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How to Take Your Family Camping

It isn't just camping -- it's sharing an adventure with the people you love the most.


  • Step 1: Learn how to read a compass and test yourselves on orienting in the wild. Hike, explore, and challenge each other.
  • Step 2: Study animals and bird life. Teach the children about nature and the ecosystems.
  • Step 3: Watch the stars at night and enjoy each other's company, soaking up the peace and quiet of being in the wild.
  • FACT: The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association reported that camping increased around the U.S. by more than 7 percent from 2007 to 2008.
  • Step 4: Play games and sing songs on the trip. Tell stories and invent new games for the car ride or around the fire.
  • Step 5: Teach survival skills. Teach the kids how to gut and cook a fish, and show them how to use smoldering embers rather than flames for cooking. Hike together beforehand to get acclimated and to get in shape.
  • Step 6: Get maps of campgrounds and identify places of interest for your itinerary, with a directory of motels as a back up in case of foul weather.
  • TIP: Give yourself some wiggle room -- nothing ever goes as planned. Avoid a rigid schedule and be flexible.
  • Step 7: Conduct dry runs in the backyard, letting everyone take a crack at putting up and taking down the tent, building a campfire, foraging for kindling, and getting used to night sounds by sleeping outside.
  • TIP: Drill the family in first-aid and safety procedures.
  • Step 8: Make a list of equipment to bring, adding and collecting items as your departure date approaches. Consider every possible emergency and weather condition.

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