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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Family Camping Trip

Here we go 

The most important thing to remember is, camping isn't about how much you can bring, it's about how much time you'll spend making lifelong memories, and in doing so, creating future campers in the process.  It just so happens that if you don't bring a few of these things though, your camping experience might be memorable for the wrong reasons.  It's always a good idea to plan your trip ahead of time and plan the packing accordingly.  Make a list and check it off as you go.

Practice camp

Take a camping pretest and set the tent up to air out in the yard.  Not only will the kids enjoy the new fort, they'll be excited about filling it with all their prized treasures.  If you have a fire pit, try out some outdoor campfire recipes--and don't forget the s'mores.  Get used to the buzzing, chirping and clicking of the outdoor air in the comfort of your own backyard.

Ground rules

Attitude is everything.  Make sure your attitude is positive about the camping trip, and the packing.  Enlist the help of every family member by giving them a list of things to find, organize and pack. Delegate a photographer or vidographer, an activity leader, a journalist and even an assistant to the cook.  This way everyone feels like he or she has an important camper responsibility.  Set the camp rules about curfew, bug spray, sunscreen, trash, food storage and management of swimsuits and clothing.  Remind everyone that you are a family team.  In setting these guidelines, everyone will be aware of the rules before the camping begins, that way there will be no time wasted on site.  Lastly, have patience, start this process early enough so that a time crunch wont be an issue, thus keeping anxiety at bay.

Pack the fun items

Books for storytelling
Outdoor games
Nature identification guides
Telescope for stargazing
Journal, pencils and crayons
Map of the night sky
Small outdoor toys
Glow sticks
Buckets for collecting nature
Large book for collecting and pressing leaves
Flashlights for a dusk walk or for the tent
Campfire songbook
Guitar or Fiddle
Favorite stuffed animal
Bikes for trail riding
Fishing poles and supplies
Inflatable raft and lifevest
ATVs for the adventurer

Pack the essentials items

Bug spray (check out the article on natural bug sprays here)
Sunscreen (peruse this article for info on SPF)
Blankets and sheets or bedrolls
Rain coats
Toiletries - all the basic hygiene needs
Swim suits
Jeans or shorts
Socks and more socks
Extra clothes for layers.
Bike helmet
Closed toed shoes with good tread
Water shoes
Camping chairs
Picnic blankets
A project you're working on
Don't forget your good book

Pack the functional items

Storage baggies
Tin foil
Air mattress
Air pump
Plastic Cutlery
Paper plates and napkins
Canteens or water bottles
Clean water supply
Backpack for mini trips
Burner or grill
Ice packs
Wet wipes
Hand sanitizer
Paper towels
Food storage containers with lids
Garbage bags and shopping bags
Laundry bag

Pack the food items

Dried fruit
Baby carrots
Peanut butter
Hot dogs
Veggie straws
Veggies in foil packs
S'mores - a three-part must
Electrolyte replenishing drink
Juice boxes

Pack the scripts

Prescription medication
First aid kit with antibiotic cream and anti-diarrheal
Gauze and band-aids
Instant ice pack
Bandage wrap - in the even of a sprain
Allergy meds - should you suddenly find you're allergic to something
Calamine lotion for insect bites
Nasal saline or sinus wash
Poison ivy repellent and cream

Pack the storage items

To minimize while on the road, pack plastic bins to carry items, as well as to pack and unpack items easily.  Always have enough storage bags of various sizes, as well as plastic food containers to consolidate or store leftovers.  Garbage bags or laundry bags will help to keep the soiled clothing from the clean.  Using trash bags for refuse, and properly disposing of it will minimize the wildlife risk.

Cleaning up

Make sure to put all trash in proper receptacles and keep your area as clean as possible.  This will prevent an ant infestation, fly bombardment, and wildlife wonderment.  Restoring the site to its original state is honorable to our earth, and respectable to the campsite staff.  Be a good example of how to treat borrowed property.


To ensure fun is had and not forgotten anytime soon, document your trip either with video clips, pictures or a journal.  Camping is truly an organic experience that forces you to get away from the daily grind, the technological overload and the packed schedules that easily rob us of time with our children.  It allows you to enjoy the outdoors with your family, further solidifying the power of quality time.