Family Camping Fun
Our kids have never been camping but have been begging us for some family camping fun. My husband, Clay, and used to go camping every year. After we had children, we just seemed to never be able to go. They are all old enough now so I really want to take them. Clay’s idea of camping involves a cabin with a big comfy bed and electricity. He loves the outdoors but sleeping on the ground is no longer his idea of fun. Mine either really. We’re old and creaky. HA! But we’re game for the kids sake. Camping for kids can feel like an epic adventure. And every child needs that.
If you are planning a family camping trip this summer, here are some camping tips that will ensure your vacation is both a safe and fun experience.
1. Pre-camping preparation.
If you have small children, you will probably want to select a tent that will accommodate all of you comfortably. The “three room” tents are perfect for families. You can put the kids in one area and the adults near the door. If you are also taking teens, it may be a good idea to purchase additional pup tents for them. Keep them close to your own tents and make sure the site you choose allows for more than one tent.
- Practice assembling the tents in your backyard so as to avoid wasting time at the camp site.
- Spray your tent with a water sealant to prevent leaking from dew or rain.
2. Select a campsite.
Decide what type of campsite you want (eg: primitive or with electric and water hookups) and then research the many campsites online that offer information on the area. This will enable you to decide not only what equipment, clothing, and food you need to take, but the available hiking areas and points of interest as well.
Ensure that the campsite you select is an official campsite area. Many state parks have restricted areas and designated camping areas.
3. Make a list. Check it twice!
I’m the queen of making lists! (and sometimes forgetting them)
I make a list for everything that I keep in a “Vacation Binder” and even have a basic vacation checklist for when we head to the mountains to rent a cabin and will do the same for our camping trip. I edit it as needed and then print it out and put it in my vacation binder. This is very important to ensure you do not forget anything on your camping trip. Among the items on your checklist, some of the more important items you will need are:
- Cooking gear such as a frying pan, a few pots, a bucket, barbecue grill or stove, bags with a Ziploc, and cooking utensils. In addition, food containers and canned goods are best. It is also recommended that you prepare meals at home and package them in containers for the trip. Also bring water, a can opener, hot water kettle and coffee pot, and a cooler with a block of ice.
- Packing the appropriate clothing is also essential. Depending upon the location, wearing light layers is a good idea as well as packing some sweaters and jackets for the evening hours. Extra socks, hats, and gloves may also be warranted. If you intend to engage in some hiking, proper hiking boots are necessary.
- Sleeping bags, first aid kit, flashlights, cell phone, garbage bags, toiletries, sunscreen, ointments, a map of the area, insect repellent, games for the kids, and rainwear.
- Don’t forget the marshmallows!!!
There are many camping websites that offer tons of suggestions on camping necessities.
I’ve also created a free printable camping checklist (and a few more tips) available on my site that you can save to your computer. There is a notes section where you can add your own items. Mark out items you don’t need. Then print and check off your list as you pack!
4. When You Reach The Campsite.
When you reach the camp site, choose an area to set up the tents. Ensure there are no rocks or debris where the tent will be set up or your family camping fun might turn into a family camping nightmare. Most campgrounds will post warning signs or instructions regarding specific animals and vegetation. FOLLOW THEM! Those rules and guidelines are there for a reason!
5. Preparing The Campfire.
When preparing a campfire, if appropriate, ensure that it is set up further away from the tents. Never leave your campfire unattended and always keep a bucket of water and even a travel fire extinguisher nearby so you can quickly douse the flames or any sparks that may ignite nearby vegetation.
Campfires always make me super sleepy so always remember to douse the fire before going to bed.
Camping with your family is a vacation that will really brings you together as a family. Enjoy it! What tips do you have for family camping fun!