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Coleman® Gear Library - NEW!

Let us help you get equipped for your next adventure!  Coleman® equipment is available to rent to the public through the Coleman® Gear Library.  Camping in Chicago parks is only allowed through our Family Camping events (see below), so plan to borrow this gear for an adventure outside of the city.  See camping site suggestions below.

Available items include:

  • tents
  • kitchen kits
  • stoves
  • flashlights
  • cold weather gear
  • and more to help you enjoy the outdoors  

Reserve your gear  

The 2023 rental season runs from April 17 - October 20.  No rentals will be accepted after October 20, 2023.  Check back in Spring for information about our 2024 season.   

Questions?  Contact

Places to Camp:

The Coleman® Gear Library is presented by:    Coleman

Family Camping     

Camp under the stars with the Chicago Park District. Learn basic camping principles, take a nature hike and enjoy an evening around the campfire led by our expert camping staff.  At night campers will enjoy hot dogs and s’mores over the fire, and a light breakfast in the morning.   A family should include at least one child and one adult, and up to six family members. A parent or caregiver must participate.  A packing list will be sent with your receipt. 

  • TIME:
    Camping begins on Saturday at 2 pm, and ends Sunday at 11 am.
  • FEE:
    Cost is $50 for a family of up to 6 members and includes use of camping & programming equipment, hot dogs, s’mores and a light breakfast.  
    Online registration begins two months prior to the program start date.


Check back in spring for information about our 2024 season.


Family Camping Activities are presented by:    Coleman


Youth Programs 

Urban Campers

This week-long program introduces youth, ages 9-12, to local nature through camping. Monday through Wednesday, Campers participate in adventures like hiking, fishing, nature exploration, and fun group games at their local park. The highlight of the week is a campout Thursday morning to Friday morning where campers set up their own tents, cook over a campfire, roast marshmallows, and camp under stars in a local park. 

Meets Monday through Wednesday from 10 am - 2 pm, and Thursday from 10 am to Friday at 10 am.

Check back in spring for information about our 2024 season.

Under Illinois Skies

This week-long program is for youth ages 9 - 13. At their local park on Monday and Tuesday, campers will play team-building games, explore nature and get ready to adventure for a two night camping experience at Cook County Forest Preserve District group camp site. On the campout, campers will set up their tents, hike, fish, cook over a fire and roast marshmallows! 

Meets Monday - Tuesday from 10 am - 2 pm, and from 10 am on Wednesday to 10 am on Friday. 

Check back in spring for information about our 2024 season.


ChicaGO Explorers Gear Library – Group Rentals

The Chicago Explorers Gear Library is free for groups serving youth in Chicago. Support by the Chicago Explorers Program includes Front Country Leadership Training, free access to camping gear through the Chicago Explorers Gear Library, and support in training and implementing outdoor adventure recreation programming. The Chicago Explorers Front Country Leadership Training introduces youth leaders to proper gear use, planning outdoor programming, keeping youth safe outdoors, and local nature resources. Completion of the Front Country Leadership Training is required to rent gear from the Chicago Explorers Gear Library. Participants must be part of an organization that leads youth outdoor activities.
Chicago Explorers Front Country Leadership (FLT) Training at Northerly Island
The ChicaGO Explorers Front Country Leadership (FLT) training is designed for local community leaders and organizations to guide youth on hiking and camping excursions. The overnight training course includes instruction in leadership skills, camp equipment use and care, and group activities related to outdoor recreation and nature-based education. Once leaders are FLT certified, they will be able to check out camping and hiking equipment, making it easier for youth to have a positive experience in the outdoors. When youth are properly outfitted with boots, socks, hats, coats, tents, sleeping bags, etc. and leaders are confident in their ability to facilitate outdoor trips, hiking and camping can help create significant memories, friendships, confidence, and abilities that last a lifetime.

Check back in spring for information about our 2024 season.


Camping Videos

The Chicago Park District Camping Team presents this series of videos showcasing ways to enjoy a great outdoor adventure with friends and family.  Enjoy!

Campfire Safety Tips & Story (8:34 minutes)

How to Set-up a Great Camp Kitchen (6:26 minutes

The Ultimate Campout (6:29 minutes

How to Prepare for a Great Family Hike (4:55 minutes


Family Camping Activities are presented by:  Coleman