I am the type who can read a list of how to prepare for something fifty times–and make my own list so nothing is forgotten.

Do I follow it? No.

I end up winging it every time and as a result I always forget something.

The “morning milk” that will stop an early morning meltdown? Forgot it. The condiments for our hotdogs? Forgot ’em. The bug spray? Forgot it.

So, take this list with a grain of salt. It’s for those of you who like to wing it, too.

  1. Clean your house before you leave for your camping trip. No one wants to come back from a trip to a mess–at least, I don’t.
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Make the beds
  • Take out the trash
  • Get caught up on laundry—because there will be a ton when you get back (even if you’re only gone one night).

2. Make a list of everything you’re going to need and break it down into categories. (Yes, I make a list. Do I always follow it, absolutely not).

  • Clothes/Shoes– Think about the weather and environment. Will there be a creek? The kids will need water shoes, extra socks, etc.
  • Cooking/Cleaning Supplies– Bring lots of paper towels and trash bags (One for dirty clothes, not just trash).
  • Sleeping Arrangements
  • First Aid

3. Plan your meals

  • Make things easy on yourself. Precook something and reheat upon arrival. Think: chili or hotdogs.
  • Bring their favorite drinks–and yours.
  • Don’t forget the condiments.

4. Check your directions. The last thing you want is to get in the car and not know where you’re going. I can’t tell you how many times we don’t look at where our campsite is until it’s too late and we have two fussy kids in the backseat.

5. Don’t overpack. This is just my opinion, but the point is to be in nature, right? Do your kids really need all their toys from home when they can play with sticks?

6. Don’t over think it. Things are bound to go wrong—the point is to be with your family. Just keep things simple.

7. Stay close to home. If something does go wrong (like no one sleeping), you can load up the car and head home.

8. Take stock of what worked and what didn’t on the drive home. Each time gets easier.

Books about camping we love to read together:

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3 Comments on “8 Tips to not Overthink Camping with Toddlers”

  1. Great post! We started taking our 5 kids camping when they were babies and toddlers, and you have a good advice here. The kids are in their 30s and 40s now and I still have the list I always used to make sure I didn’t forget anything. It was categorized by such titles as “kitchen”, “bedroom”, etc.😉

    Liked by 1 person

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