It’s officially fall and we have another season of camping with kids under our belts. It was a fantastic summer and as always we made many “notes to self.” Here are my best hacks/tips we discovered this year.

  1. All Fruits are Not Created Equal


Maybe this is a no brainer for some moms, but I had to learn the hard way that mandarin orange cups are not ideal for camping. Sticky fingers, sticky faces are not your friends in nature. Spilled orange cup juice is no fun to clean up. Until my kids learn to eat without wearing their food, or purposefully dumping their food, or purposefully rolling around in the dirt after eating I will be more discerning when packing camp food.

TIP: Bring: blueberries and grapes. Leave at home: Oranges, strawberries and bananas (bananas come in their own little containers which is nice, but unless you make a pact before you leave to eat them that night, bananas go bad quick in the wilderness.)


  1. Picnic Tables are No Friends of Toddlers


We are in that lovely stage when our nearly 2 year old insists on climbing everything and she has all the bumps and bruises to prove it. And don’t even think about asking her to sit somewhere other than where her older sister sits. That is evidently ridiculously rude. My husband was clever enough to discover a solution to the constant battle of trying to prevent my toddler from falling off a picnic bench while eating.

TIP: Kid camp chairs fit perfectly under picnic table benches. Mind. Blown. Now both kids can eat “at the table” without falling between the seat and table top.


  1. The Wash and Pack


We camped a lot this year. A lot. And no matter how much I camp, one of the most time consuming chores is packing the kids’ clothes. Do I have clothes for all types of weather? Do I have socks and underwear? Jackets? Shoes? So this year, I started the pack and wash.

TIP: We immediately open our dirty clothes bag when we get home, dump it in the washer then immediately pack it back in our duffles for the next trip. This works especially well here since the cool weather clothes you’re packing for camping are not the clothes your kiddos are wearing in summer around town. This saved me so much time and reduced those moments of panic driving up the canyon, did I pack L’s underwear???


  1. A Hoodie to Dream In


No matter how many blankets you pack, unless you want to hinder your kids’ breathing, you’re going to have cold ears and noses. My mom always told me that body heat escapes though the head and I’m pretty sure this is scientifically proven. So on those cold mountain nights by the river the warmer we can keep their heads, the warmer they will be.

TIP: Bring hoodies to sleep in. I haven’t figured out the cure for cold noses, but at least I figure they are staying warmer overall and their ears are nice and cozy.

  1. You Will Always Forget Something


Accept it. No matter how prepared you are. No matter how many lists you make. No matter how often you go. You will forget something. But at least don’t forget the same thing twice.

TIP: Keep a pen and paper in the car and as you think of things you forgot or run out of, write them down and stick it on the fridge when you get home to remember to add it to your gear, buy at the store etc.

What did you learn this summer?