I camped a lot as a child and look back on those summers with mostly fondness. We had one summer camping trip that consisted of rain for an entire week; that was it for my mom, no more camping trips.
Much to my delight my husband was into camping too and we started going with our three kids when the youngest was one or two years old. We started off camping in the backyard, which is something we still do most years! We just camped in the backyard for the 4th of July. It’s a great way to ease into it.
Here are my top five summer camping tips:
Tip #1: Practice tent sleeping in the backyard
Of course if you have a camper you can skip this one. I always tell people, if you can put up a tent with your spouse and not hate each other then he/she is a keeper. Practicing in the backyard putting the tent up and down is very helpful for moms and dads. Practicing sleeping outside for one night with your house right there for moral support is very helpful for the children.
Tip #2: Skip the sleeping bags
OK, I’ll admit my three children still bring and use a sleeping bag. For the adults I grab a large laundry basket, toss in the air mattress, a fitted sheet for it, a comforter plus extra throw blanket, my pillow and done. Since doing this I find I sleep 1000 times better than with a sleeping bag. Give it a try! I also find having a laundry basket for dirty clothes is helpful. I’ve even tipped the basket upside down and used it as a side table in the tent.
Tip #3: Stay at a campground
Before children my husband and I would camp at state parks and other such places that give you the full on camping experience. With children, a campground is a lot more fun (plus bathrooms and showers are helpful). We usually stay at one that has a couple of pools, an arcade, a general store with ice cream, and runs organized activities. As a kid I stayed at one that even had an arts and crafts house. Trust me, the kids will think camping is actually fun if you stay at a campground.
Tip #4: Don’t forget the firewood!
Had a few years where this was a problem and buying some is outrageous. Even though it takes up room in your car, bring your own wood. I fill the dog crate with it, saves some space.
Tip #5: Go with friends and family
We go every summer with my immediate family, their spouses and children and Grandma and Grandpa. Camping with them gives me that sense of “it takes a village” to camp and is easier on all of us. We plan out our meals ahead of time and delegate who is bringing what. Many hands make for light work. We also don’t stay a full week, three nights is our usual, max of four nights. We all get tired and cranky by then. Bonus tip there.
Do you have any useful camping tips? I’m heading to a campground this week! Follow along on my Instagram page to get the inside scoop of it all.