Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Importance of Soap When Camping with Teens

Upper Peninsula Lake Michigan
It didn't rain every day!
Spring makes me think of rain used to awaken the earth from its winter slumber.  Bulbs begin to bloom, trees begin to bud, lawns look greener, and families begin to consider camping trip vacations.  For tips on planning that family camping trip, please read here.  

            There is a connection between rain and camping.  Depending on length and destination of the camping trip, i.e. if you’re not camping in a desert, rain will be a part of the experience.  Be ready for it. 

The idea is to stay warm and dry when hiking with the family.  Bring quilted raincoats or wind breakers.  Dress in layers; short sleeve, flannel shirts, sweatshirts, and where nylon pants if possible.  Synthetic fabrics dry faster than heavy cotton when they get wet.  Even in summer rain can chill family hikers if they become drenched on the trail.  Always have a second pair of shoes to change into once you return to camp.  And stick newspaper into wet sneakers or hiking boots.  Somehow the pulpy paper draws the water out of the shoe.  It’s amazing.  Try it!

Rain can make trails muddy.  Adults and teens hiking in summertime—even in the rain—need showers.  After hiking in the rain through the forest in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, the children decided they didn’t need showers. 

“Can’t we just rinse off in the rain in our bathing suits when we get back to camp?”  Our son asked.

Leave it to the boy, but then his sisters instantly agreed.  My husband shook his head.

I glanced outside.  The rain had picked up.  Torrential rains ripped through the sky.  Ooo’s rang out in the van as lightning struck.  Then the children began counting to see how far away the storm was.  The boom of thunder startled everyone as we watched the pines along the road dance in the wind.

“First,” I said, turning my attention back to the children.  “Rinsing won’t be enough.”

“Why not?”  A twin asked.

“Because,” I began.

“We’re technically rinsed already,” our brilliant second daughter pointed out.

“Yes, but,” I started again.

“We just put on new clothes, Mom,” the oldest informed me.

My husband gripped the steering wheel all the tighter, as the wind buffeted the van from outside.

I sighed.  “You need soap,” I told the kids.  “You’ll feel better in clean clothes after your body’s washed.  Besides, it’s never a good idea to stand out in the rain, unprotected, during a thunderstorm.”

“Maybe it’ll stop,” the other twin piped up.

I rolled my eyes.  I hoped it would stop.  But it didn’t.  We changed into dry clothes once we returned to camp, but the flies followed us into the camper. 

Rain ripped through camp, huge puddles running everywhere. 

We tried to play games in the camper.  When we couldn’t stand the smell any longer, my husband drove us to the showers.  Everyone washed, dried off, and dressed.  Then became drenched—again—running to the van, and then to the camper.  More wet clothes to hang under the camper awning, plus the bath towels.  We ran out of clothes line, so I bunched the clothing together.  Clean on one side.  Wet dog on the other.  We left the wet sneakers outside the camper to keep wild animals from seeking shelter under our awning and amongst our laundry. 
Showers—complete with soap—are important for families sharing small living spaces when camping for a few weeks. 

Rain, it’s a part of spring and camping.  The only consolation?  Chances are it won’t rain every day.