Tips For Beginning Campers

How to Have A Successful Camping Trip

Good EatingCar camping is a fun activity for children and adults. Taking your children camping for the first time is an exciting experience. The first thing to do in order to make sure that you bring everything, is to prepare a thorough checklist. You will need to bring along supplies for cooking, sleeping, and cleaning. Here are a few of the most important things you will need to remember.

  • Pots and pans, cooking utensils, hand held can opener
  • Tents, sleeping bags, waterproof tarps, optional air mattresses
  • Flash lights, spare batteries, waterproof matches or lighters
  • Fishing poles with bait and tackle, Nikon binoculars, playing cards
  • Nonperishable food such as trail mix, fruit leather or beef jerky
  • Toilet paper, soft washcloths, liquid or bar castile soap


Involving the children in selecting a campsite will ensure their interest even before you leave home. Your options include RV sites, car camping sites or more remote locations. For the first trip away from home, car camping is easiest on everybody in the family. You may not be in the wilderness, but this won’t prevent anybody from having fun.

Engage your children in conversation and word games while driving rather than relying on movies or video games to pass the time. This is the ideal time to discuss what they’re looking forward to or to work through any last minute concerns that the children may have.

Most car camping sites are within a short drive of gas stations and convenience stores, so purchasing additional ice for your cooler is convenient. The ideal camp site will have other families nearby, giving the kids the opportunity to socialize and preventing a feeling of isolation.

Choose a location large enough for a campfire at a safe distance from your tents. If a lake or creek is available, the kids will enjoy having the chance to cool off. Trails for nature walks are enjoyable with kids of all ages. Remember to bring Nikon binoculars and lightweight guides with color photographs to identify the plants and animals that you see.


Family CampfireCooking at a campsite can be a disaster if you are not properly prepared. Perishable food should be packed in a cooler with plenty of ice to prevent spoiling. Other options include dehydrated or canned food. Any of these are easily cooked on a Coleman camping grill. Make sure to pack sturdy pots and pans and lids and appropriate cooking utensils.

Creating a meal plan with your children’s help will make sure that they are happy to eat what is being served. Remember, though, that fresh air and activity will give them hearty appetites. Food that may not normally be accepted at home may be eaten with gusto if served by the campfire.

Children also are more likely to eat food that they are involved in preparing. Encouraging their participation is fun for everybody in the family. Even the youngest toddlers can help stir and your tweens may be able to prepare a meal with minimal adult supervision.

Some simple meals that your children can prepare or help to make include the following winners:

  • Dehydrated macaroni and cheese from sporting supply stores is very similar to the microwavable packaged mixes available in supermarkets. If you prefer to avoid artificial ingredients, Amy’s Organics is a high quality brand.
  • Canned baked beans mixed with sliced hot dogs can be stirred together in a pot and heated over the Coleman camping grill for a quick meal. For a vegetarian option, use meatless baked beans and veggie dogs.
  • Everybody enjoys food skewered on a branch and cooked over the open fire. Hot dogs are the classic option, but grilling small freshly caught fish is an experience not to be missed. For an unusual side dish, consider spearing pieces of fruit. The browned fruit gets very hot, so be careful not to burn yourself.

Local wildlife is attracted by the smell of food, so keep it locked in the car when not in use. Rather than frightening small children, tell children that this is to keep insects out of the food.


There are endless choices for family activities while camping. Hiking and swimming are fun even without spending money on equipment. If you are able to invest a few dollars in nature guides and binoculars for birding , your family can see many varieties of birds and wildlife that are too shy to come close to your campsite.

Roasting marshmallows and building s’mores are memorable parts of camping for most children. Before it gets dark, gather the kids and go hunting for the perfect roasting sticks. The ideal stick is long enough to stand back from the fire and lightweight enough to hold while the marshmallow is toasting. Don’t worry about it being sharp, as you can whittle the tip with a knife after you return to your site.

While cleaning up after yourselves is not considered fun, it’s important to teach your children to leave the site at least as tidy as when you arrived. Young children can pick up any stray trash while older kids can bag up food leftovers and garbage. Sharing the responsibility for cleaning between all of the family members will make the chores go swiftly.

Car camping, tent camping, RV camping are all exciting ways to go camping for the first time with your children. As long as you pack everything you need, you will have a wonderful time with your family.

Author Bio:

This article was provided by Stephanie of  Always-Outdoors, a website that is devoted to outdoor activities and products.  Stephanie lives in Culpeper, VA and enjoys hiking in the nearby Shenandoah National Park.

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