Summer is in the air, and now that the kids are a little older, you might want to take them camping and have them experience the great outdoors for themselves. So, your bags are packed and you’re ready to go. However, if you’ve ever coordinated a family outing, then you know how easy it is to forget the essentials. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with this list. So, pack your family camping tent, full face snorkel mask, and grab your flashlight, and get excited, because here are eight essential things to have with you when camping and fishing with your family.
1. Camping Tent
Sure, you could stay in a cabin, but what’s the fun in that? A good tent will protect you from the weather, animals, and other elements. If you’re camping with your family, your tent will need to be big enough to accommodate everyone. Thankfully, there are some best large family tents that will give everyone their space and privacy. Before you leave, practice pitching your tent in your own backyard; that way, when you get to the campsite, there won’t be any snags.
Food, of course, is one of the most important things to bring on your camping adventure, but it includes more than meals. Bring along plenty of snacks, like granola bars, peanut butter, beef jerky, and trail mix, for when you get the munchies from all that clean fresh air and hiking. If you are planning on staying for more than a day, make a menu of everything that you will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so that you can plan accordingly. If you want to go the extra mile, prepare what you can at home so that it will be ready to go when it’s time to cook. For example, marinate your meat or chop your veggies. It’s a good idea to bring a variety of perishable and non-perishable food, such as canned or boxed dinners, so that even if things don’t go as planned, you have backups.
3. First Aid Kit
Burns, cuts, scrapes, or bumps—any of these can happen on a camping trip, and it’s important to bring along a good first aid kit. Nothing brings down a trip like a nasty infection. A good first aid kit includes band-aids, antibacterial lotion, medical tape, alcohol wipes, and a pair of tweezers. This is often overlooked essential, so be sure to take one.
4. Alternate Weather Clothes
Layers, layers, layers. The secret to camping is to bring enough layers to plan for any type of weather. Of course, check the weather forecast before you go, but even if the weatherman says it will be sunny, bring along rain-resistant clothing. The weather during a camping trip is notoriously fickle, so it’s best to be prepared for any situation. In addition, you may be camping during the summer, but it can get cold at night, so be sure to bring a jacket as well. If you’re traveling as a family, bring a laundry bag—this will also help keep things organized and tidy in your family camping tent.
It’s easy to forget that after dark, there’s no electricity, which means no light, in a tent. Make sure to bring your own flashlight, headlamp, or lantern. If you’re using old-school lanterns, be sure to bring matches. For everything that uses batteries, bring extra. This will save you from stumbling around in the dark if you have to use the bathroom or need a midnight snack. The flashlights don’t have to be anything fancy; just enough to illuminate your way.
Another fun thing is throwing an underwater light at night in the water and watch all the fish coming up to it. Great fun for the kids.
6. Fishing Gear
If you’re a veteran, you’ll probably already have your fishing gear packed. But if you’re a beginner, you’ll have to double-check to make sure you have everything. Besides a rod and reel, you’ll need lines, hooks, sinkers, plastic worms, bobbers, needle nose pliers, lures, rod, reel, and line cutters. And, of course, a tackle box. Double-check that the rod and reel that you will use are appropriate for the type of fish you’ll be catching. Finally, if you don’t have a tackle box (and you really should), be sure that you wrap up and store any hooks properly, so you don’t stab yourself.
Tarps are a multi-use item, and they’re essential for any camping trip. They can be used to line the bottom of your tent to protect against moisture, provide a barrier if you want to make an impromptu picnic or extra protection for the top of your tent against rain or other elements.
8. Element protection
Protection against the elements includes protection against the sun, insects, and any poisonous plants that you might encounter on hiking trails. For hiking trails, bring long-sleeved shirts and long pants that are breathable. Wear long socks as well; these will protect against ticks or other burrowing bugs. Of course, insect repellant is a must, and there are a variety of Deet-free options out there. Finally, make sure you bring gear to protect yourself against the sun. This includes hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Remember to re-apply every ninety minutes.
Camping can be a great and enjoyable experience for the whole family if you plan accordingly. With camping, it’s good to keep in mind Murphy’s law, so prepare for a variety of situations. Remember that each trip is a learning experience, and with these eight things, you’ll have a much better time. So get ready to pack your family camping tent and head out to the great outdoors.