Do you have fond memories of roaring fires, toasting marshmallows, and swimming for hours or nightmares featuring marauding raccoons, middle of the night treks to the bathroom in the pitch black and good old Dad telling spooky stories right before bed? I guess your answer will determine if you really DO love camping and whether it was your parents that fostered those early special memories. If you do, and they did, we have just one question – why aren’t they still going with you? It’s time to go camping again and this time, take your tent – and your parents – with you.
Camping is truly a timeless adventure, suitable for literally anyone, of any age. Modern campgrounds are even making their facilities accessibility friendly and some offer specially adapted outdoor wheelchairs to make scuttling around the campgrounds a breeze. With activities for every member of the family to enjoy, from nature walks and hiking trails, to biking, swimming, and kayaking, there is virtually no reason not to turn your next vacation into a true family adventure. Our Amintro audience might be 50+ but they are no stranger to getting outside, embracing life to the fullest and engaging with others along the way. In fact, that’s what we do at Amintro – we help older adults meet folks from across town or across the country – people who share similar interests and backgrounds, shared work experiences or have the same kind of “bucket list” travel adventures in mind. We are a friendship app for seniors with no strings attached. It really is all about the friendships, including meeting other like-minded older adults who love camping!
The other thing the team here at Amintro does is share information of value to mature adults (who, by the way, we call EngAgers!) on topics that we know are of interest to them. We recently shared an entire blog on camping and found in our research that upwards of 30 million folks say they are RV enthusiasts and with boomers slated to outgrow any other population group over the next 25-30 years, we think this number will only grow. That’s a whole lot of people who love camping, many of whom have disposable income and are looking “to glam it up” by arriving in an RV. In fact, now that we think about it, we shouldn’t be pitching (pun intended) to you to bring your parents along in your tent but rather, you should be begging your parents for a spot in the trailer, especially if it has a wine rack AND indoor plumbing!
Whether you are a true camping enthusiast and love to strap on a backpack and hike to your campsite, a tent dweller content to roast marshmallows by the fire or an RV enthusiast who loves all your comforts of home while out on the road, taking (or meeting) your parents somewhere along the way will turn your fond memories into an intergenerational one for your own kids, a tradition that is sure to carry on for many more generations to come.
Here is our “Catch-All Camping List Must Have’s” with additional considerations for the older adults camping alongside you! You can customize this list of course, but the basics are the basics:
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Back-up lighting such as a wind-up flashlight, kerosene lantern or solar lights.
- Tent – including an extra tarp for the forest floor to help stay dry or if you’re backpacking, off the ground tent hammocks are a great way to stay dry, comfortable and be lulled to sleep by the swaying motion.
- If you are camping with an RV, the grandkids might still appreciate a small tent set up just outside to experience the thrill of sleeping outdoors.
- An axe for chopping wood / making kindling.
- Bungee cords, rope or tie downs and tarps – serve a variety of purposes including clotheslines for drying the beach towels, hanging a tarp over your tent, securing and/or locking up items while you are away from the campsite.
- Towels, Sleeping Bags (even in the RV this just keeps things simple) Swimwear.
- Toiletries and if you DON’T have an RV, bring some shower shoes to wear in the facilities.
- Cookware, Storage Containers for packing picnics to the beach, utensils, and dishes (Consider, even if the environment is your “thing” just this once using paper plates and save on dishwashing plus you can burn them in the fire at night!) A tablecloth with clips to hold it down is always a good idea.
- Most campgrounds (with the exception of backwoods obviously) offer potable water or at the very least, water that can be boiled then used. That said, it’s always a good idea to have your own 5 or even 10L camp water container.
- A variety of clothing. Camping is the one time it’s ok to overpack. The kids get wet or dirty, you step in a puddle, or a long, hot hike means you need to change clothes! As well, weather – despite what is promised – is a fickle thing and you really should be prepared for rain and that even on the hottest days, the nights might get a little cooler.
- Hats, sunscreen, and bug spray!
- Make your own entertainment pack. When we camped regularly, we had a deck of cards, cribbage board, Uno, Bananagrams, Boggle and Yahtzee. (We also had a poker set and “Trains Dominoes” and bet real money on the games but don’t judge!) The kids had an art kit with crafts, paints, and coloured pencils and more – for rainy days and both you and your parents should bring a good book or two!
- Sturdy and foldable camp chairs – for beaching it during the day and campfires at night.
You may have noticed there is nothing on this list that mature, active and engaged seniors couldn’t also use. That’s why we say camping is perfect for anyone at any age. If you’ve always lived a healthy, active lifestyle with your parents, why should you think that needs to change now just because they have a few more miles on the odometer? If you don’t take a tent and your ‘rents when you go camping, there’s a pretty good chance they will be heading out onto the open road themselves – to great travel destinations you only wish you could join them at! Camping is fun for everyone. It really is!
Additional items some more “senior” seniors might need:
- Medications and any related paraphernalia (i.e.: cooler packs for insulin)
- An additional layer of clothing and/or an extra blanket or two
- Sturdy hiking shoes
- Perhaps a mobility aid for uneven ground – even though we’re talking about being fit and healthy, you can be all of that but still rely on a cane for walking.
- Extra batteries for things like hearing aids if they are worn.