Beginner Camping Tips Series
We are going to kick off our beginner camping tips series with how to start planning your next family camping trip. There will be numerous posts in this series that I’ll be sharing over the next month or so. We will wrap this series up into a low cost guide so that you can always refer back to it. The guide will include checklists too.
Planning Your Family Camping Trip
Camping takes just as much planning as any other type of fun family vacation, especially if you you’re taking kids along. We currently camp with our older grandchildren (8 years old and up) so it’s not as hard as it might be planning a camping trip with younger kids. I’m going to share some beginner camping tips throughout this post and series and how to camp in the great outdoors.
First Step: Choose Your Destination
The very first thing to do when planning your family camping trip is to choose your destination. Where you plan to go will will help with the rest of the decisions that you need to make about the camping trip – this includes what clothing to pack, all the supplies you’ll need, and the activities you plan to do.
Without knowing the destination, you really can’t plan anything else. So, go ahead and pick your destination first.
Second Step: Research the Area
Once you know your destination, research the area to figure out all the camping accommodation options. Here are some questions to ask….Are you allowed to use a tent? Can you tent camp in an RV spot? Is there a place for your camper/RV? Do you have access to electricity? Are there cabins for rent? Do they have toilets and showers? This information will help you plan what to bring with you on your trip.
Third Step: Plan What You’ll Do There
Once you know what’s available taking children’s ages and everyone’s interests into consideration, start planning what you’ll do there. Don’t plan every single moment of every single day of your trip because you want to allow for time to just hang out and read, rest in a hammock, play games or just enjoy nature. By having at least one planned activity a day you can ensure that everyone gets a chance to enjoy their trip by doing something they love.
Fourth Step: Create Backup Plans for Inclement Weather
Weather can change on a dime. Be sure to bring or find things that you can do if the weather doesn’t cooperate. It has rained every time we have gone camping (except for our most recent trip) but we have always made the best of it. Have plenty of reading material, games, coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, etc. You can still have a relaxing time reading real books and connecting as a family in other ways.
Fifth Step: Consider the Ages of Your Kids
When you are planning anything, it’s important to take the ages of your children into consideration. If you have a variety of ages, then you can switch up activities often so that no one gets bored or upset.
Plan activities around nap times and bedtimes. Even though you’re on vacation, children do thrive with normal schedules. It will make it easier on the whole family.
Sixth Step: Plan Out Your Meals and Snacks
Take time to plan meals and snacks that everyone will enjoy. If you’re doing a lot more physical activity than normal, you may want to pack more snacks. Keep it simple and healthy too.
We have only camped close to home but we love to pre-cook brats and sausages and then grill them at the campsite. Cooking beforehand has been a lifesaver. We always take too much food so I’m not the best person to give camping meal suggestions. Once we get a few more trips under our belt, we’ll be sharing more camping meals and snack ideas.
Seventh Step: Pack the Right Clothing
The other important thing to plan for is what clothing everyone will pack for the camping trip. You most likely won’t have a way to wash anything while you’re camping, so make sure to bring extra clothing and shoes for each person for each day. You may not need them all, I rarely do but plan for at least two outfits a day. You’ll be glad you did.
Eighth Step: Take the Right Gear
Whether it’s hiking boots, water shoes, or a raincoat (depending on where you’re going), you need to bring the right gear to keep everyone safe and comfortable. What you bring is highly dependent on what is available from the campsite, or whether you’re roughing it in the backwoods or not.
Ninth Step: Create a Checklist So You Don’t Forget Anything
While you’re planning your next camping trip be sure to create a checklist for everything that you want to bring along. Following a checklist will make packing a lot easier. As you start packing for your trip, make sure to mark things off the list. The older kids can make their own checklist but you might want to look it over to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything.
Planning is essential to have a successful and fun family camp out. It doesn’t matter if it’s just an overnight trip or longer; planning makes everything go more smoothly. There might be some hiccups but just go with the flow.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed these beginner camping tips. Like I mentioned above there will be a whole camping series over the next few weeks/months. In the meantime you can find some camping tips we have shared here.
Be sure to let us know if you are planning any upcoming family camping trips. We always love to hear about other camping experiences.
Do you go camping? What is your favorite place to camp?
Eva Keller says
Great tips! We did our first camping trip in March and April for 3 weeks and we planned as much as we could, but we definitely learned some things along the way and we are ready for our next one in a few weeks.
Love this post – I know a lot of parents who loved to camp but are intimidated by camping with kids. These are super helpful tips!
Thank you! Camping with kids is fun.
We used to camp when our kids were younger, but it has been years. We have been talking about taking it back up again. Thanks for reminding me of things I have forgotten over the years!
Yes please do. It’s such a good time to do it right now. Relaxing!
This is so helpful! I’m definitely going to apply those tips in my next camping trip. Thank you for sharing!
Awesome! Glad it was helpful to you.
rose lewis says
Hi Ilike your post on camping. I live in Alaska where I have camped and fished since 1978. I am now a retired senior and I still go camping but in my nice camper (home away from home!). People new to camping need to read the Post, by the way, great tips! By reading this Post new campers will have a good time! In Alaska if you go camping and hiking in Bear teritory Bear Spray and Bug Spray is best to bring. I love going camping and fishing even though I am a senior. Your tips on camping will help (Green Horns) or newcomers to camping have a great time!
Great tips! We are going on our first camping next month and all the wonderful insight you have provided are going to be so useful! Thank you!
Yay Manisha! I hope you’ll share all about your camping trip. Feel free to leave another comment with a link to a blog post if you write about it.
Great tips, we have talked about camping but haven’t tried it. This gives me a lot of good info to help us make a decision.
Hi Breanne! Thanks and I can’t wait to hear if you decide to go camping.