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My family loves to camp. My son is a scout and is gone pretty much all summer to scout camps. My husband and our boys take an annual backpacking trip to Wind Rivers in Wyoming every year with other members of his family. We know a thing or two about camping with kids. So I though I would share some of my tips with you.
1. Make a checklist. This is one of the most important things to do for a camping or backpacking trip. Make the list and add to it for a few days as you think of new things you need to add to it. One aspect of camping that benefits well from a checklist is the food list. Making sure you have every ingredient is a must since you will not be close to stores. Check out these 25 favorite camping recipes. Making a checklist requires you to think about where you are going and what you will need. If you are going somewhere where there is water, you will definitely want swimming suits, water bags (especially if you are canoeing), insect repellent and extra socks just in case you step in a stream. Here is my checklist for my family Download Page 1 Page 2. Print it out and add to it what your family needs. Make sure you have a proper place for everything too. Bring coolers for the food that needs to stay refrigerated. You don’t want anyone with food poisoning during camping, that’s just not fun!
2. Pack light. This is especially true if you are backpacking. Think of meals that are light to carry. Like pancake mix, pasta mixes like hamburger helper, trail mix and energy bars. Food that packs a lot of protein in a small package is always great to bring along to give you extra energy. Don’t bring make-up, scented lotions, shampoo, etc. It just adds to the load and I guarantee you won’t use them.
3. Pack each family member separately. This helps out a lot when you are in separate tents. Everyone carries their own things. This makes your burden lighter. This also helps your children be more independent. Give your child their own checklist and have them pack their own bags. Then double check make sure they have everything. Then while camping, they can wake up and get dressed all on their own since they will have their own backpack with them in their tent. Things to put in their backpacks? Clothing (including socks, underwear and extra shoes), snacks, water and a hair brush for the girls. Toothbrush and toothpaste too. If you have readers, bring a book. DO NOT let them pack their electronic devices though. Don’t bring anything on a camp out that you wouldn’t mind loosing.
4. Pick a family friendly spot to camp. This is self explanatory. If you have a toddler, it’s probably best to NOT camp next to a lake or a cliff. They have a tendency to wander off. Make a small jingle bell bracelet for them to wear so you can always find them. It’s always nice to have a real bathroom close by too for any teenage girls you have with you. Find a place that has things to do while you are there. Like fishing, canoeing, hiking trails, a lake to swim in, etc. This way you don’t have to listen to the teens complain about being bored.
5. Check your gear before you leave. Set up the tent in your yard to make sure you have all the poles and there are no holes in the tent that need patching. Roll open the sleeping bags and make sure they are still in good condition. Check the cooking pans and dutch oven and see if they need cleaning. Make sure the camp stove works and you have full propane canisters. This will save a lot of time once you are at the camp site.
6. Have a plan for activities. Nothing is more annoying than my kids telling me they are bored. So it’s a good idea to have some activities planned for those moments. Here are 55 camping and outdoor games to choose from. And 25 more recipes and activities.
7. Teach as you go. Don’t just do everything yourself. Involve the kids in everything you do. Teach them how to properly start a campfire and how to put it out. Teach them how to use the camp stove. Let them put up their own tent. Have them help you cut up the veggies for dinner. Teach them how to clean a dutch oven. All this knowledge is priceless for them.
8. Pack a proper First Aid Kit for Families. Safety while camping is a #1 priority. Download my Family First Aid Kit Checklist Here. This is based off of the American Red Cross Requirements. It has enough supplies for a family of 4, so if you have more people in your family you will want to adjust the amount accordingly. One thing that I always make sure I have in my first aid kit is Cortizone 10. I have a son that has eczema and I have psoriasis, so we are itchy a lot of the time. Especially when we are camping and there are things that irritate our skin. Cortizone 10 helps in relieving itching associated with minor skin irritations, inflammation and rashes due to: eczema and psoriasis; dry, itchy skin; insect bites and sunburn itch. The extra creamy formula goes on smoothly and relieves itch quickly while helping to heal the skin issue. It is proven to moisturize for 24 hours with 7 moisturizers and 3 skin-nurturing vitamins.
What are some of your favorite camping activities?
You can see 101 more camping tips here from MyOpenCountry.com.