Backcountry Camping with Kids - Gear list

Kids Who Explore has put together a printable gear list with all you need to know about packing for backcountry camping with kids. From campsite essentials, to clothing and footwear,  kitchenware and meal planning, we have put together the ultimate backcountry gear list to make sure your camping trips go smoothly from start to finish. Scroll below to download our Backcountry Camping with Kids Gear List.

Here are a few quick links from some of our favourite products and why, that are featured in Kids Who Explore Backcountry Camping with Kids Gear List. 

*Products below are clickable, and they will direct you to our favourite products, which means this blog contains affiliate links. We have made sure to add links to both US and Canadian retailers, if applicable. We make a small commission when you purchase a product using our affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. These funds help Kids Who Explore continue to put out educational content just like this and keep our community running* 

The 10 Essentials

“What are the 10 essentials?” 

The 10 essentials are 10 items you should never leave your house without when you’re heading out on an adventure – with or without kids. These are items you can use incase of an emergency and can increase your survival rate. Although this is never something you want to think would happen, when we are adventuring, we must make sure we are prepared for any situation that may occur. 

These are the 10 essential items:

Backcountry Backpack

Finding the perfect backpack can be a game of trial and error, and there are many things you must take into consideration. Especially when backcountry camping with kids, you have to take things into consideration like the extra gear you’ll be carrying, if you’ll be needing to carry your children in a carrier, etc. MEC has put together a comprehensive guide, which you can read by clicking here, on how to pick the perfect pack and fit. Here is a YouTube video they’ve shared, as well: 

Non-Carrier Suggestions
Backcountry Camping
Osprey Ariel 65
Osprey Renn 50L
Osprey Renn 50
Backcountry Camping with Kids Gear List
Gregory Jade 63
Carrier Suggestions

Camp Items

Lightweight Tent

Finding a lightweight tent for backcountry camping trips with kids is incredibly important, as this is where a lot of your weight will come from, besides food! Some tents that were suggested by families within the Kids Who Explore community were:

MSR Hubba Hubba Tent
MSR Elixir 4 Tent
Backcountry Camping Gear List with Kids
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3
Sea to Summit Telos TR3
Sleeping Bags, Pads & Pillows

There are 2 different types of materials you can choose from when deciding what sleeping bag or pillow to get. You can choose between Down Material or Synthetic Material. Down is typically lighter, but is meant to keep you warmer. Synthetic is heavier, but can withstand getting wet. Always keep in mind about not getting Down materials wet as they take a lot longer to dry than Synthetic, which can consume lots of body heat.

Dependant on what age your taking your children into the backcountry, you might want to invest in a closed-cell sleeping pad over an air-filled sleeping pad. Closed-cell pads are firmer pad and is a great safe sleep practice at younger ages. Here are a few different suggestions for both closed-call and air-filled sleeping pads:

Another thing you’ll also come across is R-value. R-value measures the pads ability to resist heat loss through the ground. The higher the R-value, the warmer your sleep system will be. 

Pillow suggestions:

Klymit Double V Sleeping Pad
Klymit Double V Sleeping Pad
Morrison Outdoors Sleeping Bag
Morrison Outdoors Sleeping Bag
Backcountry Gear - Pillow
Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow

Camp Kitchen

Getting boiled water, fast, is one of our main priorities when hiking in the backcountry. Between MSR, Jetboil, Primus and other brands, there are so many amazing options for camp cooking. We’ve tested the Jetboil MightyMo and the MSR Pocket Rocket stove, and have to say that we are huge fans of Jetboil. We find their fuel canisters last a long time, and we always have boiling water in 2 minutes or less, even on chilly nights! 

Tip to preserve fuel: Don’t turn your stove on fuel blast, and always have your pot on the flame. Turn the fuel level up gradually after igniting your stove, and always boil your water prior to adding your food. 

Cooking Gear

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Pot Set
GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Campers Cookset
Jetboil MightyMo Backpacking Stove
MSR Trail Lite Duo System
MSR Trail Lite Duo System

What pot set you need all depends on what you’re bringing for meals, and how you plan to eat them. Because you’re going as a family, you’ll want to bring something that allows you to split meals evenly – so something that includes bowls/plates etc. Here are a few backcountry pot sets that we have either tried ourselves, or have been suggested by the Kids Who Explore community: 

Water Filter

There are a few things to take into consideration when choosing a water filtration system for backcountry camping like the weight, size and filtration time. The more people in your party, the larger/faster you’ll want your water filter to be. Nothing is worse than having to wait a long time for your water to filter, especially if you have some hungry hikers and depend on water for your food source. Here are some water filters that have been suggested by the Kids Who Explore community: 

We suggest also keeping some sort of emergency purification tabs in your toiletry bag or first-aid kit incase there is a moment where you can’t find super clean water, and the filter just isn’t cutting it. Keep in mind that purification tabs usually take about 4hrs to fully clean the water.
Camping Family Water Filter
Hydroblu Go Flow Gravity Filter
Platypus QuickDraw System
Camping Family Water Filter
Platypus GravityWorks Filter 4L

Eco-friendly items you should pack

We are beyond grateful for every adventure we go on, and want to continue to give back to our earth while doing said adventures. Using products that are biodegradable are incredibly important for the ecosystem your adventuring in, and the animals that call it home. We do our best to use eco-friendly, sustainable products when in the outdoors, and encourage you to do the same. Here are the products that we use to ensure we are doing our part in the outdoors to preserve it for generations to come: 

Other additional backpacking items

Here are other items that we make sure to always pack, or have been suggested by our community members to never leave behind: 

ENO DoubleNest Hammock
Hiking Poles
Camp Shoes
Foam pads in four colors from Z-Seat, one of the winter hiking essentials needed with kids.
Foam Z-Seat
Hydro Flask Water Bottle
BioLite Power Bank

Thank-you for taking the time to read our blog on Backcountry Camping Gear for families. We hope you have the best time backcountry camping, and can’t wait to see your adventures. Don’t forget to tag us on instagram @kidswhoexplore so we can see where you explore next. 

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Backcountry Camping with Kids

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