Getting your whole family out the door to go camping can be a hassle. Here are 5 ways to expedite the process.
1. Make a Camping Box
A camping box is exactly what it sounds like: a box with all (or most) of your camping gear in it.
By putting your camping gear in a single box, you can easily grab it and get out the door.
Things to put in your camping box include: stove and fuel, mess kit(s) and utensils, cooking tools and staples (oil, salt, etc), and any other items you bring with you every time.
It’s also helpful to make a camping bag — a giant loose duffel of the sleeping items you need. Camp pillows, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc. all go in this bag. Again, grab it and go!
2. Plan Your Summer Ahead of Time
By marking off specific weekends for camping, you will be able to get everyone in the family ready to camp ahead of time. It won’t be a surprise when you wake up and want to hit the road.
Camping once a month, while maybe less than ideal, is a good target for families trying to camp more. Then, each month everyone knows which weekends to plan fun at home and which weekends are reserved for time in the field.
3. Let Your Kids Decide
Letting your kids decide things about your camping trips helps them to buy into the whole experience — which the most important buy-in you’re going to get. If you let your kids pick the campground, they’ll be more likely to be just as eager as you are to get out the door.
4. Prep Meals Ahead of Time
Camping meals can be daunting, but they don’t have to be. Focus on three staple meals — three meals that you could eat every day of the week and still enjoy. Then, get really good at making those meals. Get so good at making those meals that food while camping becomes an afterthought: everyone knows what to expect for dinner and when to expect it.
One of the quickest ways to get good at making a single meal is to prep the ingredients ahead of time. If your go-to meal is a chicken fajita stir fry, cut all the peppers and onions and put them in a plastic bag — do this while you’re still at home. Cube the chicken and marinade in a separate plastic bag. Cook the rice, so all you have to do is steam it on top of the cooking vegetables when you’re at the campsite.
This may seem like a lot of work, but when you’re at the campsite and you can grab a bag of peppers and onions, throw it on the stove, and do the same with your chicken — you’ll be glad you put in the prep ahead of time.
Making campground cooking second nature is a huge step toward getting out the door more.
5. Go More Often
This may seem paradoxical, but if you want to make it easier to get out the door and go camping, it helps to camp more. The more you camp, the more your family will know what to expect out of the trip. Setting up the stove will no longer be a daunting task, kids will look forward to campground games, and everyone will feel more at home. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
What family camping tips or tricks do you have that help you get out into nature? Post your ideas in the comments below!