Growing up I wasn't much of an outdoorsman. While I spent many long hours playing tennis under the sun and surfing at our local beach break, mountains and the crackle of firepits didn't appeal to me despite it being only an hour's drive away.
Fast forward three decades later, and camping with my girls is now one of my favorite things to do. Against the backdrop of tall looming mountains and intense blue skies, camping fosters days of togetherness that's near impossible to replicate back home in our busy lives.
Being off the grid makes everyone more present and mindful. It takes us a good day or two to adjust to the slow, singular pace. Conversations flow more easily. My girls are more responsive and willing to help out. Board games and card games last all day. And of course, for the best part - hanging out around the campfire for hours into the night without distractions.
Surreal desert views on our way to Big Pine Creek.
If you're thinking of bringing your kids camping, I've got some helpful hacks to keep things enjoyable and memorable. My aim isn't about making things as luxurious as possible, because I think that defeats the purpose. I love glamping too, but I'll save that experience for another post. These tips, while not for the camping purist, will ease the logistical efforts so you can have a more relaxing trip. Afterall, camping is about enjoying nature and family time, not about having to do so much manual labor.
1) PACK EVERYTHING IN CLEAR TUBS FOR EASY CAMPING ORGANIZATION
First of all, pack light. Then organize your camping supplies so that once you get to your camping spot, everything is labeled and easy to find.
2) BRING A FOLDING TOILET SEAT AND ALOT OF WET WIPES
Best way to avoid using the public bathrooms (though some of the park rangers do a great job keeping it clean) is to bring one of these folding chairs. You'll especially love not having to bring your kid out into the pitch dark at 3am when they need to go. We just keep the toilet inside the tent, and all just cover our eyes and ears (and nose!) when someone has to go at night. Gasp!
3) SHOWER WITH A SOLAR HEATED SHOWER BAG
A convenient go to product that lets everyone shower with warm water without having to use the public facilities. They're easy to fill up, although heavy when filled to the 5 gallon max, so you'll need some muscle to hang it up on a branch. 2 gallons is enough for a quick 3 minute wash, good for hair and body. *A hack to heating the water up by early afternoon, is laying this out on the hood of your car under peak sunlight.
4) QUICK DRY MICROFIBER BATH TOWELS
Because they're quick to dry, and are light, thin and very compact.
5) EMPTY GALLON JUGS TO FILL WITH WATER
Used to fill up with clean running water available at the campsite. You want plenty of water for washing dishes, washing hands / feet, cooking, etc.
6) FILL UP TIC TAC CONTAINERS w/ SPICES FOR COOKING
What's better than eating good food? The smell of it while siting around the campfire, surrounded by majestic mountains and tall trees. Cooking outdoors is an absolute joy. Armed with a selection of spices, make a solid gourmet meal and take your time eating it with good wine and beers. Camping doesn't have to only be hot dogs, chili, and ramen.
7) BRING AN AIR MATTRESS
I need good sleep, so an air mattress or even a memory foam topper is a must for me. One of the joys of camping is waking up to the sounds of nature. It's strange at first, because it may feel like you're sleeping outside without a tent (and that's cuz tent's don't do much to block out sounds). But you'll get used to it, and hopefully love it as much as I do. You can always bring an ear plug if it's too much.
So this will get you started off camping with enough ease. If any aspect of camping sounds overwhelming, I want to stress that parents who've gone through those intense, infant years, can easily handle camping. Even without any of these tips, you'll make it through! So definitely go for it because it's a positive, genuine and pure experience for the family.
For camping tips that will get you closer to the comforts of home, look through these articles for even more tips and advice!
- Handy Printable Family Camping Checklist (for Fun Camping with Kids)
- Camping with Kids: 21 Camping Games & Activities to Entertain Kids
- 30 Stress-Free & Easy Camping Food Ideas
- 10 Essentials for Camping with Kids You Don’t Want to Forget
- Keep Your Family Safe: Tick Prevention & Safe Tick Removal
- What to Look for When Choosing a Safe Sunscreen
Thanks for reading!