Essential camping gear for kids – ready for outdoor adventures in 2021

Camping gift ideas for kids who love outdoor adventures

While our kids have grown a greater appreciation for the great outdoors, it’s completely changed what their Christmas lists look like this year.

Camping gear for kids

OK, there’s still a lot of Lego, but they have really inspired us this year to think of far more practical items that they can use again and again on our outdoor adventures

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

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.


Day Time Exploring Gear for Hikes & Outdoorsy Kids

Binoculars

These have become one of our absolute go-to products for every trip we take – camping or even city exploring they come in handy.

Kids Binoculars

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 have a comprehensive guide here on how to choose the right sort of binoculars for kids

Magnifying glass

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

SeaScope

So you’ve seen things in the distance, now how about getting up close in the water. A SeaScope is the perfect way for kids to further explore marine life.  Water-resistant with a built-in flashlight and rules – these can be used on land or water.

Spork & mess kit set

Ideal for meals on the go, these have become a day trip favourite of ours. You meal in an air-tight container with a tethered spork. Quick, clean, concvenient and environmentally friendly, this are great for your outdoor explorers:

Paracord Bracelets

For your more advances outdoor adventures, these 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.

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.

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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 snacks and gadgets as we’ve listed above.

You can see more ideas for our essential gear for hiking here.

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 camping trip.

Small action camera

What better way to set your little Attenboroughs underway then letting them capture the action themselves. 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.


Overnight adventures and camping gear for kids

The best part our kids love about camping 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 at night. Here’s just a selection of ideas on how to keep them entertained and comfortable with the dark.

Kid-sized camping chairs

Ideal for sitting around the campfire. Look for ones that include a small beverage holder too and hold up small, boot space for camping trips is always at a premium!

Coleman is our go-to brand for nearly all things camping as they are sturdy and robust, beware cheap dime-store imitations that will likely break with a little wear and tear.

Marshmallow sticks

Speaking of sitting around the fire, unmissable outdoor 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:

Headlight

These are perfect for after dark as it still keeps kids’ hands-free for all the other fun activities.

Lantern

An alternative to the headlight (or as well!), we a lantern really useful for keeping with the kids at night for those unplanned toilet stops 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! 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.

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.

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Coleman again would be our go-to brand, good down to 50c 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 a 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.

We recommend a Kelty 2 person tent as they are lightweight, super easy to use and great quality that will last. Colour coded clips and fly attachment make it easy for kids to help or independently construct.

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 or see this tent guide by Thrifty Family Travels.


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.


You can find more of our handy gift guides here:

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5 fun & educational travel gifts for kids

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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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