It’s summer time – one of the most popular times for going on family camping trips. Of course, there are lots of different ways you can do the family camping trip and lots of places you can go, but as you are getting ready for your trip, keep some of these tips in mind. No matter where you’re going or what activities you’ll be doing, you’ll definitely want to have these essential items:
- A comfortable place to sleep. Whether you will be taking an RV out to a camping site or you will be using a tent, you’ll want to make sure that you have a safe and secure environment for sleeping during the night. While you may be tempted to stay out all night under the stars, you need to remember to be aware of local wildlife and to choose sleeping arrangements that will help keep you safe. For example, if you will be camping in California, you should be aware of rattlesnake safety. Choose zipping tents that rattlesnakes can’t get into. You will, of course, also want shelter that will be comfortable for your whole family to sleep in, so choose one or two tents that specify that they can sleep multiple people.
- A reserved plot. At some camping locations, you need to book your spot weeks in advance, so make sure you’ve checked online or telephoned to make sure you have your booking in order. Also make sure that you know all campground procedures and rules and that you have reviewed them with your family before leaving.
- Good sleeping bags. You can choose sleeping bags that are suitable for different temperatures and types of weather, so make sure you are choosing something that will keep you comfortable based on the conditions you are likely to face. The kids may want novelty sleeping bags that look like slices of pizza or Star Wars characters, but remind them that their sleeping bags will probably get dirty and need to be comfortable so they need to go with something that is better for camping than for a sleepover.
- Plenty of (sustainable) food. When camping, it’s better if you can avoid bringing along lots of food that requires wrappers and containers, but you should be sure that you do have plenty of food that you can cook or eat as a snack. Buy your own bulk bags of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolates to make your own containers of trail mix. You should also be sure to bring plenty of water, preferably one large cooler of water and some reusable bottles that you can refill throughout the trip. Of course, you’ll also want to bring your campfire cooking supplies as well as handy camping sets with cutlery for everyone.
- All-weather wear. You will want to bring along plenty of shorts, tee shirts, and changes of socks and underwear. You should also bring light-weight jackets (and possibly heavier coats if you are going to a place where it could get cold at night), rain boots, ponchos, plenty of long pants, and sweaters. You may also want to bring along bathing suits if you’ll be swimming, good sun hats, good hiking shoes, and extra towels. If you’re going camping for a special event like a birthday, anniversary, or for the 4th of July weekend, pack along a few small items that will help you celebrate without taking up too much bulk, for example an American Flag sweater for the 4th or some silly birthday hats to wear around the campfire.
- Comfortable backpacks that will work on the trail. Make sure each is stocked with Band-Aids, antibacterial ointment, ibuprofen, water bottles, any necessary medications, maps, etc. You may also want to consider getting Walkie Talkies to keep the family connected in case anyone gets lost or separated.
- A first aid kit (as well as an Urban Aid kit!) to keep at your campsite, an emergency battery for at least one phone in case of a serious accident or injury, wound care supplies, sunscreen, and bug spray.
- Training guides and maps. Make sure your whole family knows what to do in the event of an emergency and make sure they all know emergency procedures like CPR and how to apply a tourniquet. You should also review maps of the park, forest, and local area and make sure each member of your family keeps one with them in their backpacks.
- Emergency bracelets. You may want to give your children emergency bracelets to wear that have any allergies they have and your and your spouse’s contact information in case you are separated.
Camping is a great way to have fun as a family unit while also teaching your children about the importance of being active and of appreciating nature, and there’s no better time than during summer vacation. So get your