10 Things You Should Never Do When Camping With Kids

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There is no doubt about the fact that camping with kids is really fun. It allows them to get in touch with Mother Nature, play around, and it allows you to bond with your kids while getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, kids are rowdy, they are messy, and they usually don’t consider the consequences of their actions. This is why we are here today to provide you with a camping kids checklist. These are various tips for camping with kids, the most important ones to keep them safe and keep you sane.

1. Don’t leave your first try at setting up gear

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when camping with kids is to set up the gear for the very first time at the campsite. This is not a good idea at all, because if something goes wrong, your kids will let you know about it. If you can’t set up the fishing gear or the tent, or even the fire, your kids are going to get impatient, annoyed, and they will not enjoy their trip. Even worse is that they will make sure that you know that they are not happy. Simply put, make sure you know how to set up the gear before you get out there.

2. Too much electronics

Ok, so besides a phone or satellite phone for emergencies, don’t bring any electronics along. There is simply no point is going camping with your kids if they are going to be looking at a video game or at Facebook the whole time. Trust us when we say that if you let them, they will do it. More or less, this will totally defeat the purpose of a camping trip. Sure, bring along a radio for nighttime campfire music, but other than that, there is simply no need for electronics.

3. I don’t need a plan

Another big mistake people make when camping with kids is to not have any kind of plan. Kids get bored easily and fast, so you definitely need a plan. Going out camping and then just sitting there is not fun for anybody, especially the kids. You need to have a bit of an itinerary, such as fishing, hiking, swimming, games, and other fun activities your kids can get behind. If they are bored, you as the adult are the one who is going to pay the price for that boredom. If you want to stay sane, make sure to have a plan of action.

4. Not enough shelter

A big mistake you can make when camping with kids is to have only one shelter. Ideally, you should have one tent for the kids and another for the adults. Simply put, don’t sleep in the same tent unless the kids are extremely young, in which case they probably should not be camping anyway. You don’t want to be directly on top of each other the whole time because nobody is going to enjoy that in the least. Having a tent, or even 2 tents, along with some other kind of shelter, maybe a teepee, is a really good idea.

5. Don’t force anything

Ok, so at the same time as you want to have a good plan, you also don’t want to force anything on your kids. Also, you don’t want to over plan things and have a schedule that you plan on following down to the second. This will create pressure for your kids and will remove the element of fun. Sure, you can have a plan, but don’t be anal about it and force your kids to do everything on the list. Remember folks, this is supposed to be fun, not a strictly scheduled business meeting.

The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family...
  • Olsson, Helen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 04/17/2012 (Publication Date) - Roost Books (Publisher)

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6. Don’t go light on the clothes

Some people will tell you to not over pack on clothes for kids due to the weight and space used. However, we do not agree with this at all. Kids are messy, dirty, smelly, and their clothes will reflect that. You want to have more than enough socks, underwear, and all of that fun stuff, ideally twice as much as the number of days you plan on camping. You need to remember coats and raingear too, because wet kids are cranky kids and that is not fun for anybody.

7. Not enough food

You definitely want to have lots of food ideas for camping with kids. Kids love eating good food and it always tastes better from a campfire. Remember, all allergies aside, this is supposed to be fun, so don’t try and force a bunch of Brussels sprouts and asparagus into your kid when camping. You want to bring lots of food, tasty food, lots of snacks, and stuff that is easy to cook. You don’t need to overthink this, but also don’t under-pack the food.

8. Don’t forget a first aid kit

Simply put, you and your kids can both get hurt. No, you don’t need to bring half a hospital with you, but you will want some basic first aid gear. Kids are fast, they are excitable, and curious, which means that they can and do often get hurt. There is no way to prevent kids from getting hurt 100% of the time, but you can at least be prepared for it.

9. Don’t stay up late

One of the worst things you can do when camping with kids is to stay up late, which goes for the adults and kids. You need energy to look after kids, plus you need to be in a reasonably good mood. Your kids won’t like the trip much if you are being grumpy. At the same time, you need to make sure that your kids sleep well too, because cranky kids make for cranky adults, or in other words, a totally ruined camping trip.

10. Don’t forget to check the weather

The final thing to keep in mind here is to always check the weather forecast before going camping with kids. Delaying your trip by a week or two is much better than a tent full of soaked, cold, and angry kids.

Final Thoughts

While there are more tips than you can imagine, in terms of camping with kids, these are by far the most important ones. You guys all want to have fun, and it is up to you to ensure that everything goes according to plan.


Mark Newman

Mark Newman

Mark Newman is regular camper from Phoenix, Arizona. He loves outdoors and he likes to show people the endless possibilities of this world.  He enjoys sharing practical tips about hiking, camping, and survival skills with others. In his spare time, he likes to explore cool gadgets that make his camping more enjoyable, safe, and fun.

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