Camping is a wonderful family tradition. It can also be a lot of work for parents! From crawling babies to potty-training preschoolers, kids complicate camping trips. To help, we’ve rounded up these hacks to help you on your next trip out.
Make a hand-washing station
Camping is about getting up close and personal with the great outdoors, but all that dirt requires a lot of hand-washing, so set up your own hand-wash station. Not only will you save on back-and-forths to the bathroom, but the kids might also even want to wash their hands! Check out Making Memories With Your Kids for instructions.
Keep snacks safe from critters
The last thing you want at a campsite is open snack boxes, which will surely attract critters. Try this ingenious idea from Stockpiling Moms for using creamer containers for the small snacks kids like to munch on.
Make a lanyard with cleaning supplies
Carrying all of those little containers of shampoo and conditioner to the camp showers can be a balancing act (who hasn’t dropped the soap?). Attach each family member’s supplies to a lanyard and then hang it over the shower head to keep it all off of the floor. This post on the Pop Up Princess blog shows you how to make your own.
Make mess-free s’mores
Camping just isn’t camping without some s’mores. But roasting marshmallows over an open flame doesn’t work very well with little ones. This genius alternative from Frugal Coupon Living is a cinch to make and a lot less messy to eat.
Make the forest floor a little comfier
Tent camping can be uncomfortable — especially at bedtime. Pad the tent floor with interlocking foam squares and you add a layer of softness under the sleeping bag and keep the cold from seeping in. Great for crawlers, too!
Make dinner in a single foil packet
Kids love to cook on a campfire but you want to keep things easy and clean. When it comes to campfire fire cooking, kitchen foil is your friend. You may have made foil-packet hamburgers at scout camp, but these foil-packet meals from Brit & Co. take campfire cooking up a level.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2017, and updated in May 2021.