9 Genius Tips to Help You Camp Like a Champ with Kids

June 08, 2021

9 Genius Tips to Help You Camp Like a Champ with Kids

There are two kinds of people in the world—those who relish the idea of camping with their kiddos, and those who are filled with anxiety at the idea of carting their kids into the wild.

While the idea of roughing it with little ones can be intimidating, with proper prep and planning your child’s first camping experience can be magical and can set them up for a lifelong love affair with the great outdoors.

And so, we’ve created a must-have list of tips for those planning their inaugural camping excursion with little ones. Let’s dive in!

  • Ease into It
  • Your first outdoor experience with the kids is not the time to embark on a 3-day, backcountry thru hike. Start small. Try your hand at car camping first, keeping your vehicle nearby in case of an emergency or bad weather event.

  • Reserve Your Campsite in Advance
  • Many campsites book up weeks or months in advance, particularly if you’re planning to stay at a national park or camp during peak seasons. Plan to reserve a site 6 – 9 months in advance if possible.

  • Clear Tubs are a Car Camper’s Friend
  • It’s inevitable—when camping with kids you’ll likely bring more accoutrement than you would if you were going on a grown-up excursion. Clear plastic tubs with lids are great for storing those extra camping items. You can easily see the contents of each tub without digging through it, and the lids keep everything inside protected from the bugs and elements.

  • As the Boy Scouts Say…Be Prepared
  • You don’t want to overpack…but you do want to be prepared for unexpected shifts in the weather. Be sure to carry a rain fly for your tent, rain jackets for the adults and kiddos, and, if you’re camping in mild weather, some heat-holding layers should the temperature drop suddenly.

  • Keep Your Normal Rest Routine
  • If you’re camping with children who are young enough to need naps, stick to their at-home rest schedule. You can thank us later.

  • Start Out Small
  • When introducing children to outdoor experiences, keeping enthusiasm high is key. Avoid setting out on 5-mile hikes with the kids in tow. Start small—try a 1-mile loop or out-and-back trail to keep morale up and kids happy. The more successful children feel, the more likely they are to want to repeat the experience again.

  • Ditch All Things Digital
  • If you’re kids have phones, encourage them to leave them at home along with tablets and hand-held gaming devices. Set a good example yourself by keeping your phone use to a minimum.

  • Make Nighttime Safety a Priority
  • Navigating a campsite in the dark can be tricky and downright dangerous for little ones. Be sure everyone in the family has a headlamp and flashlight. Our rechargeable tactical flashlight is incredibly durable, so it will survive all the drops that can happen when little hands are in charge.

  • Bring Plenty of Entertainment
  • Without tech to keep them occupied, your kids will be looking to you for entertainment. Bring plenty of fun card games, magnifying glasses, and bug observation containers (be sure to let your catches go after a few minutes of observation!).

    And don’t forget about camping games—they’re the stuff childhood memories are made of! If you missed our recent post about fun games for campouts, you can read it here.

    With proper prep and realistic expectations, camping with the family can become a treasured family tradition. Remember to start small, keep your expectations low, and make plenty of memories.

    And may it comfort you to know this—even if the trip is less than idyllic, your family will enjoy laughing over your stories of misadventure for years to come. 

    May you camp like a champ with your kids!



    AFAR Magazine


    The Pragmatic Parent

    Hike It Baby

    Also in News

    Useful Camping/Hiking Hacks You Need to Know
    Useful Camping/Hiking Hacks You Need to Know

    May 22, 2021

    Is there anything better than ditching the city for a life-renewing camping trip? We think not! To that end, we decided to gather a curated list of tips and hacks to make your next camping trip infinitely easier. Let’s dive right in!

    Continue Reading

    5 Ways Hiking Can Improve Your Mental Health
    5 Ways Hiking Can Improve Your Mental Health

    May 09, 2021

    We all know hiking provides excellent physical exercise…but you might be surprised to learn just how good hiking is for your mental health.

    Today we’re going to explore 5 ways getting outdoors can improve your mental health and wellness.

    Continue Reading

    5 Must See Campsites for Spectacular Stargazing in the US
    5 Must See Campsites for Spectacular Stargazing in the US

    April 22, 2021

    As we go about our busy lives in our busy communities, it’s easy to forget how amazing our planet really is. Think about the last time you were out at night…did you take time to glance up at the stars? Odds are, probably not or, if you did, you had to use your hand to block the light of a nearby streetlamp and had trouble seeing much of anything.

    Continue Reading