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How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation

Do you know how to plan a successful family camping vacation?  We tried out family camping for the first time last year.  And to be quite frank, we honestly didn’t do it real well.  But we did learn a LOT!  So this summer, we have a whole new plan in place.  While we still had a lot of fun last year, we want this year to be a successful family camping vacation.  And I am happy to partner with Wenzel Outdoor Camping Gear to bring you this post of tips, hints, tricks, and camping supplies review.

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation

Are you ready to learn how to plan a successful family camping vacation?  If so, you’ve come to the right place!  Keep reading this list and don’t forget to print my Free Family Camping Packing List below!

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

Pick A Date

First things first, sit down and look at your calendar.  Consider all the activities and other commitments you may already have.  Think about weather patterns for the state you live in.  And then choose your date.

Book A Site

You have a date on your calendar that works for your family.  Now you need to do a little research and call some campgrounds of interest.  Nail down your reservation with one that has an opening for your dates.

Make A List

Now you need to take time to make a list.  There is nothing worse than coming up empty handed at the campsite because you forgot to pack something.   So feel free to click on the list below and it will transfer to a printable page.  🙂

Family Camping List - What to pack for a camping trip. )How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation)

Plan Your Menu

This is also the time to sit down and plan an entire menu for each day of your stay.  As you decide each meal and snack, start a running grocery list so it’s ready for you when you head to the store for supplies before taking off.  You don’t want to have to make any runs since most stores are 30+ minutes away from campgrounds.

Consider what dishes your family loves at home.  See if any can be accommodated or tweaked to fit during your family camping trip.  Once you know what you will cook, you’ll also know which essentials you’ll need (such as what size pots, pans, and bowls you should bring.)

With this, be sure to prep as much food before hand as possible.  Portion meats.  Clean and peel veggies.  Measure out ingredients and put into small baggies or containers.  The more you can do in the comfort of your home means the less work when out camping in nature.

Go Prepared And Stay Dry

Printing the list above is a great start for how to plan a successful family camping vacation.  But once there, you’ll want to stay dry.  Start by choosing your pitching site wisely.  You want a flat piece of ground.  Something not too low that will hold water if it rains.  And then be sure to lay a tarp under your tent to avoid moisture from coming up through the ground.

When heading to bed, check around to make sure nothing is touching the exterior walls inside of the tent.  Condensation can build up there so if your sleeping bag is tight against the edge of the tent, you may wake up wet!

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

Divide And Conquer

Upon arrival, there is much to do.  Besides setting up the tent, there’s un-packing, gathering firewood, prepare the first meal, haul water, and straighten up.  Divide the responsibilities among everyone and work together with a partner.  Everyone should do their part.  Nobody should do everything.  Plus, using teamwork is part of the fun.

Go Over Rules

Safety first, even on a fun family camping vacation.  Have children bring a whistle with them wherever they go.  That way, if they get lost, they can stand in one place and whistle for help so someone can find them.  Talk about and practice fire safety rules by the campfire.  Remind children that there can be no lanterns or fires inside the tents.  Go over what to do if they encounter a stranger or wild animal.  And talk about any other rules and expectations you have for during the stay.  Maybe limited screen time would be a good one!  (Turning screens off can be so beneficial.)

Talk About Campground Etiquette

While this may be common sense for (most) adults, kids may not realize.  Remind them about avoiding being a disruption to other campers.  Staying clear of other’s campsites and belongings.  Don’t disturb other campers with loud noises or music.  Using manners when utilizing campground amenities.  And anything else you can think of.

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

Check Out The Campground And Available Activities

Once your campsite has been pitched and everything is unpacked and organized, it’s time to explore.  Be sure to check out all that the campground has to offer.  Make notes (mental or on paper that you brought) about any “must do” or “must see” things so you make time to revisit during your stay.  Making sure to take advantage of any activities provided by the campground is a great way to have extra fun, make memories, and get more for your money.  Many times you will find crafts, smore’s nights, movies, free popcorn, campfire sing-a-longs, and other really neat activities available for guests free or at a very reduced cost.

Stick To Your Routine

For the younger kids, sticking to their normal routine can help prevent melt downs.  Try to adhere to normal meal times and bed times to keep everyone on track.  And taking a nap during the daytime (for the entire family even) is totally okay!

Plan Plenty Of Fun But Also Incorporate Down Time

Family camping is an adventure!  Be sure to plan for lots of fun activities and games.  But don’t over plan so much that there isn’t time to relax and just enjoy each other and nature.  This is a vacation.  Take time to rest, re-energize, and enjoy the beauty all around you.

Take A Hike Or View The Stars

Part of the beauty of camping is that you get to enjoy Mother Nature’s glorious splendor.  Take to the trails and explore.  And don’t forget to look up to the sky during one of your campfires!  The stars tend to look so glorious after a day in nature.

Clean Up Behind Yourselves

The “leave no trace” rule applies here.  You want to leave the area better than you found it.  Clear away any garbage, cans, bottles, scraps, or traces of your stay.  Not only is this polite and a courteous thing to do for the next campers, it’s great for the environment.

Wenzel Camping Gear – How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation

The right gear is also a super important aspect if you are looking for how to plan a successful family camping vacation.  Having high quality camping gear is a huge start in making sure you will have success in this endeavor.

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

The Tent

For our family of seven, we decided to go with the Shenanigan 8 Tent.  We made the mistake of heading out with a tent too small last year and vowed to not let that happen again.   Featuring a floor size of 14′ x 12′ 2″, it’s spacious in size.  And the classic teepee style is a fun choice for any type of camping.

We immediately fell in love with this tent.  It was SO easy to put up!  By far the quickest of any tent we’ve ever used.  The height makes it feel spacious while the width allows everyone plenty of space to spread out.  All the windows, air vents, and pockets really help make this tent extremely functional.

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

And take down was just as easy.  It literally took less than 10 minutes to take down, fold, and pack away the Shenanigan 8.

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

I can not speak highly enough about this tent!  We all LOVED it!

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

Sleeping Bag

You want to stay warm while still being comfortable right?  Then the Blue Jay 25° Sleeping Bag may be just the choice for you!  Featuring a durable exterior 190T polyester fabric, it protects the plush coziness of a cotton poly blended flannel interior.  With a quilt through construction, this sleeping bag measures in at 81″ x 38″.

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

The Large 2-way main zipper offers a versatile venting while you can also unzip fully to convert to a blanket.

Double Never-Flat Fabric Air Pad

This is THE problem solving air mattress!  Designed for use both indoors and out, the Double Never-Flat Fabric Air Pad offers a sturdy material construction that is different from traditional air mattresses.

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

Inflated dimensions are 74.5″ x 55″ x 4″.  And it features a high quality performance that can’t be beat as it uses a two-way valve that monitors pressure while adjusting quietly as needed.  So if you need a comfortable sleeping surface that lasts, look no further!

Camp Quilt

This one pound fill Cozy Camping Quilt is the perfect accessory for when the cool of night creeps in.  The brushed poly lining quickly warms to the touch for chilly evenings.  Plus, it packs up easily into the included stuff sack but is also lightweight for carrying.  Keep it in the car for parades and festivals or bring along for your next family camping vacation.

How To Plan A Successful Family Camping Vacation + Free Printable Packing List

Do you have any more tips for how to plan a successful family camping vacation?  If so, I’d love to hear in the comments!

Buy It: Head over to Wenzel’s Website to see for yourself the great selection of products they offer.

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Camp Quilt Giveaway!

I’m super excited to share that Wenzel is generously offering one of our lucky Thrifty Nifty Mommy readers their very own Camp Quilt!  It’s a great start to making sure you know how to plan a successful family camping vacation.  For your chance to win, enter the Giveaway Tools below. Good luck!

Laurie Nykaza

Wednesday 4th of July 2018

FLUX 15L nice blue pack try to always carry bright colors its easier to find a person if they are lost. I know there are 2 people lost on the PCT trail right now.


Wednesday 4th of July 2018

I like the Wenzel Clear Vinyl Poncho which has snaps and looks sturdy at a reasonable price.

MD Kennedy

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

I'd love to have a MAGNET SCREENHOUSE to set up by the water's edge and watch the sunset every night without worrying about bugs!

Jenn Reed

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

I also think the SINGLE NEVERFLAT FABRIC AIR PAD from Wenzel would be great for camping to keep me comfortable.

Austin Baroudi

Monday 2nd of July 2018

I like the Flux 50L backpack!