This post may contain affiliate links to products. As an affiliate, I earn money from qualifying purchases. Please read my full disclosure here.
Sometimes you need a getaway. But sometimes (or always) money is tight or you have a boatload of little people. (Remember, we are a family of 10 here.)Going away to stay in a hotel just doesn’t have any appeal. And sometimes, you agree to go camping because your husband wants go camping.
We were never campers before, but year after year of no vacation because of our very tight financial situation, we decided to give it a try.
For Christmas some years ago, the kids and I gave their daddy a 10 man tent. It took us a while to actually use it for real, but they did set it up in the front yard one night. A few of us–I and my not-so-sure-about-camping kids–opted to stay in our cozy beds.
As a kid, I remember camping in the yard with friends, but I had only experienced “for real” camping once. I’ll be honest and say that it was just ehhh. However, because I love my man, I agreed to do this thing…7 kids in tow.
We were total newbies, still are in fact, and I would not be exaggerating one bit if I said I had no idea how to pack for a camping trip. I knew we needed the tent (duh) and air mattresses, sleeping bags, and food, but that’s about it. Thank you to my veteran camper friend and Google. I seriously searched for “what to pack for a camping trip.” If you need help packing for a camping trip, here’s a great “what to pack” resource. Some of these items listed may be extra, but some, seriously–pack the things.
- Do your search.
- Make a list.
- Check it twice.
- Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice. Oops…off track.
- Include everything you can think of. And then some more.
Be careful and plan well. During that first night, we realized how ill-prepared we were. Because of high temperatures during the days, I assumed our tent would get hot and we wouldn’t need very warm pajamas. I thought wrong. Needless to say, that next day, we made a run to the store for extra clothes and a sleeping bag.
- Be sure to check the weather, paying close attention to the highs and lows.
- Coffee. Do not forget that, and do not forget extra in case you have a mishap or two, speaking from experience.
- Ziplock bags. You can use them for everything.
- Pack more water and food than you think you need.
- Take extra clothes because some kid is going to forget you said to stay away from mud.
Thankfully, our friends camp pretty often, and they helped us out and didn’t laugh too hard at our mistakes.
15 reasons you should totally go camping with the fam:
- The kids can play as hard and as loud as they want…until 10pm.
- Sipping coffee in the fresh morning air…yes!
- No need to fix hair or makeup, though teeth brushing is required!
- You get to enjoy nature to its fullest.
- The company…camping with friends was so much fun!
- You get to detox from the digital world.
- It’s super gentle on your wallet, likely the most affordable vacation you’ll ever take!
- You learn more about yourself and your family because you aren’t distracted by technology.
- Camping allows for more exercise because you want to explore the beauty around you.
- You’ll experience wildlife–up close if you don’t manage your food storage right.
- Meals around the campfire are wonderful. They taste great and the company is priceless.
- You will discover skills you didn’t know you had!
- Breathing the fresh air and witnessing sunrises and sunsets.
- Camping eases stress believe it or not!
- Catch some serious (or not so serious) star gazing.
We have camped at nearby state parks and ones farther away. You can have just as much fun and enjoy all the benefits of camping even at a local campground. And honestly, it might be much less stressful to start close to home. Then if the whole thing goes south, you can load up and get home quickly! I’ve wanted to do that before, too.
We were definitely ill-prepared our first time out, but we truly enjoy camping, especially with friends. Truthfully, I wish we had done this years ago, but who knew it could be so awesome?
If you are like us and are in a season of not being able to afford a vacation, consider a camping trip with friends. My advice is that if you have never done it, go with friends. They make everything better!
From a girl who likes to be in her cozy house at night–it really is fun and relaxing despite the extra work it takes. Give it a try, even if just once.
Just remember that warmth and coffee are really, really important. Pack extra clothes, and for the love of all things beautiful, take extra coffee!