Surviving camping with teenagers
Camping with teenagers doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Here you’ll find some tips on how survive a camping trip with a teen.
If you can adapt your itinerary a little, you’ll find that you and your teens can have an enjoyable time camping together.
Let your teen bring a friend
Social life becomes more important in the teenage years, so bringing a friend, or even a few friends along will mean camping feels a lot less isolating for your teen.
Having a friend there will also soften the blow of the limited wifi and service. Avoid 3s though, as the saying goes: two’s company, three’s a crowd.
Independence is key for a teenager
Whether they come with a friend or not, let your teenager sleep in their own tent. They’ll appreciate having their own space, and some more privacy. This also means they can stay up late without keeping everyone else awake, and not get woken at the crack of dawn by younger children.
Getting your teen to put the tent up themselves also gives them something to do, as well as teaching your teenager key camping skills.
If they need encouragement, just tell them that it’s a trial run for festival camping when they are old enough.
Check out Help and tips for your first camping trip for more info on how to put a tent up.
Check the facilities
While you’re booking the campsite, try to book one that offers reliable hot showers and a modern toilet block.
Although you may prefer a more back to basics camping experience, there is nothing like a weekend with no shower and portaloos to put a teen off camping for life. Your teenager will appreciate having somewhere to do their facial care routine, and you’ll find that they enjoy camping a lot more when they can have their (very long) hot shower in the mornings.
Plan with your teenager
When you’re planning the trip, why not let your teenager help to pick the campsite and choose some of the activities. Helping you plan also gives them more autonomy and control.
If you’re more last-minute like me, and are deciding what to do the next day around the campfire then be sure to ask your teenager what they feel like.
You’ll find that they have an opinion about which beach they prefer, or whether they’d rather go on a walk or a cycle ride.
Even if your teenager isn’t up for planning with you, or they claim they don’t care, be sure to plan age appropriate activities. Teens love to take risks so look for adventurous activities like coasteering, surfing or mountain biking.
Why not bring along a fishing rod and send them out to catch dinner.
Give them an activity to do like whittle a spoon to eat their food with. Check our guide to whittling those skills.
Remember to share the activities evenly, as it is unfair to put your teen through an entire weekend of short walks, scavenger hunts and steam train rides – even if the young ones love it! Balance the holiday with activities for all, and maybe give your teen the opportunity to relax at the campsite if they’re not up for some of them. Forcing your teen to come on family outings isn’t enjoyable for you or them. Instead, set up a hammock for them in the campsite so they can have a few hours to themselves.
Don’t forget the portable chargers!!
Their phones will be important to them on the camping trip, as it is their only way to connect to friends at home.
Make sure that portable chargers are fully-charged before you leave.
Instead of taking their phones away from them, pack your days with activities they’ve helped to pick. This way they’re likely to spend more time way from their devices anyway.
Bring along some low-fi travel games like chess, connect 4 or battleships.
You may find your teens enjoy playing some of the games they used to play before they discovered the PlayStation!
A separate fire for the older kids
If they’re bringing a friend, or there are a few older kids in your camping group then why not set up a separate fire for the teenagers. To give them something to do, and help teach them key camping skills, get them to set up the fire themselves.
If they’re unsure where to even start, here is a beginners guide to fire-making.
Having their own fire to sit around in the evenings means they can talk between themselves without adults listening in.
Snacks are the key to teen success!
Without the ability to snack like they usually would at home, a hungry teenager could be the downfall of your carefully planned camping holiday. Be sure to make a snack bag for them to dip into at will, with lots of biscuits, crisps and chocolate (and perhaps a few apples).
Nothing is worse than a teenager with low blood sugar.
Sugar and fun with the Chubby Bunny marshmallow game is always a winner, no matter what their age is.
Or get into their minds with motivational cookies or cakes….. just an idea….
Last of all; remember to enjoy this time together.
If you remember to listen to them and take into consideration what they want to do, older kids will find the family camping trip a lot more enjoyable.
Even though teenagers may spend a lot of time on their phones, but most young people appreciate taking a break from social media every once in a while.
Here’s me signing out and thank you so much for reading.