In last week’s edition of Your Outdoor Packing List, we listed some items that make up the foundation of your packing list for a weekend camping trip. This week we’re going to expand on that by adding kids to the mix. Camping is a great way to teach kids about nature, personal responsibility, and the joys of dirt, but there are a few things you want to make sure you have in your arsenal for things to go smoothly. Although kids will be kids and that means a certain element of unpredictability, the better you prepare, the more enjoyable camping with kids can be.
Today’s Packing List: Camping With Kids
- Bigger Tent
Tent space is valuable real estate when you’re camping with friends, let alone kids. Especially if your kids are little, you’ll want them nearby, but you might want just the tiniest sliver of privacy. This is where a multi-room tent will come in handy. There are some great multi-room tents on the market that keep the family all together, but allow a degree of separation, which older kids will definitely appreciate. If you’re camping with kids, invest in a tent that will provide a little elbow room, and enjoy the peace as fights over space gradually dissipate.
You’re out in the woods, now what? Although kids are generally pretty good at finding ways to entertain themselves, leaving them to their own devices throughout the camping trip is just asking for trouble, so don’t forget to add games to your packing list. Whether it’s card games, scavenger hunts, or interactive play, engaging your kids in activities with you not only keeps them out of trouble, but creates a lasting bond and wonderful memories.
- Kitchen Set-Up
Let’s face it, the Jetboil cooking system you love so much on solo adventures would buckle under the pressure of cooking for an entire family, and kids have notoriously short patience when they’re hungry. You’ll probably remember to bring kid-friendly snacks to tide them over until mealtime, but don’t skimp on the proper kitchen equipment. A two-burner stove will be a welcome timesaver when it comes to food preparation for your family, and in addition to being inexpensive, they’re incredibly easy to find.
- Night Vision
No packing list for camping would be complete without flashlights and lanterns, but these items can be impractical for kids’ use. Instead of handing your kids a flashlight, why not try a headlamp? Kids will get a kick out of wearing one, freeing up their hands to catch bugs, wash, or use the bathroom, and having it securely affixed to their head lessens the likelihood of a flashlight being dropped down a portapotty or getting damaged.
- Familiar Friends
Most kids have a favorite item; whether it’s a toy, a book, or a rock, it gives a sense of security to the kid who has it near. Being in a strange place is likely to intensify that need, so make sure you don’t forget your kids’ teddy bear or secret decoder ring on your next family camping trip. After all, don’t you head out to the great outdoors to escape anxiety and sleepless nights?
Photo via ND Strupler