Don’t worry if you’ve never been car camping and don’t relish the idea of sleeping in your car. Car camping just means that you drive to the campsite as opposed to you hiking there. In fact, it’s probably what most people think of when they envision “camping.” While hiking to a campsite is an activity in itself and can educate and entertain kids, car camping requires a completely different kind of planning. Nevertheless, car camping is a great idea for newbies.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
If camping is new to your kids, it may be best to start with destinations that have modern plumbing and even electricity. Some sites also have Wi-Fi. You might have to pay more for these luxuries, but your kids should soon get used to “roughing it” as you cut down on the frills each trip.
Or, you could choose a more traditional campsite for the first experience but make it one night only. Also, opt for a relatively short drive. As your kids gain more camping skills and, hopefully, excitement about camping, you can venture farther from home.
Few things dampen a camping trip more than a parent who has strict expectations for how everything should go. If you burn dinner and must order pizza delivery, that’s okay. Ditto if a child gets sick and everyone has to leave early.
Explaining expectations ahead of time is also helpful. For instance, if you want the kids to pay attention to nature instead of their tablets, let them know a few days in advance instead of dropping it on them at the last minute. That could lead to constant, trip-ruining complaints.
Have Fun Packing, but Remember the Essentials
Perhaps the greatest benefit of car camping is that you can bring practically anything you want as long as it fits in the vehicle. That means fun goodies such as board games, baseballs, gloves, basketballs and the like are probably doable. However, don’t get so caught up in the fun stuff that you forget about essentials such as sunblock and mosquito repellents. There are also tents that help protect campers from insects.
If you want to show off your cooking skills or help your kids cook (if they’re old enough), consider investing in something such as the Kwik Pantry with Cook Table that is compact and easy to set up.
And to keep with the “make-it-as-easy-as-possible-at-first” principle, try not to shoehorn your family into cramped quarters. Your kids may enjoy camping more if they get to stretch out in a Kids Tent-Cot, and because there are no complicated tent poles to assemble, they’ll also get the satisfaction of setting up their own tent