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Family Camping: Enjoy Your Outing More with These Simple Tips from Outdoor Gear Exchange

06/15/2021 07:56PM ● By Sam Snyder, Outdoor Gear Exchange
Photos courtesy of Outdoor Gear Exchange

If someone is not a veteran camper, or even if they're a first-time camper, what few things do they need to know?

Go with the flow! Weather changes in an instant, people get tired. When you go out for your first time, or hundredth, don't let unmet expectations ruin the adventure. Take the experience as a whole. If you don’t make that summit for sunset, roll with it. 

Don’t be scared to try something new. After the year we all have had, especially. Now is the time to give canoe camping a go. Try that weeklong backpacking trip of your dreams. Try mountain biking. Get out there, enjoy whatever your version of the outdoors is, and don’t be scared to get a little uncomfortable. 

Take Your Time: What’s the rush? The top of the mountain isn't going anywhere. After all, being outside is an opportunity to slow down, take it in, and disconnect.  


What's your advice for packing light? What are the essentials? (Let's make it for a weekend camping trip.)

The key to packing light is to eliminate those extras. The best way to get into lighter and faster, or even ultralight, is to go down to the bare essentials. There is always a lighter version of that sleeping bag, tent, or stove. So before emptying the wallet, challenge yourself with taking out the extras. Maybe go with a tarp instead of a tent. Maybe lose the extra big pillow and go with a layer inside a stuff sack. Small changes make big differences when it comes to getting into the lightweight/ultralight camping game. Have fun with it. You'll surprise yourself with how comfortable it is with only two changes of socks opposed to four. 


What special considerations are there if children are coming along?

Be realistic. Can your son hike an intermediate trail for four hours? Probably not. Set up the outdoor adventure for success. Take the time to plan for the ups and downs of parenthood when you are out in the wilderness. State parks and local recreation areas are amazing. Sometimes for the first time around the backyard is the best place to start. 

For kid-specific camping trips or hikes, comfortability and ease are the names of the game. If camping, bring that extra big tent and don't skimp on some favorite games or activities. That extra space will be a treat when you can break out the cards or board games during the thunderstorm. 

Snacks. Snacks. Snacks. A handful of trail mix can bring a tired adult back from the dead during a hike. For the kiddos, snacks and water breaks are essential for a day outside. 

Let them lead the way, within reason. Carrying their own sleeping bag. Picking the camping spot. Deciding when to take breaks. Allowing the child to take the lead for a bit is really an awesome way to give them some experience. Fun for the whole family. 

What items would you include in a first aid kit for a family camping trip?

Whether it is car camping or little ones’ first backpacking trip, first aid kits are a must. For family camping, it’s better to have too much and not need it, than too little and wish you had it. There are first aid kits available by the number of people on the trip, so a kit made for anywhere from two to four people would be great. For little kid-friendly accessories, fun band-aids and extra anti-itch spray or sticks for bug bites will turn those frowns upside down. 

According to, a well-stocked kit should include

  • adhesive bandages of various sizes
  • butterfly bandages
  • gauze pads of various sizes or gauze roll 
  • antiseptic creams and ointments
  • sterile wipes and rinse solutions
  • pain and anti-inflammatory medicine
  • hydrocortisone cream
  • tweezers, scissors, safety pins, and knife
  • sunburn relief spray
  • anti-diarrhea medicine
  • antihistamine for allergic reactions
  • eye drops
  • triple antibiotic ointment
  • hand sanitizer

Additional Items

  • epi-pen
  • prescription medicines
  • emergency blanket
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