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Family Camping Basics

Camping is probably one of the best ways for families to enjoy each other’s company away from the hassles and pressures of work and school. Of course it’s going to take a lot of careful planning and preparation, but every minute you’ll spend with your family will be worth the hard work. If you keep it simple and bring along the essentials, you’ll have a lovely time outdoors and you won’t miss any of the modern conveniences. A good camping trip will be remembered throughout the years and will be a part of your family’s history.

Here are some important tips to help you plan the perfect camping trip:

Decide whether you’ll bring a tent or a camper. This will depend on how much you can afford and how much space you will need. Consider the number of people that will be going with you. Modern dome-style tents can easily accommodate 3 to 4 persons, with larger ones being able to fit up to 6 inside. Because you only have to connect a few pieces, dome tents can be easily set up in just a few minutes. If you want, you can even get pop-up tents that are self-erecting. For bedding, foam or air mattresses offer more comfort, plus they are more compact than anything else you might use. If you do use a tent, though, make sure you spray it with some rain-resistant spray to prevent leaks. I suggest adding a tarpaulin for extra protection against the sun and rain.

Campers, on the other hand, offer much more amenities. Although they are more expensive than tents, of course, you get pull-out beds, a small kitchen with a sink, stove, drawers for your plates and utensils, and a refrigerator. Campers also have tables and chairs for sitting, eating, etc. You can easily fit six people inside a camper, plus you’d have the added peace of mind knowing that your family is safe from leaks if ever it rains.

Pack lightly. A four-day trip, for example, requires only about two sets of clothes. You’ll probably need only a jacket, a sweater, two shirts, a pair of pants and shorts, socks, underwear, and an extra pair of shoes or sandals. Bring along a pair of hiking boots if you plan on hiking, though. For laundry, a large basin will suffice, plus a clothesline and some clothes pins.

Prepare your food. Of course you can bring some coolers with you, but I recommend bringing foods like nuts, bread, cookies, anything that doesn’t need refrigerating. Don’t give the children too much to eat in just one sitting, or if you’ve just arrived, because they will want to go exploring and swimming. Instead, keep up their energy level and avoid stomach aches by giving them small meals. Keep it simple. Hamburgers and hotdogs are camping favorites. I also suggest planning a menu beforehand, and let the kids pick some of the food they like. Planning ahead will save you a lot of time when deciding what meals to cook when you’re at the campsite. This will also help you determine if the food you’ll be bringing is enough.

How about some entertainment? First of all, forget the TV set. And make sure you bring some books, toys, and games for the kids. Some good things to bring are baseball equipment, a football, a frisbee, or even radio-controlled toys, although you’d need to bring extra batteries, too. You can easily set-up a play area near the tent or camper. Take a walk, go swimming, or bring a small boat and go canoeing or fishing. You don’t have to stay all day at the campsite, you know. But remember, never set up a rigid schedule where almost every single minute of your camping trip is planned. This will create stress and ruin the whole trip. Let your family members decide whether they want to play or just laze around.

One last thing: No matter if you’re in a tent or a camper, or if you’re staying 1 day or the whole week; just remember that you are there to enjoy yourselves. So relax, have fun, and enjoy camping with the family!

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