Cool breezes, falling leaves, and pumpkin spice a-plenty—autumn is in the air! What better way to usher in the season than with an adventurous fall family camping trip? Even though you might be “roughing it” you’re on vacation. Why shouldn’t you be comfortable and well-fed? Whether you plan to sleep at a National Park, deep in the woods, or in the (relative) comfort of your own backyard, make sure that you pack all the essentials necessary for a successful trip!
24 Things You Need for Fall Family Camping
Camping requires quite a bit of planning, especially in the meal department. Unless you want to feast on MREs all week, you’ll need a large, portable ice chest that will keep your food cold and fresh, even in the hottest of temperatures. The Titan Deep Freeze Ice Chest does just that. With a capacity of 55 quarts, it is large enough to hold a few days worth of food. Its thick outer shell—made of polyurethane insulation—keeps your ice solid and provisions cold for up to four days, Microban antibacterial protection is both inside and outside the entire solid piece.
Taking it along on your next camping adventure is a breeze. It is certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee to be “bear resistant”, and the oversized drain makes it easy to empty out before you head home. Built to last, the Titan Deep Freeze Chest is the perfect cooler for days spent out in Mother Nature.
Bring camping to the next level with an outdoor movie night. Prima Projector is a portable, outdoor projector that brings movies and shows to life in the great outdoors. With a 200 inch projection, it offers a large enough screen for everyone in the family to enjoy their favorite movie. The projector itself is small —only the size of a cell phone — so it is easy to pack along with you on your next camping trip.
You won’t have to worry about losing picture quality when you’re out in Mother Nature either. The Prima is 400% brighter than other portable projectors, and the HD video player gives a beautiful picture. The battery lasts 3 hours on its own but can be plugged in too. When used as just a speaker it can last up to 30 hours. You can use your Smart TV, laptop, phone, or tablet to stream anything to the Prima Projector, making it ideal for home use too. This pocket-sized wonder will elevate your camping experience to a whole new level, bringing your family fun entertainment while they enjoy nature at the same time.
FosPower PowerActive Power Bank
We know that part of the joy of camping is to escape the hustle and bustle of life. And that life is often inside your phone. But we also know that your phone doubles as your camera and you do need to be in touch with life back at home. With the Fosmon PowerActive Charger, you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery.
The FosPower pack is ready for everything. It’s snow-proof, dirt-proof, drop-proof, and waterproof. In fact, it can even resist shallow water for up to 30 minutes. It won’t over-charge or over-heat and it has a LED flashlight, compass, and carabiner. It’s really a must-have for camping life, military life, and disaster prep too.
The Patriot 50 QT Cooler provides 45 quarts of space that can keep drinks cool for days! There’s enough room to keep a weekend’s worth of beverages cool — up to 62 cans or 50 lbs of ice. Choose between white, sand, stone and aquamarine to find the look that’s just right for your family. When you purchase one of these long-lasting chillers 20% of the net proceeds are donated to the non-profit Homes for Troops. Keeping our food from going bad and giving back to the military family — what is not to love?
High Camp Fireflight Flask
The Firelight Flask takes camping to a whole new level of sophistication. Fireflight Flask is portable barware that can hold up to 750ml—enough to fit a fifth of your favorite liquor or a whole bottle of wine. Plus, it comes with two 11 oz tumblers. The trio is made of polished, BPA & Phthalate Free stainless steel and the tumblers attach securely to the flask with a magnetic locking system. The silicone leak-proof plug cap seals the deal—see what we did there? Enjoy a drip-free pour from the insulated 24-hour temperature control flask. Perfect for sharing a sunset nightcap after a full day of exploration.
Victorinox Altmont Expandable Backpack
Ready for adventure but need more storage space? This Altmont Active Lightweight Expandable Backpack from Victorinox is the best option. It’s lightweight but holds a ton of stuff. From the insane capacity (32L and more!) to the elastic loop system, you can even bring along your hiking poles. The expansion system gives you more room for activewear and you can use the accessory cord to attach climbing gear, yoga mats, or even a helmet for repelling. Everything will fit on your back with this expandable backpack.
The main storage compartment is plenty of room for all the essentials and the shoulder straps are adjustable. This ready-to-use bag is perfect for campers and hikers alike, as it allows you to travel light without leaving anything behind.
Scrubba Wash & Dry Kit
If you’re a hard-core camper or hiker, you’re going to want to pack as minimally as possible. Which means fewer clothes. If the thought makes you cringe, you’ll want to grab one of these Wash & Dry Kits from Scrubba. Toss your clothes in, add some water and soap and then rub it from the outside for a few minutes. Simply rinse clothes and hang dry on the inflatable hangers. It’s really that simple—in fact, the kids may enjoy doing this!
The Scrubba Tactical Wash & Dry Kit packs up small enough to fit in a pocket and can keep things dry between washes as well. It’s a must-have for anyone spending more than a few days in the great outdoors.
Sitting around the campfire is one of the best and most iconic parts of camping with your family. This Kelty Low Loveseat brings you even closer together with a camping chair made for two. Snuggle up close to one another around the campfire, tell stories to the kids before bed, or enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and a few s’mores as you sit together under the stars.
The Kelty Low Loveseat is made to sit low, so you are closer to the campfire and not sitting high above anyone else. It reclines slightly to make it even more comfortable, and the durable steel frame makes it super strong- because we all know that the kids are going to try sitting on it all at once. The armrests have beverage holders for your favorite campsite drinks, and the roll carry tote makes it easy to take with you and store. It is the perfect chair to take camping- you may even want to bring it house camping for your next PCS!
Nothing says camping like cozying up next to a campfire with a toasty blanket to share. The Kelty Bestie Blanket is a lightweight, soft, and comfortable — quickly making it a camping favorite. It is compact enough to take with you on all your adventures (or leave it in the car next to your MREs — you know the ones your spouse left in there just in case). It comes in a variety of colors and styles to match your personal preference or tactical style. We’re talking of course about the camo-print one, just in case your service member just can’t quite let go of their “I’m in the woods and I need appropriate cover” mentality.
Unless you’re planning on foraging, coolers are a must-have for fall family camping trips. We are loving this clever backpack cooler with a dual-purpose — keeping your back cool, and your chilled beverages close at hand. The backpack weighs in at only 3.2 lbs and can hold about 18 cans plus ice. With this cooler as your sidekick, you’re ready for any boat trip, hike, or hunting trip.
If your outdoor adventure is a bit more stationary, you’ll still enjoy how much easier it is to carry the backpack cooler from the car than the standard models! When it’s time to load up, simply roll it up to make post-camping packing an easy feat.
Comfortable seating while camping is something we all want, but not always something we bring with us. The Foldable Stadium Seat has two sizes so you can choose between a seat for two or an individual arrangement. The padded chair can recline into five positions, making it comfortable for sitting on the grass, sand, or any terrain you may encounter.
These are sure to be the go-to chairs to bring out for camping, sporting events, the beach, or even game night at home! The waterproof fabric protects it from spills, and the carrying case makes it easy to grab and go. If you are frequently sharing a seat with a child or wrapped up in a blanket for the weather, consider the extra-wide seat! Bonus—it can be purchased from Amazon and arrive in just in time for your next camping trip!
One of the best parts of camping is unplugging and going off the grid. But every prepared military spouse and mamma knows it’s a good idea to bring a little power with you just in case. MyCharge PowerFold is a fantastic way to keep your device charged without being tethered to the car or campsite.
Portable power packs are great, but once they’re used up, you have to plug them in just like a phone. MyCharge has solved this problem with solar panels — genius. Just open it up to reveal the three solar panels and charge the removable powerbank. Then plug up to two devices into the powerbank using the USB cable and you’ve got power! Whether you need to call for help, check on the kids, or keep an eye on the weather, myCharge PowerFold is an absolute must-have for your next camping trip.
The great outdoors is not always the place for your fancy wedding rings. Groove Life rings have you covered there. With the Zeus Anti-Stretch silicone ring, there’s no worry of this ring changing shape or size when exposed to the elements. The grooves on the inside of this nylon band allow moisture and air to flow between your ring and your finger, helping it maintain it’s shape and size. This is the most breathable silicone ring Groove has. With the three bands in one, it’s a must-have for active people. The Zeus Ring is available in black, OD green, and two shades of grey.
Space is limited when camping, road tripping, or PCSing, and coolers that you might not need until you get to your campsite take up a lot of that precious square footage. The Arctic Zone Self-Inflating Cooler solves this problem by transforming into one only when you need it. Otherwise, it can be rolled up and stored for simple storage and transport. The removable interior makes it super easy to clean in the event of spills and it can hold up to 30 cans at once for up to 2.5 days of ice chilled goodness. The best part? This cooler can float in the water. Say hello to tubing down the river with your beverages right by your side!
Getting out into nature to explore is a great way to bring the family together. Whether you choose to hike a new area or revisit a favorite trail, the benefits of getting out there together are incredible. It provides an opportunity to reconnect without the common distractions of technology and chores. Make sure that while you’re making memories that you’re remembering to stay hydrated.
CamelBak is a company well-known among military families for their trusted hydration solutions. Kids can now enjoy a waterbottle-backpack made just for them! The MiniMule provides 1.5L of hydration in a child-sized pack which also has reflective strips and a whistle attached for easier spotting along the trail. Since they come in a wide array of colors and prints, you’ll have no problem differentiating whose MiniMule is whose. Its pockets are perfect for storing trail snacks and bandages for when the inevitable occurs.
Cleaning the grill is our least favorite part of the outdoor cooking experience, even more so when camping. But with the Q-Swiper Grill Cleaner by the Proud Grill Company, the job is easily done. Without wires or bristles, the cleaning tool is much safer than traditional ones. It’s extremely effective too. Apply one of the food-safe wipes to the grill brush and scrub away to get rid of all grime, grease, and food particles. The handle has a scraper for tougher spots as well. Toss the wipe when you’re done and get ready for some delicious dinner!
Now that the grill is clean and prepped, get ready to cook up some incredible kabobs with the easy to use Slide & Serve BBQ Skewers from Proud Grill. Their innovative designed tips keep the food from falling off, and they’re easy to flip. For stellar camping meals, simply pop your prepared meat and veggies on the skewers and get ready to serve up an energizing, nutritious meal. Their stainless steel construction makes clean up a breeze—they’re even dishwasher safe.
Cases of water take up valuable space and weight when you are camping or hiking. We’re pretty tired of carrying and shuffling them around too. Using a smart filtration system like the one from Lifestraw can ensure that you have clean, healthy water wherever you’re exploring. Any creek or stream can become a completely safe water source, thereby eliminating the need to carry around loads of water with you.
Lifestraw water bottles and filtration systems are available in both kids and adults sizes and they’ll protect you against bacteria, parasites, microplastics, organic chemical matter and heavy metals like lead. They are also BPA-free and leak-proof which makes them ideal for both camping and everyday use alike (because we all know about the dirty water on military bases).
Snacks are life. And one hard part of camping is packing enough healthy food. But Wild Zora has solved this problem for us. These all-natural meat and veggie snacks are sealed and ready to toss in your bag. They are paleo-friendly, gluten-free, low-sugar, and made with 100% local, grass-fed beef. But even better than that — they taste good! With so many wonderful flavors to offer, everyone can find one to enjoy. Our favorites include the BBQ Beef with Kale, Tomato, and Red Bell Pepper and the Apple Pork with Kale, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.
We know you love shopping at Target. So do we. And if you love the Method or OLLY brands, turn your attention to the Welly First Aid Kids next time you’re there. This first aid kit is made from quality materials, styled with bold colors, and uses recyclable packaging. Bandages, ointments, and other tools in an easy-to-organize (read: easy-to-find while your toddler is screaming over a ‘plinter) container. It’s the perfect addition to your camping kit, car, and purse.
One of the worst parts about camping is easily the bugs. Flies on the food and circling you (hey, the showers are like a mile away—don’t judge). The ants, the roaches, and the insects that you didn’t invite start to invade your personal space. Traditional insect spray is laden with chemicals, making it harmful to you, the kids, and your pets. Zevo Instant Action Spray is a great solution for ridding you and your loved ones of those pesky bugs without harming anyone or contaminating your food.
Zevo contains no harmful chemicals like imiprothrin, cypermethrin pyrethroids, butane, or propane. Its unique blend of essential oils instantly kills flies, ants, cockroaches, spiders, crickets, beetles, and other crawling insects. Its scent won’t overwhelm your nostrils either like other sprays. You can use Zevo anywhere! After the camping trip’s conclusion, keep it on a kitchen shelf at home. WARNING: It does not stop the whining from pests, er, children complaining that it’s too hot, cold, dirty, etc. Believe us—we tried.
We’re pretty sure you’ve already figured out that you need coffee, wine, and water while out on your next camping trip. But in order to really enjoy these things, you’ll need some great, insulated tumblers. These insulated 20oz Tumblers from Patriot Coolers are up to the task. They can keep coffee hot and water cold for hours. Grab a few, in a variety of colors and sizes, for the whole family.
The Casio Pro Trek is the ultimate adventurer watch. In addition to being a watch, this watch serves as an altimeter, thermometer, barometer, and compass. And can serve as a stopwatch and timer (with one-minute intervals). The screen displays digital time or day and date which is updated several times daily with the atomic clock through automatic updates or can be changed to manual updates.
The hiking-friendly feature of solar-powered technology allows for the sun to charge it. This all-terrain watch is water-resistant up to 100M and can handle temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The features of a stopwatch, up to five daily alarms, and the change to Zulu time allows for ultimate programmable. This is the ultimate watch for the active individual in your life, including you!
Resources for Your Next Fall Family Camping Adventure
You would think that with the amount of time our service members spend in the field that spending time camping would be the last thing on their minds. But that is often not the case. They love camping, and we love being able to spend quality time together in their element. But finding the perfect spot to camp every time you PCS to a new duty station can be tricky. Here are some of our favorite resources to help you locate the perfect camping spot, wherever you live (even overseas!):
- Campstar – Living overseas but still want to go camping? Campstar has campsites, rentals, and even RV’s available throughout Europe.
- Glamping Hub – Is the traditional tent scene not really your style? Find some awesome glamping getaways wherever you are at Glamping Hub.
- US Military Campgrounds and RV Parks – This extensive directory of campsites and RV parks for service members and their families is well maintained by a US Air Force Veteran. There you’ll find lots of valuable resources in the form of reviews, a user forum, and advice-filled articles.
Selecting only excellent-quality gear to bring with you means you’ll be able to remember why you chose to sleep in a tent anyway — family togetherness! Besides for all of the very practical items listed, don’t forget to pack board games, a pack of marshmallows, and a little extra patience. Your toddler really wants to “help” assemble the tent, and that’s ok! We are talking about your family, taking in the fresh air, and having some uninterrupted peace. Until someone needs a snack, of course.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out The Best Kept Travel Secret for Military: The Armed Forces Vacation Club
Photo Credits: Stock Images, Pixabay