Wilderness Wisdom: 5 Essential Tips for a Successful Family Camping Trip

wilderness wisdom: 5 essential tips for a successful family camping trip

Camping is a great way for families to unplug, spend quality time together, and create lasting memories. However, a lack of planning can quickly turn the trip into a stressful disaster. Follow these five essential tips to ensure a fun, safe, and successful family camping adventure:

1. Pack Intelligently

Forgetting essential gear is a surefire way to put a damper on the whole trip. Make a detailed packing list that accounts for shelter, sleeping bags/pads, layers of clothing suitable for the weather, enough food and drinks, a camp stove, dishes/utensils, first-aid kit, fire-starting supplies, lighting, camp chairs, recreation items, and personal toiletry items.

But don’t go overboard with overpacking either—that just creates a headache to lug around.

The name of the game is packing light but packing smart. 

If you’ve got babies or toddlers, don’t forget the basics like a portable toddler bed, diapers, wipes, and toys to keep them occupied. Distribute weight wisely across packs and keep things organised in clear plastic bins for easier access.

2. Choose the Right Campground

Picking the right campground location is important for an enjoyable family camping trip, so do plenty of research before booking.

At the top of your priority list should be a family-friendly campground with well-maintained facilities like showers, potable water sources, and ideally some activities to keep the kids entertained.

Be sure to look into the campground’s rules about noise levels, campfires, and what amenities are available. It’s all about weighing factors like your camping style preferences, budget, the ages of your kids, and their interests.

3. Prepare Kids Properly

Let’s face it, camping requires way more self-discipline from kids accustomed to lounging around the house attached to electronics all day long. Set them up for success by explaining campground rules and expected behaviours well in advance.

Get them involved in age-appropriate camping tasks like pitching tents, gathering firewood, cleaning up after meals, or helping cook over the campfire. This promotes engagement and responsibility.

It’s also a good idea to bring along some familiar comforts from home if you think it’ll help them adjust. And definitely pack plenty of entertainment options to avoid boredom and whining like books, travel games, bikes, sports equipment, art supplies, cameras, and simple musical instruments.

4. Master Campsite Setup

There’s nothing that kills the fun of camping faster than a stressful, chaotic campsite experience. Arrive early enough to snag an ideal site with adequate space, good drainage, and ground protection for setting up tents.

Minimise foot traffic inside tents by creating distinct camping zones for the kitchen area, lounging area, gear storage, and sleeping areas. Get that camp kitchen dialled in with an efficient setup for cooking, cleaning, etc.

Be sure to follow all posted campground rules and regulations, especially those regarding proper food storage, fires, and quiet hours. It’s wise to establish a family camping routine from day one so everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

5. Plan Meals + Activities Carefully

Meal planning and preparation make camping much easier. Pack no-mess breakfast options alongside hearty lunches and dinners you can cook over a fire or camp stove. Bring sturdy containers to pack meals if hiking and don’t forget campfire treats like smores!

Also, plan activities matching your crew’s skill levels and interests, like hiking on well-marked trails, canoeing or kayaking, fishing, cycling, stargazing, playing outdoor games, or visiting nearby attractions.

Keep it Natural

Camping works best when you’re properly prepared yet flexible. Applying these tips will help you enjoy a rejuvenating outdoor escape for bonding as a family. With some planning and the right mindset, you’ll create wonderful memories underneath starry skies.

Mick Pacholli

Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.        

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