Camping Gear for Kids

kids asleep in a tentWhen it comes to camping, many children are observers rather than participants. Parents will round up all the camping gear and place it into a vehicle. Then the children are rounded up and placed into the vehicle. After a few minutes, or hours, of driving, everything will be unloaded, and everyone sits outside for a while before heading home.

That’s not too say that children don’t have fun while camping. S’mores and camp games are always fun. Apart from playing games, however, it can be difficult for kids to feel like they’re contributing while camping.

Providing children with their own camping gear can make them feel more involved. Instead of being loaded up into a vehicle with a bunch of camping equipment, and unloaded to sit in the woods, children will get a sense of responsibility while camping if they have their own equipment.

Not only will children feel more involved with camping if they have their own gear that they’re responsible for, but they will also learn the skills and habits required to camp with competence when they get older. Here are a few items that every kid should have to go camping.

While blankets from the house can keep a kid warm at night, their very own sleeping bag will make them feel like a true camper. Many outdoor companies, such as Kelty, make children-specific sleeping bags.

A water bottle is one of the few things that can be used after your child hits his or her growth spurt. It’s also a healthier alternative to canned sodas or juice boxes while camping.

A kids’ day pack can carry water bottles, snacks, and whatever souvenirs your child may find while camping or hiking.

You’re probably not going to send you kid off on their own in the middle of the night to find firewood, but a headlamp can help them navigate the campsite when it’s dark. It’s also pretty great to shoot light from your forehead.

Children are more resilient than adults. Most children won’t necessarily need a sleeping pad, but it will give them more to do when setting up their bedding for the night. It will also be good practice to care for and store camping gear.

A kid-size camp chair will make your child feel special around the fire.

While getting camping gear for your children can certainly help them better enjoy camping, there is something you have to consider. Kids grow like weeds. People sometimes don’t want to buy camping equipment for children, because children grow quickly. Water bottles aren’t age specific, and also they’re not a big financial commitment. A day pack can be used for years, but children might outgrow a sleeping bag or expensive jacket in one or two years.

Consider how much use you can get out of camping gear for children, and what you will do with that gear after your kid outgrows it, before you buy anything. If you know that your family will only get a couple of years out of a sleeping bag, you might not want to spend a lot of money. But if you can use that same sleeping bag with different children over the course of seven or eight years, it might be worth spending a little extra to buy a good bag.

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