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A Family Camping Guide for Beginners

Family camping

Planning a family vacation can be overwhelming with the cost of hotel rooms, meals and travel expenses. One of the most rewarding as well as inexpensive ways to vacation with your family is camping. A camping trip is a great way to relax, enjoy the company of your family and to explore nature. However, if you are new to camping, there are a few things you will need to know before you venture out on your first camping trip. This mini-guide to family camping will help ensure your family makes this camping trip the first of many more to come.

Traveling with Children
Going on a camping trip with children is slightly different than vacationing at a hotel. Children typically require the comforts of home, so make sure you pack familiar items, such as their favorite pillow and blanket and a stuffed animal. Packing for a camping trip requires a little planning to ensure you are comfortable. Simply because the kids are sleeping outdoors doesn't mean they shouldn't be comfortable, so make sure to pack warm, soft pajamas and a quality sleeping bag for each child.

Eating Outdoors
Camping outdoors also means eating meals outdoors, so the food you pack should be travel worthy as well as easy to prepare. Most campsites provide grills on the campgrounds, but you will need to pack cooking and eating utensils. It is usually easier to take disposable eating utensils, however, most campsites provide water, so feel free to take along dishes and silverware that you normally use at home. Make sure the coolers are large enough to hold enough ice to keep the food cold and frequently replace the ice to ensure the food doesnt spoil.

Sleeping Quarters
One of the most important items you will need for a camping trip is the tent. There are a wide range of tent options to choose from, including different sizes, designs and ease in set-up. A dome tent is one of the most common types of tents available. They are lightweight, easy to put up and take down and they are often the best choice for those new to camping. A cabin tent is typically used by campers who will be camping for a long period of time. They are larger than a dome tent and usually have more head room, but they can also be difficult to set up and take down, if you are not experienced with the process. Whether you choose a dome tent or a cabin tent, there are a few factors to consider to ensure you buy the best tent for your needs.

  • Sleeping capacity-tents vary greatly in the number of people who can sleep comfortably in them. It is typically recommended that you buy a tent that sleeps two more people than what will actually be using the tent. For example, if there are four people in your family, a tent that sleeps 6 to 8 will provide you with ample space for the kids to roam inside, storing all of your equipemnt and leg room for everyone to sleep comfortably.
  • Setting up and taking down the tent should be quick and easy. Many tents come with with poles that are color-coded to make setting up easier. Tents are also available as either free-standing or staked. A free-standing tent is typically easier to set-up, because you do not need stakes to hold it in place. Try and read several reviews of other owners to determine if a tent you are considering will be easy to set-up and take down.
  • It is highly recommended that you buy a tent with rain flies. A rain fly is a piece of fabric that is placed above the tent roof to prevent water from puddling on top of the tent as well as protects you from the rain while inside.

When you begin planning the camping trip, it is important to make a list of everything you will need. When shopping for camping supplies, make sure to buy only quality items. When it comes to buying items like the tent, it is important to keep your family's comfort level in mind. For example, if you have young children that will not be sleeping in their own tent, consider buying a tent that has separate rooms. The individualized rooms allow the kids to have their own space, but know that you are within a close proximity. The goal is to have fun and bond with your family, so keep in mind that if this your first camping trip, things will go wrong, but simply take what you learn from your first camping adventure and apply it to the next and pretty soon, the only vacations your family will want to go on are camping trips.

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