This story was originally published by Outdoor Life.
The great thing about kids is they get to discover everything for the first time. Activities like catching a fish, traveling beyond the trailhead, and patiently waiting in a tree stand on a first hunt are just a few adventures that ignite the imagination and spirit of adventure in young minds. It’s no different when it comes to camping. But to make it a memorable overnight in the outdoors, you need to bring gear that makes kids feel comfortable, equipped, and most of all, safe. Here are a few tips and features you’ll want to consider the next time you’re gathering gear for a campout with kids.
Regalo My Cot Portable Toddler Bed Regalo
Catching some Zs on the ground is not a comfortable sleeping option, especially for kids. At the very least, try to put some sort of padding or cushion between the ground and sleeping bag. Better yet, use a portable cot. They’re easy to set up, pack in a vehicle, and so comfortable, there’s chance your kid might not want to crawl out of their sleeping bag in the morning.
A Cushion of Air
Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad Sleepingo
If you don’t have a cot, there are still a few things you can do to help a kid sleep better. An inflatable sleeping pad works great either on a cot or on the ground. Not only does it provide a soft, comfortable place to stretch out, it creates a barrier between a sleeping bag and heat-robbing hard ground. Some pads inflate on their own, but generally the ones you need to blow up are thicker.
Light It Up
Odoland Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fan Odoland
When you’re off grid, little things, like lights, suddenly become worth their weight in gold. Fortunately, with the advent of LED bulbs, camp lights are now brighter and more energy efficient than their predecessors. Some even come with other features, like a fan and phone-charging port, built in.
Carpathen Campfire Roasting Sticks
One key to camping with kids is to make the experience fun. You don’t need to pack five miles into the backcountry or eat freeze-dried meals to create a unique experience. As long as you’re hitting the high notes, you could overnight with a child next to an airport and still create lasting memories. That said, there’s nothing more simple or fun than roasting hotdogs or marshmallows and making s’mores next to a roaring campfire. The trick is finding sticks long enough that kids can use them a safe distance from the flame. If you can’t find anything usable on the forest floor, try telescoping roasting sticks. They’re safe, easy to clean, and reusable.
Go Forth and Explore
Outdoor Exploration Kit for Young Kids Mini Explorer
For most kids, any trip outdoors floods the senses, and it can be fun to encourage their spirit of adventure. If you know someone young that loves to explore, create a “kit” to help them do it right. A simple pair of binoculars, magnifying glass, flashlight, and other items an inquisitive mind would use to prospect their surroundings can inspire hours of fun, and memories that will last as lifetime.