Family Outdoor Essentials

By Sandra Aris

Outdoor season has started, and enthusiasts are heading out on their annual camping, hiking, fishing, or other adventures. But while heading to the outdoors on their own might be a simple packing list, going with the entire family (especially kids) requires a lot more preparation and careful thinking. The checklist below can help families heading outdoors be sure they have everything they’ll need to make the trip a success.

Everyone gets a backpack

Backpacks are a big essential for family time in the outdoors. Ensure everyone, even the little ones, have a backpack to carry. While parents will be carrying most of the stuff, little ones can carry snacks, water, toys, first-aid essentials, etc. This can avoid countless arguments over snacks people don’t want to share and can help teach responsibility to younger kids. Help kids pack their backpacks with only the essentials and put a few extras in yours to keep everyone happy.

Never too much first-aid

Having first-aid kits is important when you’re in the outdoors. Not only should there be enough supplies for everyone in the family, but it’s important to teach kids how to use things in the kits. Go through every item in a first-aid kit at home with kids. Show them how they should use each item and explain what injury would require each tool. If kids end up getting lost, or older kids do a little exploring on their own and get injured, they’ll be able to help themselves. Additionally, if you end up getting injured, your kids can help you. Injuries happen all the times in the outdoors, so it’s essential to have everyone prepared.

Time to update your wardrobe

For the summertime, normal shorts and a t-shirt or tank top won’t cut it, and in the winter a light jacket isn’t enough. If this is your first big outdoor adventure as a family, take the time to get everyone multiple sets of clothing that can protect, keep them cool or warm, and that are flexible and breathable. If this year’s trip outdoors is part of your annual family camping trip, take the time to be sure kids still fit into the same clothes from last year, or even last month. For example, if shoes don’t fit your kids properly, they can easily get blisters which can prevent them from being comfortable and able to move around properly.

For younger kids, Sandra Aris pants are unique pants designed for kids learning to walk and crawl that are prone to bumps and bruises, especially in the outdoors. The pants were designed with 3D padded technology that’s found in other outdoor gear/equipment to help cushion their fall. The machine washable pants are made of a lightweight, moisture wicking, stretchy fabric.

Family sized shelter

Growing kids or a growing family means you need more shelter. Build your tents and inspect them with everyone inside to ensure you’ll have enough room, and it won’t be cramped. This can also help you find any hidden rips or tears you may not have seen when taking it apart last time. Consider spending a little more on a bigger tent if you have growing kids, this can save you money in the long run by upgrading now, rather than later. If you plan on using sleeping bags, make sure everyone fits comfortably. The last thing you want is for everyone to feel sore because they were stuck inside a small sleeping bag all night long.

If older kids can be trusted with their own tent, consider giving them space by purchasing a few smaller tents. Young kids can bunk with mom and dad while the older kids can have a sense of responsibility and freedom in their own.

Pack some extras

For food, this doesn’t mean to pack your entire pantry, but bring a bit more than you think you might need. With kids especially, snacks can be a lifesaver to avoid a tantrum or meltdown and keep everyone happy. If you find that you didn’t use everything you packed, extra snacks/food can be used on the ride home. Look for lightweight snacks with minimal packaging to avoid potentially littering or be sure they’re disposed of properly. Dehydrated meals are also a great way to bring entire meals in a small package.

Extras clothes are a must for kids. They’re accidents waiting to happen. And if the first day of your hike someone ends up ripping their pants or shirt, you’d much rather have extras than put them at risk of getting scratched by branches or plants, bit by bugs, etc. Don’t bring everyone’s entire closet but do plan for extra outfits to be brought in case something happens. 

If anyone takes medication, be sure to pack extras. This is vital. While something like a supplement might be able to be missed for a day, allergy medicine, pain relief, or medicines prescribed by a doctor are essential to have extras of. If you find yourself spending extra time outdoors, you won’t have to hope a store or pharmacy miles away will have what you need on hand.

Toiletries save the day

If you’re not roughing it, most campgrounds will have fully functional bathrooms, but it’s still important to bring your own toilet paper, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, and any other necessities. Going during a busy season makes this even more important. You never know if the community toilet paper will run out, or if you’ll need to spend a day or two longer at the campsite.

The most important thing to remember is bring a good attitude! Spending time outdoors with family is a great way to bond, connect and create lasting memories. Make sure kids are learning about the world around them, so they can grow up fearless and have countless funny stories and moments to remember about their childhood.


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