Getting outdoors with your loved ones once in a while provides a break from your daily routine, significantly improving your emotional health. But when you bring kids along, you are may encounter many challenges. This article talks about awesome camping with kids hacks that will help you make your experience more enjoyable.
Even if you have been taking your family out for years; you will find new tips and tricks you can use to enjoy camping with family. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Preparing For The Camping Trip
There are things you should do even before setting off for your camping site. First, ensure you create a checklist. When going camping with the young ones, you’ll need to carry more stuff than you would if it was just you and your spouse.
Write down the most important things you will need. When packing, all you will need to do is tick them off your list. This way, you will have all the must-haves packed before you leave.
Secondly, conduct a trial run at home to ensure that everything is okay. Pitch the tent in your backyard so you can see if there’s a defect or if any part is missing. Also, ensure that all the gear that you need to set up your tent work well. If you don’t understand something, you can read the instructions on the manual or watch a few YouTube videos.
When you set up everything in your backyard, doing the same at the campsite will be easier, faster, and more fun. If you have ever been rained on while setting up a tent, you understand how vital this step is.
Camping With Kids Hacks And Tips
Pick The Right Campsite
You will be camping for a couple of days, so selecting the right camping area is vital. On many sites, you can only set up your tent in specific areas. But the best locations are those that allow you to decide where you’d like to pitch your tent.
Always go for a flat area. Things like rocks and sticks can make everyone uncomfortable so ensure you remove them before you start setting up your temporary home. The place you choose also depends on what you want as a family.
If, let’s say you want privacy, do not camp near cafes, shops, or any place that attracts a lot of people.
Fun Activities For Kids
Camping is done only occasionally, so you want to ensure your kids are having as much fun as possible. Think about some fun activities that will keep them happy during the day and at night. Cards and board games can be played any time of the day so carry them.
You can also bring a ball or a badminton set. Identify games you can enjoy as a family. If your kids love painting, carry painting material to keep them entertained. Making bubbles is also another activity that kids of almost all ages love. Remember to discuss with your family about games and fun activities before leaving for the campsite.
Have Bin Bags
Campers and hikers are always advised to leave no trace. This is the first thing you should have in mind when you arrive at a camping site. Before leaving, pick all the rubbish in and around your tent area and put them in your bin bags so other campers won’t have to remove your trash before setting up their tents. What’s more, you will be keeping the environment clean.
Carry An Insect Repellent
It would help if you were prepared to deal with irritating insects and bugs. To get rid of insects like mosquitoes, carry an insect repellent with you. If you get bitten by a mosquito, rubbing soap around the affected area can reduce the itchiness. You should try this, but that doesn’t mean you let the insect bite you!
Pack Microfiber Camping Towels
Microfiber camping towels are spongy, and this makes them great for cleaning. They’re also quick-drying and fit in one’s palms. You can put these tiny towels in your pocket as you go about your activities at the campsite.
Take A Camp Loo
Let’s admit it – no one likes traipsing to the loo when at a camping site. Your kids will hate having to get out of their sleeping bags and walking to the toilet several feet away from the tent. Invest in a camp loo, and if your tent has several compartments, place it in one. You can also set up a pop-up toilet tent next to your tent – this will save you the trouble of walking a long distance to the toilet.
Pick Top-Quality Sleeping Bags
When camping, nights are usually chilly, even during the summer. Look for a suitable sleeping bag that will keep you and your loved ones warm and cozy throughout the night
Keep The Kids Busy
At a campsite, kids can get bored pretty quickly. There’s no TV, tablets, or playmates. It can be difficult for them, especially if it’s their first time camping. To ensure they feel that they’re part of the team, give them easy tasks such as arranging camp furniture.
Prepare Some Food Before Setting Out
Trust me; you won’t want to spend too much time cooking at the campsite, especially if you are engaged in many activities during the day and are exhausted at night. Instead of starting from scratch, you can pre-cook some meals at home and only warm them or add a few spices during meal times.
There are various camping recipes you can check to find the right meals for your family. Also, you can prepare the vegetables and cut onions at home instead of doing so while camping. Place all the prepared foods in storage boxes for easy accessibility.
Carry More Blankets
It would be best to carry an extra blanket or two. Nights at camping sites can be cold, and you wouldn’t want your kids to have trouble sleeping. Note that blankets are not just for the warmth-you can lay them down during picnics to place your food on and sit on them. They’re more comfortable than lighter materials.
Carry Duct Tape
This is another excellent item that many campers leave behind. Duct Tape can hold your torch in place at night, patch your tent, or act as a band-aid.
Use Packing Cubes
Packing all your stuff before you leave for the camping site or when going back home is crucial. When kids are involved, many people mix up gear and items, and it can be challenging to retrieve something you need urgently.
The trick is to use packing cubes. The advantage of acquiring a set of packing cubes is that you will be able to put items into categories and place them in separate bags. This eliminates the hassle of spending a lot of time looking for things.
If you are camping during summer, protecting your kids from the sun is vital. The kids will probably spend a better part of the day outdoors playing. When they have sunblock on, you will not have to deal with sunburn complaints.
It’s always wise to carry extra rope when going camping with your family. Ropes can help you do the following:
- You can use it as a rescue line. When participating in fishing or boating activities, a member might fall into the water and may lose control even when they have life vests. A rope enables you to pull a family member out of the water without having to jump into the water to help them.
- Hang your clothes. If you plan to stay at the camping grounds for a couple of days, you may run out of clean clothes. You can tie the rope to branches or trunks of trees and hang your clothes after washing.
- To create shelter/shade. You tie the rope to strong branches/poles and use it to hold the tarpaulin cover.
- To move heavy objects. When you have items that are difficult to move, you can tie a rope at a point or around the object and pull it.
Take A Rug With You
Keeping the inside of your tent clean is important, particularly if you’re camping with family. You can carry two rugs, one to place outside the tent and the other inside. Instruct every member to wipe their feet before and after entering the tent.
Keep The Firewood Dry
Fire is among the most important things at a campsite. It helps you warm or cook food and provides warmth. After collecting firewood, you need to keep the dry for use, especially when it rains frequently.
A trick I always use is to place the firewood under my car. Lacking dry wood is one of the biggest challenges if you depend on campfires to cook or warm yourselves. Also, ensure you pack a lighter or matches for lighting fires.
Do Not Forget To Carry A First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is vital for families going outdoors for several days. You or your kids gets may get injured or fall ill, so you need to be prepared at all times. We have already discussed the benefits of packing insect repellent and sunscreen.
Always pack band-aids to use on minor injuries. Kids will occasionally injure themselves when playing. Ice bags can be used to reduce the pain and swelling when you have a knock or sprain. Do not forget to carry medicine for common illnesses such as stomachaches and headaches. Remember, if the situation is out of your control, it would be wise to visit the nearest medical facility.
Keep Kids Within The Camping Grounds
While spending time with family in the great outdoors is good for bonding, it doesn’t mean you should not watch over the kids. The younger ones may wander and get lost in the wilderness, and you may spend several hours looking for them.
You need to avoid getting into such a situation. After pitching your tent, take some time to walk around with your kids to familiarize them with the surroundings. Set boundaries and tell them about the dangers of going far from the camping site.
See Related: Tips To Avoid Snakes While Hiking
If the kids are younger, show them where your tent is located so they won’t spend a lot of time looking for it, especially if there are other campers at the site. Another tactic to keep kids safe is to have them report to you every 1-2 hours. Let them inform you if they want to move to a new paying location. With such rules, it’s much easier to keep tabs on your kids.
The time you arrive at the site is crucial. It helps you avoid fumbling in the dark, trying to set everything up when you could have done it earlier. Start preparing your gear in the morning to ensure you arrive at the camp before dark. If it is a long way off, start the journey early. Reaching the destination during the day gives you ample time to pitch your tent and take a look at the surroundings.
Bring A Flashlight Or Headlamps
Yes, a form of illumination during the night is important. While most campers are usually not active at night, there are some things you need to do, such as prepare dinner, fix a tent, or visit the toilet. Consider bringing a flashlight and headlamps. You kids will love headlamps because they won’t have to use their hands. What’s more, switching it on and off is easy.
Get A White Noise Machine
Many people have trouble sleeping with noise in the background. Both you and your kids need to have a good night’s sleep at the camping grounds so that you won’t be feeling fatigued the following day.
Acquiring a white noise machine is the best way to ensure your kids are tucked in and comfortably sleeping at the right time. But what is white noise? It is continuous noise that covers all hearable frequencies, thus blocking all other sounds. So, acquire a white noise machine to help you fall asleep easily when there is noise at the camping site.
Use String Lights
If it’s not too cold outside the tent, you can enjoy the evenings under the starry nights. Solar string lights can provide the illumination you need. And because they are solar-powered, you won’t need batteries or electricity for them to function. The good thing is they come in various shapes and lengths.
Keep Warm Using A Hot Water Bottle
Nights at the campsite can be cold. Using hot water bottles is one of the most effective ways of beating the night’s cold. Even when you have a good sleeping bag, the extra heat produced by the hot water bottle will help. Your kids will love it!
Consider Camping With Family Friends
Ever thought of going camping with your family friends? It’s great when it is more than two adults at the campsite. There are many advantages of camping as a group. First, your kids will have playmates meaning they will be busy throughout the day, and you won’t have to plan a lot of activities for them.
Secondly, you will have friends to pass the time with when kids are playing. You can come up with tasks and activities for the whole group occasionally. Doing tasks such as cooking or pitching is much easier when you are in a group. Further, you borrow any gear that you might have forgotten at home.
Go To A Nearby Campsite
If it is your first family trip, you may face many problems that could leave you frustrated at the end of it all. Therefore, opt for a nearby camping ground. If things don’t work out or the weather is terrible, you can always go back home and reflect on what you didn’t do right.
Be Smart When Packing Stuff In Your Car
When you arrive at the destination, you’ll want to remove things like the tent and tent poles first. Pack your gear in the car in a way that you can easily access these items. This hack will save you when the weather isn’t right and you need to set up the tent quickly.
Get A Map Of The Area
Today, our smartphones are like extensions of our bodies, and many people can’t imagine not having them for long periods. If the network at the campsite is poor, you better be prepared with a map or guide of the area to plan on places to visit.
When camping during the summer or when the weather is too warm for your liking, you will need fans. Various camp fans can reduce the heat and enable you and your kids to sleep more comfortably.
Respect Other Campers
It would be best if you respected other families/groups using the same camping grounds. Behaviors such as making too much noise (especially at night) or playing loud music are frowned upon. Allow others to have a good time.
If you have very young kids, consider bringing a portable potty for kids. It usually comes in handy during the night as it prevents you from going out in the cold for something that takes a few minutes.
Update Your Checklist
Do not throw away your checklist when going back home. Keep it and strike off items you won’t need and add new ones. Keep updating your list after every camping trip. You will realize that with the right gear, you will love camping with your kids.
Keep Your Devices Charged
We use our tablets and mobile phones to play games, make emergency calls, and or even find our way when we’re lost. Keeping these devices charged is necessary, so you need to pack a solar-powered charger or a power bank.
Get A Broom And Dustpan To Tidy Up Your Room
You cannot stop dirt from getting into the tent when camping with the family. This is where a broom and dustpan helps. Clean the room once or twice a day to get rid of the dirt that accumulates when members go in and out.
Pack A Bathtub For Your Younger Kids
It’s difficult to stop younger kids from getting dirty. You will have to deal with the dirt they have collected throughout the day. Carry a plastic storage bin that will act as their bathtub. The material is affordable and portable, making it ideal for this purpose.
Opt For A Large Tent
Never go to a family camping trip with a small tent. You will realize that tent space is not just for the members but also for all the things you need to use while staying at the campsite. So, I’d advise you to pick a large tent even if it is more costly than smaller tents – you won’t regret it.
Have Enough Fuel
Carry extra fuel is vital, even when you plan to use a gas camp stove or an open campfire. Since the most common camping stoves utilize butane, ensure you have enough butane gas canisters.
Get A Top Quality Cool Box
Most cool boxes only keep food cold for a couple of hours (normally 8 hours at most). But you’re probably going to spend a couple of days at the campsite. Look for a top-quality cool box that can stay with ice for around five days without requiring power.
Carry A Lot Of Snacks
Kids need to stay energized as they engage in various activities during the day. Carry extra snacks like fruits, nuts, and crisps, and cookies.
Take A Lantern
Why would I need a lantern when I have packed a flashlight and headlamps? You might be asking yourself this question right now. Unlike these two forms of illumination, you won’t need to hold a lantern in any part of your body and won’t struggle with bright light. What’s more, if you like reading at night, a lantern is typically the best option.
By implementing the above camping with kids hacks, you will save a lot of time and money. Your kids will love it and will always look forward to the next family camping trip. Any tips you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments section.