Ah, summer, arguably the best time of the year. A season we can spend more time with our loved ones surrounded by the simplicity of nature and the warmth of the sun. Campfires, lake adventures, hiking and camping are a few of the things we do not take for granted. In these few short months of summer, we are sure to squeeze every last bit out of outdoor excursions that we possibly can, before baring the long and cold winter months ahead. And for those of you that decided to add a few more members to your family, we know that those summer trips you cherish can be a bit more chaotic. Packing for all the kiddos, shopping for meals and snacks, stocking up the cooler with water and beverages for the adults, all while trying to pack all the humans in the car without forgetting something important behind. Long are the days of you simply jumping in your car with your dog and heading to your favorite campsite. But now you get to pass on your love for spending time outdoors to your offspring, teaching them that the best way to connect with yourself is by connecting with nature. So to make your life a little easier, and to save you some much-needed time, we’ve gathered a list of useful tips for family camping… So that you can spend more time sippin’ that cold brew at the campsite, and less time frantically packing for the trip.
1. Prep Your Meals
The most intimidating part of a family camping trip is not only cooking for your entire family, but also knowing what to cook and the ingredients needed. A tip to save you a lot of stress while you are enjoying your relaxing weekend is to prep your meals before you leave. If you decide to cook a skillet of fresh veggies and meat, for example, cut all of your vegetables beforehand and prep the meat. You can store each meal or snack bag in ziplock baggies and I promise your life will be much, much easier.
2. Stock up on Toys and Games
To limit your time babysitting, and grant you some more chillin’ by the campfire, bring your kid’s favorite toys, games, and other activities that will keep them busy and having fun. Footballs, dolls, water guns, soccer balls, art supplies, card games, you name it. This tip is a sure fire way to increase your relaxation time.
3. Pack Smarter
When your kids need something to wear, they will surely rummage through their bag until they find what they are looking for, throwing unwanted items aside. This creates a headache for you, repacking their clothes everytime they need something. Instead, try picking out each child’s outfits ahead of time and rolling each one together in a ball, secured with a rubber band. This way, you can easily pick out the outfit for the day, without worrying about disrupting your perfectly organized folding of clothes. Trust me, this tip is a gamechanger.
4. Set up Hand and Foot Washing Station
The worst thing while camping is tracking dirt through all of your clean sheets and items. Even worse is your kid’s grimy hands touching all of your fresh food, ready for cooking. Before leaving for your trip, buy a few jugs of water with open/close spouts that control the water flow. Set the jug on a picnic table with a bucket underneath to catch the water. Place a few towels underneath the bucket so that you and your kids have a clean cloth to dry your feet after washing. This station will serve as your drinking, cooking and washing station for the entirety of your trip. No more dirt trails through your clean blankets!
5. Keep Clean
If you have little ones on your trip, baby wipes will probably be included in your grocery list. But there comes a time when baby wipes just won’t cut it. Bring a plastic tub or baby bath on your trip with you to give your kiddos a good wash. They will feel better, and so will you.
6. Let There Be Light
To avoid trips and falls, invest in a headlamp for everyone in your family. They are cheap, easy to use and are incredibly convenient for any tasks that you need to do. The Petzl TIKKA Headlamp is simple and compact, and will help your family out a ton on your next camping adventure.
7. Clothes Line Hack
Attach a tent rope between two trees for a quick and efficient clothes drying line. If you camp near any lakes or streams, your kids will come home wet and stinky. And no one likes the smell of wet, dirty clothes stinking up the rest of your packed bag. This hack will keep things clean and dry and you can even put a tarp over the top for a quick shelter if an unexpected storm rolls through.
8. Compress Your Stuff
Another packing hack that will surely save you a boat load of space are compression bags. Store your sleeping gear, clothes and other soft goods so that you have more comfortable space on your drive out.
9. Stick to Your Usual Routine
One thing is for certain, a child awake past bedtime is all sorts of grumpy. To ensure your kids have a bright and cheery mood for your trip, try your best not to stray away from their usual bedtime routine and morning rituals. Put them to bed at the normal time, and have them brush their teeth and go about normal activities in the morning. This way, they are refreshed and prepared for anything the day will bring.
10. Don’t Overdo It
If not anything else, try not to stress out. Bring only the necessities and try to keep the “just in case” items to a bare minimum. The more stuff you bring, the more stressed you may find yourself. After all, this should be a vacation for you and your family. It’s about spending quality time with them and passing on your love for the outdoors. So leave that extra bag of clothing at home, you certainly won’t be missing it!