Camping with the family can take a lot of thought and preparation. This week, we turned to the expert, Amy Whitley from Pit Stops for Kids, to get her best family camping tips for when, where and how to camp with kids — including suggestions on the best camping gear.
ON THE PODCAST
:40 Tamara’s recent trip to Florida
11:30 Amy Whitley from Pit Stops for Kids
15:49 Favorite camping trips
19:09 Camping tips
23:30 Best age for camping
26:26 What to look for in a campground
28:54 What to pack for a family camping trip
33:23 Favorite camping meals
37:09 Favorite games and activities
39:22 Favorite camping gear
43:20 Tip of the week
44:40 Next week: Utah Parks
ABOUT AMY WHITLEY
Amy Whitley, founder of Pit Stops for Kids, is a family travel, outdoor adventure, and gear writer based in Southern Oregon. A lifelong lover of the outdoors, Amy helps families get outside with their kids in all seasons. You can follow Amy on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
FAMILY CAMPING TIPS
- Start with car camping where you can drive to your campsite
- Look at your state park website for the First Time Campers program
- Use GetOutfitted.com to rent gear for the first time to try gear out
- Join a backpacking group or guided hike through a gear store to get started
- Take kids when they are young so they are used to being outdoors and not intimidated, but if they are babies it is more work than reward
- Families with toddlers and preschoolers might want to use a portable crib to have a clean place for kids to hang out
- Start with a two-night trip, possibly close enough to home so you can abort early if needed, but setting up and breaking down is time consuming so you want to have a full day to enjoy yourselves
- When camping in an RV, you can be closer together because you have more insulation from sound and privacy
- For car camping, look for walk-in sites where you have a parking spot but you walk a bit in to the campsite so you feel a little more isolated
- Look for where the showers, sinks and dumpsters are so you can choose your spot wisely
- Private campgrounds are more resort-like with pools, playgrounds, etc
- State parks and national park campgrounds might feel more “outdoorsy”
- What to bring: tent, sleeping bag, pad/cot, shoe organizer to hang with kitchen gears or a camp kitchen, rope to hang up towels/clothes, welcome mat to wipe off shoes before going into the tent, lots of garbage bags, plastic tote boxes to bring gear when car camping, frozen water bottles, and headlamps
- Favorite camping meals: fajitas, soup, chilis, hamburgers, steaks, breakfast burritos and other grill items
- Prep your food in advance and bring them in ziplock bags
- Set up a trail mix bar so everyone can design their own trail mix
- Favorite activities: scavenger hunts, campground bingo, ranger-led activities, geocaching, bikes/scooters
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
Amy’s favorite shoes for camping are Keen closed-toe sandals or Crocs for around camp. For hiking shoes, kids can generally use sneakers or trail running shoes. She is also a big believer in Columbia long-sleeve hiking shirts and convertible, zip-off pants. She also likes to bring bandanas or buffs for multi-purpose use.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Plan your camp menu in advance so you can buy and prep everything you need in advance and not forget some important items like condiments!
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
Feeding the lemurs at Safari Wilderness Ranch
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