Camping with Kids Made Easy
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It's a running joke around here that when you have a large family of kids, camping is your go-to destination vacation.
No flight costs, no hotel costs and lots of fun. Yes, fun.
We've been camping with kids (see my Camping Gear recommendations) since our older ones were little. And each time we camp, we do a high-five on how far we've come from the very first camping trip with kids.
On our first camping trip we took hot dogs and canned veggies. Sleeping bags and clothes. Barely any other supplies for comfort. And only a sauce pan to heat things up. By the time we had our full year of camping we were making grilled steak for dinner, eggs and bacon for breakfast and sipping wine in between.
Our sleeping arrangement was comfortable. We had what we needed to care for the kids while camping and to have a fun time making memories.
I'll share some of the things that have made camping our favorite vacation get-away for our family.
A year ago, I decided to do the tub system for packing. I have a kitchen, tent and a family tub with supplies ready. When we're going camping, all we need to do is take the tubs from the garage into the back of the van. Easy!
Here's what each tub contains:
- battery lamps
- seasonings (salt, ground pepper, ground onion, ground garlic)
- cutting board
- cooking spoon
- sauce pan (I have cooking kits like these)
- hand wipes
- paper towels
- stainless steel plates
- wipe-able table cloths
- reusable wash cloths (for dishes)
- dish soap
- bug-repellent spray (my ultimate favorite brand here)
- Citronella candle
- olive oil
- can opener
- veggie wash
- instant coffee
- bar soap
- travel size shampoo and conditioner (ok I'm the ONLY one in my family that washes her hair while camping)
- wash cloth
- first aid kit
- shower tray (makes it easy to carry our bathroom supplies to and from the tent)
- sanitizing wipes
- battery lamp
- peppermint essential oil (to deter ants - would not recommend if you have babies, use lavender instead)
- toilet paper
- portable toilet and bags
- small tent entry rug
- board games (choose from here)
- deck of cards
- small ball to play catch with
- coloring book and crayons
- battery lamp
- wipe-able tablecloth
- table center piece (because I'm homey like that)
- wine (just kidding....not really)
I also have a small tub for our grill supplies that I use for dishes while camping.
The tubs (I use these) are all ready to go and make packing for camping a piece of cake. The only things we have to pack when camping is clothing, a sauce pan, foods, towels and our sleeping bags and airbeds (I'm old...sleeping on the ground is for young bones). We take a couple of pillows and a big quilt blanket to cover our sleeping bags during the day.
I also pack a folding table like these (in case camp site doesn't have enough tables) and our small grill and camp stove. We have a portable toilet, which has saved us during middle of the nights, "I have to go the baaaaaaaaathroom."
Gone are the days of hotdogs and canned corn for us. We love food and we don't eat any differently while camping. We keep it good but simple. Breakfast may include oatmeal, eggs and bacon or on lazy mornings we have cereal.
Lunch is usually a sandwich (nut butters and jelly or salami and lettuce). Dinners is when I do the most cooking with grilled meats, potato salads, vegetables and end the night with roasted marshmallows. In between meals we eat our favorite chips, crackers and fruits.
Camping is about being outdoors and unplugging for a little bit. We go for walks, small hikes, play board games, the kids climb trees, play ball and sometimes do nothing at all but wait for the next mini adventure that a sibling suggests.
Depending on where we're camping we may venture out to the surrounding city and explore, but usually, we stay at the campsite, with the exception of a quick grocery trip if we are running low on food.
Ready to Get Started?
Maybe you've been camping for a while or it's your first time camping with kids, but if you're looking for new camping spots, my favorite place to look is Reserve America. Asking family and friends is also a good place to start looking for camping spots. Changes are, you have a friend that's camped in a place you haven't before.
As a family, we find camping with the kids so much fun. Our first camping of the season just ended and we have another one next month. Happy camping!