Top Tips for Camping With Kids in Arizona

Top Tips for Camping With Kids in Arizona

Tent camping with kids has become one of our favorite family activities! What isn’t to love about being out in nature and having little to no wifi? It allows us to disconnect from the world and connect with each other!

With that said, camping is a lot of work and it’s dirty! So, I’ve put together this little guide to help make tent camping with kids a little easier and more fun!

First, let’s talk sleep!

Lack of sleep makes any occasion more challenging. So, we do our best to make tent camping as cozy as possible by using tent warmers, sound machines, and lots of blankets!

My kids are still young (4 and 2 years old), and we have found that they don’t quite understand sleeping bags. They roll around and get cold, and if they are cold and uncomfortable, they wake up and then wake us up! So, we bring lots of blankets to wrap them in to keep them nice and cozy.

We also use battery-operated sound machines. We use sound machines because A. my whole family has become accustomed to sleeping with white noise in the background and B. we have been to campgrounds with noisy neighboring campers and the sound machine helps block out those outside variables to facilitate better sleep!

A tent heater has been a game-changer for us! My husband couldn’t keep warm while camping, so he invested in a tent heater, a heater made specifically for tents! We added an adapter to the heater to accommodate a larger propane tank. The larger propane tank guarantees we have a warm tent all night long. It. Is. Amazing!

We have recently transitioned away from air mattresses. It’s the worst when an air mattress springs a leak in the middle of the night. So, we adults sleep on flex-foam sleeping pads with our sleeping bags, and the kids sleep on kid sized cots.

If you happen to have a kiddo who doesn’t do well sleeping on a cot or in other words they fall off the cot, a child size air mattress can work really well too. Google Hiccapop Air Mattress, that’s a quality brand.

Top Tips for Camping With Kids in Arizona

Next, let’s talk food!

Our camping menu has become something I crave, which feels silly to write, but it’s 100% true.

We make something called “Tin Foil Dinners,” and they are so yummy! Tinfoil dinners are something my husband grew up eating when camping, and when he presented the idea to me, I thought the meals sounded less than appealing. Still, I decided to give them a try, and I’m happy I did because they are actually delicious!

I don’t have a recipe of my own, but this is the recipe we like to use. When I shared “Tin Foil Dinners” with my community, I got a few direct messages saying that the dinners are also referred to as Hobo Dinners. They are so yummy!

We of course, have the tradition of bringing supplies to make smores, and we like to bring thin Reese’s cups to add to the smores in place of the Hersheys chocolate. I’m not a fan of Reese’s alone, but a smore made with Reese’s cups is pretty darn tasty!

Recipe: Graham cracker, marshmallow, thin reese’s cup – ENJOY!

Another dinner option is something easy like hotdogs!

We typically do something simple like cereal for breakfast or swing by the closest restaurant for breakfast. That is always fun too!

Top Tips for Camping With Kids in Arizona

Now, let’s discuss nighttime activities!

What to do when the sun goes down, and it’s too early for the kids to sleep?

Simply sitting by the campfire is fun, but my kiddos are young, so we add in little things like glow sticks. Headlamps and/or flashlights are fun too so that you can go nighttime exploring!

If you’re camping in an area with room for the kiddos to run around freely in the dark. Filling eggs with mini glow sticks for the kids to go and find is a super fun activity too!

Additional things we bring are a 5 gallon heavy-duty cooler to drink from, help clean hands with, and to put on our fire pit once we’re finished with the fire pit.

We bring wood for the fire, and starter fluid is helpful to get the fire going. A shovel, dish soap, baby wipes are helpful too and trash bags! We also like to lay a tarp below the tent to help protect the tent too.

Toilet paper is, of course, a must, and there are these neat little tents called “pop up potties” on Amazon – potty not included, but it provides you with some privacy if no facilities are available! We don’t currently own one but they’re pretty cool.

The tent that we use for our group of 5 fits two cots, two flex-foam sleeping pads, a pack n play for the baby, a tent warmer, luggage, and sound machines. We could probably comfortably fit one more cot in there too. It’s called an Ozark Trail 9 person tent.

We bring lounging chairs for us and the kids and we are strongly considering buying a pop-up tent for additional lounging shade but haven’t pulled the trigger on that yet.

We’re still learning but these are certain things we’ve found that bring more ease and joy to tent camping with kids!

Do you have any tips? Let me know in the comments below!

And always, Leave No Trace! Leave your campground better than you found it.

For links to the specific camping products Shanelle and her family use visit this page.

More great camping spots and tips can be found here!

Shanelle Kunz is a mama to three young kiddos. She and her husband Jordan live in and love the Phoenix West Valley. She enjoys adventure, trying new things, and making memories. She shares Phoenix West Valley family adventure, date night ideas, and small business love on her website and Instagram @Shanelle.WestValley .

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