7 Essential Tips for Camping With Kids

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It’s often not an easy task to get children away from their screens or toys and convince them of the joys and enjoyment of spending a couple of days at a remote campsite, away from their usual routines. If done well though, a camping trip with the kids can be a lifelong memory. 

Planning a camping trip with kids can be a challenging and fun experience. It can be quite different to planning a solo or friends camping trip, where you’d rough it in the woods for a couple of days. 

There are several factors to keep in mind, from the preparations to the kind of wall tent you’re going to use, to the meals you want to prepare and bring along for the trip. 

In general, when going on a camping trip with kids, you want to:

Involve Them In The Preparations

Involving your kids in your preparations for your camping trip will help them feel valued and can aid in building up their anticipation for the adventure. You can have them help pack items in bins, and even have them select what meals the family will eat on certain nights or which activities they would like to do. 

If the kids are young and it’s their first camping trip, it’s a good idea to instill in them a love for camping right from the outset, and getting them excited about the packing and pre-planning can be a great way to do that.

kids preparing a camping tent

Make Your Kids Responsible For Their Own Gear

Extending the idea of getting the children involved in the preparation, you can have your kids choose their own clothes and items that they would like to bring along. Of course, you may want to double-check before you officially set out and leave, but giving your kids this kind of responsibility can be an important life lesson and a great learning experience! 

A good approach could be to give each child their own duffel bag and allow them to bring anything that they can fit into it. You can also bring them along on your pre-camping shopping trips if you’re getting them gear for the first time. This gives them the opportunity to pick out the kinds of clothes, tools, shoes and other essentials they want to bring with them.

Think Carefully About Your Site

Your choice of the campsite should be something that you research ahead of time as part of your preparations. However, camping with children brings in some extra considerations than if you were to go camping with adults or teenagers only.

For instance, you’ll need to choose a campsite next to hiking trails that are much easier to hike. You also will definitely need to choose a campsite next to water (such as a lake or a creek), as water will be essential for keeping your kids clean and for preparing food. 

Creeks and lakes also open up a big variety of games that your kids can play to help keep them happy. Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or just swimming are excellent ways to keep the little ones entertained and constantly moving and exercising! 

When pitching your tent, make sure you do so under natural boughs and branches, as this will help to obstruct the harmful UV rays of the sun, as well as rain and condensation. It’s also good to think about the intensity of the wind, and how you can keep your group out of the way of a direct breeze, so it doesn’t get too cold. 

kids playing in wall tent

Invest in a Good Tent

Your tent can make or break your camping trip. Not only should your tent be high quality and able to withstand the elements, it also needs to be large enough to fit the entire family comfortably. 

Go with a tent that can sleep at least one more person than you have in your family. If you have a family of five, then get a tent sleep rated to sleep six people. The reason for this is that you’ll have additional space for your supplies, gear and just to move around. 

If you’re in a group of adults, it’s easy to use the tent just for sleeping. But when you have kids around, you’re probably going to have more things to keep organized, and they’ll also be spending more time in the tent that you otherwise might. 

Canvas tents are a great option for family camping with children. The natural cotton fibers make for a breathable canvas fabric, which is perfect for regulating the temperature inside the tent and maintaining a comfortable atmosphere. Canvas tents also offer more space and are a lot more durable than synthetic tents, so you generally don’t need to worry about weather conditions. 

One of the best kinds of tents to get is a heavy-duty canvas wall tent because it fits the above criteria perfectly. Wall tents are usually much larger than the usual kinds of tents such as polyester tents and are also much more durable and capable of withstanding the elements better.

Wall tents are named so because of their four vertical walls. While they aren’t traditionally used for family camping, they offer a lot of space and comfort, which can be extremely useful with kids around. 

Other kinds of canvas tents are bell tents, which are also a superb option. 

people making deserts while camping

Make Comfortable Sleep A Priority

It’s a well-known fact that kids can get cranky when they don’t sleep well. This is why you should focus on making sleep a priority. Bring more blankets than you think you need to ensure everyone is kept warm and invest in a good sleeping bag (which also helps to maintain insulation inside of the tent). 

This is another reason why the capacity of the tent is an important factor. Having more floor space in the wall tent can go a long way in ensuring everyone sleeps comfortably and wakes up feeling fresh and energized. 

Bring Meals the Kids Like

Just as important as ensuring comfortable sleep on the camping trip in your canvas wall tent is making sure the kids have food that they like to eat. Meals should be one of the less stressful parts of your trip, so you can focus on the activities and the children are always well fed and in a good mood! 

The meals you choose to take camping should be meals that you can make or prepare at home and then warm up over a campfire. Within these parameters, you can select meals that you know your kids will like. 

When you’re at the campsite, though, there are a few different kinds of desserts you can prepare over the fire that are fairly straightforward and quite delicious. Something as simple as roasting marshmallows over the fire can be a truly enjoyable experience for the little ones and will really bring the camping experience to life. 

kids having camp fire near a tent

Be Flexible to Their Schedules 

Last but not least, remember that you don’t have to adhere to a strict schedule! Camping trips are meant to be fun, and while you can make a list of the things that you’d like to do, at the end of the day, you should do what sounds good to everyone at the time. 

To this end, it’s a good idea to be flexible with what your plans end up being. While the kids may be used to waking, eating and sleeping at certain times at home, camping can be a great getaway and vacation for them, where such timings don’t have to be followed all the time.

If anything, the best camping trips are the ones that are the most spontaneous!