10 Essential Tips for Family Camping

Headlamps

Headlamps are the new flashlights, because they leave your hands free and keep the light pointed in the direction you are looking. If you've ever tried to brush your teeth while juggling a flashlight, you will immediately understand the benefit of a headlamp!

Camping Meals

Simplify your camping menu by incorporating common ingredients. Frozen chicken breasts can make great burritos for a dinner meal and, the next day, can be grilled for sandwiches or a salad. Use your imagination--an egg scramble is a hearty camping breakfast that's easy to make and can incorporate many leftover ingredients from previous meals.

More: Campfire Cooking Tips for Foodies

Leave No Trace

You might be a bit dismayed when you first step onto your campsite, only to discover a number of cigarette butts, bottle caps and scraps of aluminum foil on the ground and in the fire pit. Use this as a teaching opportunity for your kids. Show them that leaving the area cleaner and more pristine than you found it is great for the environment and a nice thing to do for the next family that stays there.

Campground Etiquette

Most camping etiquette is common sense, like not disturbing other campers with loud noise, or not letting your kids run around the campground unsupervised. Some things are less obvious, though, like not washing your dishes at the drinking fountain and not collecting firewood from around your campsite. Be considerate of both the other campers in the campground and the next campers to occupy your campsite.

More: Top 10 Camping Etiquette Tips

Animal Safety

Whenever you are camping in an established campground, assume the local wildlife has become accustomed to free snacks that people leave unsecured, or intentionally feed to them. You must be diligent about never allowing any food inside the tent and all food must be secured at night, or any time you are away from the campsite.

Sometimes the birds and squirrels are the worst offenders and if you leave anything on the picnic table it's likely to be strewn about the campsite when you return.

If you're camping in bear country, campsites will have a locker for securing your food at night. These lockers are often large enough to house a 70-quart ice chest, but if your ice chest will not fit then it needs to go into the trunk of your car.

Bears do know what ice chests look like and what they contain, so it's extremely important that your ice chest is not visible inside the car, or it will be a breezy ride home for everybody!

More: Safety Tips for the Trails

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