This past weekend we got to explore the great outdoors for the very first time as a family of four. Before this weekend, Brooklyn and Abbie had never had the chance to sleep in the crisp, cool air or roast marshmallows by the fire. We decided as a family to ‘go off the grid’ and be unplugged from the world for a couple days. This was an experience that was quite unforgettable to say the least.
After four pee breaks, three hour drive, and one long detour later we arrived at our camping destination. We set up our tents, started a fire, unfolded our chairs and left the rest up to fate. With not having a lot of experience with the outdoors, I googled A LOT about ‘how to camp (successfully) with kids.’
I put together of the best tips that worked best for us.
DO BRING LOTS AND LOTS OF BABY WIPES. These were pretty much our best friend in the outdoors. Need to wipe down the table? Use a baby wipe. Need to wash your hands? Use a baby wipe. Need to give the baby a bath? Use a baby wipe or two.
DON’T FORGET TO DOUBLE CHECK WHAT YOU’RE BRINGING. When going camping, I think one of the best things I’ve learned is to double even triple check your gear before leaving home. As we were getting ready to blow up our mattress, we discovered that our air mattress needed to be plugged into a wall outlet to fill up. However, we thought ” No, big deal.. we’ll use the air pump we brought.” NOPE, that used electricity too. So we had to scrap the whole blow up mattress idea and had to ‘rough it” by stacking mounds of blankets on the ground.
DO BRING PLENTY OF BLANKETS. It was COLD at night. Colder than I actually expected it to be. Especially since the girls had never had a night outside like this, it was good to have so many blankets. Before we left for our trip, my husband said to me, “Don’t you think we’re going a little overboard on blankets?” First off I thought, one can NEVER have too many blankets. Secondly, This is what saved us after the whole air mattress fiasco.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO LEAVE YOUR CAMPSITE AND EXPLORE. This was one of the best things we did this weekend. Our kids got dirty, they found new leaves they’ve never seen before, they collected pine cones, they breathed in the fresh air. They learned that there’s more to life than YouTube videos and Vampirina.
DO GO WITHOUT HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Being outdoors is such a great experience, but it can be very unpredictable. If you’re anything like me, you like lists, you like preparing, and you like knowing whats going to happen next. Going camping I quickly realized I couldn’t prepare for everything. I couldn’t prepare for our car bottoming out in a ditch. I couldn’t prepare for the massive amount of bees that surrounded our campsite. I also couldn’t prepare for the epic fail of a breakfast we had on our last morning. But most importantly, I couldn’t prepare myself for the amount of happiness I saw that poured out of my daughters and husband.
Final tip and frankly I think the one that made the most impact on us:
DO DISCONNECT FROM TECHNOLOGY. Time stood still being unplugged. It felt like the day lasted forever. Being unplugged from our phone meant we weren’t relying on our technology to tell us when to eat or when to take a nap. This time away really allowed us to connect as a family in a way we could have never done here in the city. Camping holds a special place in our hearts now and we will be going again real soon.
If anyone has any other camping tips they’d like to share, comment them below. I’d love to hear them!!