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What precautions should I take while camping with kids?

i need to know, if you are fond of camping, what precaution you need to take especially if you are camping with kids in summers. 

I'm planning a camping trip in the woods with my family soon and already planning and buying some essential items for that like a backpack, a camping ax recently bought and a wood stove to enjoy some cooking. i have 2 kids one is 6 and other is just 3 years old and obviously with my lovely pet dog named Don who don't like to miss any outings 😀....

looking for best suggestions 



8 Replies

If you are taking kids along, leave the ax behind, or t least equip it with a good sturdy protective sheath and secure it away from your children.

Be ever alert and vigilant.  The ability of kids to get into trouble knows no bounds.  I have raised four

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@maromuree this is such a fun question, especially because camping with kids can be super fun! Kids often thrive outside, away from screens, where their imagination can be set free with all the new and different "stuff" they find outside! We'll share this article: Tips for Camping with Kids, as a good starting point. Here are a few other things to highlight, then we'll leave it to the community to fill in the blanks:

  • Make sure they are warm/cool enough - depending on where you are camping, plan for the high and low temperatures, both during the day and overnight. One of the most important, yet easily overlooked, detail is how easy it is to get cold at night (again, depending where you are), so make sure you have good ground pads under your sleeping bags/blankets. Also make sure you've got plenty of water, sunscreen and bug stuff...
  • Make sure you've got fun food planned - things they like, or things they've never tried but are likely to like - marshmallows over the fire are usually a hit!
  • Kids often like to have their "own" gear - a kid-sized camp chair, their own pack, their own sleeping bag - things to make them feel included in the activity!

Let us know if you have any additional or specific questions - we're happy to weigh in more!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@maromuree Don't make assumptions about their activities. For instance, if you see them walking towards another family member a little ways away, watch them go there, make sure the other family member acknowledges them. I may not be wording this the best way, but I making assumptions about kids' movements can be dangerous, because kids can change the mind and their direction of travel on a dime.


Poison ivy & snakes

REI Member Since 1979

@maromuree Thanks for reaching out!

What a great trip you are planning for your family! Camping with my kids has been such a rewarding experience  for our family (our kids are 7 and 5 now). With a little bit of preparation you can take steps to having a fun camping adventure. You've gotten some good advice here, so I'm just going to add a couple of points. Don't hesitate to reach back out if you have other questions!

The list of objective dangers you may want to think about can get overwhelmingly long so what I try to do is to set some reasonable boundaries for my kids and also to recognize that they are going to want to engage in our camping experience a little differently than I do. As an example, one of my top priorities once we arrive in camp is to get everything set up (tent, campfire area, kitchen, etc) while my kids really want to explore the surroundings. Our compromise is that we spend a few minutes in the beginning walking around and checking things out under the guise of finding a spot for the hammock and clearing out the tent spot. This gives me a chance to look at everything and make sure there aren't any of those objective dangers I should worry about. After that, we have a family conversation about things we saw that might be dangerous or could hurt someone. We talk about a boundary that they are not to go beyond without asking a parent first. Typically that boundary is far enough away that they can explore a little but close enough that they can be seen and hear us. 

Camping with my kids has taught me that I have to be extra vigilant, particularly when they were younger (like your 3 year old) and don't quite grasp that the camp stove is hot and dangerous. One of the major differences in camping with your kids is that everything seems to be lower to the ground and easier for them to reach. It requires an extra amount of attention to their movements, which can be tiring to keep track of. One added benefit I have found, however, is that it forces me to engage in our camping experience at their level, and that has rekindled a sense of awe and appreciation for our natural world. My kid who can't seem to sit still for more than two minutes at home can suddenly spend 15 minutes straight just watching a beetle trying to cross some sticks.

No one knows your kids better than you, so ultimately it's up to your judgement as to what the appropriate boundaries are to set for them. Where you are planning on camping can play a big role in that decision making, too. Is it an established campground with lots of families and kids? It is a more secluded spot where it would be easy for a kiddo to wander and get disoriented? Is there open water or a river nearby? Making those observations ahead of time will allow you to adapt your routine to maximize your kids enjoyment and safety.

Hopefully this helps a little bit. We'd love to hear how your camping trip goes! Also, feel free to post a pic of your lovely dog Don here in the community, we love adventure pets!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Pick a state or national park that does not have steep drop-offs and camp far from water. Kids often do not have good perspective and judgment about heights and water depths. Give them a job! Ask them to collect deadfall sticks for the fire, help with the food prep if possible, kids want to be included. And above all don't forget to tell good stories around the campfire. Kids love to hear about what their parents did when they were young. But please, no scary ghost stories unless you want to stay up all night with them. The sounds of the forest at night might make it difficult for the kids to sleep at first so lull them to sleep with good stories. 

We’ve been camping with our 3 boys since they were babies.  We use a buddy system if they leave our site.  Since they were raised camping it seems like some of issues (don’t play with fire, respect stoves) seem to be areas we don’t talk a lot about.  Have a good first aid kit- if I failed to bring Benadryl- kid will get an insect bite.  Recommend tweezers, bandaids, ibuprofen, sun screen, bug spray.  Bring something kids can do at picnic table while you are engaged in camping activities.  Have fun!


REI has some great resources for beginner hikers and campers:

And be sure to always pack the Ten Essentials:

Get them started young on learning Leave No Trace principles:

I've found with kids that it's OK to add a few ounces to the pack by allowing them to bring some fun favorite snacks, a deck of cards, exploring tools such as a magnifying glass or wildlife identification cards, or some glow sticks and necklaces for nighttime forest playtime. I know my son learns a lot from taking ownership in helping plan and pack, then set up and break camp. At 10 he can set up the tent, pack his pack, and start a camp stove. Let them get confident with trial and error. let them hike ahead and set the pace. You're well on your way to creating some wonderful memories.