things that happen when camping with kids

Let’s just start here: You will get approximately 1.7 hours of sleep per night.

Despite the fact that the floor of your tent is lined with a nice, foam camping mat, you will spend your evening in the 12 inch wide section that is NOT covered.  On a bed of rocks and sticks, on an incline, sucking face with the nylon wall of the tent, while the rest of your family sleeps soundly and comfortably on the foam mat.

There will be breakfast tacos, burgers, hot dogs, fajitas, sandwiches, queso, and fruit. The kids will feast on tortilla chips and Nutella sandwiches and juice boxes for two days.

Your kids will enjoy an unprecedented amount of time outside.

And when they get bored you can encourage them to “explore!” and “go find some sticks!” and “dig in that dirt pile!” It’s like nature’s scavenger hunt.

You will make the trek to the bathroom approximately 84 times, or every 5 minutes.

Because your kids are careful NEVER to have to go at the same time.

You’ll teach them to pee in the lake.

You’ll teach them to pee in the woods.

Your daughter will refuse to poo in the public potty.

But she has no problem dropping trou a mere ten feet from your neighbor’s enormous camper, where you’ll find her pants around ankles and her business at her feet, calling for someone to wipe her rear.

So then you’ll have “the talk” about certain business which should be done in privacy, not where your neighbors have a clear view when they look up from their air conditioned game of Spades.

“Stay away from the fire.”

“You’re too close to the fire.”

“Don’t wave around the sticks that you just lit on fire.”

You will end up with burn holes in your camping chairs.

And probably your favorite t-shirt.

You’ll let your kids stay up later than usual because camping! S’mores! Beer! (The beer’s for you.)

They will repay you by rising with the sun.

The sun which will rise earlier than it ever has in the history of the world.

And of course you have a clear view because a) you are already awake thanks to the cozy rock/stick bed, and b) tents don’t exactly come with blackout curtains.

And they’ll start whispering sweet nothings into your ear, like “WHERE IS EVERYONE?” and “CAN WE MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS?” and “I HAVE TO GO POTTY.”

You will start to shush them, but quickly give up, because fuck it, you’re camping. Welcome to Mother Nature, bitches.

Where are everyone’s shoes?


Between 4 families, You have 2 electric skillets, 1 crock pot, 1 griddle, 13 spatulas, 8 rolls of toilet paper, 72 juice boxes, and NO COFFEE MAKER.

So for the time being you mainline a Diet Pepsi.

You’ll pull up a camping chair, take a hit of your caffeine laced aspartame, watch your kids enjoy some good, old fashioned dirt digging, and relax.

Until someone has to go to the potty.


Never go camping without your Ninja Turtles
Never go camping without your Ninja Turtles
...or your friendly neighborhood pyro.
…or your friendly neighborhood pyro.


Join the Conversation


  1. Bahahahaha!!
    Dude, give me a nice hotel room any time.
    Though I’m pretty sure my boys would LOVE camping. Think I’ll encourage it as a boys’ time away with Dad when they’re older. Ahem.

  2. I think “pants around her ankles and business at her feet” may be the best parenting quote of all time.
    I applaud your camping efforts. Now go take a nap on a bed.

  3. The walk to the bathroom is why I have never taken my kids camping.
    I went a few times when I was growing up and somehow I feel like I am failing them.

  4. I’m going to make buttons..
    “Just say NO to camping” 😉

    the girls are adorable…but OMG peeing in the woods. Not ever again, thank you . 😉

    1. Let me clarify: *I* do not pee in the woods. I just can’t do it. Pee everywhere. But I have taught my girls. 🙂

  5. Now that Cady has been to Girl Scout camp she keeps BEGGING us to go camping. I keep telling her “not until it is cooler.” I don’t mind the camping, but I don’t want to do it in July or August.

  6. The potty thing is precisely why we camped in my parent’s backyard during our last visit (that and no fire ants in Iowa). They had a fire pit and we did the important thing like roasted marshmallows, s’mores, staying up too late….

    And then yeah, the 1.5 hours of sleep, rising with the sun thing is completely accurate.

    WHY are tents not made with blackout shades??? (Note: it begins to get light out around 5 AM in Iowa in June, though I think actual sunrise isn’t until 5:40 AM).

  7. “Sure, you can take the bike to the bathroom. See you later. I’ll be right here with my book.” might be the best thing about children growing up.

  8. A hotel without wifi is camping.

    When I was little, my grandparents and parents both built houses in the middle of nowhere and we used to camp on the property on the weekends. When the houses were done, we had a tent burning party. That’s how much we liked camping.

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