Camping tips for parents
Camping with kids is a magical experience for both the parents and the little ones. But, it can easily become a stressful experience if you do not go properly prepared to tent with your energetic toddlers.
Fear not! I have gathered all the magic tricks from professional campers for you, aka tips and tricks from the parents who turned their naughty kiddos into successful little campers.
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Basic tips for camping with kids
- Always carry extra clothes for the kids. You do not know when they would them wet or get them messy. Especially useful if the child is newly potty-trained.
- Carry more diapers than you think are needed if the child is till in diapers.
- Carry airtight covers or ziplock bags to stash soiled diapers and clothes. This is to avoid the attention of any wild animals around.
- Food and toothpaste should be packed in airtight containers or bear-resistant lockers. These smells tend to attract bears.
- Prepare food away from the tent so that the odor does not linger in the sleeping area. This is again to avoid animals’ attention.
- In the same way, do not eat where you sleep. Clear away all the crumbs that might have landed on the ground.
- Pack a cheap clothesline
or rope to tie between two trees any dry any clothes the kids spilled liquids on, and of course for washed clothes.
- Carry rain gear. Dress the kids in layers.
- Book campgrounds in advance and look for campgrounds with flush toilets for easier cleaning.
- Recreation.gov is the website to book many campsites in the United States. Each state may have its own reservation system like California has ReserveCalifornia.
- If you plan to stargaze on your trip, look for campground dates around new moon. A full moon or days closer to full moon are too bright, so you may not see many stars.
- Check weather in advance and pack your clothing accordingly.
Also read: Top beautiful FREE campsites in the United States
Addie from Traveling Mrs. says:
Camping with kids may not be as easy as camping solo or with adult friends, but it can be just as fun! What’s helped us when camping with our little one is having a good hiking pack
Little kids get tired of walking, and when they do it’s nice to be able to keep on adventuring (plus the pack is a good place for them to nap without having to go back to the tent).
Bringing lots of layers is also key. The temperature varies so much when camping depending on the time of day and where you are, you want to be able to add or remove a layer quickly.
In addition to layers, bring some extra outfits too. You never know if your little one will roll around in wet mud, jump through a body of water or otherwise ruin their clothes.
Going along with this, make sure to bring plenty of wipes. Kids get DIRTY, and these will be your BEST friend.
For sleeping, make sure to bring a foam mat or other padded sleeping surface. Kids do not like to sleep on twigs, and if your kid isn’t sleeping, neither are you.
Oh, and if your child is still in diapers, don’t forget ziplock bags! Those things will stink up your tent very quickly and possibly attract unwanted animal visitors.
Follow Addie on her blog Traveling Mrs. and Instagram.
Try this premium baby backpack carrier for hiking with kids
Emily from Henry and Andrew’s Guide says:
We went camping with our 6-month-old and looking back, we are so glad we did when he was that young! As many parents know, traveling with a little baby that can’t walk yet is so much easier than traveling with a toddler. Same goes for camping.
The main challenge we had camping with a 6-month-old was the sand and dirt. He was still in the sand-eating stage and wasn’t too sturdy when sitting down, so we had to be creative when we wanted to place him somewhere without him hitting his head on the ground hard or eating sand.
To remedy this, we had a thick play mat
Also, we had his car seat, which doubled as a lounge chair. Another key item we loved having on the beach when we wanted him a little higher up than the car seat was our Rock n Play. He was used to napping in it, and we were able to give him a nice cozy nap on the beach!
Besides this he didn’t know any better that he wasn’t in the house he was used to. He slept the same as he always does (which wasn’t great at the time). We highly recommend new parents to just go for it!
Follow Emily on her blog Henry and Andrew’s Guide and Instagram.
Try these extra thick 9-piece cushiony foam mats
Check out this colorful lightweight playard available on Amazon.
Also read: Camping gear you need for camping with kids
Aditi from Travelogue Connect says:
Travel short distances and take regular breaks about every 2 hours on our car journey. It helps us unwind too and start afresh with the rest of the journey.
Aim at setting up big tents
Don’t over pack your stuff. Since you cannot miss carrying the kids’ items, it is always good to pack only the necessary items for yourself. After all, you are going for camping, you don’t need the fancy stuff, right?
Pack for all kinds of weather. Don’t forget to carry rain gear/sunscreen/jacket/blanket etc., so that you and your family does not end up shivering at night!
Also, carry torch lights or other glowing devices
Don’t be overambitious or overly enthusiastic for Day 1. Give time for your kids to get adjusted to the new environment.
Carry the things which keep your kids entertained at home. You should try to make your kid feel at home as much as possible during camping.
Follow Aditi on her blog Travelogue Connect and her Instagram.
Try this cool 8-Person Family Tent
Do buy these portable LED Lantern Tent Light Bulbs
Natalie from The Educational Tourist says:
Camping is a wonderful way to get the whole family away from electronic devices and enjoying time together in a relaxed way in the great outdoors.
When the kids are little, everything is new and they are so curious. Take a walk and see what catches their eye. We loved finding pine-cones and rocks and twigs of all sorts. The kids often had pockets full of their favorites. Once, my daughter collected a family of sticks – the largest was the dad and then there were smaller ones for the babies.
One of my favorite simple activities with the kids is to literally let them play in the dirt! Together we collect some rocks and twigs from a nature walk. Then, I add a plastic kitchen spoon or spatula and sit the little ones down. We talk and let imaginations go wild.
It is always fun to see what they create out of the simple objects they find. Digging the dirt is a great way to have fun outdoors!
Besides creating wonderful memories and just having fun you are building skills that will serve them academically later such as: story telling skills, thinking outside the box problem solving skills.
Don’t forget that many doctors say the bacteria you encounter while outside in nature is really good for you!
Follow Natalie on her blog The Educational Tourist and Twitter.
Also read: Top tips for traveling with kids from travel pros
Somnath from Travel Crusade says:
Camping has been my special area of interest when I travel and I normally carry my own tent bags and gears. If you are travelling with kids, it would be wise to book a tent which has all the facilities that you would find in a hotel. This is called glamping.
You should take care of your belongings when you are leaving the tent for outdoors. It would be good to carry your own lock and key for security purposes.
There is no need to carry extra beds and clothes if you are travelling in winter as the glamping tents have everything you need. If the camping event is planned during summer, then there should be no worries at all. Your family and kids would enjoy the trip planned and they would treasure the memories.
It is good to carry a DSLR camera to take great photos for memory and put them inside in holders that are used to store electronics cases and accessories.
You should carry other items like torch lights
I would advice you to sit together with your family to plan the perfect gateway for camping and create unforgettable memories.
Follow Somnath on his blog Travel Crusade and Facebook.
Get this Ultra Bright Handheld LED water resistant Flashlight
Now that you know all the necessary tips for successful camping with kids, Ciao at the camping grounds folks!!