When we were young, camping was our only vacation. And as kids, we loved it. It was the “ultimate adventure”. My folks loved it because it was cheap and a great way to get away from it all. All in all, the experience bonded us together as a family and we made some great friends along the way too.
Here are some great tips for your next camping trip with young children.
Preparation – Make sure you purchase or borrow a tent that will sleep your entire family comfortably – and don’t trust the numbers on the tent boxes. If the box says “sleeps 4” that means that for bodies will fit – and that’s about it. Go for a slightly larger tent than you think you’ll need so you can fit suitcases and other things inside as well as your sleeping bodies.
Once you purchase the tent, take a practice run of putting it up in your backyard. You’ll be glad you did! It’s much easier to work through any issues with tent poles, making sure it’s facing the right way, etc., at a time when you don’t have to rush to get it up.
Campsite Selection. If this is your first time camping you might want to ease in by choosing a camping spot with some amenities and in particular, shower and bathroom facilities close by. Research campsites online and you’ll also find some great information on the area, sightseeing, hiking etc.
Make sure, too, that when you find the right campground that you also select a good spot to pitch your tent – on high ground in case of inclement weather. The last thing you need is to be waterlogged with little ones! And make sure your campsite is free of rocks, debris, etc too.
A checklist. Make a checklist that you can keep for many years and future camping trips. 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.
For a complete checklist on what to bring on a camping trip, there are many camping websites that offer a myriad of suggestions.
The Campfire. Most campsites will have a spot set on the site for your firepit but if not, make sure you select an area away from your own and others’ tents. And make sure you douse the fire well after you’ve enjoyed your campfire fun!
Finally, enjoy the entire camping experience. Sleeping under the stars, enjoying the beauty of nature, and relishing the time spent with family will not only bring a family closer together, but the memories of this experience will last forever.