Essential Camping Gear For Kids – Ready For Outdoor Adventures in 2024

Camping gear ideas for kids who love outdoor adventures

Our kids have grown a greater appreciation for the great outdoors this year and it’s completely changed what their gift wish lists look like!

LEGO and superheroes are slowly being replaced with far more practical non-toy gifts that they can use over again on our outdoor adventures

Whether it be exploring ancient cities, hiking Middle East wadi’s or camping on the sand,  all of these camping and outdoor gift ideas will definitely come in useful for the years ahead.

From tots to tweens – here’s what to look out for when shopping for camping essentials and gift ideas outdoorsy kids will love.

This post is part of our product recommendations series. Pop over here to see all our gift guides, travel product reviews and essential gear roundups.

Camping gear for kids

Camping with a baby or toddler? You’ll find our practical guide to baby camping essential gear over here, as well as our toddler camping guide. Here we’ll be focused on your pre-schoolers plus!

Day Time Exploring Gear for Hikes & Outdoorsy Kids

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  • Binoculars are perfect practical gifts for kids who love adventure. These have become one of our absolute go-to products for every adventue we undertake – camping or even city exploring they come in handy. We did make the mistake of buying cheap binoculars early on though and they all needed replacing within months! We recommend something more sturdy and robust that will last as soon as they are responsible enough.

We compare all our favourite kids’ binoculars for every age group here.

Magnifying glass

  • Again, another classic outdoor gift for kids that they will get loads of use from, magnifying glasses range from novelty to quite high tech. You are looking for durability as well as non-scratch glass as key features when choosing a kids magnifying glass.


  • So you’ve seen things in the distance, now how about getting up close in the water? A SeaScope is the perfect way for younger kids to further explore marine life. Water-resistant with a built-in flashlight and thermometer – a SeaScope can be used on land or water. The perfect kids camping gift, especially if you’ll be at the beach or near rivers and streams

Camping Water Bottle

  • Staying hydrated is essential on your camping trips and outdoor adventures. Pick a camping bottle that is well insulated and can stand up to a little rough handling! If they can strap it to their backpack this is a bonus too. We love Canteenies in a huge range of colors.

Camping Mess Kit

  • Ideal for meals on the go, these mess kits are a great way to carry meals on the go outdoors. We carry one for every family member – keep your meal in an air-tight container with a tethered spork, perfect for hiks and big days out. Quick, clean, convenient and environmentally friendly, this is a great gift idea for your junior outdoor explorers.

Paracord Bracelets

  • A fun camping gift for your more advanced outdoor adventurers, these paracord bracelets are like a mini personal survival kit.  They include a compass, whistle and a flint fire starter. More advanced models also include an LED light.

Pocket Knife

  • As your older kids gain more responsiblity, a pocket knife or multi tool for camping is an essential. Your tweens will learn new skills from survival techniques to a handy camping crafts tool.

Essential Outdoor Survival Skills for Kids Book

  • Speaking of survival skills, a a wonderful accompaniment to your kids camping trip can be a survival guide book. Not just watching YouTube videos, true practical advice your kids can put into action while exploring the outdoors. From using a compass and map properly to tying knots and knife skills, we’d recommend this book to accompany any camping knife gift.

Insect Repellent Bracelet

  • Maybe not as fun as some of our other kids camping essentials, but of so practical and important! Depending where you go, small mosquito repellent patches may be enough to keep our winged friends away, or try one of these cool bracelets for extra protection in the outdoors.

Sturdy outdoor footwear for kids

  • Your little explorers can go so much further with the appropriate footwear. We love Keen sandals for our outdoor adventures. The bump toe design protects their toes whilst the quick-dry webbing is ideal for all sorts of weather conditions.

You can see our complete guide to little kids’ outdoor shoes here, along with our guide to the best hiking sandals for kids, ideal for summer conditions.

Field Guide

  • A wonderful accompaniment when hitting those trails, using a field guide is a great idea to help identify all that fauna and fauna you’re bound to come across. No Wi-Fi in the mountains for quick Googling, so having a paper book you can reference from bugs to birds or wildflowers and rocks is a great idea. Just choose an age-appropriate level for your outdoor explorer.

Hydration Pack

  • As you’re encouraging kids on to longer hiking adventures, having their own small hydration pack is an excellent way to keep them going. These are super light and can also fit in a few extra hiking snacks and gadgets as we’ve listed above, perfect for when you’re hitting the national parks or camping outdoors this summer.

Kids Hammock

  • The perfect way for your little ones to relax and also enjoy their “me time” outdoors. A child’s hammock with the right safety gear is a great addition to their outdoor adventures – from the backyard to a family camping trip.

Small Kids Action Camera

  • What better way to set your little Attenboroughs underway than letting them capture the action themselves.? A great camping gift, our kids have adored having their own kid’s action camera which we have attached from scooters to ziplining helmets allowing them to create their own mini-videos from our outdoor adventures.

We’ve just upgraded this year to an underwater action camera so they can capture more from their snorkeling adventures too.

If you’re looking for more games, toys and activities suitable for kids on your camping trip make sure to check out:

Overnight adventures and camping gear for kids

The best part our kids love about family camping trips is being up still at night! Normally bathed and tucked into bed on a school day, camping brings a whole range of fun family times and exploring new things after dark.

Here’s a great selection of kids camping gear ideas to keep them entertained and comfortable with being outside in the dark at night.

Kid-sized camping chairs

Ideal for sitting around the campfire, your little campers will love having their own camping chair. Look for ones that include a small beverage holder too and hold up small, trunk space for camping trips is always at a premium!

Melissa & Doug Cutie Pie Butterfly Camp Chair (Frustration-Free Packaging) , Pink
  • Melissa & Doug is our go-to brand for nearly all things camping with kids as they are sturdy and robust. Be wary of cheap dime-store imitations that will likely break with a little wear and tear.

You can find all of our favourite kids camping chairs compared here.

Marshmallow sticks

  • Speaking of sitting around the fire, an unmissable family camping trip activity, and I think what most kids look forward to the most, is roasting marshmallows over the fire. Sure you can use sticks, but where we live sticks are few and far between so we find these an ideal solution.

Camping Headlight

  • These are the perfect type of kids flashlight for after-dark outdoors as kids can still be hands-free for all the other fun nighttime activities, an essential part of your kids camping experience!


  • An alternative to the headlight (or as well!), we find a lantern really useful for keeping with the kids at night. Perfect for those unplanned toilet stops, reading a bedtime story or as a basic security light for all those scary noises at night. A solar-charged model works great in sunny places.

Glow Sticks

  • Glow sticks aren’t only a lot of fun, but ultra, ultra-practical dor overnight camping! Fun for kids of all ages, we like the type that can be tied around their neck. They don’t cast as much light as the head torch but they make spotting where kids have gone in the dark much easier, and add a fun element to their nighttime adventure!

Kids Sleeping Bags

Sleeping bags are one of those essential items but let’s make it fun! Do think about the weather conditions though and how long a sleeping bag will last a child.

Toddler-sized sleeping bags are cute but have a fairly finite life so look for a slightly larger size, but as light as possible without losing out on the heat.

  • Coleman again would be our go-to brand for best camping gear for kids; these sleeping bags are good down to 50 degrees and suits a child up to 5 foot tall (or youth models to 5 foot, 5 inches. The design includes glow in the dark strips and weighs in at only 2.43lbs (1.1kgs).

Kids Tents

There comes the point where kids want their independence from mum and dad and their very own tent.  You want them to also display the independence of actually constructing the tent too, so look for easy-build models that don’t need a million poles and pegs.

  • Forget cheap supermarket model when it comes to a reliable kids’ tent. We recommend a Kelty Late Start 2 person tent as they are lightweight, super easy to use and great quality that will last. Colour-coded clips and fly attachments make it easy for kids to help or independently construct their own camping tent.

We cover all our favourite kids camping tents here

If you’re still at the family camping together stage there you’ll find our round-up of the best value family-sized tents here.

Head over to our complete guide to everything you need for sand camping here – it includes step by step packing list as well as handy tips on how to control the sand and set up your campsite with minimal mess.

Camping vacation check list - free printable
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And don’t forget about storing your camping gear at the end of the season, how to keep away the culture, and stop mold and mildew from growing in your gear over winter.

You can find more of our handy camping and gift guides here:

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Camping gear for kids. Essential gear you need to buy for kids who love the great outdoors, camping and adventures

Do your kids have any favourite outdoor gear you don’t leave home without? 

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4 thoughts on “Essential Camping Gear For Kids – Ready For Outdoor Adventures in 2024

  1. Pingback: The Best Adventure, Travel and Camping Gifts for Kids | Navigating Adventure

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