October 6, 2021
Tips For Camping with Kids In The Summer
By Carrie Willink
If you’re on this blog you most likely love to jump in an Escape Campervan or are hoping to do so soon. Our family does as well!
In terms of the weather, we’ve experienced it all in our camper van — from nights that dipped below zero degrees to temps so warm we could’ve cooked our eggs on the bumper instead of the pan. For the experienced camper, these temperature changes can be easily adaptable but throw kids in the mix and that is a whole new story!
Today we want to share specifically how to handle the warm summer days with kids, and give you some practical tips for camping with kids to help this time be more enjoyable for you all. As for surviving the sub-zero temps? No one wants to think about that right now… We’ll save that for the winter!
Before you leave, go through this list and get some great tips for what to pack to make your summer trip the best it can be!
Make Sure To Pack The Right Clothes
While packing, don’t just think in terms of activity but think about the change in temps on any given day and night. We lived in Phoenix, AZ for a while where Escape Campervans has a depot. In the desert, it is not uncommon to see a 40-degree drop in temp when the sun goes down (which is around dinner time).
With this big of a change in temperature, it is important to pack layers for your kids (and yourself) rather than additional outfits. We suggest lightweight pajamas that you can use to layer up if needed. A space saver that can also be used for your kids’ sweatshirts, stuffy, or even a pillow we have found Cubcoats to help with all of this! If you need some more packing tips for your family, see here.
Plan For A Good Night Of Sleep
If you are like our family, we’re all snuggled up in one bed together. This can make for some toasty evenings in the summer. I suggest packing some light, breathable blankets, especially for the kids. Although most are ‘baby size’ my girls still use the bamboo blankets on our summer camping adventures. They are 3 and 5 now.
If you are in for a hot night, think ahead on gas and keep the air conditioning flowin’ until you are ready to go to sleep in your camper van. Keep the air tight until later and once you feel the heat rising, crack the windows and get the fresh air flowin’ again.
Another idea if you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night is to simply start the night with the windows cracked and a fan near the window to keep the air circulating. Most Escape Campervans depots can equip you with a one, simply ask your Escape Campervan attendant when you rent the van and they’ll hook you up.
Stay Comfortable While Hiking/Exploring In The Sun
Stay cool. A spray bottle which has been a lifesaver with a fan included. Be sure and put a bit of ice in it to keep it extra chilled.
Water! Water! Look for your favorite, well-priced water bottles for any size.
Chilled snack bags (filled with snacks of course :)).
For young kids: protective clothes, hats, sunnies, and sunscreen. Our favorite for this is SPF 50 and bug repellent clothes from Reima.
Do you have a newborn you aren’t wanting to put sunscreen on yet? We used hats, SPF 50 unprotected clothing, and light bamboo blankets as a cover (the same ones as seen under the sleeping section).
Some Fun Activities To Keep The Kids Busy
There are many times during your camper van trip, such as preparing food, getting the beds ready, traveling to your next adventure, or relaxing yourself! Let’s get those kids some fun things to keep them busy, and have you set up for success!
Water Balloons – will keep them busy and cooled off (be sure and get the bio-degradable ones)!
Treasure Hunt around your campsite
I-SPY (can be done in the car or by a campfire)
Fidget Sensory Toys (Also feel free to throw on at your partner during any disagreement:))
Small Travel Crafts
Small Travel Games
Mini Walkie Talkies
Paper Dolls or Magnet Dolls
Tangram Puzzle Book
Spray fan bottle: As mentioned above this is a great tool to stay cool while adventuring. Also, a great game for your kids to stay busy and cool! Play hide ’n’ seek and if found they get to spray you in the back or legs:)
A Couple Of Reminders
When parking your camper van, be sure and search for a shaded spot. If you know ahead of time you are going to be in a very hot area (with no rain) a reflection blanket can really help if you hang it in a tree or around the van. This is also a great idea to set up for an infant in the area where your kids are playing!