There's nothing like the mention of a camping trip to arouse strong feelings in pretty much everyone. Love it or hate it, many of us feel compelled to gather the crew and rough it for a few days to check off the camping box on our parenting bucket lists. For all you outdoor opposed types, there are a few things you can do to make camping less miserable. Dare we say you might even enjoy it?
1. Start Small
So the kids want to go camping, yay. Head off a potential nightmare scenario by countering with a backyard (or even living room) campout as a trial. Kids who love the idea of camping might change their tune when it comes to zipping up that humidity-ridden tent at night. Either way, you'll all learn a bit about what you'll need to bring on a real trip and it never hurts to practice setting up that tent.
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2. Plan Plan and Plan Some More
One of the reasons camping goes south? Not being prepared. Moving your life (not to mention your kids) outdoors requires some organization and planning. From weather to crowds and everything in between, if you're prepared in advance there will be much less sighing along the way. Important things to consider before you hit the road:
- Amenities: How rustic are you willing to tolerate (no bathrooms, no running water, uphill both ways, etc)
- Crowds: How many people do you want to deal with (Yellowstone in the summer or remote desert island)
- Weather: What's your temperature breaking point? (no AC and no heat means you're feeling it all)
- Bugs: How much DEET are you willing to inhale? (and how much cortisone should you bring)
- Food: Are you cooking at camp or preparing at home? (or just bringing an industrial sized box of granola bars)
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3. You Got the Right Stuff, Baby
Assuming you don't want to go full Bear Grylls here, you'll need some equipment to pull this off. Tent, sleeping bags, camp stove, etc, and none of those are cheap. If your crystal ball isn't showing more camping adventures in your future, best not to buy everything if you can avoid it. Borrow from a friend or rent through a local camping store or online business. You get the equipment you need to manage a few days in the woods and your wallet will survive as well.
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4. Happy Glamper
When you like the idea of camping but not the actual lack of a bed, electricity and other basics we're used to — glamping to the rescue. Cozy yurt? Picture-perfect treehouse? Take your al fresco adventure to a new level with some glamorous digs. Just do a Google search for glamping in your desired location and endless opportunities will await. All you have to do is book it and get ready to overdose on nature.
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5. RV There Yet?
Camping with beds, a kitchen, a bathroom, and AC? What is this magic? It's called RV'ing and it will def make your outdoor adventure a lot more pleasant. Of course your one-time trip can't justify a trailer parked in the driveway year-round. Luckily you can rent one, or even better use a service like RVshare. Pick your RV, your dates, and your destination. They'll deliver and set up your home away from home. All you have to do is show up and start relaxing. And when it's time to go home, just drive away cuz they'll pack it all up for you.
Camping may not be the top of your vacation list but it doesn't have to be a Friday the 13th scenario either. If you do go, take lots of pictures, it's proof when the kids start complaining about a lack of outdoor adventures. Remember, campers have s'more fun.