March 30, 2015
Spring is here, and all across the country campgrounds are opening. Soon, families will begin making plans for summer trips. Camping remains one of the most popular pastimes in the United States. Between 2010 and 2012, 3 million more Americans decided to give camping a try, and last year, approximately 43 million Americans headed to campgrounds around the country, many of them families.
So as parents gear up for the adventure, it’s important to plan for the kids as well. Here are a few things to consider:
Sleeping bags: While adult-sized sleeping bags will work for kids, there are smaller sizes available. Aside from being easier for them to carry, on cool nights, a child warms up more quickly in a smaller sleeping bag.
Tents: The decision here usually boils down to this: Do you get a large, family-size tent for everyone, or bring one tent for the adults and another for the kids? Some kids feel safer sleeping in the same tent with the parents, while others enjoy having a fun space of their own and a bit of independence.
Appropriate clothing: About 84 percent of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities, including hiking. And because conditions in the outdoors can change rapidly, it’s important to pack the right clothes for a layering system. Adventure clothing for the summer should be comfortable and loose fitting. Choose lighter colors, which tend to be cooler than heat-retaining darker garments. Hikes are more fun when everyone has proper footwear that won’t cause blisters and hotspots, and sandals and watershoes make for safer outings in the water. And don’t forget rain gear. Breathable rainsuits and ponchos are more comfortable in hot conditions.
Adventure gear: Like properly sized hiking boots, having the right size gear for kids makes their experience more memorable. For example, a dive mask that is too big will leak around the child’s face during a snorkel trip, and most young children have an easier time casting a push-button reel on a fishing rod.
Safety gear: Adventurous activities require appropriate gear. Headlamps and flashlights guide the way during night hikes and trips to the bathroom. Kids should be in properly fitting personal flotation devices during water activities. Staying hydrated is also important, so all campers should have either water bottles or hydration bladders handy throughout the day.
See a reputable outdoors retailer for all your gear needs to ensure the whole family has fun and stays safe in the outdoors this summer.