Camping is a great way to bond as a family and get away from home for a fun, outdoor adventure. There are many different styles of camping, and you can tailor the experience to suit your family’s tastes and needs. Regardless of what your trip entails, taking precautions to keep everybody safe is essential and this begins at the planning and packing stage.
Set your priorities and explore your options
Each family should decide what is important to them as they begin to plan their camping experience. Will your family do best staying in a tent, a recreational vehicle, or a cabin? Do you need kid-friendly offerings available or will your group focus on activities like hiking and boating? Do you need access to electricity, running water, and bathrooms or will your group prefer a more rustic location?
Next, you need to choose your destination. There are beautiful national parks scattered across the country, so whether you are looking to stay near home or travel elsewhere, there are options available. Huffington Post shared their picks for some of the best family-friendly options like Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Everglades National Park in Florida, or the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Other great options include canyon country, the Pacific Northwest region, or the Smoky Mountains. There are also great privately owned RV Parks that offer beautiful choices to enjoy nature along the way.
Thoroughly plan and prepare before your departure
Know your group’s limits and pick a spot geared toward their interests and skill levels. The National Park Service points out that injuries can happen if you or others in your group push themselves beyond their capabilities, and that is a surefire way to ruin a camping trip. If your family is new to camping, start basic and set your sights on more complex, adventurous trips down the road.
As you prepare to go on your trip, leave your itinerary and contact information with a loved one or friend. Include information on everybody in your group, your vehicle information, boat information if applicable, your anticipated route and timing, and the park’s contact information.
Pack with safety and security in mind
While you don’t want to overpack for a trip like this, you do want to bring along the essentials that will make this adventure safe. If you are staying in a tent, choose something weather resistant and pack moisture-wicking clothing, wool or synthetic socks, and broken-in, quality shoes to keep you comfortable, dry, and blister-free.
Pack an essentials kit for your trip that includes basic first aid supplies, navigational tools like a GPS, map, or compass, and fire-making materials like waterproof matches. Include a flashlight, lantern, or headlamp, sun protection, and extra clothing to keep you dry and warm. Many people find that a basic knife and duct tape can come in handy too.
Don’t forget about food safety
Meal planning is important, as you will need to bring items that travel well and will be easy to prepare. Shelf-stable foods like peanut butter, canned beef, nuts, and dried fruit work nicely, and if you are bringing perishables, plan to have one cooler for drinks and one for food. Food can spoil quickly in the heat, so be cautious about exposing meat or other perishables to the elements.
Camping is a great way to make family memories that will last a lifetime. Find a national park or camping area that suits your family’s style of vacationing and pack the car with the proper safety equipment, protection items, food, and drinks to ensure that everybody has a great experience. While flexibility is important, planning on the front end can make a big difference in experiencing a safe and adventure-filled trip.
About the Author:
Jamie Strand is an unashamed nerd. He teaches community college and loves spending time with his two daughters. He wants to share his love of science and math with kids today and that’s why he and a friend got together to create Scicamps.org.
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