CAMPING WITH FAMILY - A GUIDE

CAMPING WITH FAMILY - A GUIDE

The joy of a camping trip out in the wild with your loved ones is unmatchable. You spend quality time gazing at the star-dotted sky, listening to distant owls and tiny bugs doing their thing in the grass, and much more. But it does require some planning beforehand if you want to make this experience memorable and avoid the easily-avoidable mishaps. 

There is no best way to plan for a camping that works for all. Every family has their own preferences when it comes to the camping activities, foods they like, campsites they want to go, etc. This guide is merely to direct your thoughts in the right direction so that you can plan your next family camping trip with a clearer understanding of camping DOs and DON’Ts.

FIRST THING FIRST…

Following is the list of camping essentials. Make sure to have all of them on your checklist.

  • A good quality family camping tent. 
  • Sleeping bags. 
  • Inflating air mattress and pillows (if you want to pack smart & compact). 
  • A high-quality lantern (or other light source) with backup batteries. 
  • Warm pajamas and bed socks for kids to keep them warm. 
  • First aid kit —- a must!
  • Kitchen roll, toilet roll, bug sprays. 
  • Fuel, stove, lighter and preferably a cooler as well. 
  • Sunscreen and hand sanitizers.
  • Head torches (with backup batteries).
  • Cookware, utensils and cutlery sets. 
  • Foldable washing basin. 
  • Bottle or tin opener.
  • Cleaning supplies. 
  • A small solar panel with battery backup. 
  • A lot of bulldog clips.

 

ESTABLISH YOUR GOALS & CHOOSE THE SPOT

This will save you a lot of unpleasant surprises. Discuss with your partner and kids and ask them to start sharing ideas about what they want to achieve on this trip. Ask them if they prefer a private campsite or if they want to be close to other camping families or a public campsite. Maybe they’ll say they want to camp at the lakeside. Don’t forget to book a watercraft in this case to add up the fun. 

Discussing ideas with your family will clear out many confusions and help you to come up with a plan that everyone is happy with. 

PREPARE FOR BOTH, THE BEST & THE WORST!

Doesn’t matter If you’re an experienced camper or a first timer, you should know that not everything will go as you have planned. As an old proverb states; “Hope for the best, plan for the worst”. Mishaps and accidents can always happen no matter what, where, & how. You can get sick, injured, bitten by nasty bugs, exposed to unexpectedly severe weather, etc. 

Once you have decided on the campsite, get some information about the area, nearest ranger station, super store, and a source of freshwater. If the campsite is a remote hilly area that lacks mobile service, carry a long-range radio transmitter to make contact in the case of emergency situations. Get a map of the area and learn how to read a map. It’s a very easy skill that always comes handy. 


Don’t forget to carry an adventure medical kit, extra food (dry ration), extra clothes and everything that you can use in the unfavorable circumstances.

PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES

Plan for a diverse set of activities and games you want to play with your family at the campsite. Kids generally get bored easily. You need to maintain their interests and keep them engaged and involved in whatever you do at the campsite. We’ve prepared a thorough guide on Summer Camping Games for Kids and Adults. Don’t forget to go through it for a better understanding of what kinds of games and activities you should plan. 

MEAL PLANNING & SERVING

Camping meal planning is a real challenge especially when you’re camping with kids. We suggest making some freezer-friendly dishes and storing them in the cooler. Campers usually shy away from preparing meals that take time and create mess. BUT the diversity is needed because at some point you’ll get bored of keeping on eating the freezer meals and will crave for something cooked on the stove. Think about adding shish kabobs, foil packet veggies and cheeseburgers in your list. The Biolite Stove is great to prepare these kinds of meals. 

If you’re carrying more perishable food such as dairy products, make sure to store them in a dedicated cooler. Take another cooler with you for things that don’t need to be ice-cold, such as drinks, snacks, etc. 

YOUR PACKING LIST

Packing in an art that we master with the experience. Be it a family camping or a solo camping trip, we need to be well prepared and organized. Most of the first time campers pack a lot of unnecessary stuff and end up bringing it back to home without even unpacking it during the trip. On the other hand, some campers don’t carry even the necessary items, fearing that it’ll add up the weight. Both approaches are wrong and we need to pack smart and just enough that we will need on the trip. 

Plan everything beforehand and note down the equipment you will need. Make a checklist and pack everything that is necessary with backups (such as extra fuel, batteries, clothes etc). You can save some money and purchase high-quality used stuff from reputed companies like Gear Trade, REI, and Outdoors Geek etc. 

DON’T PLAN FOR EVERY HOUR

Go with the flow and let yourself enjoy every minute of the trip by following your heart instead of forcing yourself to do what’s written in your To-Do notebook. 

Know that you can’t (and should not) plan for every hour on the trip. You can’t know what you want to do at what specific time on the campsite unless you’re actually there. Maybe you have planned for a hike on a nice afternoon but when you’re actually there you might just want to sit at a rock and look at the setting sun in the distant mountains. 

SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING

Simplify everything including your meals, bedtime routine, equipment, packing list, and especially your EXPECTATIONS. Having less expectations will save you from disappointments and bring you many pleasant surprises out there. Keep your packing list short, including only the necessary items. You don’t need to pack everything including your kitchen sink and fancy dinner sets. 

Train your kids to make the most use out of the simple things. This will groom their survival skills and instincts. Explore around with them for the fresh wild fruits, try hunting, fishing, and treat your family with a fresh meal out there in the wilderness. 

LEAVE NO TRACE

Rising number of human visitors to previously uninhabited wilderness affects the ecosystem with a great deal. Loud noises and trash affect the flora and fauna within the vicinity of the camp. We all need to respect the great outdoors by minimizing the changes we make to the environment by our camping trips. 

Train your kids how to effectively clean the campsite and do the final inspection before leaving for home. Take it as a challenge to leave the campsite in the same condition as you found it when you arrived.