Summer is around the corner, and this is the best time for our family camping tips guide. If you have never enjoyed a night under canvas, you will surely be missing out on the fantastic experience. The freedom of sleeping outdoors is simply exciting and great activity for families, friends, or even solo travelers.
Often the reason people haven’t tried camping is that they don’t believe they are enjoying it. Or they don’t know what to expect. So we reached out to some seasoned backpackers who see the depth of the year-round experience and merged it with ours.
Read the best first-time camping tips, and you’ll find that whoever you are, you can tailor your experience according to your needs and have a great time! But before you start reading, let’s put the expectations where they should be. Since each person is different, so their habits and desires. I have learned that whenever doing something for the first time, there will be always things you will want to do better the next time. And, once you do it the second time, you finetune even more. So by the third time, you know exactly what you need, and also, more importantly, what you don’t need.
In this post, I will try to bring you several ideas from several campers I know, including myself. There is no right or wrong, there are preferences and priorities, and as such, you will the one to decide what is best for you and for your family – after all, you know them better than I.
Family Camping Tips – 10 Important Tips
Tip 1: Don’t spend a fortune on a fancy tent
If you’ve never camped before and aren’t sure if this is for you, you don’t have to spend a fortune on resources to be proud. This means, please don’t make the mistake of buying, for example, a fur tent.
Since one of the reasons I wrote these family camping tips is to save you money. We’ve all seen those cheap retractable tents advertised as ideal festival tents. A one-sided budget tent is a waste of money. You and your equipment will end up getting wet, and probably will refuse to try it again. Instead, ask a friend if you can rent a tent or even sleep under the bass when booking a glamorous holiday.
But even if you don’t get a hand on a tent from a friend, family tents are no longer expensive. In the past few years, the prices of tents dropped significantly. And comparing the price of a tent to a one-night sleep in a hotel room won’t make much of a difference. Also, the ease of assembling tents was much improved and you should have your tent up ready in less than 5 minutes. The same ease of use is true when you will need to take the tent down.
The only disadvantage in buying a family tent is storage, since it is not that small, you will need a place to store it. So, in case you have a pantry or a storage room, you should be fine.
Tip 2: Become Familiar With Your Gear
Within the family camping tips list, this one is an important one. Whenever we get new gear for camping, we get excited to use it on site. But waiting to get to the campsite before trying out our new equipment can be a big mistake. Often we bite for hours trying to pitch a tent. Hence, the practice is perfect and should be done before we go out. So make sure to set up your garden tent at home before setting up camp. Check the operation of lamps and storage ovens to make sure they are working correctly. Put your sleeping bag on the living room floor one night to see how well you are sleeping. Be savvy backpackers and take care of your gear.
Since sleeping is important, I highly advise you to get some kind of a thin mat (like the Yoga ones) to place below your sleeping bag. The mat will isolate all the small objects that your back will feel, in case you won’t use a mat. Trust me, you will thank me if you will use one.
One small note before heading over to the next tip. In case you have an SUV, you can set up a nice bed inside your car. It is not difficult, not pricy, and it even has several advantages. But keep in mind that it can have 2 beds only.
Tip 3: Don’t set your tent under a tree
While a tree can be a great spot to place your tent under, sometimes it can be a deadly mistake. For example, several tragic accidents happened to travelers while sleeping in a tent under a eucalyptus tree. The Eucalyptus tree is known for weak branches that can fall down anytime. Several people died because of that. I will not explain why it happens, but in case you are interested, you can read more about it here.
If the trees around you are not dangerous, setting a tent under a tree can be a great solution for not having the sun right in your eyes early in the morning. But before setting your tent under every tree you see, take a good look around you, and look for juicy drops on the ground. Some trees have “fruits” that drop. These fruits will stick to your tent, making your packing a great nightmare. Not to mention harvesting the leaves when you get home.
So keep in mind, even if the place looks attractive, don’t be tempted right away.
Tip 4: Pack everything in totes
Divide food, beds, and RV parts into separate containers. When you arrive at the camp, you can clean everything you need. Then all the bags are portable and stored under the caravan. You want to pack the motorhome well, and the answer is bags.
And speaking of bags, don’t forget to bring with you garbage bags. Leaving the place clean is important for all of us. And every day we make a lot of garbage, so it is important to have a garbage bag to have the place clean and organized.
Tip 5: Campsite cooking
Another important tip in this family camping tips regards food. After you finished setting up your tent, you and your family will probably want to eat. While preparing the food is an essential part of the adventure, let me advise you something important. The advice is you make sure to prepare enough snacks and sandwiches for the first few hours you get to the campsite. Since, preparing dinner can take some time, don’t let your family lose patience over food. Sometimes It can ruin the day.
Okay, now we are all set and we can proceed. So, as said, let’s proceed to dinner. Dinner’s table can be the first joys or challenges in camping, so it is essential to do it right. Basically, you have a few options to choose from. Camping stove and campfire. When cooking on a camping stove, make sure you plan and carry enough gasoline to camp. Then put out the oven, always offering more gas than you think you need.
If you’re cooking over a fire, check out our guide on creating the perfect fire and let it growl before you cook on it. If you are late on the first day, it is better to do something finished or semi-finished as soon as possible. Whether you cook in the tent or around the campfire on the stove, this is an excellent idea for a Tupperware pepper that is easy to reheat.
Tip 6: Observe campground rules
New campers may not realize that the campsite does not have absolute privacy. The sound is so good that you usually hear the whispers of vacationers in the nearest place. Noisy camping can save dozens of campers from a good night’s sleep. Pay attention to the hours of silence. Your little privacy is limited to your campsite. Respect the place chosen by other campers and do not go anywhere through another camp. Also, keep in mind that in some places you can get fined due to loud music.
Be an innovative camper and follow the camping rules.
Tip 7: Ditch the electrical devices
Camping with an electric hook-up (EHU) is expensive, which means your choice of pitches and campsites is limited. Only solar chargers are cheap and more than capable of supplying everything you need, such as your smartphone. Another option you have it to spit out something more substantial like a solar center hub.
Moreover, I hope you don’t want to bring your hair straightening equipment, After all, no one cares how straight your hair looks at the campsite. Do yourself a favor and leave them at home! Especially, after having the COVID-19 year, use camping as an excuse to disconnect. Leave your tablet at home and take the advantage of the digital debugging option.
For me, I have a rule of thumb to go camping as little as possible. It will require less space in the car and will let you go camping faster. I have friends that need not more than 1 hour to go camping for a few days. While for others it can take up to a whole day. The faster it will take you, the more you will enjoy and connect to nature.
Having said that, make sure to have an emergency device, such as your smartphone, in case of a problem.
Tip 8: Bring sufficient clothing
On the contrary to the previous tip, it does not apply to your clothing. Often enough, first-time campers underestimate the true conditions of the site. Sometimes the temperature drops down and you won’t have clothes that will be warm enough.
Moreover, please note that there is no laundry at the campsite. Weather conditions can vary, and it will call for a variety of clothing. So when it comes to clothing be a savvy one; bring enough clothes.
Tip 9: Plan activities and days out in advance
Children get bored quickly, especially if you plan a digital detox for them. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have many ideas on how you and your family can spend your time migrating.
Depending on your children, some will enjoy playing and having fun for hours. If your kids have no imagination, plan and bring various dull screams.
Football, kites, colors and crafts, maps, binoculars, board games, cleaning hunts, and nature books are great ways to prevent boredom in tents without relying on technology.
A good family activity can be fishing, we have a dedicated post making sure you and your family will enjoy it. Since many campsites set their tent near lakes or rivers, having a fishing rod can be a wonderful solution for young kids. Despite the fact that it can be the first time for your kids to fish, still it will be easy for them to get started if you take the right approach. Make sure to read our guide about fishing for beginners, which can help the little ones to get started.
Tip 10: Relax and enjoy yourself
I will conclude this family camping tips with a tip that is more like advice. Since the camp has a different rhythm, and most things, from dinner to brushing your teeth, take a little longer. Leave the rules and regulations at home and go with the flow. If you have children, they are probably so excited on the first night that they want to stay outside later, but this is perhaps at odds with the fact that the fresh air and walking mean they are tired on the second, third, and fourth nights. And get ready to sleep before you notice it. Soon you will sleep in the sun and wake up with a lark. Following our family camping tips is designed to help you relax and enjoy your first camping trip; so hopefully, it won’t be your last.
Family camping is one of the best and right activities a family should have on a yearly basis. I never miss the opportunity to go camping with the family. I consider that as the best time to hang up with my family.
Once you start with it, you get used to it, and you will never go back. Follow the tips I wrote here and you will have the best time with your spouse and kids. As always, keep yourself safe, and I will see you in my next post.