Happy campers

Happy campers family camping toddler tentS’mores, winding down around the camp fire and more stars in the sky I’d ever seen: Camping while I was a kid became one of my favorite family activities.

With the Memorial Day weekend just hours away, I’ve been thinking about those experiences in the great outdoors and planning a few for our family this summer. With Kiwi due in July, we’ll likely be keeping our ambitions modest, but still—our tent and hobo pie makers are calling me.

I wrote a guide to family camping in this month’s Metro Parent (see it here in a link or PDF!) with suggestions of the Northwest’s best yurts, car camping sites and backpacking trips. I also gathered great advice from family camping experts on how to make outdoorsy trips fun for the whole crew.

My favorite tip, from Bonnie Henderson, author of Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon:

“Hiking with kids is all about having them have an experience outside, so it’s not about how far you go or the destination. When you go with the kid agenda, it’s about just being outside and having fun.”

I wanted to soak up all the advice, considering our own first family camping trip had its share of ups and downs.

In preparation for this year’s camping season, do you have any tips for family camping? Please share!

0 thoughts on “Happy campers

  • May 21, 2015 at 12:23 pm
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    I love this post because I too grew up camping with my family and absolutely loved it. Today we try to go on camping trips at least once a month, but wish I could go once a week. We didn’t have any plans for overnight camping this memorial day weekend, just a day hike or two, but now that I read this I am inspired! I might just do a night out Sunday night to celebrate! Thanks and have a great weekend! -Trevor

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    • May 21, 2015 at 2:42 pm
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      Wow, once a month – I’m impressed, Trevor! We don’t have plans for camping this weekend, either – it tends to be one of the most crowded weekends – but we’ll definitely get out hiking. I hope you enjoy!

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  • May 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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    keep up the adventure and wonderful parenting. There is nothing better than growing up in the wonder of nature.

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    • May 21, 2015 at 2:41 pm
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      Thank you, Curt! I feel so lucky to have the incredible outdoors at our doorstep here in Oregon. Our daughter can’t get enough!

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  • May 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm
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    We’ve yet to go camping with the kids, but do enjoy going on nature walks with them. The key for our little ones is bring lots of snacks!

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    • May 21, 2015 at 2:40 pm
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      I second that! Snacking outside has the added bonus of no clean up, too. 🙂

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  • May 22, 2015 at 8:40 am
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    My wife and I love camping and backpacking. You said that you are due in July? Is there anything you do to stay comfortable when camping? We are expecting as well, but my wife has enough trouble getting comfortable in bed, let alone in a tent.

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    • May 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm
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      Congratulations to you both! I’m in the same boat as your wife—it’s really hard to get a decent night’s sleep at home, let alone in a tent. I think we’re going to compromise by “camping” in a yurt so I have a bed-like place sleep. Let me know if you have other suggestions!

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      • May 22, 2015 at 12:49 pm
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        I have a couple of friends who experience hip problems. As long as they are not backpacking, they just take a cheap air mattress and inflate it in their tents. If your tent is big enough, it may work for you as well.

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  • May 23, 2015 at 7:02 pm
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    We’re hoping that we’ll be able to go camping at least once this summer. The summer before last we had a MAGICAL camping trip (our first tent camping trip) to Cape Lookout. My son, who was not yet 3, wasn’t sure what to make of it, but my daughter, who was 4 and a half, was BORN to camp and has been asking to go back ever since!

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  • June 2, 2015 at 1:01 pm
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    I did not grow up camping. In fact, I never camped until I was an adult, and it’s only been a few times. This past weekend was our first camping trip for all four of us (we camped with our son in Yosemite before). My two-year-old loved it!

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      • June 2, 2015 at 1:24 pm
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        And she slept more soundly in the tent than she ever has at home!

        Reply

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