Whether you grew up camping or this is your first foray into the great outdoors, the camping learning curve can be a bit overwhelming. The good news is that there are all sorts of products out there to make your camping experience the best it can be. From special tents and baby beds to accommodate the youngest campers to green products that keep your ecological footprint to a minimum, this list has it all. Scroll through for some camping inspiration!
Snuggle Nest Adventure Portable Infant Sleeper
Even the youngest campers have a spot to lay their heads when you bring along the Snuggle Nest for your next adventure. Set it up in your tent for nap time and night time, it packs up small and is easy to bring along with you. The backpack strap makes it easy to throw it over your shoulder for a hands-free carry. A removable canopy and mesh bug netting are included to help protect your little one from the outdoor elements.
Available at babydelight.com, $79.99.
Coleman RoadTrip 285 Grill
You'll definitely want to get your grill game on when you are camping, and the Coleman RoadTrip 285 Grill is a great option. It comes equipped with sturdy quick-fold legs and two wheels for a hassle-free setup, take down and transport. The Swaptop interchangeable cooktop allows for grilling at dinner time and pancakes on the griddle for breakfast. Three burners let you adjust the temp to your needs, and the two side tables are perfect for storing your cooking gear and prepping your meals.
Get one here: amazon.com, $229.
PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger
Combat fear of the dark with these amazing inflatable light sources that charge up via the power of the sun! The PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger is a solar inflatable lantern and phone charger that packs flat for easy carrying and charging on the go. It's the perfect all-purpose solar device to light up your campsite, family tent, or provide backup power to your devices when you need it most. On low mode, you'll get the perfect amount of ambient light to get the kids to sleep, and it can go all night if you need it.
Available at luminaid.com, $49.99.
Coleman Connectable Tent Bundle with Fast Pitch Setup
The Coleman Connectable Tent definitely has family camping in mind. You can purchase these tents individually and connect them into many different configurations or get the bundle that includes a three-person dome-shaped tent (with one fully enclosed connection point) and a six-person cabin-style tent (with three fully-enclosed connection points). These Fast Pitch tents set up in no time thanks to pre-attached poles and hub, as well as fast-fit feet. They allow everyone to have their own space while still camping together. Bonus: they also work alone if you don't want the connected set up.
Get them here: coleman.com. The three-person tent sells for $129.99 and the tent bundle for $349.99.
CINEMOOD Portable Movie Theater
Whether you are looking to up your camping game or give the kids some chill-out time before they hit the sack, CINEMOOD is the ultra-portable option for your next outdoor movie night. Set up a sheet on the side of your tent or project onto the side of an RV. Choose from a huge CINEMOOD digital library that includes 40 Disney e-books and 25 safety videos and stories. You can also download Netflix or Amazon Prime videos directly on CINEMOOD to enjoy anywhere, without WiFI or Internet connection.
Get one here: amazon.com, $399.99.
If you don't have a half dozen of the ZizzyBee Bags in your life then you are definitely missing out. These reusable and washable bags are perfect for toy organization, but we love to bring them camping for all sorts of reasons. Keep your toiletries in them for when you head to the showers or use them as dunk bags at your dishwashing station. Use them to bring along some art supplies or LEGO bricks, and throw them in the wash when you get home.
Buy them here: zizzybeebags.com, three large bags for $22.95.
Reduce your consumption of single-use plastic water bottles with the ultra packable Hydaway 2.0. Perfect for camping, kids will love spout lid option and fun colors while parents will love how little space these take up in the gearbox. Hydaway 2.0 bottles are BPA-free, non-toxic and dishwasher safe.
Available here: amazon.com, $25.95.
If your little ones have trouble stuffing their sleeping bags into the stuff sack, check this out. The Sleep-N-Pack is a sleeping bag that rolls up into a backpack for easy transport. Two zipper pockets give you easy access to your flashlight, book or other gear during the night. Best for warmer climates or cabin camping, the Sleep-N-Pack has a comfort rating of 50ºF.
Get one here: mimishdesigns.com, $69.
There's something so relaxing about hanging out in a hammock in the woods. We love the new TRUNKTECH line of hammocks from Grand Trunk as they weigh just 15.5 ounces but can hold up to 900 times their own weight (perfect for a crew of kids). The TRUNKTECH sets up in no time and packs down super small when the weekend is over. Bonus: it has a lifetime guarantee if things get a little wild in the woods.
Available here: grandtrunk.com, $69.95.
Coleman BatteryGuard™ Headlamps
When you take the kids camping, you need to bring along headlamps for everyone. We particularly love the Coleman BatteryGuard Headlamps because the head straps are adjustable for little noggins, and they have LEDs that never need replacing. You can count on them to work for your camping trip next year as they feature the BatteryGuard system, which stops battery drain to preserve battery life and reduce corrosion.
Get one here: coleman.com, starting at $9.99.
BUILT NY Welded Coolers & Backpack
Made from tough shell fabric, similar to white water rafts, the BUILT NY Welded Coolers and Backpack are excellent options for keeping your food and drinks cold while out in nature. The small holds up to 10 cans with ice (or loads of sandwiches and kid drinks) while the large is almost double that size. The winner for ultimate in carrying ease goes to the backpack that also has handles for additional portability. Pockets, bottle openers and some adorable patterns make these a must-buy.
Get yours here: amazon.com, $79.99 and up.
Bite Me Bug Free
Bugs are an almost-inevitable part of camping, unfortunately. That's where Bite Me Bug Free comes in! The perfect solution to enjoying the outdoors, this antioxidant-packed, nourishing and non-toxic bug spray is a fun, healthy and effective repellent powered by super herbs and flowers. They even offer a baby version and one that comes packed with sparkles!
Get yours here: bitemebugfree.com, $12 and up.
Stonz Rain Boots
If your camping adventure will involve any creekside capers, then be sure to bring along rain boots for your little ones. These 100% waterproof boots from Stonz come in an array of bright colors—from yellow to fuchsia to bright blue. Made completely out of rubber, they have a soft cotton lining for the utmost comfort.
Buy a pair here: stonzwear.com, $38.
StormLight Synthetic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags can take up a lot of room in the back of the minivan but the StormLight Synthetic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag by Outdoor Vitals compresses smaller than most common synthetics and keeps you twice as warm for the weight. We love that you can make your own double sleeping bag by purchasing a red (left-hand zipper model) and a green (right-hand zipper model) and zipping them together. These are rated to 20ºF.
Available here: outdoorvitals.com, $69.97.
Stylish and camping go hand in hand when you choose Snowfox glassware for your green drinking option. They’re shatterproof, lightweight and the double-walled design prevents condensation, so the glass won’t sweat. While they are geared more towards adults with a martini, wine or a champagne option, the highball glass and rocks glass are great sizes for big and little kid drink options.
Snag a set here: snowfox.fun, $24.99 and up per pair.
CGear Original Sand-Free Mat
Keeping the dirt out of your tent is a major issue when you are camping, especially when you have kids going in and out all the time. We like to set up the CGear Original Sand-Free Mat outside the tent door where it serves as a spot to take off your shoes before your head inside. The mat has corner D-rings so that you can secure it to the ground with tent pegs. Plus, it's basically invincible—sand and dirt don't stick, it's water resistant and UV-treated to prevent fading.
Get yours here: cgear-sandfree.com, $59.99 and up.
ECO Adventure Kit
One of the major goals of camping is to reduce our impact on the environment. ECOlunchbox aims to do that with its ECO Adventure Kit. This kit is a great set for outdoor lovers seeking a container that can serve triple duty for packing food, warming it and serving it right from the container. The ECO Adventure Kit comes with a rugged, three-level TriBento stainless steel lunchbox, a compact stainless steel spork and a nifty pot gripper.
Available here: ecolunchboxes.com, $43.64.
Take your camp cooking totally off the grid by harnessing the power of the sun! The GoSun Sport allows you to bake, roast or steam a meal in minutes. Bake cinnamon rolls when the sun comes up or roast veggies for dinner. The unit is super portable and teaches kids a great lesson about using all of our resources when we are out in nature.
Buy one here: gosun.co, $249.
Even if your camping days are warm, the nights can get chilly. That's where the Kijaro Kubie comes in. Kubie can be used as an insulated poncho with hood, ground cover, sleeping bag, pillow and more. You can even set it up as an insulated hammock. The kids will love snuggling with you by the campfire as the Kubie is definitely big enough to share.
Available here: kijaro.com, $80.
Kanga Car Top Carrier
Don't let all the gear get you down. Kanga Car Top Carriers are the perfect option to store your tent and sleeping bags on your way to your destination. These bags are made of heavy-duty vinyl and attach to cars with and without roof racks. You'll be the talk of the campground with this colorful car topper!
Get yours here: seattlesportsco.com, $99.95.
Estiva series by HYDY
We love the new Estiva series by HYDY and the kids will too. Fill the bottle with fruit and the center strainer filters it into a delicious, naturally flavored drink. It's perfect to bring along on your hike as it motivates the kids to drink more while avoiding sports drinks and soda. What fruit combo will be your favorite? Lemon-strawberry or watermelon-mint? Get one here: shop.myhydy.com, $25
We love to bring the Buddha Board along when we go camping as it is the perfect option for keeping the kids busy while you cook. Buddha Board is a clean slate that lets you paint on it with water and then watch as your design slowly fades away! Kids will love the creativity the Buddha Board offers, and parents will love that it doesn't make a mess! We particularly love the mini as it takes up no space at all.
Get yours here: buddhaboard.com, $14.95/mini, $34.95/original.
There's nothing worse than running out of ice in the middle of your camping trip. Ice takes up room and leaves you with a slushy mess by the end of your trip. Harness the power of the sun to keep your drinks cold and your popsicles frozen with GoSun Chill. Recently launched on Indiegogo, the Chill is more than a cooler, it's an off-grid refrigerator without the noisy generator. You can even choose your own temperature if you want to keep things cool or even frozen.
Get yours here: indiegogo.com, various packages available.
As parents, we love the Kijaro Rok-It because it offers one feature that other camp chairs don't have, the ability to rock back and forth! This portable rocker folds down and can easily fit into the carry bag making it easy to store with your other camping gear. The chair also has padded armrests and a flip out cupholder. This collapsible rocking chair will keep you cool with the mesh back, and the custom rear chair feet help you rock smoothly all day long.
Get yours here: kijaro.com, $60.
Keyport Anywhere Tools
Anywhere Tools are what MacGyver would carry if he went camping. They are fully customizable and allow you to keep essential tools like a knife and screwdriver multi-tool tucked away from the kids. Add the Pocket Flare Module to make sure you are never in the dark.
Get it here: mykeyport.com, starting at $19.99.
Solar-Powered Pop-Up Tent
We don’t want to make your pole-tent jealous, but Cinch!’s solar-powered pop-up tent is the camping hack families have been waiting for. No more laying out poles and threading them. Simply unzip the Cinch! stuff sac, pull out the tent, and with a few twists and pulls, voila! Your camping castle is ready to house the royal family. From two-person to four-person tents, with easy add-ons like solar panels and canopies, this crowd-funded project means you get to spend more time doing what you and the kids love doing in the great outdoors.
Available at cinchpopuptents.com, $299-$349.
PeaPod Travel Bed
Your big kids love snuggling in their mummy bags, but your tot needs a special spot when it comes to tent sleeping. We’re crushing hard on KidCo’s PeaPod Travel Bed, an easy pop up that functions as a tent within your tent, so your little one has his own space. It collapses flat and pops up with ease, which is entertainment in and of itself for wee ones. And if they think that’s amazing, just wait until they crawl in and curl up at the end of a long day of outdoor adventuring. They’ll sleep like a cozied up log!
Available at peapod.com, $79.99.
Stinger on the Go Insect Zapper
You know what's the worst about camping? Mosquitos! Ditch the heavy-duty bug spray and set up the Stinger-on-the-Go Insect Zapper. It zaps mosquitos in a 400 sq. ft. radius—perfect for your campsite. It uses a UV light to attract and zap 40% more bugs, and it includes a USB plug as a power source as well as an electrical adapter and a battery power option.
Find it online at stingerproducts.com, $19.99.
Mpowered Luci Light
Turn your campsite into a forest fairy hangout, with Mpowered’s inflatable solar Luci lights. They’ll add a splash of fairy fantasy that your kids will love, with a side of practicality to win parents over. What starts out as a collapsed lightweight disc becomes a fully functional lantern when you charge it in the sun and then inflate it. Expect up to 12 hours of the shiny good stuff when it’s fully charged.
Available at mpowered.com, $14.95-34.95.
Because wrangling a toddler around the campfire during mealtime isn’t on your camping to-do list, pack ciao! baby’s portable high chair with the rest of your must-take gear. Just like mom and dad’s camping chairs, this high chair easily unfolds and snaps into place—but unlike yours, it comes with a durable plastic covered tray that goes from messy to clean as a whistle with the swipe of a wet cloth. Don’t forget to add on ciao! baby’s Clip-on Umbrella to keep baby shaded while she eats.
Available online, $59.95.
Nano Dry Microfiber Towel
Let’s be honest, camping is a dirty business. Between the campfire, wooded trails and your kiddo’s seemingly innate ability to find dirt anywhere, it’s hard to avoid the mess. That’s why we’re crushing on this easily packable microfiber towel you can throw in your pocket, clip to your daypack or keep tucked in your tent. Dirty faces and hands—be gone!
Available at matadorup.com, $19.99.
Waterproof Baby Monitor
Whether the kids are snoozing in the tent while you and your better half cozy up by the campfire, or your sweet baby’s napping tent side while the big kids play in the woods nearby, you can keep watch over your wee one with the Totokan baby monitor. Even without WiFi, parents can stream the video feed to a free downloadable app on their phone. Consider the fact that its drop- and water-proof a bonus!
Available at totokan.com, $209.
Snow Peak Flappable Rod
Ditch the campfire roasting stick for Snow Peak’s flappable rod. Whether your wee ones are grilling up hot dogs or roasting s’mores, this fishing pole style rod makes sure everything cooks evenly. Just tug the line, lake fishing style, and it flips your food over. Then swing it into place once the roasting is done. Delish!
Available at snowpeak.com, $34.95.
When it comes to keeping campsite plates and utensils clean, the powerful spray of the Lunatec Aquabot is where it’s at. The pressurized bottle and variable trigger settings mean you can easily spray off stuck on food bits after your crew is done with their campsite dinner, or give it a twist for a cool mist spray to keep the kids happy when you're on the trail. You should see what it does with sandy or dirty feet that you don’t want traipsing through your tent!
Available at amazon.com, $30.
This company gets as close as possible to actually pitching the tent for you. Instead, they gather, pack and ship campsite basics (think: tent, sleeping bag, stove, water filter and backpack) directly to you at your home or destination so you can focus on the important things. Like, where your kid's missing teddy is this time. If you’ve never camped before, or are heading out on your first backpacking adventure with your kidlet, Camp Crate can help you do it like a pro.
Book a crate at campcrate.net, $92/day.
—Kate Loweth and Allison Sutcliffe
All photos courtesy of featured companies, unless otherwise noted.
All prices current and time of publication.