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Family Camping


I would like to see some tips on camping! We didn’t attend family camp this year, but I know that your family did. How do you do it???

Do you tent camp (we do)? How do you do your clothing & meals? What about making sure that you get to enjoy the activities as well (keeping in mind that there are babies & small children in your family, too)?

– Fellow Camper

Dear Camper,

This was our first year to attend family camp in Big Sandy, and we all had a WONDERFUL time. In answer to your questions, we did pitch tents for the week rather than stay in the dorms. The weather was mild, except for Monday night’s thunderstorm, but even then we kept dry.

As for clothes, we followed our normal vacation routine and dressed in matching colors every day, bringing extra dress shirts, pants, and skirts to wear when eating in the dining room or attending camp meetings. As usual, all our clean clothes stayed in the suitcases until we were ready to wear them. Dirty clothes were collected into two hampers — one for darks, one for lights — that we’d brought from home for that purpose.

As for food, we ate breakfast and lunch at our campsite and dinner in the cafeteria. With the exception of roasting hot dogs and s’mores over an open fire, I did as much cooking as possible in advance, then warmed the food in my crockpot (soups and casseroles) or steamer (tortillas and muffins) when I was ready to serve it.

As for activities, we did things as a family in the mornings and early evenings (like this outdoor scavenger hunt), and took turns watching the babies in the afternoons. I made a little chart for the week to keep track of what things we had scheduled for each day. Since Gabriel is still nursing, I had him most of the time and was happy to stay at the campsite with the little ones when they napped.

We pitched our tents close to the volleyball courts, so I could see the games and still keep an eye on the sleepers. But many afternoons, I took advantage of the peace and quiet to read a book or take a nap, while the older kids were occupied with their father and friends. What a relaxing, refreshing week!

For all of this, it is a huge help to keep a master packing list. You can read over ours and use it as a guide in compiling one of your own. As you discover things while camping you wish you’d brought with you, add them to that list, keep a copy on file, and refer to it again every time you camp to ensure you never forget to pack essential items again.

See you around the campfire!

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