Tent Camping – The Essentials You Need

Camping has to be one of our family’s favorite activities. What better way to spend time outside and piddle around in the woods? After last year’s tent camping adventures, I’ve decided what I can’t live without. So as we gear up and check the tent before another round of summer camping, here are a few of my favorite items for tent camping. 

Tent Camping - The Essentials

My husband and I are both tent campers. We had just never camped together.

After discussing where to go on vacation for months two years ago, we finally landed on camping as a family. The possibilities are absolutely endless on where we can go and what we can do … even Disney has a campground. But my husband was convinced my ridiculous fear of lizards would make camping miserable … turns out he was wrong. I’ve always loved it and now our little boy thinks it’s the best idea ever. 

True story, last year we occupied him with Cheerios and a movie and started packing up our camp site as well as our friends who had gone with us. When he finally looked up to see absolutely nothing around him, he freaked out. I think the toddler cried for the first 30 minutes of our ride home; he was devastated that camping wasn’t our new home. 

That trip cemented the fact that we were going to be a family of campers. We are a tent camping family. 

So today I’m sharing with you my tent camping essentials. I’ll even link up a couple of Pinterest ideas that helped me organize our camping supplies in another blog post. Let me also throw this out there about how we camp, our largest car is a mini van, we have to be able to fit everything on our back row that lays down … so this is compact tent camping. 

Emily’s Tent Camping Essentials:

Tent Camping - The Essentials

  1. Big Tubs – right now we have a kitchen tub and a tent tub. The kitchen tub has everything I need for our “kitchen” area of camping, and as you’d expect, the tent tub contains our other camping gear essentials. 
  2. A window air conditioner – self explanatory, it’s hot as crap outside. Our tent doesn’t have an AC hookup, but we built one. If you’re smarter than me, buy a tent with an AC hook up. I actually saw a tent on our trip last summer that had a screened porch type of area and place to put a window unit. 
  3. Air Mattress and a Sheet/Comforter set – tent camping is rough enough, you might as well make it more comfy by having an air mattress. The bonus was the sheet/comforter set I keep in our kitchen tub, the tent needed it’s own, I’ll have to go into more tub detail, but they keep us from having to repack every single camping trip. (I linked our actual comforter set by the way, I wanted something that was cheap and plaid lol.)
  4. A good ice chest that locks, or at least something to tie the lid down – After being raided by raccoons multiple times last year, I learned this lesson. Find a way to secure the ice chests. They ate literally EVERYTHING we had except my child’s cereal that we kept in the tent. I was on a cheese kick this particular trip and after the countless blocks of cheese they consumed, I can promise you there were some miserable woodland creatures wandering around Hot Springs last June. If I’m remembering correctly, a insane squirrel also stole powder coffee creamer and birth control pills. But my memory could be evading me. 
  5. An electric griddle –  you can cook so much on this. Especially if you don’t feel like starting a fire or using charcoal for every single meal. 
  6. Cutting board / butcher knife / watermelon cutter – I know I listed these together, they sort of go together. I keep a cutting board and big knife in my kitchen tub, like I said earlier, I don’t want to have to remember to pack this stuff. The watermelon cutter, this little lifesaver makes eating a watermelon easier. It’s less mess and a much more simple way to serve watermelon (the camp food essential) on a camping trip. 
  7. Maglite Flashlights – I’m a constant pottier, so the two things I require at night when camping are to 1) have a site close to the bathrooms and 2) have a flashlight I could kill someone with. I can’t tell you the number of armadillos I’ve run across at 2 in the morning. Not that I’m beating up armadillos. But, just in case some nut bag animal wants to come at me on my way to potty, I’m defending myself. 
  8. A shoe bucket – Nothing ruins a tent camping experience faster than a gross tent floor. We cut down on the issue by having a basket by the zipper door inside the tent for shoes. There’s a towel in the bottom to catch dirt too. Why not leave the bucket outside of the tent? Bugs. Not all bugs are bad, but there are some I don’t want to find in my shoe during the night on a bathroom run. Oh and small snakes … they’ll get in those shoes as well. 

What are your camping essentials? Share them in the comments! Camping questions? Ask away! 

I’d love to chat more about it. In the mean time, keep an eye out for my next post about how I organize our campsite. After we go camping in June, I’ll post a followup of our camp organization with photos of our site. 

Emily Babb
Emily, originally from North Louisiana, lives with her husband Jeremy and sons Harrison & Elliot in New Iberia. She's an elementary teacher by day and blogger by night at her personal blog Louisiana Bride. She began blogging to document planning her wedding and has since moved to sharing recipes, meal planning ideas, and the humor in daily life. Emily enjoys yoga, gardening, camping, and is a closet hippie. When she isn't having a toddler crawl all over her while she attempts to workout while simultaneously cooking dinner, you can find her reading a good book or watching old BBC documentaries on YouTube. She use to be cool, but somewhere in adulthood all those concerts quit happening and a mini van showed up in the driveway.



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