Going camping should be a wonderful family bonding experience. But you’ll need to make sure that you don’t forget anything important or that trip could be a long climb filled with the children whining and cranky adults because of it. Here is your guide to all the family camping essentials that you will need to bring with you and remember throughout your trip, so that the memories forged are good ones.
Even though the main purpose of the camping is to get away from the urban centers and experience nature in all its glory, you will still need entertainment for the children. Doing one thing for too long just doesn’t sit well and will bring on the complaints of boredom pretty fast. Activities while camping is a good way to keep them active and busy.
Put your children to work
There are many tasks during camping that children are capable of doing. For example, perhaps they can help with the fire by finding firewood tinder and kindling. Or, maybe they can man the manual pump for inflating furniture. Or, possibly the hand-crank radio needs charging. By putting your children to some of these tasks, there are less things that you have to do, and they will feel more entertained as well as more involved and curious in what is happening around them during the trip.
Physical exercise games
A lot of families tend to just go camping and leave behind many potential places for bonding with physical games. Not all children learn from just going and doing, and the exercise can help them to work out the extra energy from all of the camping snacks.
There are many different sports and games that you can play, such as soccer, football, or frisbee. There are also some different physical, non-sports games that you can play, such as tag and all of its variants, Simon Says and all of its instructional variants such as Red Light Green Light, or sillier games for smaller children such as Duck Duck Goose.
Educational and mindful games
Getting your children curious about their surroundings can save you some burdens of providing all of their entertainment for them – and after all, you have a camp to set up and run. Consider activities that help your children discover what’s all around them, such as a scavenger hunt. If you’re having trouble, just visit your local parks and recreation websites to see what materials are already available for you to print out.
Foods that remind you of home
Comfort foods that make everyone’s belly full is a great way to start the evening once your camp is set up. Especially if they are comfort foods that remind you of home. You can make a quick simple dinner over the campfire or bring the ingredients for a quick gourmet meal.
Take out the unpleasantness of camping
Get rid of those bugs
Insects bother everyone and they can make a nice trip miserable, especially if they are mosquitoes, which also tend to carry all sorts of unpleasant diseases. You’ll want to make sure that you bring along and use an insect deterrent of some kind, or even a few different kinds.
Have everyone apply an insect deterrent to their bodies, such as a product with DEET. If you are in one place and not moving around much, you can also try burning a special bug-repellent candle, but be aware that the range is only about 5 ft, or less if it’s windy. There are always new and different ways to repel insects, but you’ll want to bring at least one tried and true method, and try to save the experimenting for at home in the backyard.
Don’t forget that most tents have various fine-grain mesh flaps. You’ll want to expose those so that the air can travel to and fro, but not the bugs. Close up all other non-mesh entryways, such as zippering shut the tent doorway when no one is actively using it.
No sun, you can’t burn me today
Being out camping means being in the sunshine. Most tents have UV and SPF coating to help prevent the harmful UV rays from penetrating your makeshift home, but they can’t protect you if you have to step outside, say, to gather kindling. Sunburns are painful and take some time to heal, so always take along some sunscreen just in case. Remember that even if the skies are cloudy, overcast, or raining, you can still get a sunburn.
One of the common fears and barriers to camping is being afraid of the few times when it’s time to ‘go’. Try to address this as early and as easily as possible. If you’re at camping grounds, explain where it is located and the protocol for when to go and who should accompany them. If you’re out in the wild, set up a portable toilet station with adequate privacy, perhaps even explain how to use it if it is their first time camping. Here is a collection of the best portable toilets suggested by Toilet Planner.
Accidents happen, but having a first aid kit can quickly rescue the situation. Along with your typical first aid supplies such as bandages and antiseptic, you’ll also want to bring along aloe vera for sunburns, and various supplies for bugs or poisonous plants, such as poison ivy.
Your guide to all the family camping essentials
There isn’t that much to remember, honestly, it just tends to be easy to forget and overwhelming with the burdens of everything else. Next time that you go out camping, you’ll be able to remember better what to do and what to bring.
Keelie is a mother of three amazing boys and married to her high school sweetheart, Austin. She spends her days running R5 Website Management, taking care of the home, and investing in her children. In her spare time, she loves to encourage married couples to grow deeper in their relationship and find joy in their marriage.