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If you have never taken your kids on a family camping trip, it is time to reconsider. They joys of spending time together in nature with the ones you love are immeasurable.
Family camping is a great time to reconnect with each other, especially in this age laden with technology. Gathering around a campfire, working together to put up a tent and eating meals under the stars, just brings everyone closer together.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider taking a camping trip with you family:
1. Camping transforms you into an outdoors man overnight.
Fear of the unknown may keep many people from camping out in the open. They may think they’re not up to it and that they lack the skills for living without the security and conveniences of home.
We know skills are perfected by practice, but when faced with fresh challenges, certain skills that you never even knew you had may come to the fore. Just imagine what it can do for your kids. No lecture can ever make them as resourceful as a few days out in the wild.
2. Togetherness is an inescapable part of family camping.
The family is brought together as one unit as every member pitches in to help out with different tasks. There’s no room to hide or retreat to, and everyone is required to look out for everyone else. Therefore, children and adults alike enjoy the few days spent without homework to complete and deadlines to meet.
The small talk may turn to the most irrelevant topics, but exchange of ideas does take place. Away from the duties and worries of normal life back home, we become more accommodating and forgiving. We laugh away each other’s mistakes and the little accidents that are bound to happen.
3. Housekeeping in the wild is fun.
There’s novelty in everyday chores when they are done in a different way. Cooking and washing up do not seem like routine work as they are not done in the oven or in the kitchen sink. Carrying water from a stream or washing with a small amount of water from a bucket is fun, not to mention cooking over the open fire or the hot coals. You may improvise and find new ways of cooking an egg in an empty can or a sausage at the end of a stick.
4. Camping takes you on a journey to the past.
You get transported to your roots as you live it out in the wild even if it is only for a day or two. The meat you have with you may not be from any game you hunted, or the eggs not from raiding the birds’ nests, but when you cook them over the camp fire, you feel every bit like our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
As the many layers of civilization are stripped away, your needs are reduced to the very basic. Even when you’re eating and drinking to satisfy hunger, dressing just barely enough to keep out cold, and retiring to your shelter only when you need protection from the elements, it may seem strangely satisfying. And you’re surprised at what little it takes to keep you happy and comfortable.
5. Instills love for nature and respect for wildlife.
By getting close to nature you develop a love for it. After all, it is our first home. When you camp out, you get to see and hear several animals as they go about their business unmindful of your presence. As you experience the sights, sounds and smells of the sylvan surroundings, you become closer to nature.
6. Turns negatives into positives.
Many things about a camping trip may not be as rosy as the memories we carry of it. You might be troubled by mosquitoes or other pesky insects waiting for a free meal, or a thorn you accidentally stepped on may give you a sleepless night. Unfortunately, you may learn to identify poison ivy the hard way. Perhaps you might have been expecting birdsong, but the constant chirping of the crickets you hear instead may not be as musical as the God’s Cricket Chorus you were expecting.
Minor mishaps and disappointments aside, you always carry something away from every trip; and you cherish the experience for the rest of your life. That’s the charm of family camping.
Are you ready to start camping? Take it easy the first time around. When you think camping, the first image may be of fighting it out on your own in a remote place, far away from humanity. Even though that will give you a unique experience, camping in the wilderness should be reserved for when you become an old hand at it.
First-timers should choose an easy-to-access camp site that provides at least the basic facilities, especially if you have young children. Do a thorough research on popular camping sites and book well in advance to avoid disappointment. Going along with veteran campers is another option.
Don’t invest in expensive family camping gear initially. It would be better to hire the essential equipment such as tents, lanterns, sleeping bags and cookware. After all, you’re testing the waters here. Remember to carry flashlights, extra batteries and bug sprays. Essential medicines and enough non-perishable food items have to be stocked as well. If you’re camping near water, safety vests are a must, even if you are not planning on getting wet. Water is known to make people impulsive.
Building the camp fire is the highlight of every family camping trip. If the site you have chosen is wild enough, you may be able to gather some amount of firewood from around, but first check out whether it’s legal to do so. Carry some wood with you and don’t forget the match box to start the fire. In some campsites, especially in national parks, you may need to buy the wood there.
Starting the fire is one thing, but keeping it going strong and long takes some expertise. But it’s nothing that you cannot learn on the job.
Once you pick up the basics of camping, you can graduate to wilder areas and minimal equipment. Needless to say, wherever your family does camp, you will make lasting memories that you can revisit time and time again.
What would you add to the list? Share your suggestions in the section below: