Camping is one of the most time-tested ways for the entire family to enjoy the great outdoors together.
However, many first-time campers have questions about how to get started and where to go. So, whether you are planning to rough it in a tent or prefer the luxuries of a fully self-contained RV, here are the most important camping tips for a family’s first overnight trip:
Selecting a Campsite
With a tent or RV, it is important to be sure the campsite is level and elevated. If the slant is too severe, it may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. If you set up a tent in a depression, the spot will collect water and swamp in even the slightest shower. While you should carry a good tick spray and black fly repellent, avoid sites with tall grass and brush as these areas are prime places for insects.
Cover the Tent
It is a common misconception that tents are waterproof. They aren’t. An inexpensive tarp suspended about a foot over the tent on a guy rope will keep you bone dry in a downpour.
As the adage goes, “An inch of insulation on the bottom is worth two on the top.” This is because the cold ground sucks the warmth out of your body the way a two-year-old drains a juice box. Closed cell foam sleeping pads retain heat the best, and open cell foam pads provide more cushion. They are also combination open/closed cell pads. Air mattresses do a good job but can spring leaks and leave you sleeping on the ground.
Don’t pack too many clothes. A rule of thumb is two shorts, long pants and short- and long-sleeved shirts, and a jacket or sweater for cool nights. A pair of sweats will serve double duty for pajamas and as an extra layer if the weather turns cold. Packing your clothes in zipper-lock bags will keep them dry.
Food storage isn’t a problem in an RV, but tent camping requires a little thought. Ice chests work well, but having to get ice every couple of days can be an issue. An electric cooler that plugs into your vehicle’s 12-volt adapter will keep perishables cold without having to worry about ice. Alternatively, you can literally go for weeks on canned, dried, and dehydrated foods that need no refrigeration.
Be sure you have activities in case a rainy day keeps everyone trapped inside. Books, a deck of cards, games, and some downloaded videos will help alleviate boredom.
Bugs are a fact on any camping trip. Because they carry a host of bacteriological diseases, good mosquito and tick repellent is essential. A tick spray is easy to apply and will prevent the little bloodsuckers from latching on.
Following these tips will make your first overnight family camping trip more enjoyable and memorable. To stay protected from bugs in the great outdoors, Proven makes a complete line of health conscious insect repellents you can trust to keep insects away all day.