A few days out in the wilderness with your family members might be the one thing you’re looking forward to right now. Nowadays, with all the hustle and bustle of modern lifestyle, nature seems like the gateway to peace and tranquility. The best way to relax and get closer to nature while having a great time with your family is to camp out in the wild.
The best camping ideas for families involve taking proper gear, choosing the best spot for camping, setting up the right tent, keeping personal hygiene, engaging in fun activities, and keeping a positive mindset throughout the trip.
In this post, we’ll talk about all the family camping tips you need to know about to become a pro. It’s going to be a long one, so stick with us to learn more!
Family Camping Basics
So, are you looking forward to having a good time with your family in the wilderness? Becoming a camping family is not as difficult it might seem at first.
The first thing you need to do is acquire some basic camping skills. These include learning stuff like setting up a fire, choosing the perfect camping spot, operating all your camping gear properly, and so on.
These are some of the most fundamental skills you must have if you’re looking to have a good time in the wilderness. Without these techniques right up your alley, it’s tough to keep everything on track during a family camping trip.
There are a lot of excellent online courses out there to bring you into the speed. Outward Bound, NOLS, REI, and L.L. Bean offer some of the best camping ideas. Check out these resources, and you’ll become a camping pro in no time!
Top 28 Family Camping Tips And Tricks
With all the preparation and training out of the way, it’s time for some camping tips and tricks. Follow through, and you’ll be able to have a great time camping while gathering some precious memories, no matter how inexperienced you are in real life!
Here’s the list of the 28 best camping tips and hacks for families.
1. Simplify Your Plans
Planning can be quite a hassle at first if you have no previous experience in family camping. There are so many things to consider – where to set up the camp, how to set up the base, what to take, and what not to take.
But do you know that remembering just one word will throw a lot of hassle right out the window? The word is – ‘simplify.’ Don’t complicate things if you don’t need to.
Make a simple camping plan that you and your family members can follow. Simplify your packing list. Don’t take unnecessary things. Minimalize your meals. You don’t need expensive food to have a good time in the wilderness. And finally, lower your expectations.
2. Choose A Good Camping Pitch
Authorities usually offer a list of good camping pitches in national parks or reservoirs. Don’t forget to check out their websites and find all the available camping sites before planning your next trip.
You want to choose a place that’s more or less in a flat plain without too many bumps or rocks. Moreover, you should choose the pitch depending on the distance from the source of freshwater, suitability of the area, availability of emergency help, safety from wild animals, etc.
On hot summer days, you would want some sort of shade on top of your head. So planning to set up the camp under a large tree is not a bad idea at all. Otherwise, the scorching heat from the sun will feel unbearable at noon.
3. Remove Distracting Objects From The Camp Site
Making sure the selected camping pitch is flat should be your topmost priority. You’re lucky if you can manage a place that’s already relatively usable. But most of the time, you have to work beforehand.
Start by removing most large objects like rocks, leaves, sticks, branches, pinecones, etc., from the site. As a pro tip, you can use a layer of pinecones just under your tent. It’ll provide you with a much more comfortable sleeping experience.
4. Swimming Noodles To Cover Up The Tent Lines
We all had the same experience once or twice on camping – tripping by getting our feet stuck to the guy lines of the tent. They’re hard to notice as they are and even harder to dodge in the night.
So do yourself a favor and bring in some swimming noodles with you so that you can cover up the guy lines of the tent with them. Not only will it make sure you see the guy line clearly, but it’ll also prevent a lot of accidental tripping.
5. Pack Clothes For Each Day
No one likes their sleeping bag covered with dirt and dust when they’re going inside for a peaceful sleep. However, it’s also quite hard to clean up a messy blanket or a sleeping bag in the middle of nowhere because obviously, there’s no laundry in the forest!
So what might be the solution to this problem? It’s pretty simple actually – pack up a different set of clothes for every single day. This primarily applies to socks, underwear, and pants since these have the highest chance of getting dirty during camping.
6. Get Some Lighting Equipment
We’re all very used to getting into the light after the sun has set. It has become our second nature. In the wild, life is very much different. There’s no artificial light to show you around in the darkness. You can make a fire pit to illuminate the campsite, but it’s not enough.
So the best plan is to come prepared in these situations. Bring in a lot of glow sticks, lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps. Trust us; you’ll be thankful for this.
7. Keep First-Aid Kits Handy
No one wants to get injured during camping. But accidents can and will most likely occur. So the best idea for you is to be prepared. When you camp in the wild, certain cuts, scrapes, and bug bites are pretty common incidents.
So you should learn how to provide primary first-aid treatment and attend to minor cuts or bruises. You can check out some books or online resources and get yourself well-versed in the techniques quite easily.
Keep the pills for headaches, diarrhea, and other illnesses in one portion. Ointments, bandages, and stitching equipment should be kept in another. The trick is to keep everything organized so you find them quickly when you need to.
8. Take Mosquito Repellants
An important thing to keep in mind is that mosquitoes and ticks are inevitable during your stay in the forest. So keeping mosquito repellants, bug sprays, and creams is very important.
An easy process to make some bug-repellant for yourself is to mix some tree oils with water. This mixture is very efficient in repelling mosquitoes & flies.
9. Prepare Meals And Snacks Beforehand
If you’re looking for the perfect family camping hacks, this tip is one of them. Be a pro and pack enough dry food and snacks with you before you leave for the trip.
You don’t want to toil away your time during the family camping trip to cook meals for everyone. You’re there to have fun! So, if you prepare some of the meals while you’re at home, it would be much easier for you and everyone else to remain carefree about food.
A good practice is to pre-chop your vegetables and herbs and keep them sealed in a plastic bag. So when you need them for the meal, just open the bag and toss them into the stew.
10. Refrigerate Groceries & Frozen Food
Food like milk, butter, and eggs should be refrigerated before you take them cause they can quickly get spoiled at room temperature.
Prepare some light snacks like veggie rolls, meatballs, and chicken fries while at home and carry them with you to camp. Fried food usually remains edible for a long time even if left unrefrigerated. You can also bring frozen pasta, ready-mix soups or stews, and dry granola bars according to your taste.
Just make sure that the food is pre-cooked as much as possible so that you don’t have to spend too much time preparing them on the campsite.
11. Bring Sunscreen – A Lot Of It!
In the summertime, camping out there in the open under the scorching heat of the sun can mean only one thing – sunburns!
Most of the time, kids will be out in the open, playing to their hearts’ content. Sunburns will ruin their day camping, and it will ruin your mood too.
Sunscreens are the best way to eliminate these types of problems. Just get the correct SPF cream and apply it to the exposed part of the skin before going out. Sunblocks also come in spray-on bottles, a super handy thing to have if you ask us.
12. Prepare Yourself For The Cold
The campsite might feel pretty sunny during the days, but don’t trust nature. It can eventually feel chilly at night.
One of the best family tent camping tips is to come prepared with blankets and sleeping bags. That way, you can shove yourself with warmth as much as you want when dealing with the increasingly cold temperatures.
You can also check out our guide for how to use the three-layering system to keep yourself warm during cold weather.
13. Take Multiple Tarps With You
A lot of people forget about the possibility of rain when they go out on a camping trip. You’re a pro, so you should not forget about that!
Taking multiple tarps with you will help you keep the fireplace and the adjacent places safe from the rain or snow. Without a proper tarp, the rain will ruin your camping experience like no other.
Start by building up a tarp shelter on the top of your cooking area. If there is rain or snow for some reason, the tarp will hold everything off temporarily and give you enough time to pack up.
14. Place A Rug On Both Sides Of The Camp
As we all know, children will definitely bring a ton of dirt inside your tent if you’re not careful. And it’s not like they will obey everything you’ll say, especially during a trip like family camping.
So what’s the solution here? Bring two pieces of a rug, and place them on both sides of your tent—one for the outside and one for the inside. Trust us; these will help tremendously in minimizing the dirt everyone brings in.
15. Bring A Broom And Dustpan
This combo will make sure your campsite stays free of dirt and dust. No matter how hard you try to keep dirt away from your tent, it’ll eventually end up right by your bedding!
So a piece of killer advice is to bring in a broom and dustpan with you. When the tent gets filled with a ton of dirt and dust, you’ll at least have a way to clean inside. A quick cleaning session per day before going to bed will do the job.
16. Set Up A Washing Station
One of the most prominent camping hacks is to set up a hand-washing station right off the bat.
Setting up a hand-washing station to keep the children safe from getting sick is more important than you think. It’s quite a painful job to walk for miles just to find the nearest washroom every time you want to clean up.
So, keeping a jar of water near your camping spot and setting up a hand-washing station is your best bet at maintaining proper hygiene.
17. Carry Enough Soaps And Hand Sanitizers
In a forest area, there are all sorts of dirt, harmful bacteria, and fungus all around you. And with the recent pandemic, it’s more important to keep yourself sanitized than ever before.
Hand sanitizers work great in most cases. Regularly sanitize your hands with it to give yourself the maximum chance of protection.
Wet wipes also work great in this aspect. However, they are not very good at cleaning all types of dirt like food smears, sands, goos, etc. So we also recommend keeping some soap bars around.
18. Sleep Uphill
Always try to place your tent on a flat plane for maximum safety. But if you plan to put your tent somewhere with an incline, make sure to place your pillow on the higher side before you go to sleep.
Sleeping on the lower side will leave you with a horrible headache when you wake up the next day. You don’t want a headache to ruin your camping experience, do you?
19. Start A Campfire Efficiently
Setting up a campfire and sitting with your family members for a beautiful evening seems like the chance of a lifetime.
You can roast a barbecue & get some heat while keeping everyone safe from any sort of danger. A campfire is also great for adults to hang out after the children have been tucked away into their sleeping bags.
Start by building up a fire pit to contain the fire in a specific spot without damaging the ground. You’d also want to bring some good-quality firewood with you for making the fire light up. Don’t depend on wood found at the campsite.
Also, bring in some marshmallows and some skewers with you as well. The children would love that!
20. Turn Off All Gadgets
The best camping hacks with kids include teaching them about nature and showing them how beautiful the world can be.
Leave most of your electronics and entertainment gadgets at home. While camping, try to pay more attention to all the beautiful things around you – stuff like the sky, the trees, and the butterflies. Your children will learn to gain a new perspective about their life rather than just being cooped up inside at home.
While you should keep most of your gadgets back at home, keep a cell phone handy. You need it so you can contact people just in case of any emergency.
21. Plan Some Fun Family Time
Some fun activities during the camping days will keep your family members engaged. In addition, you can try out many recreational activities with your family, like going on hikes, fishing, bicycle rides, and many others.
Fun camping ideas for families aren’t that hard to think of. You can engage your little ones to help you out during cooking. They can watch and pick up many life skills while having fun.
Stargazing, telling spooky stories, and truth-or-dare games at night will also make the trip a lot more memorable.
22. Bring Some Board Games
Mixing up your time with fun activities is the key to a successful family camping trip. And what better way is there to have a great time than to play some board games with your family?
Most of us have been fond of board games since our early childhood days. You can relive the same fondness while playing the same board game with your family members.
Board games are also an excellent option for spending time after the sun has set and the wildlife activity becomes much more restrictive. It also works great on a gloomy rainy day when camping.
23. Take Your Family To A Ranger Station
There are a lot of ranger stations available around the regular campsites. They are great for learning about the wildlife; they also offer a variety of activities that you and your family can take part in for a good time.
Take your family members on a short trip to the station. They’ll have stuff like wildlife identification, scavenger hunts, and ranger training. There are also various hiking spots available around the camp. The ranger station will accurately inform and help you in the hike.
24. Lock The Tent When You’re Away
As you know, there’s a lot of wildlife around the forest. There’s also the risk of burglars or thieves out there in the wild. The last thing you want to see is an empty tent when you’re back from all-day hiking.
So don’t make the same mistake as many of the people did before you. Always lock your tent with a strong lock before you’re off to explore nature. Moreover, don’t leave garbage bags and foods unattended. Always lock them inside your tent before you go anywhere.
25. Clean Up The Campsite Before You Leave – (Leave No Trace)
Camping is a fantastic opportunity to feel the soothing ambiance of nature and enjoy the wild outdoors more closely than ever. But nothing good can come from it if you leave the campsite unclean.
Being a camper family, all of you should be more careful when it comes to preserving nature. After every camping trip, make sure you have cleaned everything up. Leave no disposable waste behind.
Pick up your trash and take it with you to dispose of at designated areas. That’s not only how you contribute to preserving the environment, but also, you can teach your kids to take responsibility.
26. Safety Should Be Your First Priority
Safety first, safety second, safety third! You don’t want a pleasant time to turn into a nightmare. So you must take every measure to ensure the safety of you and your family during a camping trip.
Firstly, gather enough knowledge about your trip location.
Secondly, note down enough information about the surroundings. Try to know everything you can about the area, roads around the location, accidents rates, and the experiences of the people who went on the trip there before you.
And finally, make a list of every item you need. Cross-check everything before the journey. If required, double-check with the help of another member of your family.
27. Divide The Workload Among Your Family Members
It is always a good idea to divide the workload among your family members. Don’t keep everything under your personal to-do list. This will help you complete every tiny detail with more clarity and keep off the pressure from you alone. It’s also one of the best camping hacks for the kids to get them involved in the planning process.
Another benefit of dividing the workload among your family members is that children will easily pick up different survival skills that will come in handy later in life.
28. Keep A Positive Attitude & Mindset
Keeping a positive attitude is more important than anything when it comes to setting up a family camp.
It often happens that there is a sudden issue with the vehicles. The weather might change abruptly, or the camping spot might have too many bugs. The tent might not work well, or the road could be inaccessible due to some issue.
Anything can happen. To be positive all the time, you have to be in the right mentality for every situation. But you have to believe that you and your family can work through it. Maybe, this will make your kids stronger and more resilient in life. This is, in fact, one of the best tips for camping with kids.
Remember, there is nothing that good mentality and family support can’t solve. A positive mentality can solve half of the problems. So, don’t give in and keep believing in yourself and your family. You can make it!
Setting Up The Perfect Family Camping Trip
Okay, you have now packed all your important gear and stuff into your backpack. The next logical step for you is to contact someone in national parks to book a camping site for you.
Teach yourself how to set up a camp on a campsite. There are many online tutorials already available. Choose what you find most suitable for yourself.
You and your family also need to get the hang of maintaining sleeping bags, inflatable pillows, etc., before going out on an actual trip.
You can set up practice campsites in your backyard. Not only will it be of great use to your family members, but it might also be a great afternoon activity to enjoy with them.
With some practice, you can make everyone in your family a pro in camping before you even go out into the wild!
A night of camping together might be the best memory you could ever make with your family members. Children usually make their fondest memories of camping with their families while gazing up at the night sky, having random chatters, and sharing stories about their lives with their siblings.
If you have the time and resources, why miss this creating fantastic opportunity for your family and loved ones? With these family camping tips and tricks, we covered all the nitty-gritty details about camping and how you can boost your family camping experience to the next level. Best of luck on your next family camping trip!
Pavel is a true outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nature and a love for the great outdoors. He started Outdoor Fun Mag to introduce people from all walks of life to everything the outdoors has to offer and hopes that you’ll find something that excites you every time you stop by.
When not exploring nature Pavel works as an Electronics Engineer — a job that gets him thinking and makes sure he pays attention to all those fine details. This means that when he leaves work for the week, there’s no better contrast than the calmness and serenity of the natural world. By giving Pavel the chance to switch off and relax, his time spent camping and hiking allows him to feel refreshed.
In the future, Pavel plans to explore new areas and corners of the world with nothing more than a backpack and a tent. It’s an authentic way of seeing new places that allow him to de-stress and enjoy life, and he wants you to make the most of your life too.