Planning a Camping Trip

Let’s Go Camping! Planning Your First Family Camping Adventure

Planning a camping trip can seem daunting if you didn’t grow up enjoying the great outdoors.

And because your family members may have a completely different idea about what sounds fun, the perfect first time camping trip is all in the planning. The following tips can help:

Involve the Family

Have a family meeting about your upcoming camping trip. Find out what each member of the group hopes to experience while camping and make a possible activities list. Research campgrounds based on that list and choose a location that provides as many of these activities as possible. For example, if most of your crowd wants to hike and fish for trout, choosing a campground near the beach may not be the best idea. Taking everyone’s suggestions and accommodating as much as you can make everyone feel included.

Give Everyone a Job

Since camping involves taking along most everything you’ll need to be comfortable, packing can feel overwhelming. During your family meeting, make a list of everything your campers want to take. After your list is complete, go through it again and get rid of things that aren’t absolutely necessary. For example, if you want your family to completely unplug during your camping trip, things like laptops and movies may not make the list. If you’re going to be near a lake, make sure that you bring these 7 trip-planning camping gear essentials. Once your list is complete, assign different family members to help with different areas. Older kids can be responsible for getting the sleeping bags aired out, while younger ones can gather games and books. Make getting ready for the trip a family affair so no one person feels overwhelmed.

Selecting Campground

There are lots of options when it comes to camping. Tent camping, RV camping, back-country camping and rustic camping are all possibilities. Choosing the right one for your group depends on what you want to experience while family camping and what equipment you have. Some of each type of camping is available at most state and national parks and forests. It’s important to plan ahead because like hotels and resorts, campgrounds fill up quickly during the summer month and other busy times of the year.  If you are planning a camping trip for the upcoming summer, be sure to check out this helpful campground finder tool from Go Camping America.

REI Family Camping Tip: Basic Gear and Packing

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