Family camping trips are a staple of the summer season. While they often serve as a great way to get away from home and reconnect with nature, wilderness adventures take some serious planning, preparation, and groundwork (no pun intended) in order to run smoothly. Whether you're camping or glamping this summer, follow these quick tips and tricks to ensure your family has the camping experience of a lifetime:
1. Prepare for the Worst
This one may sound dismal, but it's important. While it's likely that you won't run into too many emergency situations on your camping trip, it's always best to be prepared. One of the biggest inconveniences of wilderness getaways is the limited cellphone service in case anyone needs to call emergency services. Do your best to find a spot where you can secure a cell signal and always make sure that your phone is charged in case you get lost and/or need to make a call for help. Also be sure to pack a first aid kit in case anyone finds themselves in need of medical attention.
2. Utilize Storage Bins
Switch out the duffel bags for storage bins. Not only do they stack more efficiently when packing up the car, but they can also double as extra seats around the campfire. Additionally, if you plan to camp around a body of water, storage bins have a one-up on other packing options due to their waterproof exterior.
3. Bring Extra Sleep Supplies
When camping in a tent, it's always a great idea to bring extra blankets and/or mattress pads to line the tent flooring and make for a softer, more comfortable sleeping situation. Be sure to clear any rocks from the ground before setting up your tent so you don't have a lumpy, uncomfortable sleep.
4. Bug Protection
With camping trips, also comes bug bites. When heading out to your campsite, always remember that you'll be sharing a space with lots of insects who call the woods their home year-round. While most of the critters who reside in the woods will, for the most part, leave you be, ticks and mosquitoes are likely to be a bit more curious and invasive. While it's essential to pack an ample amount of bug spray before you head out the door, it's also important to note that you can also concoct your own DIY bug repellent to ward off tick bites. Simply pick up some tea tree oil, water, and a spray bottle from your local hardware and/or grocery store. Add one part tea tree oil and two parts water to the spray bottle and Voila! You now have a natural solution to ward off ticks/tick bites.
5. Prepare Meals in Advance
Trying to prepare meals at your campsite may prove difficult, depending on the resources available and what you want to make. Think of some meal ideas ahead of time so you can make them in the comfort of your home and pack them in a cooler to enjoy at a later date. Some meal/snack ideas that you can easily prepare ahead of time include: chopped veggies, soups, and frozen meat or pasta.
6. Visit Ranger Stations
If you're camping in a national or state park, chances are there will be daily or weekly activities led by rangers employed by the park. These activities incorporate things such as crafts, hikes, scavenger hunts, and animal sightings.
7. Plan for Rainy Days
Much like bug bites, rainy days are inevitable. Although you can't control the rain, you can, however, control your fun. Plan some rainy day activities ahead of time so you can be prepared to make the most of the potentially gloomy weather. Pack some games, card decks, and toys for the kiddos to keep the entire family occupied and happy in the rain.
8. Find the Shade
Do your best to park your RV or pitch your tent in a shady spot. While there will be more mosquitoes in the shade, you'll be glad to relax and cool off out of the sunlight.
9. Clothes, Clothes, Clothes
Be sure to pack clothes for any type of weather that you may encounter. While you will want shorts, t-shirts, and swimsuits to stay cool, you'll also want sweatshirts and pants to protect from bugs as the sun goes down.
10. Pack Binoculars
Binoculars are little heavy and clunky when it comes to packing, you will be glad you have them for activities such as star-gazing and animal sightings.
Ultimately, while camping trips do require a fair amount of preparation, they also have the potential to be the family highlight of the summer. Perhaps most importantly, don't forget your camera! Share your favorite camping memories and tag us on Facebook at