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Planning a Family Camping Trip

Camping can be a lot of fun for the entire family. Unfortunately it can also be a very miserable experience if proper care is not taken to plan properly to ensure a memorable experience.

There are many things that can lead to a poor camping experience. Hopefully this article will help you avoid some of the pitfalls and have a wonderful experience.

planning a family camping trip

Planning a Family Camping Trip

First, you will want to consider the type of camping you would like to experience. This could range from camping in a modern state of the art recreational vehicle or RV to an extended low impact backpacking trip. Generally speaking, when you are first exploring the idea of camping, you will want to experience camping in such a way that it is easy to quickly return to civilization should the need arise.

Thought should be given to the reason that you want to go camping. Is camping part of the trip, simply a low cost form of lodging while other activities are pursued, or is camping the vacation. Some good places to camp are local state or national parks. National forests may also provide camping facilities, as well as private camp grounds.

Depending on the type of camping you wish to experience, you will need various equipment. This can be very basic equipment for camping at a state park during the summer months for example, or highly specialized and expensive equipment that would be necessary for a low impact winter backpacking trip.

Generally speaking, you don’t want to go out and spend a lot of cash on high tech equipment until you are an established camper and specialized equipment is necessary for more extreme adventures.

This is for several reasons. First of all, camping is not for everyone, and you don’t want to spend a great deal of your hard earned money on equipment that may not see extended use. Also, camping equipment that can last for years if it is properly cared for still wears out with use. Why purchase expensive equipment designed for hard core camping adventures when first starting out that will be be old and need replacing by the time this specialized equipment becomes necessary.

When planning a camping trip for a family, it is important to evaluate the experience level of the youngest or most inexperienced member that will be going along. Camping is a wonderful experience, but it’s too big of an adventure if attempted too early in one’s camping career. If one family member is miserable during the entire experience, that will mean a loss of desire to camp.

Start small by planning a trip to a local campground or state park. Look on line for basic equipment lists and purchase a few low cost items. When trying this type of camping, many regular household items can be used as is or adapted for camping. This includes blankets for sleeping, as well as cooking utensils. One thing that is important to remember about cooking utensils however, normal pots designed for stove top cooking usually have plastic handles that will melt on a campfire.

As you become more experienced at camping, don’t be afraid to occasionally try a more extreme adventure to experience new things. Try not to get in over your head however as camping can be very dangerous if you are not prepared.


Never burn garbage in a campfire or cooking fire. Burning garbage can release toxic chemicals that can be dangerous to ingest or inhale.

Remember, there are animals in nature. Store your food properly as it is not good for animals to become dependant on humans for food.

Be conscious of the environment and don’t litter. If you pack it in, pack it out and dispose of it properly.

tips on how to enjoy your family camping trip

Camping is an inexpensive activity that will bring excitement to you and your family.


Armed with research and organization this outdoor activity can be fun for the entire family.

Camping is an inexpensive, relaxing way to get away from the everyday rat race. It is more affordable than staying at a hotel. I do realize that this “rustic” approach is not for everyone, but you should try it at least once! If you take the time up front to develop an organized system you will save a lot of time, get on the road faster and keep your blood pressure down.


When searching for gear do not forget to include storage items. You can use a large low hamper-type basket to hold many things like cookware, dishes, canned goods, etc.


With the internet at your fingertips you have the ability to search for camp sites listed in your desired locations. You can even choose the site you want and make reservations online.


There is nothing quite as wonderful as the smell of coffee brewing on the camp stove and breakfast cooking. The smell of bacon and eggs awakens any sleepy appetite. If you are camping with small children a word of advice is to keep the cooking area out of reach and a close eye on little ones by an open fire.

In time you will become proficient and know the best way to do things. Take time to listen to the advice of a seasoned camper.

Bring along board games, cards, balls, bubbles, crossword puzzle books, etc. Do not forget to pack the camera. Priceless “Hallmark” moments are out there waiting for you.


Pack maps, or MapQuest or Google Maps printouts of your camping location. Organization is the key to a smooth camping trip.

Lists are a camper’s best friend. Here are a few items that you will want to be sure to bring, in addition to your “can’t live without” items.

  • Tent/camper
  • Sleeping bags
  • Hammer
  • Towels
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Toiletries
  • Benadryl antihistamine (just in case you encounter some poison ivy)
  • Easy to make campfire foods
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Candy bar
  • Citronella candles
  • Table cover (plastic or cloth)
  • Plates, silverware, cups
  • Paper towels
  • Container to carry water
  • Charcoal
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Matches
  • Rain Ponchos
  • Appropriate clothing and shoes
  • And whatever else you think you will need

Final Suggestions

Check the weather forecast for your camping location. One thing to remember – do not hang towels to dry on the frame of your tent or camper. If the wind whips these towels to land on the canvas, this will cause the tent to leak. This can have disastrous results.

As a last suggestion, go prepared to have fun and enjoy the time you will have with your kids or friends. After you have gone camping once you will be anxiously awaiting your next time and willing to share tips on how to enjoy the world of camping.

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