Planning a camping trip with kids can seem overwhelming but it's totally worth the effort. Get into nature, connect with your kids, and build some memories!
Camping might just be the ultimate summer experience! What could be better than all the family time, sleeping together, preparing meals together, and no distractions from technology (or possibly even electricity).
Camping with the family can be super fun, but it's important to make sure you're prepared. It can turn from a dream into a chaotic, disorganized nightmare quicker than you think. Don't worry, it's probably simpler than you're anticipating! With a little help, you can plan a camping trip that your family will remember forever!
I know I just told you being prepared is the key to success here. And that's true. Letting go and having fun is just as important though! You want to try to be as organized as you can when you plan your camping trip, but once you're there, it's time to leave your type-a-planner personality behind. You will likely have forgotten things. That's alright. The goal of a kids camping trip is to have fun and enjoy each other. So dive on in!
A quick Google search, email, or phone call should be able to get you all the information you need. Some campsites are quite well equipped and might offer boiling water, stove plates, warm showers, electrical points, and more. Others are much more basic and occasionally you may even need to bring your own water along.
Camping with kids can be really dirty. There's going to be a lot of sand (or mud). Your children will smell like campfires. It's messy and magical all at the same time. Plan ahead by taking the things you'll need to keep everything clean enough. A little broom and dustpan are a must. You'll also want to take along paper towel and wet wipes (or a good selection of cloths to wipe up spills, sticky hands, and muddy faces.)
There isn't always a lot of packing space when you're going camping. Check the weather report to see what types of clothes you will need and remember to pack a jacket for each person - just in case. Taking kids camping is an adventure, and you'll need the right type of clothing! Choose comfortable clothes that you don't mind your kids getting dirty or torn.
Top Tip: Small kids will struggle to manage their clothes on the trip. Make it easier for them by making outfit packages. Carefully roll all the clothes they'll need for each outfit (including underwear and socks) into a little bundle and secure it with a rubber band. Each morning, you can just hand out outfit packages. The best part is, you'll do all the thinking-work at home, so that you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying each other during the trip!
You're going to be taking a lot of stuff with you and then you're going to need to know where all that stuff is. You'll want to have some sort of system to keep everything organized and in its place during your trip. Boxes, fold-up crates, or even bags are all good options. Labels make everything easier to find. Giving each box or bag a label will help everyone find what they're looking for and make it way easier to put things back in their place.
Plan out each meal for your trip before you leave. Cooking on a camping trip takes a little more planning than it would at home. You'll need to consider a few factors in your planning:
1. What food do you need to take?
2. How will you cook it? (fire? stove? no cooking required?)
3. How you'll keep it cool and fresh?
If you don't have access to a refrigerator, you can pack frozen food and keep it in a cooler box for a few days, or try to pick foods that don't need to be kept cool.
Remember to pack all utensils, seasonings, condiments, plates, silverware, cups, and anything else you'll need to prepare and eat your food. And, don't forget the snacks - you don't want hangry (hungry-angry) campers!
At most camping sites you'll need to take along your own source of light. If possible try to pack a flashlight for each family member and then additional lights for around your campsite. Lights that run on batteries or gas are great options! Look for rechargeable versions. Some electric lights can be charged, just like you would charge your phone. If you're planning a short trip or have access to an electrical plug point, they're the first choice for convenience! If you're planning a longer trip, gas might be a better option because it'll last longer.
So maybe this isn't going to be the most comfortable trip of your life, but you can try, right? You'll need some sort of shelter (like a tent or RV), something soft to sleep on (a camping mattress or cot), and something to keep you warm, like a sleeping bag, blanket, or comforter.
Next, you'll want to try to get your hands on a table and some chairs. Of course, you can camp without them, but having somewhere for everyone to sit comfortably makes the trip much more fun. If you're unsure, phone ahead, some places have tables and chairs around the campsite.
A family camping trip is all about fun! Take along anything you'll need to make the trip extra fun. Think fishing gear, a pack of cards, and board games. Stargazing is the perfect family activity for your camping trip. Check out this useful stargazing guide to help get you started in a budget-friendly way.
And, of course, don't forget to pack the marshmallows!
It might sound like camping requires a lot of expensive gear. Having a few luxuries here and there can really make your time more fun, but that doesn't mean that you need to break the bank. Look out for second-hand gear and then try to borrow or rent anything that you still need. Thankfully, the kids' camping gear is pretty simple. All they really need is a headlamp and they're good to go!
Save has loads of great ideas to help you save and build beautiful family memories. Have a look at these national parks to explore, try out a family board game night, or make your own summer family bucket list.
And remember to check your Save mailer to make sure you're getting the best deals on all your camping supplies!