Best Campsite Layout for Camping with Kids

kid safe campsite layout
  Campsite layout

Camping with Kids Campsite Layout

When you are camping with kids your campsite layout will play a part in camp safety. The right layout helps make any camping trip more enjoyable.

Sometimes you have complete flexibility and can layout your campsite however you want, but many times you are restricted by pre-established areas, like an in-place fire ring or BBQ pit.

In either case, you want to try for a layout like those below.

Every base-camp has certain areas: And then there are the extras:
  • a campfire
  • tents
  • an eating area
  • a cooking area
  • a latrine, (even if it’s campsite bathrooms)
  • a trash and gray-water area
  • an activity area(s)
  • clothes line
  • wood chopping area

General Campsite Layout with a Non-cooking Campfire:

kid safe campsite layout
  Campsite layout

First: Your campfire will probably be the focal point of the campsite, so for that reason, and for safety, it should be in the center of your open area, (as in placement #3), or close to it.

Tip: If you do not have a fire ring for your campfire, encircle it with rocks or large pieces of firewood, to form a boundary that will keep unwary toes out of the embers.

Tents: Ideally you want the tent entrances facing into the campsite and the campfire, – but you want to have them “up-wind” of the campfire so they don’t get filled with smoke, (as in tent placement #1), if possible. If not, then the tents can be angled, (as in #2), so the entrances almost open to the center of the campsite, but not so directly that they will fill with smoke.

Picnic Table: Again, a focal point of the campsite that will get plenty of activity. It should be between the camp kitchen or cooking area, and the campfire, (as in #4), so that kids don’t have to be in and out of where you will be cooking.

A camp cooler with beverages and snacks should also be somewhere near the picnic table, (as in #12).

The idea is to reduce kid traffic around the camp kitchen and storage area as much as possible and keep their energies focused around the center of the campsite—where there should be less for them to get into or trip over.

Camp Kitchen: This will be a very active place around meal times, and is best placed on the edge of the campsite’s open area, (as in #5). Camp food storage and trash collection will also be in this area, (#7 & #11) – for easy access – but not in the way of other camp activities.

You will also need a gray-water hole, (a place to dump dishwater, and other non-food liquids), a little further from the camp kitchen than the regular trash is. As placed in #6.

The idea is to have all storage, cooking and clean-up areas consolidated into one segment of the campsite, easily accessible, but not in the major traffic patterns that the kids will be using. **Note: Do not put food scraps in the gray-water hole, it will draw animals into your camp. If you cannot get food scraps and trash out of camp each night, then burn the food scraps in your campfire so they don’t act as bait for bears and other wildlife.

Tip: If your kids are under 8 years old, consider using ropes and stakes to enclose this area and mark it as “out-of-bounds” for the kids. Tie strips of cloth or paper towels, (if you are not expecting rain), on the ropes as flags to make them more visible.

The Latrine – Bathroom: If you are camping in a primitive tent camping site, or if the campsite bathrooms are a long way off, you will need to have a latrine. It should be in the opposite direction of the camp kitchen and food prep areas, near the tent areas. Not too close, but not too far away either. (as in #8 & #9) You want it far enough away to keep odors out of camp, but not so far away that you need to pack a lunch to get there.

Tip: With young kids in camp, a portable camp toilet will make your life a lot easier.

No interruptions for a long trip to the campsite bathrooms, and no “scary” after-dark trips to the latrine in the woods.
*You will be surprised by how convenient and inexpensive portable camp toilets are. Here are some portable camp toilets on Amazon for as low as $19. Check them out.

General Campsite Layout with a Cooking Campfire:

Camping with Kids Campsite Layout

If you will be cooking on your campfire, you will want the campfire and picnic table to swap places, (#3 & #4), as in the diagram above.

Note: The above diagram is not representative of the distances separating things, it is only meant to illustrate approximate placements.

If you will be doing a lot of cooking on your campfire, the proper layout will make it easier.

Here is an example of a “Key-hole” Campfire Layout that works great.

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Bad Weather Survival Ideas for Camping with Kids:
Bad Weather? Kids confined to the tent? Save your sanity – be prepared with these games and activities to keep them occupied.

The links are for individual products, or the all-in-one bad weather kit. (as pictured) Rainy Day Camping with kids games and activities

Available as an all-in-one kit Just click the image on the right to see complete all-in-one Camping activities for Kids and camp games for kids Bad Weather Survival kit” – All you have to do is select the item quantities to match your number of kids!

Notes and discussions:
Camping with kids requires some camping gear and accommodations that you might not normally consider if just camping with adults.

Here are a few items and resources that may prove helpful:

And you know camping with young kids means scrapes and scratches. Itches and rashes, so make sure you have a good Camping First Aid Kit handy. Camping First Aid Kits


For emergencies, and your peace of mind, – every kid in camp, should have a camp whistle on a lanyard around their neck! It’s a handy way for them to summon help when they need it. Camp Safety Whistles


Save your strength, – every kid needs their own camp flashlight, instead of arguing about who gets yours or who has had it the longest and whose turn it is now.
(*this is a great camp light for kids, but you can just pick some up at the Dollar store if you want)
Kid’s Camping Flashlights

Check out these great examples of camping gear items. Once you have these pieces of camp gear included in your list of camping equipment, you will wonder how you ever did without them. Especially when you see how inexpensive they are when you buy them online at Amazon.

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