Taking a child camping can feel a bit overwhelming, but it can feel especially daunting if you’re a single mom. You’ll be responsible for yourself and your child, as well as all the packing, cooking, pitching, and entertainment!
It is safe to go camping as a simple mom and being prepared is the best way to ensure you are safe and have fun. Choose a campground with good reviews and onsite facilities for kids. Choose a tent that’s easy to put up alone and practice pitching it before you go. Take torches and spare batteries.
Going camping as a single mom can be a fantastic confidence-building experience for you and your children and preparing with the tips below will give you the best chance possible of having a fantastic time!
How do single parents go camping?
So, to begin with, it’s totally reasonable to ask how single parents go camping at all? Camping involves a lot of preparation, a lot of packing, and a lot of hands-on parenting when you get there.
When these tasks are split between two people, it halves the workload. But there is an advantage to going camping alone with your children, it’s an opportunity to have complete control over where you go, what you take and what you do when you get there!
Below are some single-parent camping tips you can follow so you totally own your next camping trip!
Choose a family-friendly campsite
Plan ahead, make sure you have all the essential camping gear, and choose a family-friendly campsite that has good reviews, and where you can chat to the owner to get an idea about the type of place it is and the type of people who go there.
Knowing a lot about the place you’re going to will help you feel prepared and means that you won’t have any surprises. For example, if you turn up at a campsite and there’s a large pond, that can be an added danger for a toddler and an added stress for you!
Pitching near the restrooms is a good idea if you know your kids may need late-night trips to the bathroom, and getting a spot near the playground can be a great way to meet other families.
Choose a campsite near a town
Camping near a town gives you more options if it rains and will mean you won’t need to take all your food supplies with you, which can cut down on packing and food preparation. It also means that there are doctors nearby should you or your children have a medical emergency. Although this is unlikely, the more you can do to give yourself peace of mind, the better
Go camping with family or friends
If you can, go camping with family and friends who can help with the practical side of the trip, but also provide emotional support, a chance to chat with grown-ups, and share babysitting duties!
Camping with others also means you can share the cooking and camp cleaning duties as well.
Going camping with other single parents
There are lots of websites, apps, and groups dedicated to building a community for single parents. One way to reduce any anxiety you have about camping alone with your children is to buddy up with other single moms who also want to experience a camping trip with their kids.
You could get to know them in advance so it’s less intimidating meeting them for the first time on your tip. Going with other single moms means you can share out packing, cooking, cleaning, and even childcare responsibilities!
Keep things simple with easy meals
So what if you and your kids eat sandwiches and noodles all weekend? It’ll only be for a few days and, provided you all have lots of fruit and veggies as well, you can forgo the gourmet campfire meals. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, there are loads of quick and easy meals you can try, and getting your kids involved in cooking too can be a great way to keep them occupied.
If all else fails, keep your toddler’s tummy full with simple energy-filled snacks that are healthy and really easy to put together.
Turn campsite tasks into a game
The key to a successful camping trip with kids, whether you’re a single mom or not, is to get the kids involved with everyday tasks. Cooking, cleaning the tent, and fetching water may not be the most riveting tasks for children, but you can turn them into a game.
They will love helping you cook over a campfire (whilst being very closely supervised!). You could have races to the tap to collect water or see how many things you can spot along the way, such as how many blue tents.
For older children, you could give them the responsibility of keeping their area of the tent tidy and reward them for doing a good job. With younger children, you’ll probably find that the novelty of cooking and doing the dishes outside is motivation enough for them to get involved.
You don’t want to end up doing everything yourself, so the more tasks your kids can help with, the more time you’ll have to spend together having fun.
Should I go camping alone?
Camping alone can be a wonderfully peaceful experience and a chance to have an adventure on your own terms. By following the tips below, you can ensure you’re as safe as possible on your next camping trip:
- Share your plans with someone at home, including when and where you’ll be going, and how long you’ll be away for.
- Give them the details of your campsite, including the campsite owner’s name and contact details.
- If your plans change, let people at home know so they know where you are.
- Try to camp where there’s cell phone reception, and if you know you’re going somewhere where there’s no reception, let someone know how long you’ll be in that region.
- If you go for a hike or a swim, let someone in the campsite office know where you’re going and roughly how long you’ll be.
- It might seem extreme and you probably won’t need to use them, but having a personal alarm and pepper spray on you can give your confidence a boost (remember though, pepper spray is illegal in some countries).
Is it scary to camp alone?
The more prepared you are for the camping experience, the less likely you are to be scared.
Camping in the summer, or whenever the nights are shorter where you are, will mean you won’t be plunged into darkness in the early evenings, and you’ll be warmer.
Planning on the right camping gear will go a long way! For instance, taking a headlight, a large torch, and a smaller torch, all with spare batteries, will go a long way to making you feel safer at night, especially if you have to leave the tent.
Sleep with your headtorch on and keep your phone and an alarm within easy reach. Don’t sleep with earplugs or headphones on and try to wind down before bed by reading a book or meditating. Remember that when you’re sleeping under canvas, any noise can sound scarier so try to relax!
Taking small steps with solo camping and starting off at a well-equipped campsite near civilization will give you and your kids the confidence to try camping further afield when you’re ready.