Family Camping Gear Roundup: 10 must-haves

Although our Northern Arizona camping adventure was only a month ago, it truly feels like it's been ages since we slept under the stars in Cottonwood. August has been action-packed, with me returning to work part-time, searching for childcare (oh the joys of living far from family), and coming to terms with the fact that our little dude turns one in a few weeks. 

Anyhow, back to camping. Despite being a learning experience, our first camping trip as a family of four was truly a success. I received a few questions about the gear we used, so here's a roundup of products we enjoy and recommend; some we purchased on our own, some were review samples - I had the opportunity of working with brands big and small to test their products, and as always, all opinions are my own. Also, these are affiliate links, which means if you decide to make a purchase through them, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Our family's Must-have Camping Gear

1. Tent and Footprint. This dome was SO easy to put up. (less than 10 minutes!) It was well-ventilated, and it fit a queen air mattress for us three, our dog, and our daypack.

2. Headlamp. I'm the first to admit that headlamps look silly, but at my dad's suggestion (he's an avid camper), I ordered it from this site and it came in handy more times than I could imagine.

3. Daypack. Since we're not going backpack-camping any time soon, I opted for a smaller daypack rather than a full-on backpacking pack. This one is sleek and doubles as a diaper bag, with plenty of pockets and a separate compartment meant for a laptop that fits a changing pad/diapers perfectly.

4. Cooler. This is basically a soft-sided ice bag with all the cooling and insulating properties of a hard cooler, but none of the bulk. It slings over your shoulder and is completely leakproof, waterproof, and it floats!

5. Baby Carrier. We don't leave the house without our faithful baby carrier. M is big enough to ride on our back, yet small enough for the the forward-facing feature, and he loves being carried either way.

6. Outdoors Blanket. This is another super cool gadget: an insect-repellent blanket! It's machine washable and repels mosquitoes, ticks, and more for up to 25 washes. 

7. Trekking towel. Have you all heard of trekking towels? They barely take up any space, dry super quickly, discourage odor-causing bacteria and double as a swimsuit coverup/travel blanket.

8. Snacks. Since we were only there one night, we didn't cook. Instead we packed drinks, PB&J sandwiches, tons of fresh fruit and organic snacks, like these, these, and these.  

9. Collapsable Dog BowlOur dog Oreo is always along for the ride, and this collapsable bowl takes up almost no space, and can be hooked to a hiking pack as well.

10.Non-Toxic Sunscreen & Repellent ComboI've been searching for a baby-safe, natural, and eco-friendly sunscreen and insect repellent, and this is by far the best one I've tried. (Ingredients: Green Tea, oils of Flax, Sunflower, Jojoba, Coconut, Soya, Rosemary, Citronella, Eucalyptus, and Lemon Teatree; Bee's Wax, Vegetable Glycerin, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Non-Nanonized Zinc Oxide). 

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What are your must-have camping items?

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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.