Family Camping Mistakes

Once upon a time, my husband and I considered ourselves ultra-light hikers.

We had the gear, we traveled fast, we covered distance.

Six years and two kids later, we have a tent the size of a living room. We got it for Christmas and finally put it to use, first in the backyard, and last weekend, in a state park. Here are some camping mistakes we made on our first family camping trip.

My family = Example

You = Warned

1.Our somewhat last-minute trip wasn’t planned well. We rented a boat at the least expensive place we could find. It was a nice marina, but it was 40 miles away. We had no idea, looking at a poor map, that the marina was on the far side of a hundred fingers in the lake and we’d have to drive a circuitous route to get there.

2.Check your pockets BEFORE you jump in the lake. Also, the wet-cellphone-in-rice trick doesn’t work.

3.Prep all food, even snacks. Taking too much food is a return-trip packing buzz kill. But also, be prepared to grab hotdogs rather than cook a full meal when you return from the day’s activity too late to cook.

4.Unless there’s 0% chance of rain, put on your tent’s fly.

5.If you have a new tent, check the fly for holes before camping.

6.Take rainy day, inside-the-tent activities for the kids.

7.Bring a picnic table cover. Heck, throw in an all-purpose tarp, too. (Are you sensing a rain preparedness theme here? Weathermen are not to be trusted).

8.If you cook over the campfire, you’ll need a pan and a HOT PAD and UTENSILS. Praying that you can successfully flip pancakes because you don’t have a spatula is nerve-wracking (but my husband, thank goodness, is a pro).

9.Bring a first-aid kit that will help adults. Out of desperation, my husband bought a $1.50 packet of “Moody’s Headache Powder” from a back woods gas station. He lived.

10.Have a casserole sitting in your refrigerator, so when you get home there’s fresh grub while you unpack all of your [wet] gear.

Well, we did #10 correctly. And we still had fun, so there’s that.

Happy family camping!

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