10 Essential Tips for Family Camping

You've reserved a campsite, organized your camping gear and made plans for some fun family activities to keep everyone busy. If this is your first foray into family camping, however, there are still a lot of little things to think about, like setting up the gear and planning meals.

More: Gear Up for Camping Season

Here are ten tent camping tips to make your first family trip go smoothly:

Ice Chest

To get the maximum performance out of your ice chest, pre-cool it with ice at least six hours before loading it with your food and drinks. When it's time to load the ice chest, use fresh block ice, which lasts longer than cubed ice. Also, only load the ice chest with refrigerated or frozen foods, so you do not waste precious ice cooling-down warm food and drinks.


It's much easier to locate clothing if everyone has their own duffel bag or backpack. A large garbage bag works great for dirty laundry. Remember, the bathroom and shower facility may be some distance from your campsite, so everyone needs shower shoes and towels.

More: Gear Tips for the Trail

Gear Storage

Plastic storage bins are a great way to store your camping gear at home and keep it organized at the campsite. An empty storage bin next to the tent is also a great place to keep shoes, at night. Remember, even though there is not a cloud in the sky, everything outside the tent is likely to be wet with dew in the morning.

Tent Care

The exterior of your tent has a waterproof coating that is susceptible to damage from abrasion and UV rays from the sun. Protect the floor of your tent with a large tarp, or a specialized piece of material from the tent manufacturer called a footprint. Keep the tent zipped-up during the day, in order to keep insects out.

Sleeping Bags

Unzip your sleeping bags, during the day, so they will air-out and dry. Sleeping bags absorb moisture from your body during the night and that moisture reduces the efficiency of the insulation inside the bag.

More: How to Choose the Right Sleeping Bag

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