When you have kids, camping is much more than pitching a tent and unrolling a sleeping bag. You need to be prepared. We were lucky enough to go camping earlier this summer with seasoned campers. They knew exactly what to bring and were prepared for almost any situation. So while I may have been taking a break from refinishing furniture for two days, my mind was still at work making note of all the preparations and putting together this camping supplies checklist for you.
We stayed at the Pawtuckaway State Park campground in New Hampshire.
Aside from pitching a tent along the Saco River when I was 26 years old (I won’t say how long ago that was) while canoeing with a bunch of friends, I really have no state of reference as far as campgrounds go. I’m used to four and five star hotels. That actually sounds funny even to me as I write it. If you’ve been following along at all, you know how budget-concience I am; but cleanliness is one thing I rarely skimp on!
Roughing it is no problem though. I wouldn’t have minded just bringin a tent and sleeping bag and cooking over an open fire for the night; but my one hope was that there was a clean bathroom within a three-minute walk. And, yes ladies and gentlemen, there was. 🙂
If you’ve never been camping, I highly recommend it. Just being out in nature away from computers and with very limited cell phone use was incredibly relaxing and great for the soul.
Being out on the water was my favorite part. I’m not really a water and boat person. The days of the those party boats where I felt confined and couldn’t leave when I was ready just did me in.
Yet, there I was in a canoe with an 11 year old paddling at the bow and a 13 year old paddling at the stern and I could just sit back and enjoy being out on the lake. Other than the sound of the paddles hitting the water, the complete quiet was incredibly relaxing — so much so, that my mind was filling with ideas – new projects, new products, and things I wanted to write about.
Pawtuckaway also has a great beach along the lake, a playground for the little ones, canoe/kayak rentals, a shop where you can buy snacks, t-shirts and other clothing, small games, and bait for fishing.
Our hike through the woods up to that beach was the best. The grounds were completely clear (just as you see in these photos) so you’re not walking through brush. You just walked under the shade of the pine trees on beds of pine needles.
While this post isn’t my typical furniture refinishing project, being out in nature has refreshed and inspired my mind for exciting things to come!
And since my mind never really stopped working while I was away, I’ve put together some tips for camping with the entire family along with a detailed camping supplies checklist at the bottom of this post. If I’ve missed anything, please include them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to update the printable list.
Reserve a campsite in advance
Choose and reserve a campsite well in advance. Many campsites host seasoned campers who return year after year so you’ll want to call ahead or reserve a site online. Many websites offer photos of the campsites to give you some idea of where the site is situated in relation to other sites, the water, the bathrooms, etc. Since everyone in our party liked to fish and canoe, they made sure they reserved a water-front site.
Check out this crane that flew in to our site just minutes after we set up.
Fire Pit & Picnic Table
Check online to see if the the campsite comes with any supplies. Each of the campsites at Pawtuckaway seemed to come with a fire pit and picnic table.
We had to purchase firewood once we got to New Hampshire since they don’t allow you to import logs – something to do with transferring bugs or beattles that may be in the wood from one state to another.
Finding wood to burn was no problem. The nearby hardware store sold boxes of it for about $5.00 each. We went through two boxes almost right away though so we purchased more along the road leading into the park. A local construction crew who was building a house nearby actually stacked piles of cut lumber along the side of the road and sold them for just $4.00 each. It was perfect and clean.
Tents & Canopies
It was obvious that I needed to pack a tent, but a few important tips for you…
Be sure your tent has with it all of the necessary stakes, poles, and rain cover (the extra piece that goes on top of the tent for extra protection against the rain and morning dew). Pack a rubber mallet to bang the stakes into the ground and a hammer or screwdriver to remove them.
Also bring along a large tarp or two to go underneath the tents. This keeps the floor of your tent much drier and protected. And do you see those carpets in the photo? Genius! They’re actually plastic mats that keep the dirt out of the tents and added a feeling of home to our site.
Since rain was expected, we set up the tents as soon as we arrived at the campsite and also set up a canopy over a picnic table. Luckily though it didn’t rain until later that night, but the canopy was still nice to have.
Inside the tents you’ll need inflatable mattresses and a charged battery-operated mattress pump to inflate them, pillows, sleeping bags, battery-operated lights or flashlights, and board games.
Under the canopy these seasoned campers set a picnic table that held a plastic tablecloth, the food, drinks, papergoods, and a make-shift sink. Another genius idea! Two containers of water with spouts and bottles of soap were set at the end of the table and a large plastic bucket was on the ground beneath them to catch the soapy water.
Another great tip is bring along push pins to secure the tablecloth to the wood picnic table.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
All of the cooking was done on this propane grill that collapses for easy packing and transport. We made hotdogs and hambugers for dinner and pancakes for breakfast.
They brought along a cast iron pan and pancake mix that only required water which made mixing up the pancakes super easy. And don’t forget the spatula, cooking spray, butter, syrup, juice, and coffee pot.
Fishing & Boat Supplies
These guys loved to fish so they brought along fishing poles, a tackle box, and bait. Don’t worry, no fish were harmed. They also brought along a canoe, kayak, paddles, and life jackets to enjoy the water.
Here’s a more thorough camping supplies list that you can print or shop directly from some of the direct links provided. These are affiliate links and I will make a small commission if you click through, but at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support & enjoy!
Camping Supplies List
- Campsite reservations, site phone number
- Area map
- Tent, poles, stakes
- Tarp (to go under the tent)
- Rubber mallet, hammer
- Plastic mats to keep dirt out of tents
- Dust pan, broom
- Sleeping bag, pillow
- Inflatable mattress, battery operated pump, and mattress repair kit
- Tent lights, headlamps, flashlights, extra batteries
- Bug spray
- Yard Guard spray
- Lighter, matches
- Pop-up table (if campsite doesn’t already have a picnic table)
- Plastic tablecloths, push-pins to secure tablecloth
- Firewood (purchased in-state)
- Axe, hatchet
- Leather gloves
- Rope (for clothes line
- Duct tape
- Swiss Army knife
- Propane grill, fuel
- Cooking spatula, tongs, knife
- cast iron frying pan
- coffee pot
- Plastic utensils
- Paper plates & cups
- Paper towels
- 2 large water jugs with pull spouts
- plastic bucket to catch water
- dish soap
- Trash bags
- Coolor, ice
- Aluminum foil
- Bottle opener
- ZipLoc bags
- Shorts, t-shirts
- Pants, jeans
- Sneakers, hiking shoes
- Flip flops
- Rain gear, umbrella
- Socks, underwear
- Toothbrush, toothpaste
- Shampoo, soap
- Tweezers, nail clippers
- First Aid Kit
- Brush, comb
- Feminine products
- Medications, ibuprofen
- Toilet paper
- Water bottles, drinks, juice, coffee
- Dinner (Hamburgers, hotdogs, buns, ketchup, pickles)
- Lunch (peanut butter, jelly, cold cuts, bread, mustard)
- Breakfast (pancake mix, orange juice, coffee, creamer, cooking spray, butter, syrup)
- Snacks (chips, crackers, fruit, veggies)
- Marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, sticks for roasting marshmallows
- Pet supplies (food, leash, water bowl, plastic bags for clean-up)