Camping with children can be even more adventurous and may even cause some veteran camping parents to pause.
Will camping with children be all wilderness education mixed in with s’mores by the fireside or will the sheer headache of bug bites, meal preparation on a camp stove, bathroom conundrums, sleepless nights, and emergency first aid incidents- ruin all the fun?
Without the Dads, four courageous neighbourhood Moms (one of them being myself) and nine rambunctious kids, ferried their way to Mayne Island. An island with minimal wildlife. Thank Gawd. Nothing ruins your fun more than a cougar or bear; luckily there are only non-life-threatening garter snakes, seals (only visible in the ocean), raccoons, and the odd -on the preferred saving species list but perhaps slightly vicious if scared- sea otter.
Luckily, our group of moms came prepared, well excluding myself. My non-camping skills and effort to keep my over-packing habit subdued, left me without a few items.
I forgot a cover/fitted sheet for our air mattress but was able to scramble a spare comforter from one of the other more prepared moms.
I could have also brought another air mattress, as the Queen was way too small with my two (just like Dad) diagonal sleeping children.
I did not pack any first aid supplies. I didn’t even have an odd spare bandage in my purse. What was I thinking?! Especially when my children are of the culture that believe bandages heal everything, even invisible owies.
I should have packed a few more clothes. I packed a couple pairs of pajamas, a couple shirts, a couple bathing suits, a pair of shorts, a long pair of pants, and a hoodie. Should this not be sufficient for 3 day and 2 nights?
I didn’t account for the giant waves from the ferries, almost knocking my child over by the beach and how long it would take for seawater soaked clothes to dry. The only drama of the trip, was my annoyance that the Coleman stove that I had working perfectly in the backyard AT HOME, would not work at our campsite. GRRRRR! I tried that damn thing all weekend. Determined to get it working but it was the only true #fail of the whole trip. We had a BBQ, and another working propane cooking coleman, so we were all good.
The most amazing thing was an outdoor propane fire pit, that our one experienced camper mom brought. I need one. Now.
There was a fire ban on Mayne Island but because the fire pit is controlled and confined, it is allowed. Unfortunately, it attracted a 50-ish overly tanned, only had hot dogs that he couldn’t cook, creepy-ish over-tanned camper that looked like nomadic camping was a daily occurence, and even more concerning is that he didn”t mind camping next to a gaggle of kids and moms. It was a slight hiccup that raised our mom-radar but never amounted to anything more than that. Phew!
This was the only time we would have wanted to have one of the Dads around.
It was also fun to tie-in Jackson’s birthday. I brought cupcakes (bought not made) and for goody-bag items I had headlamps that turned out to be a real hit and a bargain (Costco 3 for 9.99). I didn’t realize that my boy wearing a hoody backwards (all Cris-Cross-like) would send children into uncontrollable giggle fits.
My tips for camping with mom & kids include:
1. Decide on meals beforehand and plan with other moms (any excuse to have a mom’s only night with wine is an easy sell for me)
2. Book a group campsite ahead of time, don’t risk a site that is first come first serve . Disappointment doesn’t bode well with my chiltlins.
3. Coleman insta-tents. These were found on sale at Canadian Tire and they were the easiest tent to put up and take down.
4. Have FUN! Things that can’t be predicted can happen- they just turn into the fun camping memories that last your children’s lifetime. Dirt, sticks, bug bites, garter snakes and all.
What do I think about camping with 9 children and 4 Moms?
It was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT and I can’t wait to do it AGAIN.