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10 Things for the Best Car Camping Trip Ever

10 Things for the Best Car Camping Trip Ever

By Heidi Ahrens,Play Outdoors

This summer you may be planning to partake in the great tradition of car camping, along with numerous other families who are taking advantage of the warmer days. When it comes to camping, preparedness is directly related to enjoyment -- follow the advice of our Top 10 list and you’re sure to have a truly wonderful time.

1. Pre-Plan -- I know this is not really something to bring, but it is a reminder to make your campsite reservation well in advance and to pre-pack all your food and gear. It is much more fun to go camping when you don’t have to drive out and get last minute items or drive from campsite to campsite in the dark because there is no more room.

2. Ice Block -- Lasts much longer than a bag of crushed or cubed ice (we just used one for two consecutive trips).
3. Matches and Lighter -- Essential for cooking, starting a fire or keeping warm in an emergency.

4. Tarp -- Tarps are amazing; they can be used over a sleeping area to protect you from the rain or the sun, or can be wrapped around someone to warm them. They’re also great ground cover.

5. Trowel -- Use to dig holes for your human waste and toilet paper. Read up on Leave no Trace practices before camping, even if you are heading to a campground with utilities.

6. Water -- Leave the prepackaged water bottles behind. Fill jugs of water at home, and make drinking water fun by bringing along one of these. A well hydrated child is a happy child!

7. First Aid Kit -- Take the headache out of figuring out what to put in your first aid kit and bring along a camping-specific kit . You should always include sunscreen. Another handy item is Second Skin, which immediately soothes burns.

8. Layers -- Bring a minimum amount of clothing so upon your there is less to put away. I find that rain gear, along with a warm, dry layer, provides warmth and water protection without the need for a heavy coat, and layers can be added or removed as needed.

9. Kitchen Box -- Pots, pans, washing bucket, biodegradable soap, wash cloth, cutting board, stove.

10. Food -- I like to pre-cook and package the first night’s meal so that when I get to camp we can eat quickly. Bring a lot of healthy snacks like fruit, nuts and cheese. For meals, think of simple, easy-to-clean family favorites. Try to pack just the right amount so that you have less garbage to pack out.

In addition to the above, think of your family’s specific needs. Do you have a small child? Save your back with a good child carrier. A child who is afraid of the dark? Bring a headlamp. Make a master list that you can adjust for specific trips — be prepared and you’ll have more time for fun.

About Play Outdoors Play Outdoors priority is to help families with young children get outside and enjoy the world around them. The company is based in the outdoorsy and adventurous town of Bend, Oregon, and offers stylish kids outdoor adventures clothing and gear from trusted, dependable brands. Play Outdoors is an ecologically- and socially- conscious business and seeks out manufacturers and service partners who are like-minded.

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