Essential Tips For You And Your Family’s Next Camping Trip

Family camping trips aren’t just a fun weekend away, they can lead to meaningful memories that last a lifetime. With these family camping tips, we’ll help ensure that nothing gets in the way of you and your family creating those amazing memories.

By

Andrew Hanin

on

Jan 21, 2021

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So you’re planning a family camping trip and you want to make sure that the trip is the best that it can be. Well, that’s what we’re here to help you with. We’ve prepared a list of some pro-tips that’ll ensure a fun, safe, and memorable family camping trip. 

Practice Makes Perfect

Backyard camping is a great way to prepare for a family camping trip. Image courtesy of verywellfamily.com.

Although it may not be as exciting, camping out with your family in the backyard is an almost necessary test run for camping out more seriously in the woods. 

When doing a backyard camping test run, treat like you’re actually camping. If you do that, then you’ll know exactly what you’ll really need once you go for the actual camping trip. 

Keep a list of things that you forgot to pack or didn’t even think to pack so that you don’t make the same mistake during the real thing.

This is also a great time to see how kids (if you have them) will fare when camping. If they’re bored, think about some games that you can play or maybe even a board game that you can bring with. 

The worst case scenario though is that you realize, for whatever reason, that the kids won’t have a great time if you turned the backyard camping trip into a full fledged one. 

If all goes well though, you’ll have a list of things not to forget, and a good idea of what the real camping trip could look like.

Plan To Stay at a Campground

Established campgrounds are the easiest places to camp, but it’s important to make a reservation ahead of time because those lists tend to fill up very regularly, especially when people know that the weather will be nice. 

A lot of folks might think that if they can’t get a reservation to use the already established campgrounds, they should just find their own spot out in the woods. This would be dangerous even if it were just a group of adults camping, but it’s even more dangerous if you’re camping with kids. 

If you’re not on a campground, you’d have to greatly limit how far your kids can roam which is a tough assignment for the parents and  a lot less fun for most kids. 

Pack For Any Kind of Weather 

Not planning for bad weather even when it’s not expected is a rookie mistake. Image courtesy of tfind.net.

Once you’re out and about, the last thing you want to have to do is pack your things and go home early because you didn’t bring the right gear for unexpected weather. 

So, here’s your warning to pack for any kind of weather no matter what the forecast says. Camping in bad weather, whether on purpose or by accident, is something that you should definitely look into before you’re on your way. 

Go Light When Packing 

When people go on camping trips, especially for the first time, they tend to overpack. Try to keep whatever clothes you’re packing to a minimum because if you’re worried about having enough changes of clothes, don’t be. 

Try to pack clothes, shoes, and accessories that are good in any weather condition. Waterproof hiking boots and wool socks are an absolute must. 

Still have trouble fitting everything even after packing as lightly as you can? There are some easy ways to consolidate space by using certain clothes folding techniques. 

If you really want to go all out, get some Merino Wool clothing. It smells much less than regular clothing does after you sweat in it, and the material is crazy comfortable too. 

Pack No Fuss, Easy To Make Food

Bread, protein that’ll stay in any temperature, and some kind of soup is a great campsite meal. Image courtesy of tripsavvy.com.

It’s no secret that kids can be picky eaters. Thankfully, most camping food is easy to make and great for kids. Breakfast and lunch can be especially easy because they may even not require any cooking. 

Bringing premade muffins or bagels are a quick and easy pre-made breakfast. For lunch, peanut butter and jelly is the obvious answer, but if someone is allergic to that option, you can opt for a quick cook meal like instant ramen, instant potatoes and tuna, or a quick tuna and vegetable stew. 

Dinner is the time when you’ll be settled down and more willing to make a full meal. At this point, the sky's the limit, but we do suggest that you keep it easy and kid-friendly with some kind of pasta. The easiest though are the snacks. 

Make sure you pack enough snacks especially if you’re going to be camping with younger kids. Not only are they necessary because we all need a snack every once in a while, but they’re also great motivators if your child doesn’t feel like following your instructions.

If you want to get more adventurous with your meals, you can bring a cooler with you to help preserve the food that needs to be in a controlled temperature. 

Bring More Blankets Than You Think

You may think that the sleeping bags that you and your family have are plenty warm for however cold you think it will get during the night. 

You may be right, but bringing extra blankets to line the floor of the tent is a great extra barrier when fighting off the cold. Adding an extra, thicker blanket layer between your bodies and the cold ground will help insulate the tent even better. 

The extra blankets lining the floor of the tent is also a great way to make the ground feel a bit softer. If you think that you or your child will be extra sensitive to sleeping on hard ground, you could consider bringing a few yoga mats or other foam mats to place under sleeping bags. 

Bug Spray and Sunscreen! 

Which of these brands is the best? Click the link of where this photo came from to find out! Image courtesy of kark.com.

Maybe this isn’t a reminder that you needed, but just in case you forgot, we had to include it. Bug spray and sunscreen are 100% necessary when camping out in the woods. 

Getting badly sunburnt can really ruin the whole experience of camping. So avoid it! Put on sunblock regularly throughout the day. 

Bugs are annoying. That’s why we talk about what “bugs” us. Don’t let them get to you by using some good bug repellent. 

No bug repellent is 100% effective, but they can make those gnats and mosquitos and whatever else there is a lot less prevalent. 

Tent Lighting 

Lighting isn’t something that you’d normally think too much when camping, but it can be tricky with kids. Image courtesy of ablecamper.com.

If you’ve been camping without children, then the lighting situation is pretty straightforward. The lighting situation might have to be a bit different if you’re going to be camping with your kids. 

It doesn’t necessarily have to be any more than a few flashlights, but there is an opportunity to make the lighting more fun for the kids. 

One of the best ways to do that is to set up some different type of lights in and around the tent. Get some cheap glow sticks for inside the tent to have as night lights or reading lights. In addition to that, you can get some stake lights to put outside the tent that lead to a place to go to the bathroom. 

First Aid and Medicine

The first aid kit is something that we’re sure you’ve already packed away for the trip, but there are some other common medical essentials that you’ll want to pack away. 

One of your children getting or feeling sick on the camping trip can really put a damper on the whole experience, and can even result in an early ending to the trip.

But, if it’s something that can be fixed with some cough and cold medicine, then why not bring that medicine with you just in case?

Bring a Mini Dustpan

If you’ve been camping before, you know that it can get very dusty and dirty inside of a tent. 

That’s something that you could deal with and move on from, or you could employ the easiest solution you never thought of - get a mini dust pan!

This tip is especially important if this is you or your children’s first time camping out as it can be pretty uncomfortable to sleep in a tent with a dirty, sandy floor. 

During longer camping trips, bringing a mini dustpan is even more important as, over time, the problem of a dusty floor can become even worse. 

Also, if you’re thinking that you’ll just “rough it” make sure you think about how your kids will react to that reality. If they’re okay with that sort of thing then there’s no need for the dustpan but we still highly recommend it. 

Put Safety First

Before even getting to the campsite, look up the rules for that specific campsite and explain them clearly to your kids. It might even be a good idea to print out a little list to show them as well. 

After you’ve explained the rules to them, establish what the boundaries of where they’re allowed to roam. For smaller kids, they should really just remain in your sight, but for older kids, it can be okay for them to roam. 

Either way, be prepared for the possibility that they could accidentally be separated from you and get lost. One of the best ways to be prepared for that is to teach your children to blow a whistle and have them carry it with them at all times. 

Another important thing is to make sure that they have a small, keychain flashlight with them everywhere they go, and if they go outside to use the bathroom at night, make sure that they know to bring a larger flashlight.

Unplug

Camping is the perfect time to detach from the world of social media and constant interactions with the internet. 

Leave the unnecessary gadgets at home and only bring exactly what technology you need - a phone with a battery pack (don’t use it unless you need to) and a camera if you’d like to take pictures without your phone. 

Unplugging is especially important for young people and there’s no better time than when camping to do so. 


Taking a family camping trip is an unforgettable experience that can teach you and your kids valuable life skills and create incredible memories. We hope these tips help you on your way to making the most of your family camping trip. 

Happy Camping!


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