October 18, 2006 - Admin
Careful Planning Makes for a Fun Filled Family Camping Experience
Camping means different things to different people. For some, it’s going out with a camper and practically all of the comforts of home.
Today for me, roughing it is when the chemical toilet in the Bluebird backs up. Or Heaven forbid, the Onan won’t crank! But for many years, my camping trips were the total other extreme – going out and sleeping under the stars (if the weather agrees, otherwise, it’s sleeping in the midst of a rainstorm) and foraging for my food.
In my opinion, the best way assure a fun filled family camping trip is to plan ahead. Talk it over as a family, plan what each family member is going to want and need to make this camping trip both a real family adventure and a pleasurable experience.
One of the things you will want to decide is where you are going to camp. Especially for family trips, I would recommend an established camp ground. You will have the security of knowing that the area is well maintained and as safe as possible. Things such as snake bites or wandering wild life can really put a dampener on a family camping adventure. In choosing the camp ground, you will also want to look into what kind of activities, if any, are offered by the campground or are offered in the vicinity. Internet searches are excellent for gathering such information.
Once you have chosen the ideal location, you will then want to begin to plan what to take with you. You need to choose the tent that will be right for your family. Shop around; see what is offered and what the best features are. Some tents offer ease in setting up, which is a big plus for some of us, while others require tent stakes and ropes.
If you plan to use sleeping bags, an adult size sleeping bag does not necessarily mean one size fits all. Do you want some sort of mattresses under the sleeping bags or do you plan on sleeping right on the floor of the tent? Tents and other outdoor gear needs are discussed at the site listed at the end of this article.
How about lighting? You will probably want some sort of large battery or gas operated lantern for your tent. You should also supply each camper with their own flashlight, in case they get separated from other family members or for night trips to and from the bathroom facilities.
Food is another important factor. You’ll need to consider what you will be taking for food and what you will need in way of storage for it, such as an ice chest, etc.
Most camping areas have a cooking area. Do you want to bring your own grill or use the outside “cookers” which may mean waiting your turn?
Don’t forget to take the can opener if the food that you are taking with you will require one. One of the most frustrating things on a camping trip can be holding a can of beans in your hand and trying to figure how to get through the metal that is separating you and your family from your supper. Don’t forget cooking and eating utensils. Eating with your fingers can be fun with the right foods, but can also tend to get really messy.
Take extra clothing along. Since the weather is getting colder you just may be glad that you did. It’s much more comfortable to take off the extra clothing you brought versus wishing you had more to put on. Layered clothing is a great way to enjoy both cold crisp mornings and warm afternoons.
A first aid kit is important for any unfortunate minor injuries. Bring activities that can be enjoyed inside the tent as well as those for outside, such as books, games, just in case inclement weather drives you inside. Plan for things that could go wrong, and then be grateful when all goes well.
Think about asking other (possibly more camping experienced) family members or friends to go camping as a group. Sometimes this can lead to double the fun, or sometimes not. This is something that you will have to decide for yourself.
Above all, have a fun-filled family camping experience! Don’t forget the camera, you will want pictures…
Wesley Slade writes articles on camping, hunting and outdoor gear. For more of his articles on camping, hunting, and outdoor topics, please visit www.slades.biz.