August 14, 2012

Family Camping 101

By guest blogger, Jessica from


Want to take your family camping, but you’re not quite sure where to start?  A trip to your local sporting goods store can leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused about where to begin.  Here are 5 tips to make your first camping trip as a family easier:


Borrow Equipment Before You Buy.  If you’ve never camped before, it can be a little intimidating to get all the gear you need.  If you can, borrow equipment from friends or family so you get a chance to see what you like best before investing in your own gear.  If you can’t borrow equipment, look into buying used equipment online or at thrift stores to help keep the costs reasonable.  Our top gear tip is to have a warm sleeping bag (or extra blankets) for your kids.


Plan the trip together.  Letting your kids help you plan the trip with you is a great way to get them excited about camping.  Talk to them and ask what they want to get out of the trip.  It may be as simple as s’mores or something more complex like rock climbing.  Asking for their input ahead of time makes everyone happier in the end.  Also, if you are camping in a popular area, make sure to get campground reservations in advance (nothing’s worse than loading everything up, only to arrive to a “campground full” sign).


Have a great attitude.  If you hype up your trip and are excited about it, your kids will quickly pick up on your excitement.  If you want your family camping trip to be amazing, act like it will be from the very start.


Explore what’s around you.  If possible, do a little research to see what kinds of things are nearby.  Look for hikes, tours, lakes, or visitors centers that might grab your family’s interests.  Campground hosts or area locals are a great source of information and often can let you know about some of the areas hidden gems.


Don’t expect perfection.  Chances are something bad will happen.  Maybe you’ll burn your dinner, your toddler won’t go to sleep, or someone will put the first-aid kit to the ultimate test.  Somehow, the smiles on your kids dirt encrusted faces will make it all worth it (baby wipes are your best friend).  Try and laugh (or cry) it off, and remember it gets easier every time you go.


Although camping as a family can take a lot of effort and preparation, it is one of the best ways to begin adventuring as a family.  There’s still plenty of summer left…where are you going to pitch your tent?