Planning a camping adventure with your family?
Then you can easily upgrade your fun and comfort by adhering to a few simple commandments.
No, we’re not talking about religious commandments, although ‘Honour thy father and thy mother’ is a great one (unfortunately, our kids seem to think that ‘honoring’ involves dunking slime on our heads or smearing butter on the floor).
We mean the 10 Commandments of Family Camping: aimed at helping you have a fantastic adventure and make amazing memories whilst exploring the great outdoors.
From packing the right camping gear to adult-only treats: these are our 10 Commandments to make it through any family camping trip alive (and smiling).
- 1. Thou Shall Get Playful Outdoors
- 2. Thou Shall Build a Great Shelter
- 3. Thou Shall Bring Your Favorite Pillow
- 4. Thou Shall Prepare a Feast
- 5. Thou Shall Tell Each Other Stories
- 6. Thou Shall Let Children Get Dirty
- 7. Thou Shall Not Harm Wildlife
- 8. Thou Shall Bring The First Aid Kit
- 9. Thou Shall Treat Yourself to Freshly Brewed Coffee
- 10. Thou Shall Leave the Campsite, as Thou Found It
1. Thou Shall Get Playful Outdoors
A family camping trip is a perfect occasion to get playful and have some outdoor fun! No, we’re not talking about sitting on a lawn chair and playing a game on your phone: we mean games that get the whole family involved.
Though it can be a bit of a challenge to get your kids to put their phones and tablets away, it’s definitely worth the effort – as these are the best type of camping memories.
Great game options to engage kids are lawn games, such as classic horseshoes or Kubb, the Swedish lawn game taking the camping world by storm.
You can also get your kids to shed some of that excess energy with high-intensity games like tag or a sleeping bag race. Or perhaps you fancy a game that challenges you to think creatively, like Charades or 2 Truths 1 Lie, which both encourage players to let their imagination run wild.
Whichever you choose, set the game outdoors to savor the great outdoors, and make new family memories in a playful way surrounded by nature!
2. Thou Shall Build a Great Shelter
Creating a great shelter, whether that’s pitching a spacious tent or simply renting a cabin, is key to your camping comfort. Though there’s nothing wrong with bunking down in a basic tent, a bit of luxury never hurt anyone. That is why we recommend investing in the right type of camping shelter to suit your family. For example, when camping with 4 people, it’s worth upgrading from a 4-person to a best 5-person tent. Having a bit of extra floor space is always a great idea, as it gives you the chance to spread out a bit more (and makes it less of a hassle exiting the tent if nature calls in the middle of the tent).
If you value your privacy, it may also be worth splurging on a multi-room tent. A 3-room tent, for example, gives you the option to create separate spaces using room dividers. Whether you create a playroom for your kids, or private bedrooms to enjoy some adult-only time at night: with a multi-room tent, your space options are extra versatile.
No matter which capacity or size tent you choose, make sure it’s made of high-quality materials and comes with a heavy-duty rainfly.
The last thing you want on any camping adventure is a soggy, wet, semi-collapsed tent. Trust us: we’ve been there, done that, and can say it definitely does not make you a happy camper.
3. Thou Shall Bring Your Favorite Pillow
The easiest way to feel at home on any camping adventure?
Bring your favorite pillow from home. It may sound trivial, but honestly, isn’t your own pillow that much more comfortable than some squicky inflatable one? Yes, it will take up some extra packing space in the car, but it’s so worth it.
Plus, it is an easy trick to help your kids settle down for the night. By taking your favorite pillow camping, you add a homely touch to even the most basic of camping setups, and it doesn’t cost you a thing. What’s not to like about that?
4. Thou Shall Prepare a Feast
Whether you have access to a proper grill or have to make do with a single-burner stove: you’ll always be able to whip up a feast with a bit of clever meal prep.
All you need to do is plan your meals ahead of time, and bring the right ingredients. For example, you can make soups, sauces, or even whole pasta dishes at home and simply heat them up at your campsite.
Alternatively, you can find hundreds of easy camp recipes online, some of which only require 5 ingredients to cook a full family meal. These recipes are designed for a very basic camp kitchen setup, so you won’t have to get frustrated about not having fancy appliances at hand.
Another fun way to enjoy a feast with your family is by getting them involved in the cooking. For example, build a campfire or use a fire pit, and grill your own hotdogs or bake bread on a stick. You can even buy fancy marshmallow roasting sticks or pie pans, which are handy tools to cook up campfire treats for the whole family to enjoy.
Whether you get experimental with your camp cooking or stick to classic recipes, it’s always worth treating your taste buds to something different than beans on toast every night!
5. Thou Shall Tell Each Other Stories
One of our favorite family camping activities is sitting around the campfire, telling each other stories. Whether you want to conjure up spooky ghost stories, or simply share fun memories and anecdotes: the campsite is the ideal place for storytelling.
Make some hot chocolate on the stove, roast some marshmallows on the fire, and settle down with some camping blankets… You can turn storytime into a fun and relaxing family experience that everyone can join in on.
If you need some inspiration, write down some topics for stories and place them in a jar. Then, once it’s your turn, pick a story suggestion from the jar and let your imagination take over. Yetis, talking bears, spirits of the forest, or mom and dad: no character is too obscure, or too common, to take center stage in your camp story. Just go with the flow, and take the opportunity to connect, listen, and share…
6. Thou Shall Let Children Get Dirty
We’ll keep this one short and simple: don’t be afraid to let your kids get dirty.
Yes, at home you might wipe away a smudge of mud instantly, but when camping, part of the fun is connecting with nature.
Plus, the moment you manage to change them into clean clothes, they’ll find a way to get muddy, dusty, or wet again. Let them run wild and be kids, and try to leave your inner clean-freak at home – it will make your camping experience less stressful, and far more enjoyable, for all.
7. Thou Shall Not Harm Wildlife
When camping with kids, it’s important to teach them not to harm any of the wildlife. Granted, the chances of children hurting a mountain lion are far slimmer than the reversed scenario, but wildlife applies to much more than just large animals.
Insects, birds, small reptiles: nature is full of fragile life, which can be easily damaged by eager and excited little hands.
Teach your kids to explore the wildlife in a gentle way, and lead by example.
8. Thou Shall Bring The First Aid Kit
It’s always best to be prepared for the worst. That is why you should always bring a first aid kit on any camping adventure.
Whether you scrape yourself on prickly bushes or cut yourself during meal prep: accidents happen. A quality first aid kit should therefore contain the essentials for wound care, such as bandages, band-aids, and some disinfecting wipes.
If you have space, consider adding some other medical accessories such as a sling, a thermal blanket, and some splints in case you sprain an ankle. Oh, and don’t forget to chuck in some basic medications like painkillers, some pills to cure an upset tummy, and anti-itch cream.
We hope you won’t need any of them, but when push comes to shove, you’ll be glad you packed the appropriate emergency supplies.
9. Thou Shall Treat Yourself to Freshly Brewed Coffee
Spending days on end cooped up with your children and partner in a tent? Chances are you won’t get the same quality of sleep as you would at home.
The magical solution to staying an engaged and awake parent? Coffee. Freshly brewed coffee. That is why we recommend you invest in a camping coffee maker, instead of settling for mediocre instant coffee.
Whether you indulge yourself with a portable espresso machine (Hey Big spender!) or get a basic coffee percolator that you can put on a camp stove: nothing beats a cup of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.
Treat yourself, you deserve it!
10. Thou Shall Leave the Campsite, as Thou Found It
This last commandment is plain and simple: leave your campsite as you found it (or better). Always carry-out your trash or dispose of it according to camp regulations, and leave nothing lying around. Set the right example for your kids, and help keep the great outdoors truly great.