by Nikki Willhite
Camping can be great fun for the whole
family. It does not have to be expensive. A few well-chosen pieces of equipment
will make the whole experience easy and fun for the family.
Camping, hiking, rock climbing, and other outdoor sports have
been a big part of my boy's lives. One of my sons is very accomplished as a
mountain climber. He has traveled to Alaska and summated Mt. McKinley, Argentina
to climb Mt. Aconcagua, and because we live in the Seattle area, Mt Rainier,
You have to have a lot of expensive equipment to climb
mountains, but you can have a very enjoyable experience car camping with a
minimal amount of relatively inexpensive equipment.
What is car camping? Car camping is basically, driving to a
camping site and pitching a tent next to your car.
You have access to a lot of items (to make you comfortable)
that you would not have if you had to carry them several miles to a camping
You can still take day hikes, fish, and do other activities,
but you will always be near your car. You can bring your own wood for your
campfire, battery powered lamps for when it gets dark, and games or other
activities for your family.
You have several options when it comes to cooking. The
easiest and fastest way to cook is by using a small propane stove. Everyone
should have a propane stove at home anyway....in case the power goes out.
You can also bring a portable grill that uses charcoal. Just
be sure never to use it inside your tent. There are many tents now that only
have two poles, and are very easy to put up. You may also want to bring a tarp
to cook under, in case it rains.
Car camping does not require expensive, lightweight
dehydrated foods. If you want, you can just open a can and heat it up. In the
morning, crack some eggs in a skillet and cook them quickly on the propane
stove, or make pancakes.
You will find that food always seems to taste better
I will include a trail mix recipe at the end. It is always
good to take food with you when you are hiking, and always, even if you do not
feel like it, drink LOTS of water. Dehydration, when hiking, is common, and you
don't feel it happening to you. Here are some more tips to make camping a fun
experience for your family.
You will enjoy the experience a lot more if you invest in a
few simple items. the cost is minimal, a one-time expense, and will make your
camping experience more enjoyable.
If you've never tried camping, give it a try. You may start a
great family tradition.
1. When you are outdoors, everything tastes good. Bring
lots of food. Do some of the preparation before you come to make things easier
and have more time to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
2. Fill your leftover bread bags with lots of ice, and bring
it in a cooler.
3. Invest in a propane stove. They aren't expensive, and make
breakfast a lot easier. You can cook over the campfire when you are not in a
hurry. Also, the propane stove is a good backup at home when the power goes out.
4. Air mattresses under your sleeping bags are good, but cots
5. A few folding chairs make sitting around much more
6. Be sure and bring a day pack for hiking.
7. An inexpensive tarp will provide shade and make eating
more enjoyable. You will also appreciate it if it starts to rain. A tarp both
under and over your tent will help keep you dry.
8. Use either a big tent that will accommodate your whole
family, or smaller tents. If your children are planning on going into scouting,
they will eventually need their own tents. They may also enjoy sleeping in them
in the backyard in the summer.
9. Bring insect repellent, but avoid areas with lots of
mosquitoes. You should also have a first aid kit in your car. In general, the
farther you go out from the city, the less the cost of the camp site, if any.
10. Bring some wood and fire starter from home for the
11. Bring adequate light, which usually is a lantern and
And finally, don't forget the marshmallows, coat hangers, and
Teach your children to enjoy the outdoors, and it will bring
lots of pleasure into their lives.. My boys have gone from scouts to
scoutmasters. I can't imagine their lives without their outdoor activities. They
are now sharing their knowledge and expertise with others. Watching that cycle
has been a great joy to me personally.