Heading out for a family camping trip can be a big event. Follow these tips for a smoother off grid adventure.
- Power Options when Family Camping
In our technology driven society, power is premium. We need it to recharge those precious items we use daily to meet our needs and life demands; cell phones, laptops, etc. In theory, most want to go off grid to escape the hustle of our everyday work lives and leave all that stuff behind, but the reality is we all love to have access to content when we want it. Not to mention if something bad happens and you need to call someone. After a long day of family camping adventures like exploring some trails or hiking, having a way for the kids to wind down and relax. Enjoy a movie or play some games on kids tablets helps us parents get some relaxing time as well. There are many ways to achieve power off grid; car batteries, AGM batteries, Lithium batteries, Lithium power packs, Lithium power stations, solar panels, generators, etc. Whatever can fit into your budget is what will ultimately drive the power source you choose, but make no mistake about it, you will need power.
Identify your amperage consumption and then determine what method will meet your needs. Be sure to go to Mike’s blog on generators at high altitudes as this may steer you in a different direction when choosing a viable power source. Another great mindset in this category, is to remember that whatever you get, can and will be dual purposed as an emergency power source for your home.
- Trash Options for Family Camping
Ok, so this topic is one that I didn’t really consider until our first trip out. What do we do with our trash? How do we keep that horrible smell from permeating through our vehicle or camper? How can we keep animals from coming and tearing into it while we are asleep? All things that I did not think about it until we had our first meal. Sure, I had packed regular trash bags, but when we left them out in the open, some pesky animals came in…and well you can guess what happened next. Yes, family camping has its moments 🙂
After some research, I noticed many in the over-landing community use the Trasharoo. While this seems to be a great product, it has to have something to affix to, whether that be a spare tire or ladder on the back of your rig. If you have those options, then this is a great product for you. I unfortunately do not, so I decided to go with a simple waterproof roll top bag (link below). I line it with a trash bag and problem solved. The other good thing about this method is in the vent of spillage it is contained and will be easy to clean once at home. And when I’m not using it as a trash can, I can use it for its intended purpose. If you have not realized by now, I like things that serve multiple purposes.
- Water when Family Camping
Hydration must be a top priority for any adventure. For our large family, we can run through some water fast. But do not forget to have water for washing hands, doing dishes, and if desired…taking a shower.
If you have an Off Grid family camping trailer or RV, then chances are you have some form of water capacity. But you need to have a good idea of how much water consumption you will use so you can plan to have that plus an additional few gallons in the event of an emergency or miscalculation. I have seen many people bring cases of plastic water bottles, but this takes up significant space not just in the vehicle, but with trash as well. There is a huge selection of products to choose from for water storage. I personally like the collapsible water containers. I also carry some individual water filtration systems (Sawyer mini, and Lifestraw) that I use as an emergency backup.
Keep it simple! But do not sacrifice on quality. Prep work goes a long way. What I mean by this, is planning and preparing everything prior to departure. This will help eliminate some trash, dish cleaning, and space on your adventure. Consolidate snacks into one large bag (eliminates more trash). Reduce the amount of food that requires to be refrigerated. There are quality companies out there who make dehydrated meals that are healthy, made with real ingredients, and only require some boiling water. One company my family is fond of is Good-to-Go. And if you want to order in bulk, you can add them to your home emergency kit. The beauty of these meals is that they are delicious, take up little space, cuts down on dishes, and requires little effort. The ultimate goal of your family camping trip should be to enjoy the experience, not be caught up at camp with prep, cooking, and cleanup every meal.
- First Aid When Family Camping
Safety is paramount when camping off the grid. My father in law always says “It’s better to have it and not need it, rather than to need it and not have it.” When I think of a first aid kit, I go a little overboard. Having a large family, with kids prone to crashing a bike or jumping off a rock and not landing properly, I want to ensure I have what I need to treat them instantly. I also factor in the chance that I may have to help someone else that is out with us or a stranger we come across in need of assistance. You can tackle this from many angles.
You can buy pre-made kits or you can head to Walmart and pick up those essentials you think you will need and pack accordingly. I’ve used one of my wife’s old makeup bags to store hydrogen peroxide, Band-Aids, Neosporin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, tourniquet, splint, ace bandage, tweezers and medical sheers. I do a combination of pre-made kits (that are kept in the vehicles at all times (VSSL in my SUV and MyMedic in my wife’s car (links below) and a small bag with items previously mentioned.
It is important to remember that preparation will make the outdoor experience just that much better. The leg work done upfront will provide more time to enjoy with the family. Oh and get the family involved in the planning and preparing, that way they feel included…plus it adds to the excitement. Also, your experience is what you make of it. Go out and explore, enjoy the time you have with your family, and stay safe.
There! You’ve done it, you’re prepared for some essential items you need when family camping offgrid. If you still feel overwhelmed or just want some other tips to make this trip great, check out this helpful info on family camping with some great tips geared towards the fun side of the trip.
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