Tips for Tent Camping During a PCS Move

Before I agreed to our cross-country camping trip, I had a few rules. First, I insisted we only went camping every other night. We spent alternate nights at friends’ houses or hotels, so that we could bathe the kids and squeeze in more hours of driving on those days. This plan worked very well. Next, I required my family to do some trial runs before the big trip.

We practiced sleeping in the tent in the backyard, so the kids wouldn’t be scared. Then we took all our gear to a local campsite and spent the night, so we could see how everything worked. There we practiced campsite routines like cooking, putting up the tent and escorting kids to the bathroom. These preliminary trips were fun, and gave us more confidence about the big trip.

Some additional camping tips from a mom of four little ones:

  • On days you are camping, plan to arrive at your site by 3 p.m. You need daylight hours to set up camp and start cooking dinner.
  • Plan food carefully. A cooler works for only one or two days, and you need to replenish ice daily. You will end up purchasing supplies at local grocery stores, so be flexible, and shop in town before going to your campsite.
  • Consider using a pack-n-play for a baby. If they are used to a crib, this will make camping an easy adjustment. Plus, you can put baby to bed in the tent before everyone else.
  • Instead of packing separate bags for each person, pack one bag per day that contains everyone’s clothes. Just pull it out in the morning and help everyone get dressed at once.
  • You can research campsite activities for kids, but they are just going to end up playing with dirt and sticks. Let them. Bring some dish soap and a bucket, then you’re good!

If you are planning to PCS this summer, consider trying tent camping for your move across the country. It is a great way to make family vacation memories, and save you lots of money along the way!

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