September 2, 2015
More than 25% of the 43 million campers in the United States were between the ages of 6 and 17, according to the 2013 American Camper Report produced by the Outdoor Foundation. That’s a lot of youngsters heading to summer camps, scouting events and family adventures. Here are some essentials for outfitting your children for camping:
A quality, child-sized sleeping bag. Unless your child is a pre-teen or a teenager heading into those growth-spurt years, a smaller, child-appropriate sized sleeping bag is sufficient. Young children are better insulated in a smaller bag; it takes them longer to generate body heat in a roomy adult-sized bag. A smaller bag is also easier for the child to carry, and they’ll be more willing and able to contribute in camp setup and cleanup. Teenagers are more apt to be comfortable in the larger sleeping bags. Make note of the average temperatures for the area where you are camping and buy appropriately rated bags to handle those conditions. Buying tip: Down-filled sleeping bags provide great warmth and compress well, but they are somewhat more costly than synthetic bags. Synthetic bags generally cost less and they retain their insulating ability if they get wet, but they tend to be a bit more bulky.
Appropriate adventure gear and clothing. Studies show that 84% of those who go camping in the United States participate in more than one outdoor activity during a camping trip. That can include everything from hiking to climbing to swimming, kayaking or scuba diving, so having the right variety of clothing is important to a child’s overall comfort. Loose-fitting, breathable fabrics that offer sun protection (or even insect protection) are best in the summer, and multiple layers are appropriate for the cooler months. Footwear is important, so have sturdy, supportive shoes for hiking, and protective watershoes for water activities. Buying tip: Don’t let rain slow your fun, buy well-fitting rainsuits/ponchos and shoes to take on the weather.
Safety and first-aid gear. Accidents happen, especially in the outdoors. Kids are prone to falls resulting in bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes. Be prepared with a well-stocked first-aid kit that includes wound cleaning supplies, bandages and sting ointments. Sun protection is a must, as it takes less than a half hour of intense sun to get a sunburn. Use products with a sun protection factor of at least 30 if your kids will be in direct sun for any length of time. Insects can spoil a trip as well, but there are multiple options for battling bugs, including lotions, sprays, scent emitters, clothing, nets and the like. Buying tip: There are products, such as Insect Shield and permethrin, that can be applied to clothing fabrics that repel mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, mites and the ever-pesky no-see-ums. These products usually last through several washings.
Lighting: Kids enjoy having their own flashlights, headlamps and lanterns for exploring in the dark, playing games and just feeling safe. Buying tip: There are lightweight flashlight and headlight options made just for kids. Many of them include multiple settings that include a soft red light that can serve as a nightlight.
Got additional questions about what children need for a camping trip? Stop in and the Bill Jackson’s staff will happy to help you choose the right kids’ gear.