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Camping is truly a wonderful thing, full of new experiences, but most importantly, quality time. It can be hard to figure out what venues are available when you feel like doing something and many of them will have entrance fees, require tickets that are sold out, or need some sort of planning ahead of time.
If you make yourself a Grab And Go Camping Bag, full of all the items you would need for an adventure, you can just spontaneously decide to get out in the wilderness without much hassle.
Planning your trip
If it’s your first time camping, there will be some planning. When you’ve done it a few times, this step can be ignored as you are already familiar with everything.
Figure out where you want to go. There are parks and recreation websites that will tell you what outdoor activities are near you, as well as how to find the rules for the sites and prepare for them. Some sites require a fee if you’re going to use certain amenities, or a license if you plan on taking food from the environment.
Be sure to tell other people where you are going and when. If anything awful happens, they will know where to look. Even though this seems morbid and pessimistic, it’s a lot better to have that assurance if someone accidentally sprains their ankle.
The next part of planning is to figure out what you will eat. You want to choose foods that aren’t too high in sodium, as getting dehydrated is a big risk with most snacks that label themselves for the outdoors. You’ll also want to try to pick foods low in processed chemicals, so that you’ll have as little risk for stomach upsets or tiredness as possible. Be sure to include some caffeine into your plans if you’d normally drink it.
Comfort foods are great. Snacks are a must. Meal times can be tricky but for a family, try to find “one pot” dishes that cook in a single pan. Foil wrapped meals are also great. There are many websites that list all kinds of easily cooked meals for campfires.
Camping equipment checklist
No matter what you decide to do while you are in the wilderness, you will always need certain items. Those items would be a part of your Grab And Go Camping Bag – say, water, first aid, and a fire starter. The other items could be shelved nearby, so that you can bring them if you need them – like fishing tackle. In the summer, you’ll often find loads of fantastic camping offers, so if you find yourself short of something important, don’t worry! It will be easy enough to pick up whatever you need.
- Tent and tent footprint
- Tarps, extra rope, stakes
- Sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses, sleeping pads
Basic equipment and tools
- Backpack or camping pack
- Light source like a lantern or flashlight
- Pocket knife of some sort
- Shoes adequate for rough terrain
- A map of the area, even if it’s just a brochure
Health and cleanliness
- First aid kit including bandages, aloe vera, aspirin, and antibiotic cream
- Bug repellents and bug bite cream/spray
- Toiletry items for using the restroom and keeping clean
- Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
- Bin bags to collect your waste
- Food, as well as easy pre-made snacks
- Cooking implements
- Fuel if bringing a cooking stove
- Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
- Water, possibly water filtration system if you’re near running water
Practice your camping
Now that you have all of your camping equipment, it’s a great idea to practice. That may seem like empty words to fill up a magazine cover, but there’s a lot of wisdom behind it. It gets your new equipment out of their bags so that you can inspect them for any defects or damages. Imagine how big of a damper finding out that your tent has a rip in it would be if you’re in the wilderness and it’s raining.
Practicing also gets you to set up and familiarize yourself with your equipment. The first time camping can be overwhelming and exhausting, so knowing beforehand what to do and how to do it can be a big relief. Instructions are usually quickly lost, so figuring them out in a non-pressure environment can help you to learn what to do.
More importantly, when your backyard “camp” is set up, you can figure out what you might be missing. Maybe there’s an item that you feel is important to you that you’d like to bring, such as a crank or battery operated radio, camping chairs, or inflatable furniture. You can also figure out which set ups work for you and which don’t.
If you practice in your back garden, your kids can participate, too. It can help them adjust to what living away from modern technology is like. For smaller children, this can help the trip go better as it won’t be so much of a culture shock.
The benefits of camping
There are many reasons to go out camping and there’s so much more to it than just going on walks. You and your family can:
- Spend quality time together as a family
- Put the spark back in your romantic relationship
- Have a new experience with your pets – dogs love camping!
- You really only need to purchase your equipment once
- Experience quiet, peace, and serenity
- Travel and explore, you never know what areas are nearby
- Reconnect with nature
- Have a mental break from your work and stresses of life
- Easy way to get some exercise
- Get away from technology for a while
- Stargaze without smog or light pollution
- Learn new survival skills
- Eat new campfire meals
- Make new memories
- Reset your sleep cycle with all the natural light
- Meet some new people along the way
Have a great trip!
We hope that your family camping trip, even if it is a family camping for beginners trip, goes smoothly!