Taking a whole family out on a camping trip is no easy feat. It’s not anything like going camping with a group of adults, or with your friends. For taking out your family you need to plan for the needs of each and every member of your household, including your canine relatives.
I know a lot of people who always dream of taking their family and pets, out on a camping trip.
But the thoughts of the enormous challenges that may arise when preparing kids and pets for a day out in the woods has always hold them back.
Well, Let me assure you.
It’s doable. I’ve been there before. Many of the hacks outlined below not only saved the day, but on few occasions saved our lives.
And to help you take your family camping experience to a whole new level,
we have created this guide which would not only help you to plan a better family camping trip,
but also how to tackle any unplanned circumstances during your trip.
And for your convenience we have further broke this guide it into seven parts.
Quick Navigation (What You Will Get From This Article)
Tips For Camping With Kids.
1. Enforce Fire Rules.
Children are always fascinated by campfires. If your campsite permits it, I don’t see why you should not build one. But you must enforce fire rules. Small rocks are handy tools to protect your toddlers and kids from camp fire. And they can add a touch of class. Getting your kids involved in gathering the stones will become a sort of entertainment for them. Just make sure you keep an eye on things.
2. Child Size Sleeping Bags.
If you’re taking your kids along a camping trip, make sure you get them sleeping pads specifically designed for little ones. To save money, many parents use their old sleeping for their kids. But a child will be far more comfortable in a kid-size sleeping bag than in that old rundown kit that daddy has abandoned.
3. Baby Wipes.
When it comes to camping with kids, you can’t go wrong with baby wipes. Remember to take along several packs. They’re perfect for that time when water supply is low, or when you need to clean the kids without using much water. Antibacterial wipes are perfect when your kids have been handling dirt. They’re good for wiping hands and feet before kids wriggle into their sleeping bags.
To reduce the trouble that usually springs up when you take your kids along on camping trips, pack along children entertainment. You may want to leave the electronic toys at home but there are still loads of campground-friendly games and toys you can look into. Squirt guns, ball-based games like soccer and baseball, coloring books, magnifying glasses are some stuff that will add to your kids’ fun. And if you want to take this to a whole new dimension, you can pack along an extra tent your kids can use as a play area. This is good if you don’t want your kids to spend too much time in the sun.
5. Hand Washing Station Is A Must.
Your kids will quickly lose themselves in the excitement that comes with finding themselves out in the wild and will start getting involved in their surroundings. To prevent health emergencies, basic rules of hygiene must be followed. You can make a simple hand washing station by using a jug with an open and close spout. In addition, you will need a foot wash basin to ‘decontaminate’ your kids before they come into the tent or sleep. Baby baths with flat bottoms are great options for foot washing stations.
6. Children Hates The Dark.
While you will need all the help you can get during the day to rein in your kids at campsite and keep them wandering away, you will find them more apprehensive and controlled during the night. To turn the trip to a wonderful experience, you must invest in lighting gadgets. Glow sticks are superb and can be worn on the body to help you track your kids when it’s dark. Headlamps are handy too and make sure each camper comes with their own. To make sure there is always a form of light in the tent at night, get some cheap glow-in-the-dark ropes.
7. Get Them Involved.
Getting your kids involved in organization and packing can take away some stress off you. And it can make the camping trip worthwhile for them. This can be as simple as making them know that “Ken’s toys are in the brown sack.” And that they should “return spoons to the red tub after each use.”
Tips For Camping With Pets
1. Research Beforehand.
I have seen people been turned away from a campsite for bringing their dogs along. Make sure the rules of your proposed camping destination permit you to have your pet with you. Do your homework properly. Go online or call the appropriate authorities to make sure you can bring your pet along. Even if pets are allowed, each campsite has different laws concerning how animals are kept in the camp.
2. Use A Bandanna As A Substitute Muzzle.
While your dog may not require a muzzle at home, it may be necessary at a camping site since you will likely come across other campers and pets. Thankfully, you don’t need to cough out money to get a nice muzzle. You can put up a makeshift muzzle from bandanna in less than 10 minutes. And if you’re not the DIY type, Amazon has some premium dog muzzles at affordable rates. But first, you may want to go through this do’s and don’ts before putting a muzzle on your dog.
3. Use Oil To Dispose Of Ticks.
Your furry friends will definitely be exposed to ticks while out camping. While there are over-the-counter mixtures that kill ticks, many of these have side effects. The most harmless way to clear your pet of ticks is to use oil. And it’s super easy to apply. Baby oil or any lubricating oil will do. Just drop enough oil to cover the tick and leave for a few minutes. The tick will suffocate. You can then use a pair of tweezers to remove the detached tick. Make sure you don’t squeeze the tick when you’re removing. Fluid from a squashed tick can cause a problem for your pet.
4. Baby Socks Are Valid Booties For Protecting Paws.
No matter the terrain of your proposed campsite, your pet needs something to protect its paws from thorns and sharp rock edges. Going online and selecting the perfect paw protector will not take you more than a few minutes. Or you can just take along a pair of unused baby socks which works perfectly well in this situation.
5. Sleeping Pad For Kids Works Well For Dogs Too.
Are you worried about how you will keep your beloved pet warm at night? Just look for old kid-sized sleeping pads and blanket lying around the house. And if you can’t find any, a visit to the local thrift store will get you what you want without you breaking the bank.
6. Prepare For Emergencies.
Accidents do happen anytime. As you prepare for emergencies for your family, prepare for your pet as well.
Take along this first aid books which also contain instructions for attending to pets.
Moreover, I fond this article quite helpful in regarding ‘Dog First Aid Kit Essentials’.
7. Understand Your Pet.
If you have been having issues taking your pet outside then you’ll probably have problems having them along on your camping trip. I would suggest you first deal with these personality issues before attempting to take your pet to that trip you’ve been looking forward to. Pets, especially dogs, should be able to obey simple voice commands. This can make a huge difference between safety and danger.
Tips For Setting Camping Tents.
1. Survey The Site.
It is best to survey the site immediately you arrive and get familiar with the landscape, especially if it’s a new campground to you. This will afford you the opportunity to access your campground neighbors. It will also give you firsthand knowledge of the atmosphere on ground. Not doing this has sometimes caused me to set up tent beside noisy campers in the past.
2. Fallen Trees And Debris Are Bad Signals.
Look out for fallen trees and debris at the site where you want to set up your tent. This may indicate that the area is susceptible to storms. Setting up camp under widow makers can lead to medical emergencies. One rule of thumb I often follow is to keep a distance between my tent and dead trees since they can fall at any time.
3. Big Trees Can Provide Good Cover.
On the other hand, a big tree with a good cover can be an advantage not only during rain but when the weather is hot.
4. Knowledge Of Wind Direction Can Be Handy.
Before setting up your tent, make sure you note the direction of the wind. This will be helpful if you’re using a popular campground. You don’t want your family to be breathing in smokes from other campers’ fire. It will also help you when you’re building your own firepit. Nobody wants to sleep in a smoke-filled tent.
5. Activity Area Within The Tent.
When camping with kids, always consider bringing a bit bigger tent. The reason for that is if children get bore on the surroundings or if whether in not good, they may end up in tent. In Such scenario you should have a space to play some board-games our do some other activities together.
6. Old Area Rug.
To recreate a home-like comfort for your family in the camp, bring along an old area rug to spread in your tent. This will help you manage dirt and your feet will thank you for it at bedtime.
I’ll never use a tent that doesn’t come with a vestibule. I can’t imagine sacrificing the extra comfort a vestibule offers for anything. I use the vestibule to store gear, prepare meals and change out of wet kit. If you’re going to be sharing tent with other people, then I highly recommend you get a tent with a vestibule or get an add-on for your old tent.
Tips For Camping In RV.
1. Power Check.
You can’t enjoy a trip in an RV without a good power supply. Though most RV’s come with a power generator but usage cost can add up pretty quickly. One thing savvy campers has been doing is to bring along a portable generator. Gas generator is a no-no for me in an RV so, I always go for the rechargeable ones.
To remove much hassle from your camping, download a good RV camping app. The AllStays Camp and RV app, for example, will help you find an overnight parking lot and dump stations.
3. Camping Clubs For Discounts.
If you use RV parks a lot, why don’t you join discount camping clubs and enjoy the money-saving features that come with being a member. Because there is so many clubs, you still need to do a little research to get the best one for your trips.
4. Regular Tire Pressure Check Is A Must.
There is nothing that can mar your RV camping trip than having a blowout in an undesirable location. You should always check tire pressure before every trip. If your trip is going to last for days, always check it when you’re at an RV park or where roadside service is readily available.
If you’re new to RV camping, then forget the idea of towing your jeep along. Manipulating an RV with a hooked up vehicle can raise U-turn and reverse issues for even experienced campers.
6. Take The Advantage.
If your family is going with you on this trip, then plan out your trip in such a way to touch a lot of places. Don’t drive for too long at a stretch. This can be hard on the kids. Even if you have a main destination, plan to check out exciting places along the way.
Camping Tips For Packing And Organization.
1. Planning Ahead Is Key.
Do you want to make your experience at your campsite memorable? Learn how to organize your camping supplies to the smallest detail. Labeling correctly all the things you need can make a real difference in how your trip turns out. Get stackable plastic tubs and label them according to categories like Food, Bathroom, Kitchen supplies, Clothes, Tents, etc. Believe me, there is nothing like knowing exactly where you can get anything you need anytime. Personally, I start packing for any camping trip at least 2 weeks ahead.
2. A Checklist Is A Must.
As a regular camper, I still find always find out I forget a very important item at home. And if you’re going camping with your family, the risk of forgetting is even higher. What has been helping me is to create a checklist. Now the probability of forgetting an item at home is small. If you’re no stickler for written checklist, go with something like the Moonlight apps that helps with preparing for a camping trip.
3. Make Utility Your Watchword.
Whether you’re packing things for the kitchen, fire, food, sleep, consider first equipment that have myriad of uses. Packing tools for everything will only make you forget things or bug you down. For example, instead of packing different soaps and detergents for bathing, washing plates and clothes, etc just go for a product like Dr. Bonner’s Unscented Soap which has a myriad of uses.
4. Clothes As Pillows.
Instead of packing pillows for each members of your family, just take a pillowcase for each person. Change clothes and jackets can be used to stuff pillow at campsite. This will reduce the number of bulky stuff you need to pack. And the pillowcase serves as extra storage option. Packing your outfits and rolling them together is another way to save valuable space.
5. Duct Tapes Are Lifesavers.
I heard of a popular hiker who forgot his pack of duct tapes at home and had to abandon the trip altogether. That is to tell you how important this multipurpose tool is. As a camper, a duct tape is one thing you don’t want to be without. One way you can be sure you’ll always have some around you at all time is to wrap a little around your water bottle or any essential item you always have with you.
6. How To Pack A Car.
Campground frustration can start from home if you’re not careful. The way you pack your family items in the car can give you issues at campsite. What you can do is to bring out everything you are taking with you and put them beside your car. Looking through everything will let you know what will go in first, items that should not go under other items and where to place each item. Heavier items usually go in first. You can then build up from that.
7. Compartmentalize The Items In Different Containers.
The best and most effective way to pack for your camping is to pack different category of items in different bags. For e.g. all food stuff should be pack together, so is for the cookware, tools, first aid items, personal care items and so forth. Through this technique not only you will find unpack a lot more convenient but also reduce the chances of forgetting any item to pack.
Camping Food Hacks.
1. Learn Some Recipes That Taste Great With Minimal Ingredients.
Packing food items for a family camping trip can be a tiring task, making many campers to leave many items at home or pack too little. This can lead to bland meals at the campsite. But be assured that you can enjoy decent meals on your trips. Get a recipe book or research online for meals that taste great with minimal ingredients. As an example, I’ll choose couscous over pasta and rice anytime. It requires no special demand or skill to prepare and can do with little water.
2. Multi-Purpose Cooking Utensils Are The Bomb.
It is non-stick and very easy to clean. It comes with a mini stove and fold-able knife, fork and spoon for quick meals.
3. Prepping Ingredients At Home Is Important.
Another way you can reduce the stress in food preparation at campsite is to prep your ingredients at home and take only what you need. One strategy is to plan for foods that use the same ingredients. This will reduce the number of items you need to pack.
4. Hygiene And Food Safety Rules.
Because you’re out there in the wild doesn’t mean you should jettison the hygiene rules you’ve been taught since early childhood. Wash your hands regularly and before every meals. Moist towelettes and antibacterial wipes I mentioned earlier can help a lot with this.
5. Food Preservation For Longer Trips.
Yes. You can still enjoy perishable food items even when you’re on a trip that is going to last for days. You only need to bring a well-insulated cooler along and some blocks of ice. Remember to keep temperature in the cooler to below 400F. To preserve for a longer period, make sure cooler is out of direct sunlight.
6. Tic Tac Container For Spices.
One thing I see many experienced camper do is to store spices and food ingredients in small containers. Old Tic Tac containers are perfect for this. Pill organizers, eye droppers and straws are also excellent DIY containers for some food items.
Make up your mind on how you’re going to prepare your meals. If you’re not comfortable with using campfire to cook, go for one of these amazing packable stoves.
Tips For Camping In Rain.
1. Look Out The Terrain.
Rain doesn’t need to prevent you from having a wholesome camping experience. First thing is to make sure you don’t site your tent where it is likely to be flooded if there is a downpour. Slopes, soft ground or depression in the ground will make your life miserable during a heavy rain.
2. Plastic Bags Are Super Useful.
When it comes to camping in the rain, plastic bags are dependable allies. These can work wonders. You don’t even need to spend extra on these. Bin bags and freezer bags can be used to protect your campsite valuables.
3. Tarps Are Cheap But Valuable.
Tarps are more than rainy day equipment for campers. They offer incredible options for camping in all kinds of weather. And you know what? They’re so inexpensive. I can’t imagine going on a camping trip without taking one along.
4. Pack Rain Gear.
If you’re planning a camping trip in the middle of spring, then make a list of kits you must not leave home without. The thing is, many of your dry weather camping gears may not cut it in the rain. You will need stuff like synthetic clothing and sleeping bags.
5. Keep Inside Dry.
Even amidst a downpour, the inside of your tent should be able to give you the needed warmth and dryness. Don’t dive into the tent when you’re soaked. Remove your wears and kits using a vestibule or plastic bag before you step inside your tent. Just don’t forget to dry out any wet gear before you pack them to prevent mold and mildew.
6. Watch Out For Lightning.
Make sure the spot you site your tent is not the highest geographical point in your immediate surroundings. Lightning is one risk that comes with camping in the rain. A change in the outlook of the cloud may signify a coming rain. So, get off your boat, if you’re in the water, and look for a good cover.
7. Making Fire In The Rain.
For rain camping, you will want to bring some newspapers. These are excellent fire starters when every other thing is waterlogged. Store them in plastic bags. Cotton balls rubbed with petroleum jelly are great fire starters too. You will also find some excellent fire sticks on Amazon.
Camping Survival Tips (When Things Go Wrong).
1. When You’re Lost.
Don’t panic. Try and mark the spot you first realized you’re lost with something that can be seen from afar. Look for temporary shelter. Explore your surroundings but don’t move too far away from the marked spot. Find wood to make a fire and look for food sources.
2. When Wild Animal Ate Your Food.
The best thing in my opinion is to pack up and return home, unless you’re experienced camper who can survive on nature alone. If you’re with other campers, you can ask around if they can spare you some food.
3. Noisy Neighbors.
Talk with them. If they don’t stop, just move to another campsite. You can also talk with the management of the park but I prefer to move somewhere else.
4. Never Bring Brand New / Untested Gear To Camping.
If you wants a thing form all this this article be it this one. I have seen so many camping trip going south just because daddy doesn’t know how to assemble the brand new tent, or he found out the his brand new multi-tool kit doesn’t have the required keys. Or the portable charger, camp-light were not even half as good as their packing. So make it a thumb rule to always unpack and thoroughly check any new gear or accessories before making a trip.
5. You Or Someone Gets Hurt.
All established parks have measures in place to take care of emergencies. But if you’re using a loosely managed campsite, then find all means to get the person to nearest hospital after administering first aid. That is why it’s always good to keep your cellphones somewhere accessible on your camping trips.
6. It Rains When You Didn’t Prepare For It.
Get your ass back home. Don’t endanger your life thinking you will live it through. Many unprepared campers have succumbed to the elements.
7. Criminals Around.
If you notice criminal activity around your campsite, don’t play the detective. You might get hurt. Move away to a safe place and report to the authorities.
There you have it, things that have kept me going through the years. Did you enjoy it?
While some hacks are optional, depending on how you prefer to do things, many are very important tips which all serious campers must take to heart.
Do you have a valuable hack you think has been left out in this list? Please add as a comment. And don’t forget to share this post if you like it.
I’m looking forward to your comments…