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10 Things Parents Must Pack When Tent Camping With Kids

As summer approaches, a lot of families start discussing where to go on vacation, whether it’s a weeklong stay somewhere or just a weekend jaunt. For an inexpensive and fun time, many parents will choose to take their kids tent camping. There are a lot of areas that have state and regional parks that are reasonably close by, and those places often have facilities for camping. If you decide to take your kids camping in tents, some of the things you will want to pack are listed below.

  1. Sunscreen– This is a staple that you need to keep with you and use on the kids anytime they are going to be out in the sun for any period of time.
  2. First aid kit – Bring a well stocked kit. It should have adhesive bandages, antiseptic, moleskin for blisters, tweezers, rubber gloves, cotton swabs, gauze, elastic bandages, antibiotic ointment, alcohol swabs and a first aid reference guide. Also make sure to include any special medications your kids need, such as an EpiPen or allergy medication.
  3. Insect repellent – There is nothing worse than trying to get the kids to appreciate nature, only to end up having them dislike it because they are covered in uncomfortable insect bites. Find a repellent that is kid friendly. Some hardcore campers start eating lots of garlic before they go camping because there is something in garlic that has a tendency to ward off mosquitoes. Along with repellent, you may want to also bring an after-bite medication.
  4. Flashlights and/or glow sticks – It’s going to get pretty dark at night, so some kids will feel much safer if they have a flashlight or glow stick handy. These can also be fun to play with at night, just make sure that you are courteous of other campers in the area. Bring extra batteries just in case.
  5. Extra water – It is important to make sure you have lots of water on hand. Since you will most likely be doing lots of hiking and other physical activities, you need to make sure the kids stay well hydrated. Remember that kids dehydrate a lot faster than adults, so keep them drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  6. Weather appropriate clothing – Make sure you have clothing that is suitable for the weather and bring extras, just in case the kids get wet. The National Wildlife Federation suggests packing the kid’s clothing in plastic grocery bags – one bag per set of clothes. The kids can grab a bag in the morning to get dressed and then put the dirty clothes back into the same bag at night. Don’t forget bathing suits and beach towels. The towels will also come in handy if the kids get caught in any unexpected downpours.
  7. Security items – If this is the first time you are taking little ones camping, you should probably bring some familiar security item so they will be comfortable. Whatever makes your child feel safe – a blanket, stuffed animal, etc. – will make the trip a lot more enjoyable.
  8. Binoculars – Let your kids see the things they may not normally get a chance to see by giving them a pair of binoculars. Binoculars are great for watching birds and animals from a distance. You can have a pair to share or everyone can have their own set. There are binoculars made for little hands too.
  9. Extra shoes – Sometimes kids will get their shoes wet, and it may take a day or so for them to dry out. It’s always good to have an extra pair or two on hand just in case this happens. Also, sometimes hiking shoes can cause blisters, so you’ll want to have sandals or a pair of canvas shoes for changing into.
  10. Camping chairs – While sitting on the ground or logs can be fun, after a while it gets old. Even kids will appreciate the comfort of a regular camping chair. They come in all sizes and styles, so get chairs that are suited to your child’s size.

Taking the kids camping can be a bit of a challenge the first time out, especially if all the electronic toys remain at home (which is recommended). But with a nature book for kids in hand, a sense of adventure, the makings for s’mores, and some good camp songs, you and your kids are sure to have a wonderful time and make great memories.

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