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.

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 camping and outdoor ideas will definitely come in useful for the years ahead. From toddlers to tweens – here’s what to look out for when shopping for 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

Day Time Exploring Gear for Hikes & Outdoorsy Kids


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 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, they really range from novelty to quite high tech. You are looking for durability as well as non-scratch glass as key features.


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. Your meal in an air-tight container with a tethered spork. Quick, clean, convenient and environmentally friendly, this is a great gift idea 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, along with our guide to the best hiking sandals for kids, ideal for summer conditions.

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.

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

15 Best Teen Headphones & Earbuds - 2021 Buying Guide

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 than 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.

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

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 after dark.

Here’s just a selection of ideas on how to keep them entertained and comfortable with being out in the dark at night.

Kid-sized camping chairs

Ideal for sitting around the campfire. Look for ones that include a small beverage holder too and hold up small, trunk 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. 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, 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:


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


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.

Coleman again would be our go-to brand, 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). Find more of our favourite kids camping sleeping bags compared here.

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.

Leap & Hop Travel Activity Books for Kids

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. 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 or see this detailed 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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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? 

Disclosures:   We are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This post contains affiliate links which may earn us a small income at no extra cost to you.

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4 thoughts on “Essential camping gear for kids – ready for outdoor adventures in 2021

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

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