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Family Camping Checklist


Tent or RV?
Tent or RV? Both have their pluses and minuses.
Tent or RV? Both have their pluses and minuses.
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If you're not into roughing it, it's all right to admit your limitations. Purists may beg to differ, but setting up camp in a luxury-laden RV still offers access to pastoral views and outdoorsy activities. It also offers a homelike level of comfort at mealtimes and bedtimes, thanks to an oven, refrigerator, mattress, shower and indoor toilet (this is especially handy if your child is potty-training). Families with toddlers may also find that locking the RV doors at night reduces fears that a child may wander away in the dark, as opposed to an easy-escape tent.

However, families with older children may relish the solitude and challenge of tent camping. Getting away from the bustle of an RV campground has its benefits: Less traffic and noise, more privacy and quiet. Often, you can find a "back country" site within a short hike of a main campground, but you'll need to carry your own gear. Plan on packing:

  • A family-sized tent with extra tent pegs
  • Sleeping bags
  • Lantern and flashlights (pack one for each child, with extra batteries)
  • Folding chairs and table
  • First aid kit
  • Cooking supplies, including camping stove, food, snacks and bottled water

Just be sure to pitch your tent on a flat area, but never in a valley (not even one that's bone dry) because this location puts you at risk if flash flooding occurs. Depending on the locale, you may also want to take:

  • A fishing pole
  • Fishing bait or lures
  • Hip-waders and lifejackets