Family Camping Gear: Bring These Luxury Items

A few weeks ago, I described a three-night camping trip to Moab, Utah with my wife and two daughters. We try and camp as often as we can as it is a super fun activity that we all enjoy. Our goal for the trip is to have fun, enjoy new experiences and spend time outside as a family. Our family camping gear list is very different from my backpacking gear list and that is okay, when you are taking the whole family be sure to bring all the comforts of home that you'll need to enjoy your camping trip.

Here are a few of the luxury items that we bring along to keep our camping trips fun and comfortable for everyone:
  1. Air Mattresses. Yes, I said it. When you are sleeping near the car you might as well be sleeping in comfort. We blow up two queen-sized air mattresses that fit side-by-side inside the tent. This gets us up off the ground and they provide a comfortable sleep so we are rested and ready for a full day of hiking or outdoor play.
  2. A Giant Cooler. We bring a giant cooler filled with real food and drinks. There is no reason to make the kids eat freeze-dried meals or tasteless backpacking meals. We usually make gourmet chicken quesadillas, peach cobbler and other luxury meals. If you aren't carrying everything to camp, why not bring good food and a few adult beverages?
  3. Activities for Kids. While we try and encourage the kids to play in and with nature, by the third day they are ready for something different. We typically bring a soccer ball, books and maybe a few small toys. We also enjoy doing 'Mad Libs' around the campfire as a family for some laughs.
  4. Marshmallow Sticks. Duh. What is family camping without a few burnt marshmallows? They are delicious and fun to cook while you sit around the campfire.
  5. Camp Chairs. The worst part about backpacking is that after a full day of hiking your only place to relax is on the ground, a log or rock. When you are family car camping you can bring comfortable camp chairs and other camp furniture. You might as well be comfortable so bring all the family camping gear you'll need or want.

family camping gear

The items are luxury family camping gear that you could live without but you might as well all have fun and be comfortable. You don't have to rough-it when you are car camping. The important thing is that you get outside and enjoy the outdoors as a family. While I consider an RV to be overkill, I do believe that you should take along whatever family camping gear you'll need to ensure that everyone is going to have a fun time.

What luxury items do you like to take on car camping trips?
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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