Hiking/Camping Catch-all

I was lucky, my boys think of the tent as a play fort.
Did you try putting one up in the living room and letting her play in it?
Hot and humid. Wish I could help with that one.

We're headed car camping this coming weekend. My wife and I, our two boys, my brother and sister in-law, and their two girls. The kids are all on two year intervals with the middle two aged four. Should be fun, with a lot of issued instructions; don't play on the road, don't eat the bugs, don't throw sand at your cousin...

Norfair wrote:

Alas she didn't take to well to tents. There's a pretty decent campground within 15 miles of our house and we decided to try a night of camping there to introduce the young one. There were a few things against us.

First, it was hot, ungodly humid and completely still. It just made being out there completely uncomfortable.

Second, the little one really didn't like the tent at all. We spent an hour or two trying to calm her down and get her to sleep but alas we had to call it quits and head home.

On the plus side, a massive thunderstorm came through the next morning and knocked a bunch of trees over so in a way she saved us a bit.

I just came back from 6 days in the Adirondacks. We were on the shore of a lake so we had a nice breeze but further inland it was insane hot with no breeze. A small battery operated tent fan is a life saver. Also, unless there is imminent threat of rain I'd recommend leaving the rain fly off. I've got a Kelty and I just clip the fly corners diagonally then roll it up into the middle. That way if we get an unexpected storm it takes me about 15 seconds to clip the other two sides. Keeping the fly off should allow a LOT more air. I also use a really light fleece blanket in the summer and most of the time the bag stays on the backpack!

Ghostship wrote:

We're headed car camping this coming weekend. My wife and I, our two boys, my brother and sister in-law, and their two girls. The kids are all on two year intervals with the middle two aged four. Should be fun, with a lot of issued instructions; don't play on the road, don't eat the bugs, don't throw sand at your cousin...

Instructions with "don't" are always risky... sometimes the kids hear **** play on the road, **** eat the bugs, *** throw sand at your cousin.

I should set the kids up for a backyard tent adventure, now that the weather's improved a bit.

Bear -- where do you stay in the Adirondacks?

Nice. I can't wait until my oldest can carry some food and water, and I can take him backpacking. I miss it. Car camping is just about access to an awesome beach.

Heading out shortly. So my pack weight for a 3 night trip is 45#. I'm happy with that as I'm a kitchen sink packer. That's real, AUW too, water and everything included. I'm pretty sure that from here I could add days at about 1/2-3/4# per day.


This is for car camping obviously. I have a similar sized tent now that was dirt cheap but surprisingly good. The two boys will use that and the wife and I can use this one. I'm also planning on doing some car camping biking destinations this summer. In a month we're going to head down to Palo Duro canyon but even a quick overnighter at nearby Buffalo Creek will be a lot of fun. I'll be relying on my backpacking gear but I'm hoping that this is the year I do some bikepacking trips as well.

I'm all for car camping tent recommendations right now. My wife and I are in the market, and our son dictates that we can no longer use our 2 person Eureka car camping tent. I'd just break out my mega lite, but I don't think my wife is too keen on the lack of floor/bug net. They do sell those bits seperately, but for that price I can get a dedicated tent for front country camping and keep some wear and tear off of my backpacking gear.

We had a cheap Kelty 4-man tent that worked fine for car camping until we got our dogs. A while back we picked up am REI Kingdom 8 from Craigslist on the cheap. Good grief, the thing's a condominium. I think the footprint is 8x12' or something like that. Nice thing is that at 6'6" I can actually stand up straight in the middle of it. The dogs can have their own room in the tent now.

Glad I searched hiking as I didn't think to on GWJ. I don't know why it had not occurred to me earlier but hey better late then never right?

I have just started getting back into camping and hiking again after a few years away due to babies. In the past Mrs. Mono and I have always been big backpackers as we met working as wilderness instructors out of collage but since our first son was born three years ago we haven't been able to camp really at all other then car camping for family vacations. Just last year Lee (my son) and I started sleeping out near home with the two of us just loading up his wagon with the tent, sleeping bags, etc. and walking out to a corner of the property and sleeping for the night to get him used to the concept which he has really enjoyed. I think most of it is because it is something he alone can do with daddy, and he doesn't have to share me with his baby sister. A couple weeks ago before his third birthday we decided it was time to go on our first backpacking trip just the two of us. He carried one of my old day packs with just his jacket, some snacks and his favorite stuffed money. While I carried his sleeping bag and all of the other gear. I picked a hike that is about a mile to a nice little leanto out in the woods her in upstate NY. He did great, we had to take a couple breaks on the way out but he was a good spirit the whole way out, picking up leaves and pine cones to show mommy when we got back tomorrow. We made a small campfire and cooked dinner, canned ravioli and spaghetti-Os, one of his favs. He slept well out there and did even better on the hike out in the morning. I would call the little test trip a success but I also don't think at this point he has much more distance in him. I'm excited to do more trips with him and his sister when she gets a bit older as well (she has to learn to walk before she can hike right?). Here are a couple photos.

That's awesome! Look how happy that boy is!

I can't wait until my little girl is old enough for this. My wife *hates* hiking and camping, so it can't come soon enough.

Yep he likes camping so far and if left up to me it will just be a natural part of life.

A mix of impressed and annoyed with Big Agnes right now. I have been a firm believer in their sleep system where their bags have no insulation on the bottom but have a sleeve to slide your pad into. Back when I had pro-deals I got half-a-dozen of their bags to cover all seasons and then some. I was doing inventory and checking my gear and remembered I had a hole in my thicker winter mummy pad and tried to patch it a couple times but just couldn't get the pad to hold air. I also purchased a new pad for my son which after a couple uses got a leak near the valve where it was clearly not welded properly so I call them about warranty and repair for the two pads, expecting the new one to be replaced and the older one to be repaired for a "small fee". They told me to send them in and they would take care of them for me. I got an email saying they were going to replace both under warranty. Great I thought, unnecessary and better then expected. I wouldn't say no to a new pad given the old one was 6+ years old. I go the package today and opened it up and they replaced my Two Track Long Mummy cut with a Two Track Rectangle Long. Which will not fit into the long mummy cut bags they make. After a quick look I was shocked to see they don't make any self inflating winter pads in mummy long which 3 of my colder sleeping bags need. I called them to talk with them about it and they were very helpful and nice but apparently they have discontinued making 4 season mummy long pads because they have changed the design of their newer bags to accept any shape pad (the bottom of the sleeve is open so mummy or rectangle doesn't matter but my older bags need the mummy cut to fit) They will give me store credit but my pads have been "recycled" and are gone. I have been scouring the internet to get discontinued long mummy BA pads and looking at the other pads that are available that might fit but all of the other long mummies are also wider so they will not work well. grrrr.

Anyway I needed to vent. I wish they would have called me before throwing out my pad if they couldn't replace it.

Oh hey, I forgot about this thread.

So my wife was always a big camper and started pulling me into it before we had our kid. We had gotten to the point where we had a pretty decent backpacking setup for the two of us.

Naturally when my daughter was born we tried to get her into it. When she was about 8 months old we tried car camping at a camp ground only 20 minutes away (There is a state forest on the other side of the county from us) Well, it didn't go that great and we ended up having to call it quits after we couldn't get her to fall asleep in the tent and we gave up for that year.

The next year we started a bit slower and just tried to get her into the tent into the back yard. Eventually we got her to the point where she would go in it but hated when the tent was zipped closed.

Well she's four now and after a few night in the back yard we decided to try the camp ground again. Luckily it went a lot better. She was super into it, had a blast setting everything up, and loved sitting next to the fire. The only thing I might have changed about the trip was the weather. It got down to the mid thirties over night, it was super humid and almost no wind. It ended up making the whole campground this weird mixture of smoke and fog that was almost impossible to see through.

We enjoyed camping with our Trailer. We pulled it all over the mid-west and into a few southern states. It was involved in a fire in July and was totaled. My oldest daughter is now married, the other is in college, and our son is now involved with Baseball and Wrestling, we decided not to replace it. It was tough to see it go after eight awesome years, but time to move on.


Anyone have any links for articles with good starter gear suggestions? I know I could spend a ton of money on the basics, but I'd rather not, since I'd be buying a lot of it all at once. I haven't gone backpacking since I was a boy scout, when I used an external frame pack with a huge sleeping bag and pad lashed to the thing. I take it that's not a deal these days.

What's kind of stinky is that my wife and I put a 2-person tent on our wedding registry. Her brother (who is a camper) wound up getting us the bigger, 4-person version. It's a cool tent, but thing weighs about 8 lbs, so it's kind of not awesome as a backpacking tent, especially when it's just me and my wife.

Norfair that sounds like about where we are now.

Regarding camping with babies.
Our first trip out to camp with our son was when he was 10 months for our annual camping trip with my dad on lake Ontario and we learned a lot. We had purchased Phil and Teds portable crib for traveling as we have a small car and they were much smaller than a traditional pack-n-play. It is small enough to be just a bit bigger in width then a traditional 20in sleeping pad so we hoped it would fit in our three man 3-4 season Sierra Designs Lookout tent with the two of us and planned to drape my old rectangular down bag over the porta crib to keep him warmer while he was in a fleece sleep sack. At night temperatures can get down to the 40-50s with a stiff breeze off of the lake. We had also learned from staying with him in hotels that if he could see us he wouldn't sleep at all so we used the sleeping bag as a light and sight blocker. We should have fit checked it before hand as it was a bit tighter then we would have liked but the crib and sleeping bag cover worked out perfectly and he slept great even thought mom and I were slightly cramped. When we went again the following year he did much better and we also purchased a slightly roomier tent with the Sierra Designs Veranda 3 and he slept out in his own sleeping pad and bag. I highly recommend the Big Agnes Little Red sleeping bag as it has the pad built in and keeps you kid from traveling all around the tent overnight.

When we went with our daughter at 6 months this summer and it went much smoother. We took both of the tents and my wife slept with our daughter in the Lookout in the crib and my son and I slept in the larger three person tent that we also used as a base for all of our stuff. The large vestibule of the Veranda was great as we setup his little training potty so we didn't have to break the flow of potty training.

Sorry to hear about the camper KEA. Hopefully you can find a way to get everyone together and camp even though they are all growing up. Car camping has been a major feature of how my dad and I make quality time with each other.

Chaz I will think about this more for you but a couple quick questions. I see you are in NH so you have a similar environment as I do here in CNY and in the Adirondacks what season do you want to camp in? Will you be backpacking? How long of a trip do you want to do? One major point I can suggest as you plan to go with your wife I definitely recommend getting mating (one left zip and one right zip of the same length) sleeping bags so you can zip them together for a cozy night with the lady. I love hiking up in NH, the Whites are super fun and also a great way to test out your gear in nasty weather if you are up for it.

Honestly, this is mostly speculation anyway, because I don't know that I'll convince my wife to do more than car camping. She likes day hikes, but just doesn't seem interested in backpacking any time I mention it.

If we were to go, we'd be talking probably 1-2 nights at a time, from late spring to early fall, in the Whites.

Even getting some general brands that are solid and not super expensive would be cool.

Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills is a fantastic knowledge base of not only climbing, but getting into the backcountry as well. It would be worth checking it out at the library to see if it has any info you're seeking. I don't partake in the climbing stuff much any more, but it's still fun and interesting to read.

REI has a backpacking checklist.

As far as tents go, I currently have a Mega Light shelter. You can buy a floor separately if you desire, but I haven't picked one up yet. The nice thing is you can use your trekking poles instead of the provided center pole. It's worked great for me, but placement is key. I enjoyed a night at 10k feet in the middle of a thunderstorm with it, and ended up having to trench around my tent in the middle of the storm to keep water from running through the middle of our tent. It's very light, but once you add the floor or bug screen floor combo the weight starts to approach that of a lightweight 2-person tent.

I'll throw together a quick list of my recommendations. I just hopped onto REI and poked around for some of the essentials. Definitely worth your time to research brands etc to make sure you're getting what works for you. Trying things out in store is key.

Pack: Osprey Atmos 65 it's not a gigantic pack, but as long as you aren't planning to do week-long expeditions, this should work fine.

Sleeping Bag: Marmot Meteor I went with a down marmot bag 8 years ago and have been very pleased with it. The big decision is down or synthetic. If you get a down bag, you have to be conscious that it will not perform well if wet.

Sleeping Pad: REI AirRail Self inflating pads are very nice, and add some comfort to the night. Most important they add more insulation between you and the ground. I have a lighter weight foam ridgerest that just doesn't provide the comfort a self inflating pad does, but works well enough that I'll use it when I'm tying to go as light as possible.

Stove: JetBoil I've converted to the JetBoil from a MSR Whisperlite. The ease of use, and not having to deal with white gas(coleman fuel) has been a big plus for me. If you're going gourmet, then a whisperlite or similar stove may be more along the lines of what you want.

Clothing: No links, but you'll want to invest in a shell of some sort. I highly recommend a lightweight shell, and layering insulating clothes underneith when needed. Long underwear for chilly days, and in camp. Polar Fleece jacket for an extra top layer. Throw in some Polar Fleece sweatpants if you think you'll be getting cold. For socks, I've really enjoyed the Expedition weight wool socks for backpacking. Synthetic is key, leave the cotton shirt at home.

Footwear: I'm a full leather boot person when backpacking, and have really enjoyed what Asolo has to offer. Nothing against shoes, I just worry too much about my ankles. I picked up some salomon trail runners a few years ago for daily wear, and day hiking, and just picked up my second pair. Footwear will be one of the most important pieces of gear, so make sure you test them out, and break them in.

Gets spendy, I know. REI brand stuff can be had cheaper.

Clothes I've got, though I want to pick up a new pair of boots. The Merrell ones I have are narrower than I like in the toe box, and they start to bug me on descents. I'd mostly need pack/tent/sleeping bag/pad and probably a stove or something.

I hadn't camped since I was a scout until last spring, when my oldest went on his first beaver camping trip. I went with him, and my two boys (5 and 7) and I have been on three or four weekend camping trips this summer. My wife doesn't camp - she's allergic to basically the outdoors - but one of the other beavers and his mom, who is also a beaver leader, do. We've been camping with them, and it's great; they've been camping for years and have all the gear that I don't.

Good times. We've been going to campgrounds/RV parks, but we've been getting more woodsy as we've done more trips; less "small square in a big open field surrounded by other people" and more "actually near trees and collecting campfire wood instead of buying it".

We took Olive car-camping with us at 6 months (which also happened to be Baby's First Rock Show - Arcade Fire at The Gorge). She slept in our tent, inside a PeaPod (see stock picture I Googlified), and did great. It was very hot, so coldness wasn't a factor.


If you are already hiking I am assuming you have nice (non-cotton) clothes, warm layers, and probably good boots and rain gear. I shop at EMS, REI, and www.campsaver.com to get some deals through their outlets. Oh and Amazon. Also EMS and REI both usually have a return rack where people have returned gear for usually not big reasons and it is cheap. It is also worth looking to see what smaller shops are around as they often have great deals on clearance/older gear.

I am not an extreme ultralight backpacker but also believe in not bringing more than needed. If you ever have questions please ask, even on a specific piece of gear and I can give you my two cents.

In the Whites you are looking at possible cold rain year round so I would say it is important to get a good way to stay dry, warm and out of the bugs to make it the most enjoyable. So gear that is needed (in my opinion):
Clothing (layers) - I get whatever is inexpensive and comfortable for you. No cotton anything. I recommend for a smaller budget get a layer of polypropylene under layers, a fleece jacket/vest, and rain gear. I am also a big fan of the OR sombrero so I can look around without a hood in the way. If you are getting into the shoulder seasons a nice light weight puffy jacket either down or synthetic as you prefer.

Shelter - You can go super light with just a tarp but given how buggy it can get around the north east I recommend getting something with bug protection. Personal favorite brands for tents are Sierra Designs and MSR. I also appreciate both REI and EMS brand tents for being a bit cheaper and heavier. Lastly if you want to try it out with the wife before dropping a wad of cash on a tent you may or may not use too often if the wife doesn't enjoy it both EMS and REI have rental programs for tents. So you can rent one for a couple nights and see how you like backpacking with a tent before plunking down the cash. I also strongly recommend going to the store and pitching any tent prior to buying if possible. to see how you fit, have an idea of how big your sleep systems are. I have had a few tents that looked great in the photos but then my 6' frame belly sleeper was too long and my toes would be up against the tent wall getting cold and damp. This is most important with single wall tents as they can tend to get condensation on the inside on our cool damp rainy nights. I have a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight I have been using since the late 90s which is super light for a two wall tent but also is lacking space/comfort. There are also nice slightly heaver tents with two doors which is nice so you don't have to take turns to get in and out. Living space can also be nice if you want to both do things like sit up depending on tent design. A good guideline is under 3lbs per person max 2lbs is better. If I was buying a new tent today I would grab the Sierra Designs Flash 2 If I was looking for a cheap tent I would check the outlets and get something like this REI Half Dome.

Sleeping system - You will need a pad and bag as a base. For each of you. I personally prefer down bags as they are lighter, smaller and more breathable in my opinion. Down comes with a price over double that of a comparable synthetic and in an emergency situation they are not very warm when wet. I don't like to sleep wet so I just keep my bag dry. I said it before but I would make a point of getting zippers on opposite sides so you can zip your bags together if you want. We have really liked our Big Agnes bags as they are roomy and light but I understand they are a bit of an acquired taste depending on how you sleep. If you are only going to get one bag I would get one in the 20deg area for the spring/fall in the NE it will be more then you need for the summer but can work. I also personally like to make a thin fleece sleep sheet to keep my sleeping bag cleaner and also so I can layer better when I sleep. We have both singles and a couples ones that we made with fun fleece from Joanne's. Brands that I for sleeping bags are Big Agnes, Sierra Designs, Exped, EMS, REI, and Mountain Hardware. There are other good brands but these are just the ones I personally have used and enjoy.
For Pads I am a bit old school and still like my self inflating open cell foam mats like the traditional Thermarests. Personally I have Big Agnes pads to mate well with my bags but have used Thermarests and love them too. There is a new trend towards the air mattress style pads which also seem nice but I have not had much personal experience with them but the ones I have had are not good for cold/snow but they are now putting better insulation in them so they most likely good for colder weather. The big thing with both pads and bags I would say look at weight and reviews.
I also love to have a Z-rest for when it is a little colder and to protect my sleeping pad from punctures. It is also indestructible and works just fine after being punctured by sticks and rocks.

Backpacks - I have an old Dana Designs from when I was a wilderness instructor which is bigger and heavier than necessary but is the most comfortable pack I have ever owned. I have used Kelty and Lowe Alpine packs and both were good. Dana Designs was bought and merged into Marmont I would also suggest them. I have heard good things about Gregory, Osprey, and Sierra Designs but have not looked at backpacks for more than a decade. I would recommend an internal frame pack with a good waist belt which can hold about 30+L depending on your gear. The big thing I can say here is you need to try them on. Until you know your size and have an idea what you like don't buy a bag without trying it on fully loaded.

Get a headlamp you like if you don't already have one. I like the Black Diamond Spot but there are a bunch of good ones out there. It should be LED.

You will most likely need to cook on a stove. I have the classic MSR Dragonfly which after using MSR Wisperlights for work I highly recommend the few oz. more for the Dragonfly which allows you to simmer and cook good food if you like that over just boiling water. It is also an amazing winter stove that has never failed me. There are lighter stoves that use canisters vs white gas but to my knowledge most cannot simmer and I like to cook. Emm emm emm backcountry made beef veggie stew with garlic dumplings...

Guide books and a compass is also important to have in my opinion. There is a great one for the whites from AMC.

Another big tip is to try out your gear in the backyard before you go preferably in bad weather.

Well this is a long post and I have probably missed things and have been semi convoluted. I have not bought much gear for the last 5 years as I haven't needed new gear but I hope it helps and please ask follow up questions. As you have them.

MonoCheli wrote:

Backpacks - I have an old Dana Designs from when I was a wilderness instructor which is bigger and heavier than necessary but is the most comfortable pack I have ever owned. I have used Kelty and Lowe Alpine packs and both were good. Dana Designs was bought and merged into Marmont I would also suggest them. I have heard good things about Gregory, Osprey, and Sierra Designs but have not looked at backpacks for more than a decade. I would recommend an internal frame pack with a good waist belt which can hold about 30+L depending on your gear. The big thing I can say here is you need to try them on. Until you know your size and have an idea what you like don't buy a bag without trying it on fully loaded.

Is it the astralplane? Every wilderness instructor needs an astralplane so they can carry everyone's gear. I picked mine up lightly used a few years ago. It's dangerous though, easy to bring the kitchen sink.

Also, have you heard of McHale Packs? My old supervisor really liked his. Kind of neat to get that small company custom made feel.

I've been rambling (hiking) in the Peak District recently. It's my new favourite place in the UK.




Druidpeak wrote:

Is it the astralplane? Every wilderness instructor needs an astralplane so they can carry everyone's gear. I picked mine up lightly used a few years ago. It's dangerous though, easy to bring the kitchen sink.

Also, have you heard of McHale Packs? My old supervisor really liked his. Kind of neat to get that small company custom made feel.

Haha, no I never ended up getting one of those. I have it's little brother the Glacier which is *only* 52L vs then anemic 70L of the astraplane. I have never felt I needed a bigger pack and I often pack in my own wood for a fire in areas where it is overused.

I have not heard of McHale Packs so I'll check them out. But am looking forward to getting a Mystery Ranch pack to replace mine when either it dies or I hand it down to one of my kids. Dana Gleason of the original Dana Designs started his own company MR and has gotten out of his non-compete contract so is making them again...

Also as a joke one year for Halloween my wife wore my backpack as a costume... so yeah it is a big pack.

MonoCheli wrote:

He carried one of my old day packs with just his jacket, some snacks and his favorite stuffed money.

Oh man, I need to get me some of that! Stuffed money? Yes, please!

MonoCheli wrote:

I'm excited to do more trips with him and his sister when she gets a bit older as well (she has to learn to walk before she can hike right?).

Nah, just get one of these.


mrtomaytohead wrote:

Nah, just get one of these.

I actually have one of those (the Kelty flavor) and we really like it but it lacks space to carry enough gear for an overnight. We have taken her hiking quite a few times for a day trips. Until she can carry herself I think it will be car camping for her only.

Arise, thread!

We finally took the kiddo (4 years old) car camping last weekend and it worked OK. We had to use a lot of borrowed gear. We're thinking of doing more, longer trips this fall, hopefully doing bike camping (we have touring bikes already) canoe camping (we'd need to rent) and backpack camping.

We need stuff. I've read back through this thread and found good advice but I need to save money. That means buying items that I can use for everything, rather than buying e.g. one set of items for car camping and another for backpacking. I know this means making compromises but money being what it is I want to only buy once right now. I don't expect to do any long trips this year (maybe a long weekend).

I do have the tents covered (actually have both one for car camping and one for backpacking, so that's nice). But for the rest I need to know how much to spend to get something decent (not great) and what to look for regarding size and weight. This is what I think we still need:

  • Sleeping mats. We borrowed self inflating 3" mats which were comfortable but far too huge and heavy to lug around for any real distance. What is a good compromise here that is small enough for backpacking but also relatively comfortable? Are 1.5" self inflating mats still too big to carry around?
  • Backpacks. I'm thinking we can use ~60 liter bags for a long weekend in warm weather? I'm not sure.
  • Sleeping bags. We probably won't do any camping below freezing so I think a >=30F rating would be fine. Is it worth shelling out for down when on a budget? Guessing no...
  • Water treatment. Never done it. Seems like there are cheap options here?
  • Stove. The Coleman propane stove I have is clearly way too big to lug around so I'll buy a smaller one. I assume isobutyl/propane mix is going to be the ticket?
  • Cookware/cutlery. This doesn't seem like it will be terribly expensive but we need something.
  • Kid stuff I haven't thought of.... any advice? Can a 4-yo girl actually carry anything meaningful?

Sleeping - I personally can sleep fine on bare concrete, so I'm the last to ask here. That said, I'm good with the thinner mats, or even a foam pad. My real need is a half-decent pillow. Hammocks are a solid option, but with a real young one like you have, probably not an option. For sleeping bags, I don't know that down would be a necessity, particularly given the quality of synthetics when it comes to 3 season bags. Hit up REI and find something in budget.

Backpacks - This is where you want to push the limits on your budget. I've become a HUGE fan of Osprey packs since demoing a hydration pack last year, and currently have a fantastic 36L pack. Even loaded down it's incredibly comfortable to wear(I did an 8 mile hike with it the other day). They make a 65L pack called the Atmos that runs $250, and it's worth every penny if you ask me. Again, hit up an REI to give it a whirl.

Water Treatment - Small kits like those are nice, but are really only good for purifying a litre at a time. I'd look into pump and gravity filtration systems that can do multiple litres at a go. UV lights are supposed to be good as well, and chem tablets are always a solid fallback

For cooking, I've always been the firepit type. That said, I'd say a canister stove is probably the way to go now. I'd suggest bringing multiple units though.

Cookware - Hit up a store is about all I can think of. I've got a personal set I got when I was a scout 20 years ago that's still usable, but there's a ton of nicer stuff out there now.

Kid stuff - I'd say if nothing else, their own sleeping bag should be totally doable. Mostly I'd just stick to lightweight items they'd be using.

What we used to do is carry a flat, large rolled-up rubber mat in our packs - something like this:


We roll it up loose so it forms a wall and support for the 60L backpack and then stuff our items in the middle. Earth pads insulate you against heat loss, smooth out rocks, and are relatively light and small for what they do. Cushioning is handled by the sleeping bags - you won't need that much cush because the rubber smooths out the pokey stuff. Handy around the house and the car as well. Just don't use it to catch oil from your ride.

A 60L backpack plus a belt bag for incidentals and trail food is a nice thing. You don't need to pack it to the brim. Just having the space is nice, and the good ones are very agile. 60L is enough for warm weather. You won't need to be packing the space-occupying cold weather equipment. I've used various brands. The operative thing is to test them out. Even packs that look nice can turn out not to balance well.

For cultery, get plastic flat plates so you don't have to worry about breakage. Metal bowls for the same reason - metal cutlery as well. There's camping variants that pack flat but are nice to use anywhere.

A 4 year old could be equipped with an adult fanny pack. This is so you can just take it off her and wear it yourself in the inevitable situation that she doesn't want it anymore. She can wear it like a body bag.