Camping in the Ozarks
By Sarah Sadler
Camping is a fun, budget-friendly family activity, but it can also be a lot of work! One way to decrease the workload is to be prepared – Make sure you have everything you need, especially when camping with kids. Follow these tips and use the printable checklist below to get prepared for your next camping trip.
Tip #1: You don’t have to have high end gear!
Make tent camping more comfortable with a pool float. Are there more comfortable sleeping pads? Yes. Would we all rather sleep on a mattress? Also yes. But if you don’t have those items and you’re trying to save on space, an inflatable mat inside a sleeping bag works great! Plus it serves a dual purpose if you’re camping during the summer. Make sure it’s clean and dry, then it’s ready to go back in the tent!
Tip #2: Plan activities for the kids.
Camping is a time to relax, wind down, and enjoy each others company, but we all know that kid’s attention spans only last so long. Take the time to plan a few extra activities to keep them occupied to hopefully keep the “I’m bored” comments at bay. Take a few bottles of paint and cheap paint brushes to paint rocks; play nature bingo or go on a scavenger hunt. Cards, travel board games, and books -reading and coloring- are all good to have on hand. Reading a book about camping before your trip is also great for younger kids that have never been, so they know what to expect.
Tip #3: Pre-cook what you can!
Most everything tastes better cooked over an open fire, but it can also take twice as long. Eliminating the prep work and minimizing supplies can be a huge help-leaving time for more important things, like swimming, hiking, or a scavenger hunt. Cooking and freezing meats ahead of time, then reheating over the fire, helps keep the cooler temp down and makes meal time less work. Less time spent cooking meals means more time for dessert!
Tip #4: Don’t forget your lint roller!
One thing that isn’t on the checklist that is an outdoor must-have is a lint roller. Whether going on a short hike through the woods or a week long camping trip a travel-sized lint roller is a good addition to your bag. A quick roll over your clothes, shoes, and even your legs will help remove cling-on pests and is a lifesaver if you get into seed ticks.
Tip #5: Be Prepared!
Use the following checklist to help prepare for your adventure. It is a long list, but, especially when camping with kids, having everything you need will make the experience more fun for everyone! Go often? Print and laminate the list and keep it, along with most things on it, in a “camping tote” — Then it’s ready to go when you are!