We really would like to be completely packed and have all of our dry camping needs loaded into our car/van the night before we are going to leave. We were really almost packed, but it is those last minute things that really add up, and before you know it you are almost an hour past when you want to leave. We strongly encourage everyone who wants to camp with their children to be ready to go after the kids have had their breakfast, and that means- being ready the night before.
Know a back up route. We had originally planned on driving one way to Lassen, however we needed to change that plan right after we got on the road, which resulted in us not being super clear on how we were going to enter the park. To avoid further delay, it is really best to have mapped out at least 2 routes to your destination. It is also a great idea to know where your best stops are on each path.
Get to know your park! Since our decision to camp at Lassen and our decision to start this blog really overlapped, we hadn't taken our usual time to fully research Lassen and what we would want to do when we got there. However- there is a lot to be said about going on a camping trip that simply acclimates you with the park. Since we didn't have a very structured itinerary, and new that our trip was only one night, we were happy with just driving around and learning what we could about the park. But, if you are going on a quick camping trip and want to have the full experience of the park, you will want to research more thoroughly of what to do when you are there (and this blog will be a wonderful tool for you!). We do recommend park acclimation though, by going to the Lassen for one short night we were hungry for me Lassen! We are excited to return, have a great plan in mind for how our camping experience will look when we are there, and even found a better campsite than where we stayed.
You have to breathe and you have to laugh. Because things are going to go slightly awry, and you must be ready to stop and give yourself a moment. Even when we had challenging moments on this trip the wonderful moments absolutely outweighed them. Waking up in our tent to our children dancing around the tent so thrilled to be outside, it was wonderful.
For the Future
We need to get the kids warmer pajamas. We brought a pack n play for little Mason, and Henry was in the sleeping bag with me (Mary) and Campbell was a big boy in his own sleeping bag, but not everyone stayed super warm. Campbell thrashed ALL over the tent, often out of his bag, and Mason also is a mover in her sleep, and her blankets came off of her. And to not miss out on the fun, Henry tried to wriggle out of my bag as well.
To have peace of mind that your children are warm at night, get a good long john pajama for them. I am planning on finding a fairly neutral color (probably green) that I know will be easy to share with all of our children.
Plan a little quiet time for the kids. We really push ours, and they can handle it, but we also need to make sure that we balance it with some book reading back in the tent, or a small little nature walk where we look for leaves and pine cones.