Are you ready to take a family camping trip, but are not sure where to begin? Find out all the tips and tricks for preparing for a family camping trip.
This post is sponsored by Depend® Brand. All opinions and statements are my own.
About 10 years ago I decided that our family needed to go camping. We are raising our kids in a very urban area and I wanted them to get out and experience nature. I’d never gone camping as a kid with my family and neither had my husband. So we asked a few friends for advice; borrowed a bunch of camping gear; and went camping.
A decade later and we are a full fledged camping family. Our family camping trips are the best vacations we have taken together. Preparing for a camping trip can be overwhelming. But if you take it step-by-step and prepare ahead, family camping will make memories to last a lifetime.
How to Prepare for a Family Camping Trip
Decide where to camp: You can pretty much camp anywhere! National parks, state parks, local campsites, amusement parks, beach camping, mountain camping, desert camping – it’s all available. Take a fun tour of Nevada ghost towns and camping along the way. Decide where you want to go and start searching online for a campsite nearby.
This summer we took our very first beach camping trip in Carlsband, California. We finally remembered to start checking the booking sites for beach camp grounds in January and were able to get a campsite.
Choose tent, RV,wagon, glamping or a cabin: Camping comes in many different forms We are a tent camping family. We enjoy sleeping outside and tent camping is pretty inexpensive. But there are so many options for camping.
We’ve camped in a tee pee outside Bryce National Park. We’ve stayed at campgrounds with western wagons for camping in. Most KOA campgrounds offer cabins. Later this summer we are heading to Utah for our very first “glamping” trip where our tents will have beds in them. And if you want more indoor options, you can even rent RVs or campvans.
Look for campsites with amenities: While we love to tent camp, we also like to have a few amenities nearby for convenience. Check out campsites for things like bathrooms, showers, swimming pools, laundry facilities and firewood. We always make sure there is somewhere close by to grab a cup of coffee in the morning. While we can make coffee over a fire, we just prefer not to.
A nice bathroom is one of the other amenities to look for. Some campsites have really nice bathrooms with complimentary showers. Others have only toilets and showers that take quarters.
Book your camping site: When to book your camp site really depends on where you are going. Do some research on your destination. Most popular campgrounds, like National Parks, will book up 6 months ahead of time. But if are willing to stay outside a park, or a further distance from your destination, then you can usually book a site within a few months and sometimes even a few weeks.
Choosing the actual site in the campground is a little daunting. I always make sure to find a site with shade that’s near the bathroom. Proximity to the bathroom is important not only when camping with kids, but also when dealing with incontinence. Over the years, I’ve found that packing Depend ® FIT-FLEX ® Underwear helps make those nighttime trips to the bathroom less necessary, so you can enjoy the camping trip and worry less. I also don’t want to worry about the bathroom when we’re on a day hike or exploring a new territory, and Depend FIT-FLEX Underwear ensures I can be there for all our family’s adventures, no matter where the route takes us.
Watch the Weather: Make sure to check out the weather of where you will be camping. Some parks have a lot of varying elevations and one area of the park can be snowing while another area is sunny and warm. Check the overnight lows and make sure you have the proper gear for the weather.
Prepare Your Menu: About 2 weeks prior to a camping trip, start to plan your menu. Keep foods simple and easy to make. The traditional hamburgers and hot dogs are great as is grilled chicken kebabs. Take cold cuts for sandwiches for lunches. Scrambled eggs and toast are easy to cook on a fire or a grill. A day or so before leaving, start prepping your food. Freeze the food you’ll eat at the end of the trip and it’ll stay colder longer.
Pack Your Gear: Make sure you know how to sent up your tent if you are tent camping. Double check that air mattresses don’t leak. Yes, it’s OK to use an air mattress! We do every time. Pack what you will need to cook. Check out our list of Useful Camping Gear for Beginnersfor more ideas on what you will need to pack. Bring along some sturdy rope for a clothesline to dry off clothes, towels, and swimsuits.
Pack Your Personal Clothes and Needs: Depending where you are camping, you will need clothing for both warm weather during the day and cool weather at night. You will need sandals and closed toe shoes. Pack old clothes for the entire family that can grubby and dirty. Flip flops or slide on sandals are good to keep in the tent and easy to slip on and off.
For toiletries, you will need to pack everything as campgrounds don’t supply much. Bring small bottles of items and make 2 bags: 1 for the boys and 1 for the girls. That way you can shower at the same time. Pack old washcloths and towels that you don’t care about so they can get dirty.
If you have incontinence, don’t forget Depend Underwear. They are great not only during the night, but also if you take long hikes, spend a lot of time in the car at a large National Park, or spend time out in the wilderness where bathrooms are not often found.
Pack the car and have fun: You will most likely be shocked at all the gear you will need to pack in your car. We pack most of the gear in plastic tubs and then pack those into the car. Put all the kitchen gear in one tub, for example, to find it easily when you need to cook. Just don’t forget to leave room for the kids!