Memorial Day marks the traditional start of the camping season, for many families across the country. Having dusted-off the camping gear and gotten through the first trip of the season, now is a great time to assess your family’s experience and think about how to improve your next outing.
Mysterious Shrinking Gear
Your may not have noticed a lot of changes, since Labor Day, but the first time your kids try to squeeze into their sleeping bags it might become evident that they have grown quite a bit, over the winter! Multiply that by all of the outdoor clothing they were wearing last fall and, suddenly, you might find yourself with a few unexpected camping expenses.
Who Replaced the Kids with Teenagers?
Our girls are acting more like teenagers every day and, even though they are still only nine, it takes a lot more creativity to keep them interested and engaged on a camping trip, then it did last year. Up to now, our camping trips have been all about family time together, but it appears that we’ll be including some of their friends on our trips, this summer.
Thankfully, our tent is large enough to accommodate another kid, or two, but if you have been getting by with a three or four person tent, it might be time to evaluate other options. Of course, our kids have floated the idea of having their own tent, but I don’t think I’m ready for that, just yet.
Including friends isn’t the only way to keep your kids engaged in the camping experience. They likely have some new-found interests that they have developed over the winter. Maybe it’s photography, art or animals – there are a lot of kid-friendly activities that are enhanced by the outdoor experience. The upshot of all this new-found enthusiasm is that you probably now have some toys and games that were part of your camping ensemble last year, and can now be donated to another family.
Who Poked Holes in Our Tent?
Hopefully your Memorial Day camping experience was a dry one but, if not, then you might have been surprised by some small leaks in your previously waterproof tent. Even if you didn’t get wet this past weekend, it’s good to be prepared for next time – so take advantage of this little reminder to go over your tent with a quality seam sealer and maybe even a waterproof restoration product. Some of these products can take six to eight hours to cure, so be sure to budget plenty of time for this.
Harness That Enthusiasm
With the first family camping trip of the season under your belts, now is the time to start making plans for your next adventure! Take some time to figure out what went right and what went wrong, and adjust your plans accordingly. Don’t be afraid to try something new, like the beach or the mountains – maybe even camping in a national forest, away from any established campground. Whatever you decide, be sure to make the most of your summer camping experiences and have fun!
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Agreed! There is no better way to camp then with family and friends.
Very good article with some good advice. Camping with the family should always be a fun time.
Hi Roy, I think we should all be willing to accept that part of the fun of camping is:
1. maintaining your gear and
2. learning the fine art of improvisation -especially when your gear is compromised!
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Yeah. I’ve been tempted to invite my some of my oldest son’s friends along with us for a weekend, but I am not quite ready yet. For now, it’s all about family time. Perhaps in a couple of years if he needs some additional convincing.
I hear you, Eric – I’m not quite ready for that yet, either. The trouble is, with three kids as soon as the oldest gets to bring a friend, they’re all going to be demanding it 🙂
I know the feeling about the kids growing up fast! Thanks for the tip about seam sealer!
I’m taking my first camping trip of the season this weekend, so this is a good reminder. I’ll be accompanied by two boys (1.5 and 3) and probably a rain storm or two. Wish me luck!
Those kids are going to have a blast! I hope it doesn’t rain on you guys.
Definitely good advice! I’m bad about not checking the gear so I’ll let this be my warning- ha!
Well, Melissa, surprises are fun too 🙂
Kids and teens nowadays are more independant than ever and having ones own tent could make an un-interested teen interested! One and two man tents may be a way to get your kids oudoors.
I think it migh, Steve – just like a sleepover.
As always another great post! We did indeed “get through” our first trip of the year. Our camping partners said we survived 2 days of camping with 2 one year olds and a three year old. It certainly wasn’t easy but everyone getting a full night’s sleep the second night (thank you rain that created so much “white noise” for the kids) redeemed the entire trip!
Our next adventure is in a few weeks on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Can’t wait!
P.S. We tried your block ice in milk cartons trick for our cooler this time. Worked perfectly! Thanks for posting about that!
That’s great, Kim! Sorry to hear about the rain, but isn’t that a great sound, as you drift off to sleep? I love that (though not in the morning, when everything is wet).
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This is advice that applies to all campers, not just teenagers. Some of us may still have a little extra “winter padding”. It’s always important to check your gear no matter what type of adventure you’re going on. I think I read that on one of your older posts Roy!
I hope everyone had a fun and safe Memorial Day!
You bet, Jason – checking your gear beforehand is always the best practice. It’s a good idea to step back and evaluate how everything went, after the first camping trip of the season, too. We still keep a “I wish we had…” list with us, on our trips 🙂
Keep these arcitels coming as theyve opened many new doors for me.