This is my favorite time of the year. It is the time when we blow the dust off of the camping gear and enjoy the great outdoors! Camping is one of my favorite things to do! As a matter fact, for Mother’s day…we go camping! In my opinion, a family that camps together, stays together! I have been camping over 40 years and I never get tired of it. Every trip brings excitement and joy to my heart. I love getting the kids out there and watching them play in the dirt, use their imagination, and take in God’s beautiful creation. But it does not come without work, especially as a mom of 6 kids at home.
In the years we have been camping, we have taken newborns, infants, toddlers, teens, and even our adult children. Camping with kids in all stages brings about it’s own checklists. We have also done so many types of camping. We have slept under the stars, in a tent, on our car roof, and in a RV. We have had no amenities to full amenities. We have pulled off a mountain road and set up camp and have stayed in a decked out campground with swimming pools and arcades. We have camped in the rain, snow, sleet, and sunshine (as a matter of fact, one year I remember we had it all in one day 🙂 ) We have done almost all of it! But the reality is, it is all in the planning! You must be prepared!
The purpose of this post is to give you the confidence you need to venture out and try something new or re-newed. Let’s jump in. I am excited for your new adventures already.
The three things that you need to think about the most are weather, sleeping, and food. Everything else can just fall as it may. These three things can make or break a camping trip. (But one thing that has to fit into the equation is the space you have to transport your necessary gear.)
- Weather- it is best to have somewhat of an idea of what the weather holds. But remember, it may not be accurate :). We are not “fair-weather” campers, so nothing in the weather will stop us, but it may change how we pack. We may need hats to keep the sun off (and ticks) or rain gear to keep us dry. A couple extra tarps and plastic garbage bags can be great tools for some emergency ingenuity. Some times, you just have to think outside the box and be resourceful. I remember one year when mybest friend and I went camping at the Oregon coast. We left our husbands at home and hit the road. It was pouring down rain, and we used a chip clip to hold our tarps down. It still chuckle when I think about it.
- Sleeping- With kids this is a very important thing to think through. Where will they sleep? With what will they sleep? And of course, How can I make sure they sleep? 🙂 My reality is I do not sleep well every time I go camping. I do not like to be cold and I worry that my kids will be cold. I have found that normally, the kids do not get as cold as we do. If you have ever had a child try and sleep in a sleeping bag, you know they won’t stay in it, so plan accordingly.
- Tent camping- If you are sleeping in a tent here are some great tips that some of you may not know. Air mattresses are great to getyou off the ground, but you need to put something between you and the mattress. A comforter or extra sleeping bag works well. The air in the air mattress get cold and could cause you to get cold. Cots are great, but they too need an extra barrier. Mats are great especially for kids. They add a little bit of padding, but mostly just keeps them off the ground. You notice I said, “great for kids”. If you are a young mom and want to tough it…go for it! But my body can’t handle it. 🙂 Early in the season, I usually have all my kids and myself wear a hoody. My husband will wear a stocking hat. When our heads and necks are covered, We are less likely to get cold. If you want to spend a bit of money, there are some great portable heaters out there that will help take the chill off. When my kiddos were babies, I had a pack and play specific for camping and an exer-saucer. This was a huge life saver.
- RV camping- Of course, if you have already taken the plunge and bought an RV, camping will be much easier. Having everything packed into the trailer and ready to roll is great. You have a place to get out of the weather , a place to eat, sleep, and whatever else. But most everyone works up to a RV. If you have never been camping, I would recommend borrowing or renting camping gear to see if you will even enjoy it. Not everyone is a camper. 🙂
- Camping under the stars- I do not recommend this way of camping unless you are a seasoned camper. It is a fabulous view of God’s incredible universe, but it can be a little unsettling to have nothing between you andthe elements. If you want the view, take your rainfly off your tent ;).
- Food- This is probably one of the most fun things to plan for camping trips, but again one missed item and you could be sunk. Here are some of the tools I put in our camping gear.
- Propane camp stove- 1 pot, 1 pan, matches, utensils…don’t forget the can opener.
- Propane bottles
- Roasting sticks
- Coolers- I love the really big ones, but they are difficult to maneuver. I recommend a couple of medium size ones.
- Water Coolers
- Camp chairs
- Dish pan- dish soap and dishwashing supplies.
- Paper Products- I try to stick to paper products for ease. I plan my meals looking at simplicity and quickness.
Camping can be so much fun! I love camping with kids! But if you put your time and work in on the front end, it makes it so much more enjoyable as a mom. Please do not get discouraged by the work because it pays off in the smiles, adventures, and memories you are making with your kids! My greatest memories as a child are when we were camping. Now, I get to share and create that with my kids.
I would love to hear about your adventures! Do you have a horrifying experience or funny experience? Tell us about it in the comments.
If you have any questions let me know, I would love to be a resource for you! Do you have any other ideas for camping posts? I would love to write more about camping!