What’s The Most Important Gear For Family Camping
Camping is a very personal experience, and every camper brings their own strengths, weaknesses, needs and desires. Especially with kids. For them, not only is camping fun, but it is also an economical vacation option for kids. And one that can enable them to learn a lot of valuable lessons to be applied to life.
Camping in different locations, and with different people also means that you need a different set of gear for each trip. When you want to bring along your troop, each of you may have different ideas when it comes to the necessity of your camping gear. It is fine as long as both of you are thinking of the same core camping items. Don’t forget that you may be carrying all of these items (depending on where you camping it could be quite a distance), so that will also factor into your planning. Here are some of the essentials for a successful camping.
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A sleeping bag or a camping blanket is essential equipment that you need to bring on any camping trip. Most campers usually bring a camping tent in addition to sleeping bags as this can protect from the elements to make camping more comfortable. Sleeping bags are more common than camping blackets because they can actually keep you warm even if you aren’t staying in a tent. Sleeping bags can actually be fun for kids (especially the ‘mummy’ bags), and they are usually manageable for space and weight requirements.
One of the essential pieces of equipment that we must not forget. Every camper must have their own flashlight; sharing a flashlight is NOT fun, especially when somebody has to make a midnight latrine run. It is best to choose a lightweight flashlight that you can easily bring in your own personal bag. A good LED flashlight can now last many hours or even days without needing new batteries, but you should bring some just in case (your fellow campers will be extremely grateful if you have batteries to share if they are in need).
Flashlights are also very versatile and usable in many other situations, so it would be worth it to get a good one if you don’t have one already. Professional campers sometimes bring headlamps, which enables them to have free hands for activities at the campsite, but even if you have a headlamp, it is good to bring a flashlight too as it is difficult to hold a headlamp for extended periods for close up viewing/investigation.
These new inventions have many names: inflatable couch, air bag, air sofa, inflatable lounger, pouch couch (that’s a Canadian brand) are just some. They are all fairly similar. They are made of parachute fabric and let you use the natural breeze outdoors to ‘scoop’ air into the couch, and then roll up the end to trap the air in the inflated tubes, creating a couch or lounger for you to rest in.
The advantages are several: they are very lightweight, they don’t need a pump (which would be extra weight), they can float on water, they are good for napping, and in a pinch you could even sleep on them (just don’t count on them staying inflated for the whole night, as the rolled up end will eventually leak out air). They come in many different colours, and it can be individually used or shared with your kids.
Camping Hammocks are optional as these require trees to support the hammocks (although most camping sites will have some trees). The real beauty of hammocks is the incredible versatility. Some campers even forego the tent if they have a good camping hammock. The ability to keep you off the ground (where snakes, rodents, and other insects and animals could be at night) is a nice perk in some areas.
Like the inflatable loungers, camping hammocks are also portable (ultralight models weigh practically nothing and take up very little space) and very convenient to use. Kids love them too (also like the inflatable couches).
Should the worst-case scenario unfold during a trip, it is necessary to bring a survival kit. It is very important and should contain the essential items that you need to survive. Some campers may purchase commercially assembled survival kits while others prefer to create on their own. Here are some of the items on the checklist that we need to consider when bringing survival kits:
Any camper must know how to stay hydrated, especially for longer or more active camping trips.
Staying hydrated keeps our body functioning correctly, including maintaining a healthy blood flow.
Choosing the right bottle is important. In the early 2000s plastic bottles were very common. However, there were reports that Polycarbonate (PC) contained a harmful substance known as biphenol-A (BPA). These toxins are being stored in plastic containers, building up toxic levels and can cause a lot of health problems. This was eliminated and replaced with aluminum, but this also has toxins which are bad for health (even potentially being linked with alzheimers). Currently, the safest bottle to use is food grade stainless steel.
It makes sense to pay attention to the type of bottle that you will be using. You also have to consider how to clean your drinking bottle. If you choose stainless, you need to know how you will be able to pay attention to the dents and damage as this can comprise the whole bottle itself.
Every camping trip is different. A carefully planned camping trip should ensure everybody has fun, but that they also stay safe. Some campers want to go down different paths when it comes to camping. A typical camper wants a reasonable amount of comfort while ultralight campers and survival-minded minimalist may scoff at a tent but the average weekend camper will likely have a much better time if sheltered from the elements.
As mentioned, the gear you can bring will depend on where you are camping. If you are camping somewhere a short distance from your car (or ‘glamping’ right beside your vehicle), you may be able to also bring other gear, such as tent mats or tent tiles (sleeping mats). These can go under your tent, or under you sleeping bag to create a smoother, more comfortable surface for you to sleep on. Some may claim this is ‘not real camping’, but if you are used to cushy bed and not sleeping on the forest floor, you may find it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep without a mat.
As a final thought, don’t forget to have fun - this is what family camping is all about!