The kids love camping. They love exploring nature. But what if the only reason you take them camping in the first place is because your little toddler gave you that ‘priceless smile’ when daddy said “let’s go camping next time so we can go on an outdoor adventure.”?
Well you know what, it’s ok to hate camping. Actually, just because some of your friends might rave about their latest camping trips with the newborn, doesn’t mean you suddenly have to like it.
But since you are now pot-committed, you might as well enjoy it.
This guide is for you. I’m going to try and help you enjoy camping with kids even if you hate it.
Camping does not always involve some kind of tent
The first time I went camping was when i was in junior high school. We went for a week and moved site twice during that time. We were completely roughing it! We had to set up our own tent each time, brought our own sleeping bags and sleeping mat everywhere. The worst part was to actually sleep in it at night!
Mind you, my sleeping gear was very basic. It was a thin yoga mat and a relatively cheap sleeping bag. (I still blame my parents for that).
But anyway, it wasn’t comfortable. I hated it at the time.
Good news is, you don’t have to use a tent. Just like a baby sometimes refuses to sleep in a cot, you have the right to refuse sleeping in a tent. Just because you’ve always associated the word ‘camping’ with a ‘tent’, or just because your camping-purist partner (if you have one) refuses to call anything ‘camping’ unless it involves a tent, realise that it’s not your only choice.
So if one of the reason you hate camping is because you just can’t think of yourself sleeping in a tent, then try:
Renting an RV.
Renting an RV is definitely a great way of camping without a tent. It’s great because you can travel at your own pace, bathroom breaks can happen without leaving the RV, you don’t have to pack/unpack anything in or out of the RV, and you have room to bring important things such as entertainment to help you survive your camping trip.
There are heaps of resources such as rv-camping.org to help you get started including things like RV rentals, best RV camp sites etc.
Glamping is the closest to camping in a tent, because it generally looks like a giant tent with superb 5-star hotel comfort level. You have to see it to believe it, it’s more than just up-market tent.
And since it’s closer to a 5-star hotel luxury in the wilderness, glamping is not exactly a very cheap option. Also, you have to check the age minimum requirements if you have young kids. Some glamping sites don’t exactly allow newborns to come and stay (even if I’m sure you’re very keen to camp with your newborn).
I think this is my top choice for camping with kids. Even though I drool over some of the glamping tents (gasp) and destination, but I have young kids and most of the glamping site has minimum age of at least 2. Plus, I don’t exactly have that much money to spend.
It’s bigger than an RV, and you don’t have to worry about the whole rental process. You can just turn up, ‘check-in’ and enjoy your trip, much like a regular motel/hotel.
Shared bathroom facilities ain’t gonna cut it
Camping bathroom facilities range from well…the bush, to some kind of shared facilities (that generally fills up with toilet rolls by the end of the day), to luxury 5 star bathroom facilities (glamping).
Personally, I’ve done camping with the bush as bathroom facilities. And I will NEVER ever do that again. In fact, good bathroom facilities is very high on my list. I don’t even want to do camping in a campsite with SHARED bathroom facilities, but it’s not a deal-breaker. At least I have a bathroom!
If you REALLY must have a good bathroom facilities that you can call ‘your own’, rent a cabin. Alternatively, look for a campground that has personal ensuite to each camp ‘site’.
Note: If you really must do camping in an off-grid location without any shower or bathroom facilities, you may as well invest in something like tankless gas hot water, portable ‘changing-room’ or ‘shower’ pop-up tent, a portable nice bathroom… but I don’t exactly recommend it. Just go to National parks with good bathroom facilities.
No, you don’t need survival skills.
If you think camping means you have to learn all those survival skills such as making campfire from scratch, fishing without a rod, or even cooking using nothing but a hole in the ground, then think again.
If you can survive with kids in a shopping mall for about three hours, that’s about as much survival skills as you need. In terms of food, you can always bring a portable weber bbq and a small LPG gas bottle, some eggs, bread, canned food and that’s it. Instant noodle is always great for emergency too.
Finally, you don’t have to be totally disconnected.
Camping is always associated with being somewhere secluded where technology doesn’t really exist. But whilst it’s a good idea to try and enjoy the outdoor without relying on technology, some of us really like to read something (or play games) on the ipad just before we go to sleep. Or maybe, you need your phone because you need to catch some pokemon whilst on camping trip, and you need some way to recharge your phone often because those pokemon really drain your phone battery.
Well you don’t have to be disconnected. Camping doesn’t have to be somewhere super far. If you choose some camp sites close to the city (or just outside), you will have enough reception on your phone so that won’t be a problem. In terms of making sure you have enough battery etc, you can always use some power pack or power generator. Depending on how long your camping trip is going to be, you may not even need it. (If you’re only camping for a night, you can just get a 12V charger and charge your phone when you need it in the car).
Otherwise, just choose a powered tent site. Problem solved.
During the day though, you can always pick a relaxing activity that doesn’t involve any kind of technology. paperback book still exists you know…
Just remember, you can always enjoy camping with the kids even if you hate camping in general. The kids would just LOVE the experience. Give it a try and you might even surprise yourself on how much you actually LIKE camping 🙂