Tent camping with your kids is a fun adventure that doesn’t have to be intimidating!
Krystal Grady, SAFEchild’s Moms Supporting Moms program coordinator, enjoys camping trips with her two children, ages 5 and 12. Here are Krystal’s kid-tested family camping tips:
Stick close to home and take advantage of the beautiful state parks in our area, such as Umstead, Falls Lake and Jordan Lake. Campsites in these parks offer conveniently located showers, restrooms, trash containers and water, as well as lakes and trails. Save wilderness camping for when you have more experience under your belt.
Find park information and reserve your campsite at ncparks.gov.
Prepare, prepare, prepare!
Pinterest and Google are great resources for camping checklists. The staff at REI are also very helpful.
Your tent should have windows and plenty plenty of space to breathe and move around! Find reasonably priced tents on Facebook Marketplace, in thrift stores and at Walmart, or if you can, borrow a tent from a friend.
Practice setting up the tent three or four times before your trip in different conditions, such as wind or rain. [In cases of severe weather while camping, head to your car for safety.]
Pack plenty of food and water
Take along collapsible water jugs for drinking and for hand washing.
Prep meals at home, wrap the food in foil then place in plastic bags, and store in a cooler stocked with freezer packs. Krystal recommends keeping the cooler in your car to prevent critters from sneaking into your food.
A small Coleman propane grill will let you cook food quickly for hungry kids – and make sure to pack lots of snacks!
Instead of sleeping bags, use an inexpensive air mattress large enough for all of you, sheets and weather-appropriate blankets.
Don’t forget the battery-powered pump! For overnight safety, bring zip ties to secure the tent from within.
Pro tip #2 – Make sure one of those containers is filled with kid-friendly backup activities, such as a frisbee, coloring books, bubbles and books. Krystal reports her kids didn’t need these, because they were too busy exploring!
Pro tip #1 – Store your camping gear in easy-to-transport labeled containers so that you can load and unload quickly!