I’ve heard it said that there are two kinds of people in the world: campers, and those who don’t camp. But I believe there’s a third category: people who like the idea of camping, but who have no experience to draw on, or who aren’t sure how to make it work with small children.
If you’re in that category, fear not! Camping can be be fun, even if you have kids and little to no experience. Here are some ways to”ease” into family camping and make it more comfortable for everyone involved (especially mom and dad!):
1) Protect The Perimeter.
My husband Jon is, shall we say, a little more particular about things being “just so” than I am. But the one time I never complain about his fastidious ways is when we camp. He’s scrupulous about making sure all the tent doors stay zipped and shoes are kept outside, and kids aren’t allowed to mess around inside the tent during waking hours. As a result we rarely have sandy sleeping bags or the incessant hum of mosquitos nearing near our ears and biting us in our sleep. If you’re a reluctant outdoor sleeper, take it from me: holding your sleeping space sacred makes a big difference.
2) Try Camping “Lite.”
If you aren’t up for a full-on camping trip just yet – perfectly understandable if you have a bolting toddler or a baby who has difficulty sleeping outside of her own bed – ease yourself into the ritual by trying a daytime camping trip. Rent a site near your home and do all the usual camping “stuff,” then leave before bedtime. In the morning, return for a few more hours of fun – you can even make breakfast over the fire.
3) Pitch Your Tent In The Backyard.
If time, budget, or interest don’t allow for a camping trip right now, why not head to your own backyard and hang out under the stars? Pitch a tent, roast marshmallows over the fire pit, and tell spooky stories long after dark – who cares if you’re just a few feet from your back door?
4) Consider Creature Comforts.
Camping facilities don’t always deliver the most comfortable restroom experiences. While I’m not too squeamish about getting grubby and roughing it a bit, sometimes I like to bring along a few items to make our experience feel just a bit more like “glamping.” Flushable wipes for restroom clean-ups and toilet paper to use in lieu of the typical one-ply campground option can add a touch of comfort when you’re living outdoors for a few days. I mentioned Scott Tube-Free Toilet Paper in my post about low-waste celebrating, but it’s also a great idea when you want to “rough it” with a little less roughness (and trash to haul out at the end.)
A big thank you to Kimberly-Clark, our sponsor for May and June! You can find out more about the #CelebrateFamilyValues campaign at PickUpTheValues.com. We’re also discussing the campaign in episodes of The Mom Hour – tune in next time you’re folding laundry or doing the dishes!