Let’s be honest: life changes once you have little ones running around, and while most of those changes are positive, sometimes it means a lot more work on your part. This is especially true when it comes to camping trips.
Camping used to require simply throwing all your gear into the back of a truck and organizing once you got to your destination. Sometimes, maybe, you and your partner didn’t even have a destination in mind when you left. You just figured it out as you went, which is harder now that you have those cute little ones in tow.
But just because you have kids doesn’t mean you should stop enjoying the outdoors. In fact, we think it’s potentially even more important that you do now so that you pass along your passion for wilderness to our next generation. To give you a little nudge, today we’re going to offer five tips for camping with kids.
Tip #1: Getting Everything There
Gear storage is one of the trickier adaptations you’ll have to make. Even if you’ve already upgraded to a family-sized vehicle, fitting all that extra gear will take some getting used to. The best thing you can do is to invest in several large plastic bins that will house cooking, sleeping, and fire making gear.
There is one major reason for designing a gear storage system that works for you. Think back to any camping trips you might have gone on as a child. They usually involve a good bit of time in the car to get there and, when you arrive, you probably had a tendency to burst headlong out of the car to explore the new environment around you.
This is healthy (most of the time), but it usually leaves Mom and Dad unloading the car with little to no help. A proper gear storage system will minimize the number of trips you take from the car and reduce the amount of time you spend unloading. That way, you get to join your kids in exploring your new environment too!
Tip #2: Food Storage and Snack Packs
You probably already know it doesn’t take long for kids (and adults too!) to go from hungry to HANGRY fast. When camping with kids, there’s no such thing as packing too many snacks. An abundance of snacks will keep everyone satiated while full meals are prepared. Don’t underestimate the power of snacks.
When it comes to storing your food, make sure you have an airtight cooler and that you’re aware of local animals that may be interested in crashing your dinner party. If the camp you’re staying in has a bear box, all food items should be stored in it when you’re not cooking or eating.
Be careful to impress upon your kids the importance of cleaning up after each meal. A surefire way to ruin a family camping trip is by inviting (whether knowingly or unknowingly) a big furry friend to feast on the food you planned to feed your kids all weekend.
Tip #3: Hydration Games
Camping trips mean spending more time outdoors than we do in our typical routines. They also usually involve more activity, whether that’s in the form of hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, or any other outdoor adventure sport that your family loves.
This heightened level of activity means that staying on top of everyone’s hydration is even more important than at home. One of the best ways to encourage kids to drink water is to make a game out of it. For example, you can play the ‘first-one-to-stop-drinking-gets-served-last’ water chugging game before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re looking for other games to switch things up, check out this article from Spoon University.
Tip #4: Tent Choice
Another easy way for a camping trip with kids to go sideways is if someone isn’t getting good sleep. Sleeping in a tent is much different than your sleeping arrangement at home, and Nature makes a lot more noises at night than typically happen in the average household.
Especially if you’re camping with very young kids, it is really nice to have everyone inside the same tent at night, even if that tent has dividers so that Mom and Dad can enjoy the teensiest bit of privacy.
Tip #5: First Aid Essentials
Although it’s the last thing we’re mentioning in this article, a proper first aid kit should always be included in any camping trip. While “prevention is the best medicine,” you just can’t know when an accident will happen. Having the supplies to deal with it when it does, however, is something you can control.
There are countless reasons to take your kids camping, including, but not limited to, encouraging their creativity, teaching them to respect nature, and making them feel safe in pursuing their own adventures.
We hope these tips for camping with kids will help you get out and share your passion for nature with yours!