Sophie Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith were canoeing in Ireland when they had an encounter with one of nature’s greatest and most fleeting natural phenomena — a murmuration of starlings. The spectacle is a magical case of mathematical chaos in action. What an amazing universe we live in. And there’s no way for us to experience it without being outside. And the best way to do that? A family camping trip of course! Try these 10 ways to make your next family camping trip rock.
1. The Planning
Get everyone in the whole family involved in organizing your trip. America is filled with great state parks and campgrounds. Pick a region of the country and research with the family the best spot for you.
Xbox, P3, ipad, ipod, iphone, laptops and 800 channels on television. Wow. Who needs to leave home? Before you ever leave the driveway, a path of appreciation for the great outdoors needs to be laid down. Enjoying a camping trip is about connecting with the primal instinct embedded in your DNA of self-sufficient survival. Man against nature. More like man with nature. Make sure you understand this and attempt to instill it in your family.
3. Great Food
Fresh caught trout grilled over and open fire? Yeah. How about a t-bone steak and eggs for breakfast as the chilly mountain mist clears towards a beautiful sunrise? Food and camping go hand in hand. Some of the best memories your family will ever have is that incredible meal cooked outdoors. Plan ahead to make it perfect. Your stomach will be very happy.
In this economy, we all want great fun for a cheap price. Camping hits the nail on the head. The initial cost of the equipment aside, where else can you house a family of four overnight for less than $50? Your original equipment investment will provide years of highly economical fun for your entire family.
For the inexperienced, make sure you do a pre-trip run-through to troubleshoot any possible glitches. This can save you a lot of heartache once on your trip. It can also save your kids from hearing Dad cursing as your words bounce off the canyon walls. Practice setting up your tent in your backyard. Make sure your backpacks can actually be carried. Taking the time to do this really will make your trip go much smoother.
Not all campsites are created equal. Do your homework carefully. Your family will not want to go completely Little House On The Prairie. Make sure there is a bath house for bathing and bathroom breaks. A general store is awesome, but not necessary if you plan correctly. Fire pits. Grills. Every campsite has different options. Choose what is best for you to avoid any unhappy campers in your pack.
7. Degrees of Difficulty
In the world of camping, hiking and whitewater rafting there are different levels of expertise. Absolutely make sure you know what your family is up for. If you are all-seasoned outdoors people, then by all means tackle those rugged challenges. However, most families will be more comfortable in beginner and intermediate levels. The idea is to relax and enjoy yourselves.
8. Proper Clothing
“Daddy, I’m freezing!” Didn’t think it might be 40 degrees cooler in the mountains than at home, did you? Or maybe you are in a cooler climate and heading south for your trip. Be aware of what the temperatures and forecast will be for where you are camping. Plan for all events including sudden thunderstorms. The right shoes are also vitally important. Your 14 year old daughter hiking in the latest stylish, summer sandals is example of not the right footwear.
9. Quality Time
The major benefit of camping with your family is the closeness you will share. Nobody will be distracted by all those devices. This is the ideal time to open and build trust and communication. It is fairly easy to get into a serious and rewarding conversation sitting by a campfire sipping great coffee. Make the most of the opportunity.
10. The Right Gear
Every family has a budget. You can’t break the bank buying equipment that can hold up in Antarctica. However, you do want to buy the best equipment you can afford. Keep in mind that you will use it over and over for years to come. How much fun will it be if your tent blows off the mountain the very first night because you bought it on clearance at K-Mart? Buy your gear from stores that specialize in outdoor equipment. Tell them your needs and take their advice.
“Where should we do our next camping trip?”