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Your Kid’s First Camping Trip

When you have kids, there are certain experiences you look forward to from day one- their first steps, their first Christmas, when they get old enough to tidy their own bedroom, every day is full of exciting new experiences. Among those exciting first is the first time you get to take them camping. Taking them out into the wilderness, spending some quality time with nature and away from the X Box, it can be a truly magical time.

However, to make sure that trip ends up among their treasured memories, and not That Time Dad Made Me Sleep In The Cold And The Rain With No X Box, you’re going to have bear certain things in mind.

The biggest mistake in the world you could make is to assume that children are just very short adults. There are a number of key differences that, if not taken into account, could turn your idyllic trip into a nightmare. It’s always best to consider what camping equipment to take.

Kids Get Hot and Cold Really Fast

This works two ways. Firstly, children are small, so their bodies are going to lose heat a lot more quickly than you will with your larger body and that well insulated beer gut you’ve been working on.  This is especially true in situations where you’re active and they’re not.

This is easy enough to get around, simply pack as much clothing in your rucksacks as you think is necessary, then pack some more. This won’t be a huge problem, since, as mentioned, your children are smaller, and so are their clothes. Make sure they’ve got plenty of layers on and you’ll be fine.

Of course, if you’re camping in hot weather, the reverse can also be true. If they’re beginning to look flushed that’s a big clue that they’re overheating. An easy solution for this is a baseball cap dipped in cold water, giving them a bit of extra shade and cooling them off as the water evaporates.

Kids Get Hungry, A Lot

They’re growing, they get hungry quicker, and unlike you they’re probably less able to put off their hunger until the next sit down meal, especially if you’re being active. Rather than sitting them down to three meals a day, take along a lot of high energy snacks. Sugary snacks like jelly babies are a good way to keep their energy levels up, as are healthy alternatives like cereal bars. One trick my dad taught me was to eat a slice of apple on a digestive biscuit- it tastes just like apple crumble!

Still, make sure you do have some good sized meals as well, you’re going to be shocked at just how much food they can put away after a day’s walking.

Kids Get Really Bored, Really Easily

If you’ve been on even a medium length car journey with your kids then you know this already. This becomes an even bigger problem if you’re active and they’re not- for instance, when you’ve taken a canoe out for the afternoon and Mum and Dad are paddling while the kid sits between them.

Keep giving them things to do, and be sure to point out the interesting things around them, such as the local wildlife. When you’re back at the tent be sure to have packed plenty of activities in amongst the camping equipment. Crayons and drawing books are a good idea- there’ll be plenty for them to draw, but also bring a healthy supply of books, both for reading, and full of puzzles and games for them to play.

Kids Enjoy Being Helpful

They really do! Part of the fun in coming out on a camping trip with your parents is you get to help put the tent together, prepare dinner and collect twigs for the fire. It’s things like this that’ll give you all your most precious memories when you look back. Yes, teaching your kid how to tie knots correctly, or which twigs will make a good fire can be time consuming, but really, if getting things done quickly is your priority, is a camping trip really where you want to be?

Take the time to show them how to do the things that need doing and congratulate them when it goes well.

Camping trips are a great time to spend some time together as a family, and if it goes well, you know they’re going to be planning to take their own kids camping when the time comes.

Gear-Zone is one of the UK’s leading online retailers of outdoor clothing and equipment, ranging from men’s 3 in 1 jackets to rucksacks

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