Camping with Kids: What Gear Do I Need?

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After a long winter, we all need some quality time to spend it with our loved ones and welcome the spring. The best way to do it is to plan a camping trip and enjoy the beautiful nature. Depending on your personal desires, preferences, and lifestyle you can choose to plan a family camping trip by the river or, on the other hand, climbing up a mountain.Family Camping trip

Today, more and more people decide to go camping and have a breather from the hustle and bustle of city life. As you’re probably all too painfully aware, one of the most common problems for modern parents is the lack of time, which is why you can only count with a couple of times a year for a prolonged vacation. So, if you want to get the most of it, you’ll have to prepare accordingly.

Whichever way you go about this, there are always some basic rules you need to follow, especially if you’re bringing your tykes with you. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your camping trip and enjoy without worrying about the what-ifs.

Plan Ahead: Of Checklists and Boxes

Organization is everything. Proper planning will save you time in the long run, not to mention your nerves. If want to get the best campsite, you’ll have to make a reservation on time. If you don’t, you might have to go with your second-favorite place, but, let’s face it, it’s second with reason.

First thing’s first – you’ll want to buy or rent a tent big enough for your entire family. If you mean to camp with your kids in the same tent, you’ll need at least 30 square feet per person (for adults), plus at least half that for the kids. If you have teenage kids, they’ll probably need a tent of their own, and you’ll need about 20 feet per person in that case. To put it into perspective, a family of four will need at least a 6-man tent.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect habitat, you’ll need to pay attention to other things, such as safety features, sleeping arrangement, a bit of the 21st century tech, food and fun. Let’s dissect this bit by bit.

Sleeping

Depending on the season, you can choose between few different types of sleeping bags to suit you. Go with something light for summer (a plain hiking bag should do the trick), with a temp rating of 35+ (Fahrenheit, of course), but otherwise, go for broke.Sleeping bag

Tech

If you can wean the kids off their smartphones, all the more power to you, but if they insist on bringing a piece of the 21st century on your camping trip, make sure you have an off-the-grid charger. Don’t be afraid to ban smartphones, though, they’ll thank you for it at a later point.

Safety

First off, knock on wood. But, you’ll need to consider bringing a basic First-aid kit with you. Chances are you already have one such kit around the house, so just go with that. If not, here’s a useful checklist:

  • 20ish bandages (as many different sizes as you can get)
  • 3×3 gauze pads, about half a dozen
  • 5×5 gauze pads, also half a dozen, for variety
  • ACE bandage wrap, 3-inch wide
  • Another ACE bandage wrap, 4-inch wide
  • Adhesive cloth tape
  • A pair of small scissors and tweezers
  • Cotton swabs and balls
  • Gloves, non-latex
  • Non-mercury thermometer
  • A pack or two of cleaning wipes
  • One bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Ziplocs (to dispose of the used bandages and swabs)
  • Some petroleum jelly and a roll of duct tape

On that same note, you should have an entire separate compartment or even a bag for different medications. Again, if you have kids, you probably already have a homemade pharmacy, but in case you don’t, be sure to bring some of the following:

  • A bottle of calamine
  • A tube of aloe vera gel
  • Cortisol cream
  • Diuretics (to help with diarrhea)
  • Laxatives (help with constipation)
  • Charcoal pills (helps a troubled tummy)
  • Antihistamines (in case you or your kids have allergies)
  • Antacids (if you do decide to hunt your food)
  • Ibuprofen, but not aspirin
  • Cough medicine
  • Insulin or any other special medication your kids might require

Food

Unless you’re into the whole hunt-my-own-food deal, you’ll need to make a list of groceries and stop by a store before getting on the road. On that same note, when in doubt about how much food to get, more or less, always go for more.

Fun

Sometimes, nature and fresh air can’t be enough for kids. They need to be entertained all the time. This can take more activities in advance if you decide to camp on the mountain. Camping by the river has that luxury of spending a day in the water and splatter in the shallow.

That’s why you should bring:

  • Toys – camping is the best for volleyball. In the water or on the ground, this can bring a lot of fun and exercise.
  • Mountain bike – a possibility to discover some distant places around your camp area, without a car.
  • Hiking supplies – all you need is spare clothes and some snacks. You don’t have to go far away, it’s better to choose smaller distances for the first time. A well-organized backpack for you and your kids is all you need. This way you can teach them a few basic things about orientation in nature.
  • A rope and string – Sounds funny, but if you want to entertain your children give them something to do. If you’re camping by a river, you can teach them how to fish (provided they don’t teach you first).
  • On a similar note, you can use the rope as a clothes line. If you wash your clothes, you eliminate the need for over-packing.

Remember, if you decide to go to a campsite, you will most likely have more comfort. Many camps today offer a kitchen, toilet and shower cabins. On the other hand, if you decide to go on your own, you will pass a lot cheaper and get the absolute freedom.

Camping By the Water

If your family is yearning for a summer dip and your children enjoy the water, make sure they are safe.

Life jackets

If you’re all about swimming and sailing be sure that everyone is safe before taking your craft on the water. They should meet safety standards and be based on your kid’s weight and size. Short of that, go for a pair of inflatable armbands or a kickboard. Safety first!

Sunblock cream

Depending on the time of the season, you should choose between different sunscreen factors in order to protect your kids. This is especially important when you camp near the river because the sun reflection is much higher and stronger.

Portable cooler

The summertime and the living is easy, right? Well, if you have the right cooler and the right cold drink beside it can be perfection! Hot weather can cause agitation in children so a cold drink should always be hands.

Solar Bug Zappers

In the summer time, mosquitos and many other annoying insects can ruin your vacation. It’s not just about scratching; some of them can cause a serious problem especially because the skin on kid’s body is a lot more fragile. You can find these lanterns easily in your own town.

Camping in the Woods

This can be a right decision if you want to bring your children on fresh air and have a great time in the healthy environment. Here are a few useful tips if you want to get the most of it and play it safe at the same time!Camping in the woods

Adjust your pack

Keep in mind that temperature can vary on the higher ground. Even in the summer, the temperature can drop during the night. You don’t have to pack lots of stuff, but it must keep your children warm so you can spend more time playing outside.

Light

Unlike camping near the river, a day in the boonies is a bit shorter. That’s the reason a flashlight can be a lifesaver. Just imagine doing what bears do in the woods, but without being able to see anything. Not a nice prospect, is it?

On a similar note, a flashlight can also become a toy if you want to have a light spectacle with your children!

Extra shoes

It’s not the same if you want to go to a hiking with your kids or stay by the tent all the time. If you’re all about adventure and sports, you should consider bringing mixed shoes. This way you and your kids will see a wonderful nature that surrounds your campsite.

Parasol

A parasol is a useful thing to bring no matter where you go (provided you do it during summer). Your primary goal should be protecting yourself and the kids from suffering sunstroke (an all too real possibility on the mountain, despite being surrounded by all the woods).

Conclusion

When planning a good camp trip, it’s necessary to be organized. A good plan will always give you some spare time to relax and enjoy the time with your family. Spending a few days surrounded by nature, water, and fresh air will give you a chance to relax your mind.

The spring time is the best for to the boonies because you’ll be surrounded by a nature exploding into life, while summer is the best time to enjoy swimming and water sports.

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