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Camping with Kids: Tips from an Active Family

Family life ambassadors Aktivt Familjeliv share their tips for camping with kids.

The Olars family are Thule Family Life Ambassadors and lovers of the great outdoors. Hailing from the north of Sweden, this family of five has a passion for exploring nature and trying out new activities. On their Aktivt Familjeliv blog and social media outlets, they hope to inspire others to do the same.

Of the many activities they like to do, camping is one of their favorites! And this family knows firsthand the challenges of going on an adventure with your little ones. They shared with us some of their essential tips for camping with kids.


Tips for camping with kids:

  1. Make sure to bring enough snacks!
  2. Add extra activities to do during the camping trip (like paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking or biking).
  3. Choose a camping spot where the kids can safely play and have a good time.
  4. Don’t forget a dummy or a favorite stuffed animal for bedtime.
  5. Invite friends to join the camping trip, or let your older kids bring a friend.
  6. Find small things for the kids to take responsibility for, this makes them feel important and involved. It can be helping to put up the tent, arranging the sleeping bags inside the tent, handing out the snacks or packing their own bag for the camping trip.


Important to remember when camping with kids:

Be patient, remember that everything takes much more time with children. Leave time for the small things, like watching a frog, picking blueberries or playing in muddy puddles! Speed and distance don’t count, what matters is that the kids are having fun.


What type of tent is best for a family?

It depends on the type of adventure. If you are going to carry it with you on a hike, weight and wind resistance are important considerations for the tent. The tent needs to be big enough to fit the whole family and preferable have an “abside” (a sheltered area outside of the tent) for extra space on rainy days and somewhere to store packing.


What to eat on a camping trip with kids?

We keep it simple and bring food that we know the kids will eat. We often make a big stir fry with lots of vegetables or make a fire and eat hotdogs.


Where should you camp?

Find flat and somewhat soft, level ground to set up the tent. Preferably a location close to water (then you can go paddling!).


How do you transport your gear?

Sometimes we park the car close to the camping spot. Then we can pack our duffle bags or even bring our SUP board on the roof rack of our car. Those times we want to go on a hike, we carry everything in our bigger hiking backpacks.


What to do when camping with kids:

Stand up paddle board: We love to paddle on our SUP boards. The feeling of being just above the surface of the water is amazing! It’s easy, peaceful and safe but still full of adventure for the kids. It’s possible to paddle wherever there is water, whether on a river, a small lake or in the ocean. Make sure the kids are well hydrated and well-fed with proper meals and snacks. Let them take part and have something to do rather than just tagging along. The kids can paddle themselves and be a part of the activity!

Kayaking: It’s easy to bring your kids, they can just enjoy the ride or paddle if they like to. Paddling on a small river on the lookout for the wildlife all around you is such a great way to get close to nature. Here in Hälsingland in the north of Sweden, you can see lots of wild animals when paddling.

Mountain biking: It’s so much fun for the whole family with trails, speed and nature! You can go longer distances than hiking and it is also easy to bring smaller kids in a bike trailer.


Tips for balancing outdoor family adventures with full-time jobs:

We make sure to prioritize time for our own well-being – and in fact, exercising gives us more energy to deal with everything in life! We chose to live in this current location specifically because we wanted to have the great outdoors as a neighbor.

We prioritize adventure and spending time in the outdoors – not cleaning or doing shopping rounds in town. Being outdoors is something we love, and it is our family-time, so it’s easy to find time for adventures.


Camping with Kids Checklist:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping mats
  • Sleeping bags
  • One set of extra clothes
  • Insulating clothing
  • Ultralight kitchen stove (e.g., a Trangia stove) and kitchen utensils
  • Food
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Duffle bags (if traveling by car)
  • Hiking backpacks (if traveling by foot)
  • Toiletry bag with toothbrush, toilet paper, first aid kit, small lightweight towel, hand sanitizer and other hygiene products.
  • Plastic bag for garbage.
  • Knife
  • Head lamp

Bring as little as possible so that you can easily carry it all!

 

For more inspiration, check out more about Aktivt Familjeliv’s family adventures on their blog or on Instagram @aktivtfamiljeliv

 
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