Camping with family is a perfect way to reconnect with each other through a shared experience. It’s an exciting opportunity to explore the great outdoors together with your loved ones, learn new skills, and get some exercise. What is more, according to the American Psychological Association, family camping has a positive impact on the relationship between the family members thanks to being removed from daily life and its distractions and doing things together, which helps build trust and teamwork.
If you find planning a family camping trip challenging, here are some tips to help you. Let’s jump right in.
1. Choose the right tent
Camping with a family requires a bit more space, especially if you have small kids who like to bring toys to the campsite and arrange a play area inside the tent. So when you’re choosing a tent for your family adventure, consider one that can provide you with some extra space. For instance, if there are 4 of you, it’s a good idea to pick a 6-person tent. Also, you might hesitate what kind of wildlife shelter to get: a dome or outfitter tent. We recommend getting an outfitter tent, as it provides maximum headroom and has straight vertical walls. Here’s more about what is an outfitter tent and how to choose one to best meet your family needs.
2. Pick the right campsite
The most crucial decision you’re going to take is to pick the right site. Although backpacking into a remote location sounds really exciting, young kids may not like it at all. If you have teens, talk to them before you make the final decision.
It’s best to base your campsite selection on your family’s abilities and interests. If it’s your first-time camping, choosing a campsite in a developed campground at a national park sounds like a reasonable choice.
3. Make a camping packing list
It’s no fun arriving at the campground and realizing that you’ve forgotten to bring something essential. That’s why make a camping checklist to ensure that nothing is left behind. Don’t know what to start it from? Here’s a tip: keep an eye on everything your family does during a typical day and make notes of things you use, like hygiene products, cooking and eating utensils, and include them in your list. Of course, simplify it all as much as possible.
4. Plan your meals in advance
It goes without saying that planning what to eat is one of the key parts of planning your outdoor adventure.
- Make a menu for every day of your trip and write down every item you will need for each meal, including ingredients, cookware and cooking utensils. Run out of ideas? Check out these tasty camping recipes from BBC Good Food.
- Remember that fresh air and a lot of physical activity make for ravenous campers, so stock up on snacks such as granola bars, apples, bananas, dried fruit, applesauce squeeze tubes, cookies, nuts and seeds.
- Outdoor cooking is fun, so let your kids get involved in planning the menu and preparing the meals.
- Bring some pre-cooked meals if it’s possible.
- Pack ready to eat food such as cheese sticks, peanut butter and jelly sandwich fixings for days of travel or backpack picnics.
- Think of how you’ll cook your meals. In fact, the two most popular options include cooking over the campfire and using a camping stove. For family camping, it’s best to get a stove because it allows you to cook your meals quicker and safer. Check out the collection of great camping stoves at hot-tent.com, and leave your campfire for roasting marshmallows when the night falls.
- Finally, remember that it’s imperative for the family to stay hydrated, so don’t forget to bring water bottles.
5. Bring clothes for all types of weather
Although it may be warm during the day, the nighttime temperatures are very likely to considerably drop even in the middle of the summer. So it’s a good idea to bring pyjamas or something like that to slip into for the night, even if you’re using sleeping bags. Also, it’s wise to bring clothing that can be layered, and some extra clothing in case your little ones get too muddy or wet while exploring. Of course, don’t forget raincoats and extra footwear.
6. Make sure the campground of your choice allows pets
For most of us, our pets are family members, and it’s always exciting to share your camping trip with your little friend, especially for kids. However, pets aren’t allowed at all campgrounds, so make sure you check beforehand if they are welcome where you want to go.
7. Prepare a first-aid kit
Insect bites, small scrapes and burns are inevitable when camping. Don’t forget a well-stocked family camping first aid kit that includes a thermometer, antiseptic wipes, adhesive bandages, insect spray, sun lotion, a thermometer, pain-relief medication, antihistamine, and any prescriptions.
8. Plan camping activities beforehand
For an unforgettable family camping trip, think of activities you can do together and bring everything you’ll need for them. Pack a handful of things to do, for example, playing cards, a ball or Frisbee, buckets and shovels for building sand castles on beaches. Depending on the location, prepare for hiking, swimming or sightseeing, and remember, the most beautiful things are free, like watching the sunset or finding constellations in the night sky.
9. Teach your kids safety rules
Without any doubt, safety is your major concern when camping with your family. The adults in your family should be well aware of the outdoor safety basics, and it’s important to teach your children safe behavior on the campground before you set off for your wildlife adventure. Pay attention to the following rules:
- Never pet or feed any animals.
- Don’t eat anything you find in the woods.
- Teach children campfire safety.
- Children should keep away from lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams when they aren’t with an adult.
Also, give your children whistles, and teach them how to use these if they get lost.
To wrap it up
A bit of advance planning can really make the difference, so plan ahead, be prepared, and have an incredibly interesting family trip.