings keeps our gear more and allows the kids to feel a sense of responsibility.


Last Christmas, my kids received camping hammocks from their grandparents. I was thinking they would lie in them and relax, but more often they are used for games or like swings. It’s great for tired adults to sit back and relax while the kids play, and the hammocks allow for just that. Hammocks for camping are another great piece to add to your camping repertoire.


When camping in the spring or summer, a net gets thrown in one of the kids’ backpacks. Nets are great for catching bugs, landing fish or playing in the water. Occasionally, the kids end up scooping leaves for entertainment as well.

Pocket Knife

When my son was seven, my husband gave him his first pocket knife. After a quick safety talk, he gathered a small pile of sticks and sat for hours whittling away. He has whittled toothpicks, sharp sticks to throw and arrows for his bow from sticks he has found in the woods.

Hand Warmers

My last camping gear suggestion for kids are hand warmers. We have put these in the bottom of sleeping bags, coat pockets and socks. Anytime the temperature dips below about 50 degrees, the kids ask for them in the mornings, especially before we get the fire started.

(Corey Hunt)

Camping can be as plush or rustic as your family wants to make it. The important thing is making memories and enjoying the outdoors. The above gear suggestions are not essential and are not recommended for purchase all at once. They will, however, add to a kid’s enjoyment of the outdoors.