June just happens to be National Camping Month, which gives families the perfect excuse to spend time outside together (especially once school is out for the summer). But while nearly six out of 10 American households report that someone within the home has gone camping and it's an activity that's only becoming more popular with each passing year, there are plenty of adults and kids who haven't experienced this beloved pastime for themselves. Don't worry -- these tips will ease your worries and help you plan an unforgettable camping trip with your nearest and dearest.
Get the Right Gear
You don't need much to camp out in the backyard on a warm summer night, but it's a little bit different when you're traveling to an actual campsite or national park. You'll need high-quality sleeping bags, a really good tent, and an outdoor stove for cooking. Synthetic materials are the way to go with linens, towels, and clothing; they tend to dry faster and weigh less, which will make your life a whole lot easier. Hiking equipment such as walking sticks will come in handy when you're exploring the trails, and you'll want to have access to fresh water, first aid kits, and comfortable shoes. That doesn't mean you have to go crazy buying top-of-the-line camping gear, as overpacking and overspending can be regrettable mistakes. Go for high-quality, long-lasting purchases rather than impulse buys. As long as you're safe, warm, and adequately protected, you can always buy more equipment down the line when you have a better idea of what you'll need for future trips.
Come Up With Kid-Friendly Activities
During the summer, your kids might normally spend their time poolside. But while the U.S. swimming pool construction industry has grown by 3.8% during the last five years, you don't have to stay home to ensure your kids are stimulated. Even if your camping trip offers ample relaxation, there are still plenty of physical activities for your children to participate in. There might be swimming, of course, as well as hiking, fishing, and exploring. Go bird-watching, look for insects, teach your kids to cook, or watch for constellations in the night sky. You even bring a few games or some sports equipment from home to keep your kids occupied -- after all, the North American sports industry will be worth $74 million by 2020, so something familiar and exciting might stave off boredom. But rather than bring a bunch of items from home, remember to travel light. This can force your kids to get a bit creative. They might even be willing to discontinue their technology use; in fact, 67% of teens surveyed in the 2019 North American Camping Report said they'd be willing to camp without any technology at all.
Stay Close to Home
If it's your first time camping or your kids have never camped outside of the backyard before, it might be a bit stressful to travel hours away for this premier trip. You may want to consider picking a campsite within a couple of hours of home. That way, if something goes wrong or you decide to cut the trip a bit short, you won't have a long drive to contend with. As your family becomes more experienced with camping, you'll be able to venture a bit farther and make your trips a little longer. If your children are rather young or aren't so sure about whether they'll like the experience, easing them into camping can be a great way to go. What's more, sticking closer to home can provide you with more opportunities to pick up anything you've forgotten without too much fuss. There are likely a number of places for camping beginners in your area, all with different perks.
It's understandable that you'd be a bit apprehensive about going camping without much experience. With these tips in mind, your first family camping trip will be a lot more exciting than it is intimidating. Before you know it, everyone in the household will be outdoors experts -- and will look forward to your camping trips all year long.