Camping with Family? Keep These Tips in Mind for an Unforgettable Experience

boys in bath tub near glamping tent

It’s not often that we find novel, unique experiences to partake in with family but sometimes they’re an essential way to change up our routines and find new ways to bond. Movie nights and family dinners can get repetitive, and camping is an excellent way to break the routine and try something new. 

If you’ve camped with family before, you may be familiar with some of the challenges and things to keep in mind, in which case some of the tips in this post may serve as a reminder. 

In case you’ve never gone camping with family, there are a few things to think about before you actually leave for your trip, from the gear you pack to the canvas tent you use to sleep in (wall tent, bell tent, cabin tent), to the meals you prepare before taking off. 

There are several reasons to go camping with your family, but in the end it really all comes down to this: going camping is fun and provides you with an excellent opportunity to have great life experiences with your spouse, cousins or kids. It also provides you with the chance to teach your kids valuable outdoor skills and life lessons. 

Remember, camping is more than just cooking outside and sleeping in a tent. You can also go hiking, backpacking, swimming, biking, motorcycle riding, among many other creative activities. Plan out the kinds of activities that you’d like to do beforehand. You don’t have to adhere to a strict schedule, but you should have an idea of what you want to do. 

If you’re going camping with family, you should think about:

What to pack for your trip

One of the trickiest aspects of camping is the planning and packing part of it. 

A quick tip for packing quickly and in a sensible way is to pack using storage bins. This is because bins can be used both to help with organization and to protect your items from the elements.

Next, always bring extra blankets. It can get very cold at night when you’re camping out in the woods, and the more blankets the better! Also, sleeping mats and a ground sheet for your tent can help with insulation and protection from the cold ground. 

It’s a good idea to prepare for all kinds of weather with the clothes you pack. Bring shorts and t-shirts for hot weather and pants and coats for cooler moments. You never truly know what the weather is going to be like, so it’s smart to be prepared for unexpected winds or rain. 

A first aid kit can always come in handy and save a lot of trouble. Cuts, scrapes, and bug bites are almost inevitable when you’re out in the woods. Keep a complete first aid kit on hand at all times, and familiarize yourself with the internal contents.

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The tent you’re going to use for camping

Canvas tents are generally the best option when going camping with family. They’re the most durable, versatile and comfortable tents you can use on your trip. Like all canvas tents from White Duck Outdoors, they should be made with 100% army duck cotton canvas so they can stand up to any kind of weather and last a lifetime. You should also ensure your tent is treated with a PFC-free water repellent, mold and UV resistant finish. 

The tent you use to go camping with your family should be large enough to fit everyone along with all of your camping gear and supplies. A good idea is to go with a tent that is rated to hold one more person than is in your family. For example, if you are a family of four, go with a tent that is rated to sleep five people. A tent rated to sleep four people would likely literally only be able to sleep four people without much, if any, room for supplies.

A wall tent is one of the best kinds of tents to use for family camping trips for this very reason: they are normally much larger than the cheaper and smaller polyester tents like many people use. Also, wall tents are normally much more durable than cheaper polyester tents as well, and can withstand the elements such as rain, moisture, and humidity. 

Canvas wall tents are made from a heavy-duty canvas fabric and galvanized aluminum poles, which makes them extremely useful for camping all year round. They’re spacious, with enough room for camping supplies, furniture and to stand up and walk around, and you can use them for large or small groups, depending on the size. 

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Meals to prepare before and at the campsite

A big part of your camping preparation should be meals. Camping meals are not always the easiest to make, especially when you don’t have running water or a refrigerator on hand.

Always prepare meals at home, and prep the food before you leave. This includes everything from chopping veggies to gathering ingredients for tacos to making and freezing casseroles.

The best kinds of meals to make are ones that you can prepare at home and then cook over the campfire. Think stew, tacos, cheeseburgers, seasoned veggies, soups, frozen pasta, and so on. Always keep your food cold and pack plenty of plates and utensils.

When it comes to desserts, there are plenty of options for preparing over the campfire as well. You can go with something more complex and different like campfire apple crisp, or you can opt for the traditional and simple roasted marshmallows. 

people making deserts while camping

A couple of extra trips for camping with the family

Involve the whole family in preparations

While the entire family is going camping for a few days, they should also take part in the preparations. Bringing people together for all the preparation can make them more invested in the trip and feel like a bigger part of it. 

For your kids especially, involving them in the preparations will help them feel valued. You can even have them make important decisions such as what meals you will be eating on certain nights. For more direction on making it a time to remember for the little ones, you can check out our 7 essential tips for camping with kids

Prepare for a rainy day

Finally, while you may have fun activities like backpacking or biking in mind, you should prepare for a rainy day as well. Remember, you can never truly predict the weather. For this reason, think of games and activities that the family can enjoy while inside the wall tent or other kind of canvas tent.