You can take the family out of the city, but can’t take the city out of the family. Wait, that’s not how it goes. The old “can’t take the country out of the boy” expression only works because it’s the other way around. The country, or the wild, is where we are from and where we belong. So if you’re going family camping, no matter how near or far, leave the city and home life behind and get a little feral.
You don’t need to read how. You were born for it, you animal. So were your kids. But here’s a few friendly reminders just in case you need them.
Keep it loose. Leave the house rules at home.
- Bedtime — Do your kids have a strict bedtime? Screw it. Nobody is going to sleep well in the tent anyway, so let them stay up later to watch the stars, roast marshmallows when it’s actually dark, and listen to creepy night critters in the woods.
- Menu — Still got Hallowe’en candy taking up space in your kitchen. Bring it. Eat it. You’ve spent enough time trying to coax kids to eat their spinach this month. Anything goes out here.
- Itinerary — No thanks. That’s for cruises and geriatric guided museum tours. Just show up with an open mind and see what happens. Your kids will figure it out. Follow along for the ride.
A family camping trip well lived should have you all coming home looking like castaway survivors. Well, minus the starvation part.
- Weather or Not — Gear up for the weather and give’r. Pack your gear in weatherproof bags, bins and RUXs, bring your all-weather clothing, and embrace whatever mother nature throws at you. You didn’t get all the way out here just to spend your whole trip trying to crawl back inside a tent or car.
- Free range — This one depends on how wild a location you’ve picked for camping, but if the local terrain/wildlife/safety considerations allow it, set your young kids free. Explore together, pick your perimeter together, and let ’em loose. That’s when the real adventures begin
- Forage — This one also depends where you set up camp, but even the most mainstream campgrounds often yield some fun foraging potential (at least here in BC they do). Even if it’s just a hunt for the biggest huckleberry bush for dessert toppings or a stash of pine needles to munch on, it’s a fun way to connect with your surroundings.
Things don’t need to get all ‘Lord of the Flies’ meets ‘Grizzly Man’. But like we always say, keep your gear tight, your plans loose, and come back so grungy that you’re out of place at home, not the other way around.