Getting ready for family camping

I’m getting excited for family camping season!  We haven’t taken our son camping yet (well, other than living at a camp for part of his life) and him and I are excited for his first night “under canvas.”  We’re getting prepared mentally – had nap time in the sleeping bag and play time in our indoor tent.  We have a sleeping mat.  This weekend coming up will be the first big event – sleeping in the backyard in a tent!  We might all do it, or maybe it will just be the kid and me, but we will have a great time.

In preparation for family camping, you first will need a tent.


If you haven’t been camping in a while, you may find it a bit dizzying the various types and shapes of tents that are available.  Breathe.  Don’t panic and remember that you’re not taking this on an expedition.  Here is what you need to know about a tent for family camping:

1) Tents aren’t the size that they are advertised at.  A four person tent will fit four people. Not four squirming people.  Not four people with any gear.  Buy bigger than you think you’ll need.

2) Buy one with a waterproof floor.  Heavy duty is great!  It will keep you dry.  It won’t be lightweight and will be awful for backpacking.  Backpacking is not what we’re going for here – we’re going for dry and fun.

3) Buy one with a full fly.  Good tents are made with a breathable inner bit and a waterproof fly.  This allows the moisture inside the tent to escape but will keep the rain off you.

4) Don’t worry about “toys” like gear lofts, but look for pockets.  I wear glasses and pockets are a vital part of my camping routine.  If I don’t have them, I stop being able to see when I crush my glasses.

5) If you live in a place where it takes a long time for the sun to go down, it might be worth looking at the colour of the tent closely.  Yellow tents are bright inside – cheerful on a sunny day, but are going to be difficult for your little one to go to sleep in.  Blue will be hot on a sunny day.  I suggest red or silver.

Most important – don’t worry about it so much that you don’t buy a tent and get outside!  Summer is here – let’s go exploring!


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