Camping is a wonderful family activity. Spending quality time outdoors is a great way for kids to learn more about the environment, animals, and survival techniques. Moreover, it also encourages them to spend even more time outside and to develop an appreciation for nature’s beauty.
Before you head off into the wild, however, it’s important to prepare for the journey. From the appropriate kids’ outerwear to the supplies you need to keep them entertained, here are all the essentials necessary for an epic camping trip with the kids.
A soft and snug children’s sleeping bag is a must for any outdoor adventure. Even a warm day can quickly cool down as nightfall approaches, and you have to be prepared for those sudden shifts in temperature. Look for soft materials that cradle the body in comfort and feel just as comfortable as any blanket or comforter. Many styles are equipped with built-in pillows for additional support, making it even simpler and quicker to pack for the trip. The lengthier the sleeping bag, the better—if you plan on multiple trips over the next few years, you can be sure your child will still fit inside easily.
If left to their own devices, kids are likely to pack everything in sight. You can help rein them in by purchasing a backpack that is sized just right for their necessities. Look for something made with a durable material that can stand up to everything from inclement weather to regular wear and tear with ease. Multiple pockets and compartments are also a smart choice for kids. They’ll want places to stash their tablets, books, snacks, sunscreen, baseball cap, water bottle, and other outdoor necessities while on-the-go. Padded straps are a must, and it’s also a good idea to select a bag that has a spacious exterior compartment where kids can slide their cell phones.
There’s nothing quite as practical as a kids’ puffer vest to help see your little ones through brisk camping trips in complete comfort. A vest is an exceptional layering piece that can be worn for the duration of the trip, in the car, in the tent, by the campfire, during hikes, and near the water. Vests are designed to lock in your little one’s body heat, making for a much more comfortable experience as temperatures fall. Look for materials that are built to perform, such as an insulated down alternative, which offers all the practicality and warmth of a cozy winter coat without the added bulk. It’s easy to wear beneath a jacket and over long-sleeve tops, and makes an excellent outdoor companion throughout fall and winter.
Just as essential when temperatures plummet is an excellent kids’ winter coat to help through unexpectedly brisk conditions. Since layers are key to protect children (and you!) outside, it’s important to select a jacket or coat that truly lives up to the challenge. Look for these key features: a hood to keep kids toasty on top, closable pockets to keep small items within easy reach, and combination zip- and button-front closures to ensure the greatest protection from heavy winds and rainfall. Other valuable features include waterproof fabric and windproof shells, along with reflective elements to promote enhanced visibility.
Comfortable boots are essential at any time of the year, whether you’re camping in the heat or cold weather. Sturdy hiking boots will keep your little one sturdy when they’re maneuvering on tricky terrain, climbing steep slopes and generally enjoying the wonders of the great outdoors. During winter, it’s important to make sure that feet are suitably protected with comfortable footwear that keeps them warm and toasty. Quality insulation is key because it locks in heat and prevents little feet from getting wet. Seek out boots with sturdy rubber soles, as these provide superior ground grip and prevent issues such as slips and falls that might occur while on tricky ground. Easy closing mechanisms, such as rip-and-grip straps, promote a more secure fit for active kids.
Whether conditions are mild or severe, a blanket always comes in handy for everyone in the family. Kids, in particular, can feel the effects of a slight chill if they’re not sufficiently warmed up. Make sure you’re prepared for anything with a comfortable blanket with an outdoor-worthy water-resistant material that promises to keep them toasty whether they’re settling in for the night or wrapped up by the campfire as you roast marshmallows and share scary stories together.