Adventures in Camping with Kids
Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
"Rain, rain, go away; come again some other day..." the children would chant when home, but at camp? We found it didn't matter...too much.
Rain usually blessed our trip, both trailer and campers alike, at least once during its duration. The longer the camping trip, the more chance of rain, and the more chance that the tent trailer would smell of wet dog...minus the dog. As long as you mentally prepare your family for it and make contingency plans you should be fine. Make sure you explain to the children that any rain during the camping trip would not stop the fun, maybe just change the activities a little. Bring quilted raincoats and a second pair of shoes and tarps to cover the tent or trailer. It is best to cover the trailer with tarps when you set up camp even if there is no threat of rain. Tarps keep the trailer cooler if you are camping in the desert and protect it from dropping sticks and acorns if you camp in the woods.
Quilted raincoats keep the torso dry and warm. We found that even in summer, the rains can give a chill if you should get soaked and still need to hike back to the van. I found out that children love rain, especially in nature. They love the earthy smell of the forest, the contrast of wet and dry bark, and the squishy feel of the muddy trail. The damp weather doesn't stop seasoned hikers. They hike in the rain and in the clouds trapped on mountains. We were hiking along the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland when a torrential downpour hit. The tree canopy did protect us somewhat except for the bare mountain spots along the trail. By the time we came across the Visitors' Center, which was a short side trail in our loop trail, we looked like sunflowers after a storm, faces down and dripping from every petal and leaf--even though we had our raincoat hoods up.
There was a four foot by four foot tiled entry space before the carpeted Visitors' Center proper. I told the children to just stand on the tiled space and take off their dripping raincoats and leave them on the tile before entering the Center. Right. Six people's saturated raincoats plopped right by the door. You're a genius, Vic. Once again, I could barely get in out of the rain to shed my own coat and add it to the pile. The only good thing was that there probably wouldn't be too many visitors in a torrential downpour. But I did forget about the "wet dog" that seemed to follow us around on rainy days and our soaked shoes. Let's just say that the park rangers in the Visitors' Center knew exactly where we were at all times as we waited for the storm to subside even if just a little.
Hiking in the rain is fine. Breaking camp in the rain has its own set of difficulties, but that's a whole other story.