8 Ways to Make Camping with Children Super Simple

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The hus­band and I are rather spon­ta­neous peo­ple. Just a week before our big camp­ing trip we decid­ed to go. We have only camped one oth­er time by our­selves with­out my fam­i­ly and it is a lot more work than I real­ized. Being respon­si­ble to remem­ber to pack every­thing and to cook the meals over a camp­fire that some­times doesn’t burn and nev­er burns at an even tem­per­a­ture. To decide where and what we are doing every day and all those oth­er small details that don’t occur to you until you are the adult.

After dis­cussing at length where we would stay, the hus­band sweet­ly agreed on Duluth. We haven’t been there since our anniver­sary last year and it is my favorite place to camp. I envi­sioned stay­ing at Jay Cooke State Park where my fam­i­ly always camps, hik­ing the trails at Goose­ber­ry and Tet­te­gouche State Parks. Nice weath­er, pic­nics and fun! Fri­day night there were extreme thun­der storm and flash flood warn­ings in the area we were stay­ing and it poured! Jay Cooke was booked so we couldn’t stay there and the camp­ground we found was sketchy. Note to self: Plan ahead! We still had a won­der­ful time, we nev­er went hun­gry… for too long, and we cre­at­ed many good mem­o­ries togeth­er. But when we go camp­ing again in two weeks, I will be more pre­pared!

Plan for the weather

Is it going to be cold? Will it be rain­ing? Will it be hot? Are you going to be camp­ing where there is a beach? Pack accord­ing­ly. I fig­ured since it is July that Duluth would be warm and sun­ny. It end­ed up being cold and rainy the first night and sun­ny the fol­low­ing days but still chilly in the morn­ings.

Bring snacks!

Meal time while on vaca­tion can be — well — unpre­dictable! And hun­gry campers are not hap­py campers! Avoid this prob­lem by pack­ing snacks! I packed peanut but­ter and saltine crack­ers. I might have gone through around 9 oz of peanut but­ter with a lit­tle help from the boys while on our trip. But what can I say, between breast­feed­ing, hik­ing and being in the out­doors I was starv­ing most of the time! When I was grow­ing up, my mom would always make sure we had a snack box packed full and eas­i­ly acces­si­ble. Crack­ers and cook­ies, trail mix and gra­nola bars, buck­ets of home­made but­tery pop­corn.  Our favorites were Trop­i­cal Trail Mix and sliced cheese on Toll House But­ter Crack­ers. Oh yeah, don’t for­get the water! I love my stain­less steel water bot­tle, it keeps your water cold and it is super durable for the out­doors, this one comes in lots of fun col­ors and sizes for every­one in the fam­i­ly, or this one has a lid with a han­dle.

Pack Enough Clothes

I thought we were stay­ing for 2 nights when I packed. We end­ed up stay­ing an extra night. I packed only one sweater each and those got wet the first night when we tried to set up in the rain. I always over pack and the one time I chose to pack light, I didn’t pack enough! Always pack an extra out­fit, you nev­er know when you might need it. I’d rec­om­mend pack­ing 2 out­fits for each day for the chil­dren. Fleece foot­ed paja­mas are great for cool nights, Carters brand is my favorite!

Bring Proper Camping Equipment

We did not have room to bring our pack ‘n’ play but I wish we had. Baby spent his time in his car seat, in a bop­py pil­low on a camp chair and on a pil­low on the driver’s seat of the car. None of these were ide­al, but they work for a lit­tle baby if you don’t have the space. If your baby is get­ting around, rolls over, etc, you prob­a­bly need anoth­er option, unless you don’t mind them being in the dirt. Bring along a pack ‘n’ play, a portable swing or some sort of seat like this one for your baby to sit in when you are busy prepar­ing food or doing oth­er camp activ­i­ties. If you’re plan­ning to hike or walk, pack a stroller or baby car­ri­er. And don’t for­get to pack some­thing for baby to sleep in! Unless of course, they’re sleep­ing with you. If you trav­el or camp a lot, it might be worth get­ting some­thing like this 3-in-1 trav­el bassinet.

Camping Safety and Prevention

Two things I did not pack and wish I had are bug spray and a mos­qui­to net for Baby. I did Google nat­ur­al bug spray and found that coconut oil can be used. What­ev­er you use, I strong­ly sug­gest you find some with­out DEET, espe­cial­ly for your chil­dren. Things I did pack were large bandaids and my mom’s salve. Thank­ful­ly we didn’t have any seri­ous injuries, but Coby did knock a burn he had against the car while get­ting in and gouged some of the skin off. I was very glad that I had the salve and ban­dages for him. Bring­ing a basic First Aid Kit, bug spray, and sun­screen would be a great idea! It wouldn’t hurt to bring along Aloe Vera Gel for sun burn and some­thing to treat bug bites, poi­son ivy, etc, like this on the go stick.

Bring Activities for the Kids

I packed Coby’s favorite books, his kinet­ic sand, a puz­zle and crayons. I’m so glad I did this, Coby played with his kinet­ic sand and his books many times while I was cook­ing, clean­ing and pack­ing up camp.

Know the Place You are Camping at

As I men­tioned before, the only avail­able camp­ground Fri­day night was more of an RV park/resort right on the riv­er. There were four tent camp­sites with no pri­va­cy, staked out with orange cones between a line of trees and a huge hotel. The whole place was a bit run down and sketchy so we didn’t stay. I wished I had read the reviews more exten­sive­ly. This is what I get for attempt­ing to be adven­tur­ous! Make sure that the place you are camp­ing is some­where you are going to enjoy stay­ing! Check the reviews on Google or ask some­one you know for a rec­om­men­da­tion before try­ing out a new place!

Have a backup Plan

Our back­up plan was a night in the car. Not a very com­fort­able back­up plan, even though we sur­vived. Make sure you have a plan just in case your orig­i­nal plan falls through, unless you enjoy that sort of adven­ture. 🙂 It real­ly wasn’t that bad!


What are things that you always do or pack in prepa­ra­tion for camp­ing?


  1. Patti

    Ahhh…. I love it and I love the pic­tures!! Makes me want to pack the tent and head to Jay Cooke State Park!

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