Planning on your first family camping expedition this year? Read on for 11 tips on how to make this first trip a fun and successful one.
Camping is a favorite activity among Americans. In fact, it’s estimated that over 75 million Americans went camping last year. That’s roughly a quarter of the national population.
It’s not hard to see why camping is so popular, either. We may love the advanced, technological world we live in most of the time, but everyone needs a break. Perhaps they just enjoy the outdoors and want to spend more time there.
Whatever the reason, camping is a popular activity, and many even bring their families. Between getting supplies, setting up the tent, and trying to keep everyone from killing each other, family camping can be quite a challenge.
The good news is that we’re here to help. We’ll give you some advice on planning a great family camping trip in the paragraphs below.
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that ‘plans are nothing; planning is everything.’ Though camping is nothing like Eisenhower’s specialties of war and politics, they do have Murphy’s Law in common.
Perhaps not everything will go wrong, but you will almost certainly face problems you did not expect. While you can’t make a plan for every possibility, you may benefit from planning, anyway.
Planning teaches us problem-solving skills and a few of the solutions we come up with may have multiple uses. Plus, having some idea of what might happen can make us less afraid.
Camping in the backyard before camping away from home can function a bit like a kitty pool. Children can learn how to deal with situations in a comfortable, familiar place before encountering them in other circumstances.
Everybody has their own idea of camping. The vast majority of campers will bring at least one or two modern comforts with them.
While some people’s definition of modern comforts may be limited to a generator and an electric blanket, others prefer a more luxurious experience that’s still close to nature.
They may bring an RV, or a golf cart along. Perhaps they sleep in a low-tech 4 person tent but bring along air mattresses, luxury pillows, heated blankets, and other little luxuries.
It’s also important to know how far from home you’re willing to go when camping. Many prefer to camp close to home. It cuts down on drive time and gas money, and they may even be a little more secure knowing they’re not too far from home.
When choosing camping equipment, there’s a lot to keep in mind. For instance, those who enjoy a bit of luxury when camping may be tempted to go for the supposedly advanced, expensive stuff.
The truth is that they don’t need it. Unless you plan on going whitewater rafting on a regular basis, you don’t need a state-of-the-art kayak.
This is especially true for family camping. While you might enjoy kayaking or fly-fishing, many kids won’t.
There’s no problem with splurging on something you really want and know you’ll have fun with.
You also shouldn’t buy anything that you’re not sure you’ll use. If you’re not bothered by the idea of traveling on foot, you don’t need a golf cart. You also don’t need a ten-person tent if you’re not likely to ever take nine other people camping.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as flashlights, jackets, and other gear that may end up being essential.
Though not being organized isn’t going to make or break the vacation or your pocket-book, it is recommended. Not having to search for things will save you a lot of time in the long run.
It may also be more sanitary to group similar items together. Packing the silverware next to the bug spray would probably lead to concerns among most people.
It’s best to pack all chemicals separately since you can’t always tell how they’ll react to each other.
Camping puts a limit on what kinds of meals you can make for your family. In theory, you can cook just about anything over a campfire. In practice, it’s a difficult skill to master.
Fire can be harder to control than other forms of cooking, and not knowing how to make a fire suitable for cooking can ruin a meal before it starts. Cooking takes time, so it’s important to build a reliable fire rather than a big one. A large fire might die down or burn out too quickly, so you’ll want to watch the fire for a bit to make sure it will keep burning for long enough.
Overcooking and undercooking is a common problem as well. Rotate the food around in the flame, the same way you would with a steak or a rotisserie. Food cooked on both sides is more likely to be cooked properly.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution. An overcooked potato or piece of chicken may not be all that
appetizing, but it never killed anybody.
Many campers avoid some of these issues by bringing pans, racks, and other cookware. Consider trying this, at least the first few times.
There are several things to keep in mind when planning a family camping trip. We’ve mentioned a few of the essentials in the paragraphs above, but there are others out there. We encourage you to do more research on your own if you’re interested.
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