I’m not a perfect parent and I’m not a perfect camper. But I love being a parent and I love camping. So over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to make parenting and camping possible without putting my sanity at risk – at least not any more than usual.
If you haven’t gone on a family camping trip yet, I have good news for you.
- I’m about to share a few of my most fundamental family camping hacks.
- Yogi Bear and Jellystone Parks is offering you the chance to win a 7-day/6-night trip for 5 to the Jellystone Park of your choice in the U.S. or Canada. You can enter the sweepstakes here.
Camping Hack #1: Wear comfortable shoes.
If you think you chase your kids a lot around the house, just wait until they have wide open spaces to explore. Keeping an eye on your kids while in the outdoors sounds exhausting, and it is, but it’s just as exhausting for your kids. And that’s a good thing for you both.
The best way to ensure your kids get a good night’s sleep at a campsite is letting them go on adventures down hiking trails, in creeks and wherever else a park allows them to go. Everybody wins. They get exercise and rest. And you get exercise and some time to spend with your significant other around the campfire once the kids are asleep.
While you’re doing all of that running around with your kids, make sure to have comfortable shoes. If my experiences are any indication, your kids will be begging to be carried down the trail at some point. And as soon as one kid is being carried, the others will want to be carried too.
Camping Hack #2 Bring plenty of snacks. And then bring a few more.
This hack should be obvious. Our kids beg for snacks so much that we can’t go to a restaurant without bringing snacks.
At a campsite, you and your kids will be burning lots of energy, so make sure you don’t skimp on the snacks. You don’t want to turn your camping trip into an episode of Survivor.
Camping Hack #3 Bring a flashlight.
I would like to think that the stars provide all the light our family needs on a camping trip. Yes, the starlight and moonlight are beautiful. But nothing is more beautiful than a flashlight when one of your kids loses something in the dark – especially if it is something like a teddy bear that your kid can’t sleep without.
I also have three kids, which means there is a 300% chance that one of them will need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Since my imagination can trick me into thinking the sound of a squirrel is a bear, having a flashlight to walk through a campground at night helps put my nerves at ease. I imagine it will help you too.
Camping Hack #4 Don’t be surprised if your plans go awry.
Parenting is unpredictable in a house, so you should expect it to be unpredictable outdoors too. It might be a rainy day that changes your plans by getting everybody soaking wet. Or, it might be a toddler who dumps a drink out and gets you soaking wet. Either way, you have to be patient and go with the flow.
Being outdoors with your kids is an awesome experience. Part of the adventure is not knowing what is going to happen next. So whatever happens next, enjoy it. Your kids will follow your lead.
So those are my parenting hacks. I’m not a perfect camper. So I don’t have any perfect tips. Perhaps my best tip is to just go camping and learn on the go.
Like I mentioned already, Yogi Bear and Jellystone Parks is offering you the chance to win a 7-day/6-night trip for 5 to the Jellystone Park of your choice in the U.S. or Canada. You can enter the sweepstakes here. As part of your entry, share a story that includes a camping hack you used that really came in handy. They will be sharing their favorite hacks with campers everywhere.
Even if your story doesn’t give you five minutes of fame, you can still be randomly selected to win the trip for five, one of 20 $100 Jellystone Parks Gift Cards
Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Jellystone Park Camps-Resorts. Yet all opinions and hack concepts are mine.