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Road Trip Camping Checklist for Packing

This year, we loaded up a 15-passenger van with 8 cousins, grandma, and me (at 5 months pregnant). Needless to say, we had quite an adventure on our hands.

We traveled from Phoenix, Arizona up through to our main destination, Mt. Rushmore, and continued over to Seattle, Washington.

We planned our 10 day trip with short 4-5 hour driving days and stops along the way to be able to see some of the beautiful country and sightseeing and be able to plan stops along the daily drives.

If you plan to take a road trip with camping stops along the way, this road trip camping checklist can help you get planning on what you may need for traveling.

This list is based on my experience traveling with a large group of kids, so adjust the list as needed to accommodate your own group.

Road Trip Camping Checklist



Road Trip Camping Checklist

  • Tent with stakes and hammer
  • Tarp
  • Sleeping Bag or Bedding (See Tip 1)
  • Pillows
  • Air Mattress (some air mattresses have a self-inflate pump attached)
  • Air pump (for your air mattresses)
  • Spare batteries
  • Camping Chairs
  • Lantern and a carbineer to hang your lantern in the tent
  • Flashlights
  • Small broom
  • Cooler (See Tip 2)
  • Food (See Tip 3)
  • Propane cooking stove
  • Cooking Supplies
    – Pot big enough to feed your group in one batch
    – Cast Iron skillet
    – Plates, cups, bowls
    – Utensils
    – Cooking utensils: slotted spoon, spatula
    – Knives
    – Thin flexible cutting board
    – Strainer (as needed)
    – Towel or Paper towels
  • Plastic grocery sacks for trash
  • Flannel backed tablecloth
  • Extension Cord
  • Power Strip (See Tip 4)
  • Card or Dice games
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Clothing
    – 3-4 Tops
    – 3-4 Bottoms
    – Sweater or Jacket
    – Underwear and Socks
    – Swimming suit
    – A pair of Sandals and tennis shoes
    – Laundry detergent, stain fighter if needed, and dryer sheets
    – Reusable tote for laundry
  • Health & Beauty supplies
    – Shampoo/Conditioner
    – Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
    – Moisturizer
    – Sunscreen
    – Bug Spray and citronella candle
    – First Aid kit (lots of bandaids!)
    – Chapstick
    – Q-tips
    – Tweezers (You’ll need these for splinters)
    – Nail clippers
    – Feminine hygiene
  • Children Considerations:
    – Pack one school backpack per child with their own clothing
    . 3-4 tops including a long sleeve shirt
    . 3-4 bottoms including at least one long pants
    . 1 sweater or jacket
    . Socks, Underwear, Swimming suit
    . Diapers/Wipes as needed
    – Pillow and small blanket
    – Small flashlight
    – Small disposable paper cups for juice and milk
    – Coloring book, reading book or workbook
    – Pack n Play (See Tip 5)
    – Umbrella stroller

5 Tips: Packing for Camping

Tip 1 – Air Mattress Bedding:

If you’re setting up queen sized air mattresses, I highly recommend bringing a full sized sheet sets.

This size will fit your air mattress perfectly and will make your sleeping arrangement much more comfortable and feel like a real bed.

Layer a wool or fleece blanket below your sheets, then top with sheets and your bed will be nicely insulated and keep you warm. Then, top with a down comforter or other comforter of your choice.

To stay organized with your supplies, store all of your bedding in one reusable tote to make it easy to unload and repack at each site.


Tip 2 – Using a Cooler: 

You can save a lot of money by packing your own meals. Plan to buy a bag of ice every day or every other day to keep foods like milk, cheese, butter, eggs, yogurt, and drinks cold.


Tip 3 – Packing Food: 

Pack lots of drinks such a water bottles, Capri suns, individual Gatorades, soda or your own drink preferences. You’ll go through drinks much quicker than snacks.

It’s a good idea to pack one or two types of snacks like granola bars, cookies, chips, or breakfast bars – but don’t overdo it in the snack department. You will be surprised that you’ll won’t go through those as quickly as you might think.

Planning for specific meals and only two or three days at a time will help cut back on storing extra food. Just pack what you need, rather than anticipating everything you might want. It will make it much easier to sort through the food you did pack and find what you need among your supplies.

Another way to speed up your cooking time is to pre-chop and prepare vegetables ready to use. You can cook ahead of time a few chicken breasts and have the meat cut up in bite size pieces and use the cooked chicken as a snack, in spaghetti sauce, or add it in with a meal.


Tip 4 – Staying Connected & Charged!

We set up a whole charging station while we drove using a cigarette lighter and a power inverter. If you need to charge more than one thing from your cigarette lighter, like a GPS, then use a splitter to section off the cigarette lighter.

Connect your power inverter that converts DC to AC (Cigarette lighter to a typical wall plugin outlet) to a power strip and then plug in your devices – phones, tablets, portable DVD players, or whatever else may need charging.

The second or sometimes even the third row in a van can reach the device while still being connected and charging keeping kids happy while on the road.


Camping Checklist

Tip 5 – Bring a Pack’n’Play:

If traveling with a child under two, consider bring a pack-n-play or small travel bed depending on their age.

Most tents will have room to accommodate the extra bed and will give everyone in the tent a much better night’s sleep if the baby has their own dedicated space.

Our tent had room for two queen air mattresses with just enough room between them for a pack and play to fit. This kept the beds tight in the tent without moving around and everyone had their own designated space. The pack-n-play even doubled as a privacy screen.


Printable Camping Checklist

Road Trip Camping Checklist

Road Trip Camping Checklist

Everything You Need for planning a road trip -- with camping!

Instructions

General Camp Site Items

  1. Tent with stakes and hammer
  2. Tarp
  3. Sleeping Bag or Bedding (See Tip 1)
  4. Pillows
  5. Air Mattress and air pump
  6. Spare batteries
  7. Camping Chairs
  8. Lantern and a carbineer to hang the lantern in your tent
  9. Flashlights
  10. Small broom
  11. Extension Cord and Power Strip (See Tip 4)
  12. Card or Dice games

Food & Cooking Supplies

  1. Cooler (See Tip 2)
  2. Food (See Tip 3)
  3. Propane cooking stove or Microwave
  4. Matches/Lighter
  5. Plastic grocery sacks for trash
  6. Flannel backed tablecloth
  7. Pot big enough to feed your group in one batch
  8. Cast Iron skillet
  9. Plates, cups, bowls
  10. Utensils and Knives
  11. Cooking utensils: slotted spoon, spatula
  12. Thin flexible cutting board
  13. Strainer (as needed)
  14. Towel or Paper towels

Clothing

  1. 3-4 Tops
  2. 3-4 Bottoms
  3. Sweater or Jacket
  4. Underwear and Socks
  5. Swimming suit
  6. A pair of Sandals and tennis shoes
  7. Laundry detergent, stain fighter if needed, and dryer sheets
  8. Reusable tote for laundry

Health & Beauty Supplies

  1. Shampoo/Conditioner
  2. Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  3. Moisturizer
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Bug Spray and citronella candle
  6. First Aid kit (lots of bandaids!)
  7. Chapstick
  8. Q-tips
  9. Tweezers and Nail clippers
  10. Feminine hygiene

Children Considerations:

  1. Pack one school backpack per child with their own clothing (see list above)
  2. Diapers/Wipes, as needed
  3. Formula, as needed
  4. Pillow and small blanket
  5. Small flashlight
  6. Coloring book, reading book or workbook
  7. Pack n Play (See Tip 5)
  8. Umbrella stroller and/or infant carrier

Traveling by RV instead? See my RV Roadtrip Checklist post from last year!

Did I leave anything off this Road Trip camping checklist?

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Betty C

Monday 18th of August 2014

This is a great list. I'm not planning a long trip soon but I'll definitely keep this for our later plans.

saminder gumer

Tuesday 29th of July 2014

thanks for the great list. we may go camping near the end of the summer break so this would be a great list to go by.

Rosie

Tuesday 29th of July 2014

What a great list! I love camping, haven't gone in a while. Nothing is more frustrating that being way out in nowhere with nice scenery but having forgotten some things that made life much better. Once we had to drive 90 miles to pick up a few things.

Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy

Monday 28th of July 2014

Ok I just have to say that you have the neatest tent ever. Within 10 minutes our tent looks like a Hoarders tent. I need that checklist. :)

Kelly Hutchinson

Monday 28th of July 2014

Thank you for such a thorough list! I would have totally forgotten the baby bed!