I don’t like camping but I also don’t hate it. I used to love camping. I swear to you, I really did!… I mean as an impressionable teenager. So I do now wonder if I liked it because my friends liked it.
My theory is that, my love for camping changed the moment I had kids. Tasks that are already difficult at home, seem to grow 10x harder when camping.
I get less sleep when camping with kids. I am more on guard about what the kids put in their mouths. I have to help with toiletries and hand washing more often than usual. It’s just one thing after the next. It’s more exhausting. But it’s definitely still an important aspect for North American childhood upbringing.
My husband and I had to have a sit down to discuss what aspect of camping we needed to adjust in order to take away a lot of the stress and anxiety.
I have severe scoliosis, so sleeping on the ground or air mattress is a big no for me. Last time we went camping with the kids, I had no idea what I was in for and had the worst back pain that made me want to pack up camp by sun rise and get to the nearest hotel.
This time my husband accessed the woodworker within him and created a bed base in our van! The seats in the back would fold down so the base can then fold out. We then had a fouton mattress that we put over top. Add to that an immense supply of blankets and pillows. It was cozy!
Especially because the temperature at night dropped so drastically, we enjoyed the family cuddles.
There were some fighting that happened amongst the kids when it was time for bed. That was definitely rough being in such close quarters with the whining of toddlers. But it was still super helpful being able to have a good night’s sleep.
Because of BC’s fire restrictions we weren’t allowed to have a camp fire. But we made great use out of a camping stove for roasting marshmallows and boiling water in a kettle. Our last camping trip we weren’t prepared for not making a camp fire. Truly a hot cup of coffee is all it takes to give parents the strength to keep a camping trip going.
My mood throughout the trip went from, is it time to go home yet? To, ok maybe another hour won’t hurt.
My husband and I had to learn to work with each other’s differences. He had to be flexible enough to not insist on the direction our trip went. I had to be flexible enough to not call it quits the moment our kids got dirty. It was not easy.
But this was our second trip as a family. It was by far better than our first. My husband and I have already sat down to plan our next camping trip. We’ve decided to invest in a portable outhouse. Mainly because I refused to go anywhere other than the bush. I just cannot use an outhouse that has years of strangers excrement sitting in it.
We also are looking into a portable shower to get the kids washed off periodically. I mean, they were playing in the dirt. Literally throwing dirt in the air and dancing through it like it was snow. But camping has got to be all about letting kids be kids.
What are your tricks for making family camping more bearable?