Thinking about taking the whole family on an outdoor adventure, but the potential stress involved of getting everything together is giving you second thoughts? Put your fears aside and check out our ten tips for making your camping experience stress-free and enjoyable for all.
Many adults have fond memories of camping with their families when they were young. It was a magical time with days full of excitement and fun. It’s natural to want the same experience for your children, but as an adult you are well aware of the planning and work needed to pull off a successful camping trip.
If you have anxiety about taking your kids on overnight stays under the stars, and it is keeping you from pulling the trigger, relax and start planning. We’ve compiled ten easy tips that will ensure you have a memorable trip with your family.
1. Choose Your Campsite Wisely
Although the thought of “roughing it” at a remote campsite may sound appealing for peace and quiet, it will probably be a headache with young children. Choose a public location that has amenities, such as a restroom. Additionally, public campgrounds often come with a ready-to-go firepit, picnic table, and a flat cleared space to pitch a tent.
2. Book in Advance
The best public campsites book months in advance, sometimes a year out. Be sure to check availability before you pack everything and head out for a spot. Nothing will put a damper on your camping adventure then not being able to camp at all due to lack of available sites.
3. Backyard Camping
If you have little kids, prepare them for the great outdoors by doing a trial run in your backyard. It will be fun for them, and will give you an indication of how well they will handle overnight stays at an actual campsite.
4. Be Mindful With What You Pack
It’s easy to overpack for a camping trip. Of course you don’t want to forget anything, but many people overpack to the point that they end up not even touching half of what they brought, especially clothes.
5. Setup Camp Right Away
As tempting as it will be to blow off camp setup to go check out the lake, hiking trails, or playground, don’t dilly-dally. Getting your campsite ready can take more time than estimated, and will be a lot more difficult once it gets dark. The same goes for getting the fire going.
6. Keep Kids on Their Regular Schedule
Kids, especially younger ones, will benefit greatly by sticking to their regular naptime and bedtime schedules. When they don’t get enough sleep, kids will be cranky and nobody will enjoy their camping experience.
7. Leave All Screens At Home
Leave a cellphone in the car for emergencies, but forgo bringing any other electronic devices on your camping trip. The whole point of camping is to escape your everyday home life and enjoy your outdoor surroundings.
8. Bring A Lot of Wet Wipes
Odds are that you will not have a private water spigot at your campsite, and the closest may be at the other end of the park. Wet wipes will assist with cleaning a kid's hands and faces, and are perfect for cleaning dirty feet before getting into sleeping bags for the night.
9. Bring Some Entertainment for the Kids
There is only so much to do when camping, and younger kids may have trouble simply sitting in a chair at a campfire and relaxing. Bring some outdoor toys, such as sidewalk chalk, bubbles, water guns, coloring books, and even some basic craft supplies that can be used to make creations from scavenged items found onsite. Assign each child a backpack, and let them choose a few items from home to bring on the trip.
10. Relax and Enjoy Your Family Time
You chose to take the family camping so you could all spend time together outside your home, and you should enjoy this time. Watching your child catch their first fish, skip their first rock over the lake, and roast their first marshmallow is a satisfying experience, so relish these moments. There will come a day years from now when you will look back on your family’s excursion and wish you could do it all over again.
You’ve got this, and you and your family are going to have fun. In fact, you may find that camping is something you will work into your family plans on an annual basis. A little pre-planning will ease any anxiety you have so that you will have a stress-free break away from the everyday.