Ah, Alaska. My home state.
Y'all probably know by now that we moved to Alaska from Texas right before the pandemic hit.
While it was incredibly stressful, we've had a blast and loved our new home.
One thing that the kids have really gotten into is camping.
OMG. They L O V E camping.
I don't know what it is about the experience but they are just so happy when we're sleeping in a tent, making s'mores around the campfire, and enjoying the great outdoors.
On our first trip, The Boy and I just threw some stuff together and hoped for the best (FYI, absolutely NOT the best idea when both your kids have autism).
Since then, we've picked up a few items that we really feel enhance our camping-with-kids experience.
// I may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post. //
Must Haves When Camping With Kids In Alaska
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Three things in one AND it collapses down flat? SCORE.
This handy wash tub is big enough for post-campfire dinner dishes plus, it is perfectly sized for any laundry you may need to do (just in case).
It has a stopper so it empties out completely and quickly.
And, it flattens down into a cutting board with a knife that can also be safely clipped in and stored for transport.
Here's the thing about me – I like to camp but I don't like to be cramped or inconvenienced while I do it.
That means, Imma have a tent big enough for us all to move around in but compact enough to easily transport it.
We love this tent because it *can* sleep nine but is roomy enough for the four of us after adding our gear.
It has a wall divider so we can make one part our “bedroom” and one part the “porch”.
I also like that it assembles and disassembles in about a minute *plus* it has an included rain topper and access panel for an electric cord (should we use one).
Y'all. I am old.
Gone are the days when I could toss a blanket on the ground and sleep soundly for the night.
My old ass body needs a mattress – preferably one that self-inflates.
This one does the trick.
It's extra thick, 74″ long, and deflates quickly, too.
I also like that it rolls up pretty tightly and, while a bit hefty, it still can be packed pretty easily.
These are the cutest little lanterns and matching headlamps AND they work great.
They are battery operated and so easy for kids to use.
I especially like that the lantern can be hung up or set down anywhere plus, it has different light functions (from OMGTHEPOLICEARECOMING to a gentle nightlight).
It works out great that each of my kids can have “their” own light (Melanie's the owl and Finn is the frog).
P.S. Here's an alternative set that we adults like to use to light the tent and campsite.
Raise your hand if your kid is still potty-training and/or refuses to “just go in the woods”.
Hi. I see you. I am you.
While Melanie's pretty comfortable with the whole “hey, find a tree and call it yours” part of camping – Finnegan is… not.
He is still potty-training and (because of his autism) very particular about where he drops his dump.
Basically, he refuses to use a port-a-potty or go outside.
He's a toilet man all the way.
This little gender neutral potty fits the bill for camping: it collapses down for easy transport, has disposable bags for the waste (here's refills), and an attachable cup for those who sit to pee but need help with their aim.
I'm telling you, bring a couple of hammocks for your kids and they will have hours of entertainment.
My kids love that these are their size (or smaller adult sized *coughcoughnotmecoughcough*) and can be safely hung up quickly and with little to no help.
We love that they pull triple duty: hammock to rest in, hammock to nap in, and hammock to swing in.
My kids love anything that is sized just for them.
They also love anything that is adorable so these camping chairs were a great purchase.
We really like how surprisingly sturdy they are, that they have a built-in cup holder, and they come with their own carrying case.
I learned this hack from my mom and it. is. genius.
Any time we go camping, each kid has their own complete mess kit – it their own color (Melanie is blue and Finn is orange).
That way, there are no arguments over who's mug or plate is who's.
I know exactly who is missing what and they know exactly what color to look for.
I even took this one step further and got each kid their own special camping towel in their color.
Again, if they lose it (or we see it somewhere it's not supposed to be) – everyone knows what it looks like and what color to look for.
A Few More Suggestions!
It's not sexy but ya need it.
Not only do I recommend having a fully comprehensive kit in your tent or vehicle, I would also advise you to have a couple of smaller, portable kits for hiking or activities away from the main campsite.
I also like to keep a few of these kid-friendly ice packs in the cooler for general bumps and bruises.
If you live in a region with bears, like we do, this spray is great and comes with it's own holster.
I mean, these kids aren't going to entertain themselves, right?
These bug catcher kits are adorable and really work! My sister is really into bugs so Melanie and Finn always bring these along when they're camping with Auntie Carie.
Glow sticks are THE ultimate camping with kids hack. Perfect for nighttime, lake time, and really – any time.
I really feel like a struck gold when I found this radio and scavenger hunt kit. Not only do my kids love the radios (and we love that we can check in on them when they are just out of our sight) but the accompanying game is so simple – yet SO fun.