15 Camping Hacks Every Parent Needs to Know

The first time we took Bee camping, she was just 10 months old.

This wasn’t your “pay to stay at a campground with other campers 10 feet away” sort of camping trip. Hubby and I have never been a fan of parks and we swore having a child wouldn’t change that.

Nope, we were dry camping. Roughing it with limited supplies in Idaho’s Boise National Forest.

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We went to the same spot we would go to every Memorial Day weekend, as it was a great area for Morel mushroom hunting. We brought two dogs and a kid and tried to make the best of it.

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Admittedly, it wasn’t the most relaxing camping trip we’ve ever been on. It turns out you don’t get to stop being a parent just because you’re spending a weekend away from home.

Since then, we’ve gone camping as a family six or seven times. Each time we go camping with our now toddler, some things are easier (she’s fine with sleeping in a tent and she can entertain herself now) while other things are harder (she doesn’t stay put and she’s more vocal when things don’t work out the way she wants them to).

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I’d never thought to turn to the internet for help. How hard could camping with a kid be, right?

I really wish I had, though. My camping trips could have been so much more pleasant!

Here are 15 amazing camping hacks that every parent needs to know. Trust me, they’ll definitely help!

The Ultimate Family Camping System from Simple Family Preparedness

Not only does this blogger share an awesome tip for packing your camping supplies, she offers free camping supply lists, too.

This system is similar to what Hubby & I have been doing for years, although we have never been near as organized. For us, it’s always been 2 totes. One with supplies, another holding food.

Honestly, we’ve never brought a lot of stuff with us when we’ve gone camping. Just the basic necessities. It’s a little harder with a toddler, but we’re managing to make it work.


Baby Food Container Matchbox from Craftaholics Anonymous

If you have any little ones around, chances are you have a few empty baby food containers, too!

Make this matchbox out of one of those containers for convenient match storage on camping trips.


Outdoor Drink Holders from Positively Splendid

I don’t know about your family, but when we go camping, it isn’t unusual for drinks to get knocked over and spilled or mixed up.

You can totally avoid both of those problems by making these outdoor drink holders! Each person could have their own color/design and these holders will make knocking over a beer or soda a lot harder!



DIY Camping Firestarters from  Green Homesteading

Instead of throwing away dryer lint and toilet paper tubes, reuse them! That’s all these firestarters are made out of and they’ll make starting a campfire super easy.


Folgers Toilet Paper Holder from Living on Less in the Northwest

I’ve talked about repurposing empty Folgers containers in the past, so obviously I love this idea!

A super simple way to make a trip to the bathroom in the wilderness a little more pleasant.


Easy Camping Activity Bags from Creative Capital B

This is a great way to entertain kids during a camping trip!


Kid’s Camping Scavenger Hunt from The Camping Family

This is a great way to keep kids entertained and it really isn’t that difficult to throw together!

The Camping Family has even shared a couple different scavenger list ideas. Head over and check it out!


Pancake Batter Ketchup Bottle from Real Simple

This is a great idea! You can make the batter before your trip for a super simple breakfast the next morning.


Scrambled Eggs in a Bottle from The Maven

While you’re at it, prep your eggs, too! Storing eggs this way will make cooking breakfast a lot easier.


DIY Coffee Brewing Bags from Make the Best of Everything

Honestly, I hate the taste of coffee that’s been brewed in a percolator. Sure, there are propane coffee makers, but those aren’t cheap!

This idea makes making coffee while camping super easy. Just plan ahead and make these little coffee brewing bags prior to your camping trip. Then, while you’re camping, pour a little boiling water into a cup and add one of the coffee bags. Let it soak for a couple minutes and then enjoy!


$2 Grill from Instructables

If you don’t have a grill and can’t afford to run out and get one before your camping trip, check out this $2 homemade grill!


Bread in a Can from The Ready Store

One thing I absolutely hate about camping is that it’s so hard to bring bread along! Prior to finding this gem of a hack, I was putting slices of bread into Tupperware, but that took up a good deal of space.

Bake your bread in a can and bring the can with you! Guaranteed to keep your bread from being smashed during your travels.


Orange Rolls Cooked in Oranges from Truly Simple

I think kids would love this! Cook orange rolls over the fire in orange halves!

Not only would it be a fun family breakfast project, everyone can snack on oranges while they wait for the rolls to cook.


Headlight Lantern from Creative Green Living

My daughter will be three years old this summer and so far every time we’ve gone camping, she’s wanted to have a light on in our tent.

While a normal, battery-powered lantern has always worked for us, I think this headlamp lantern would make for a more pleasant tent night light. It isn’t as bright as a normal lantern and it gives off a softer glow.


Hand Washing Station from Do It and How

A nice hand washing station would be a great addition to any campsite!

Honestly, I’ve never thought to put a bucket under the water jug when we’ve gone camping. I can say, though, that it’s a really good idea!



Here are some awesome camping supplies that you can buy for your next camping trip!


Portable Dog Water Bowl & Bottle

I didn’t even know these existed and I wish I had known about them years ago! I’m always taking a gallon of water and a bowl with me everywhere I go! This portable dog water bowl and bottle is a definite must-have for every family with a dog!


Portable Bunk Beds for Kids

I only have one kid, so this isn’t something I’m going to buy anytime soon.

I’m sure it would definitely come in handy if you have more than one kid, though! I think it’s a great way to save space in an already cramped tent!



Pop-Up Trash Can

Every time I go camping, I search for a tree that’s decently close to our tent or fire ring that I can hang a garbage bag from.

I had no idea that you could purchase a pop-up garbage fan like this! I really wish I had learned about it years ago, though. It’s something I’m going to be buying before our next camping trip.


Klymit Sleeping Pad

I would absolutely love to buy three of these. Normally we take an air mattress (because I honestly hate sleeping on the ground), but it takes forever to blow up and then deflate and roll up.

This sleeping pad is super lightweight and, although it does need to be inflated, it only takes 10-15 breaths to blow it up!



Lighter Sleeve MultiTool

This is easily the most practical lighter sleeve I’ve ever seen.

Forget the cute, colorful sleeves. This multitool sleeve is where it’s at!

Do you and your family go camping? What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to camping with kids? Do you have any awesome camping hacks you can share with us?

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