Family Overlanding

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Lifestyle Overland

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Are you a family overlander? If so, what are some tips and tricks you use to keep the peace when you're on an adventure, miles from the comforts and distractions of modern day life?

I have a two-year-old daughter who keeps us on our toes. Thankfully she is a great little traveler, mostly due to her early experiences on the road in and the air. You learn really quick that clever distraction is a lot easier on the blood pressure than corrective action. And while my preference is for her to enjoy the simpler things in life, the iPad has been an essential part of our kit. We keep it hidden and only use it as a last resort once traditional methods such as books, coloring, magnedoodle, and Frozen soundtrack karaoke has been exhausted.
We usually try and keep the content fresh, especially for long trips, by downloading a few new episodes for her to watch of her favorite shows (currently it's Blaze and the Monster Machines... she makes her daddy proud!).
We have also started to phase in some educational apps to give her a jump start on the alphabet and numbers which she is beginning to really enjoy.

Once we are out of the rig to set up camp, the iPad disappears again and I try to involve her in the task as much as I can. We are blessed with a very helpful kid and so far there's no shortage of enthusiasm to help. Naturally this increases set up time, but it's why we're out there; to invest time in our family while enjoying all creation.

Overlanding with the wife has prompted several adjustments as well. While I can do as the bears... @MamaBear prefers a comfortable perch in a bit of privacy. Enter the luggable loo and Browning privacy tent:


Ladies and gentlemen, this is a game changer. To quote the wife, "...you've changed camping for me!"
I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy studying the trail map during my morning constitution. There's even a pouch for them in the tent... just sayin'.

The next item that has really helped make family life on the trail more enjoyable is the hot water kit by Zodi:


While I can go days without a shower when I'm in mountain man mode, MamaBear prefers the "look" over the actual essence. Now everyone is different, but with my wife a fresh shower goes a long way to keeping her rested and ready for another day on the trail.

Proper tent size is another thing to consider. While I can survive in a pup-tent or small dome, this quickly becomes an issue if you have to retreat from the inevitable rain shower. Having extra room for the toddlers to play in will help keep the peace even though it seems like wasted space. Also, being able to stand up to dress is another benefit of the larger tents. The newer designs actually aren't much harder to set up than the smaller tents these days.


And finally, sleeping surfaces. Do you want to test your marriage? Leave your air mattress at home on your next trip and sleep on a drought stricken desert floor. I did. It was AWESOME...
After that episode (truth be told, she handled it well!) I ordered an upgrade to the lumpy Coleman queen size mattress that liked to leaked and went with the Fox Airbed in a king size since the cub likes to sleep with us while camping. Honestly, this thing sleeps better than our mattress at home. Just be sure you have an inverter to run the 120V built-in pump.


I want to stress that none of this is a requirement for your overlanding kit. Everyone is different and everyone has different comfort levels. I just wanted to start this thread for folks looking for ideas to make things more inviting for the family.

Maybe some of these items will help you get on the trails more often if your wife and kids know they will get a good nights rest, or wake up to a hot shower. Experiment, build the kit that fits you and your budget. Do whatever it takes to get out there with your family, because the memories you make on the trail are priceless.

 
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Steve

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...and Frozen soundtrack karaoke...
I'm so glad I missed this delightful pleasure! ;) (However, I was well-versed in every song from the Little Mermaid soundtrack way back when...)

We kept two two-gallon tuckerware tubs in the back of the wagon or pickup when we were family camping/travelling. Our daughters were nine years apart, and didn't share many interests, so they each had a designated spot for their entertainment. As noted, coloring books, magnetic games, books, etc. work great. (I don't remember how we did it when they were two. Blank spot in my memory bank...) Later the iPod became the elder daughter's main method of not interacting with the rest of the world. We didn't have digital devices when they were small.
 

vicali

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Covers bathroom, hot water, shower, fridge, stove, furnace, toybox... Keeps kids dry and safe no matter what, plus keeps parents happy too.
Taking the trailer means we can check out new areas by unhooking and exploring while our 'place' stays safe and sound.

Once the little ones get bigger we'll look at some more familiar overlanding setups, but for now this works wonders.
 

Overland-Indiana

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I have a 1yr old and a 3yr old, both boys.. The 3yr old is AWESOME on trips, 1yr old not so much.. I am working on entertainment ideas for them both for long travels..they both seem to like the DVD player in put back there but tend to get bored quickly.. I'll be watching this thread for ideas!
 
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murps

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Like @stringtwelve i can make do with what i have for bathrooms and beds. Family trips require a few extra peace keeping tools.

Wine, preferably Red, will always be in my first aid kit. We went camping and i forgot the air-mattress and the pillows...the girlfriend wasn't too thrilled with me but when i opened up the first aide kit, all was well again.

As for kids, right now I have a 2yr old English Bulldog. For him I bring the glow sticks that are long enough to make into a collar for him. This way we dont lose him in the dark and my girlfriend have a panic attack.

WARNING: If too much of peace keeping tool #1 was consumed, peace keeping tool #2 can scare the life out of people when coming towards you at high speeds.

I love family camping trips:smiley:
 

SLO Rob

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All mine (7 and 9) want to do is poke things with sticks...and are obsessed with sawing. They'll saw anything. They don't care. They LOVE the cheap metal "string" saws to strip twigs of timber for the fire. Also, @SLOCeeCee set up a scavenger hunt of sorts too...it worked for a while, but then they had to get back to sawing...
 

Overland-Indiana

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All mine (7 and 9) want to do is poke things with sticks...and are obsessed with sawing. They'll saw anything. They don't care. They LOVE the cheap metal "string" saws to strip twigs of timber for the fire. Also, @SLOCeeCee set up a scavenger hunt of sorts too...it worked for a while, but then they had to get back to sawing...

Mine are 1 and 3, both are boys...I don't think they are ready for saws yet haha
 

roamingtimber

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So far may kids ,3 and 2mo, are great in the car and my 3 year old loves running around in camp. He loves sticks and trying to dig to China. He has his own LL Bean sleeping bag and headlamp so night time is just more fun for him. The baby just eats, sleeps and poops no matter what's going on. I agree that starting them early is important. Both of our kids made long road trips early and went camping before they were 6 months old. We also took our son hiking early and will with our daughter as soon as we can.
 

Jacob_S

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All of you describing your children camping is making me feel like a child. I also poke things with sticks then eat sleep and poop. Also a big fan of cutting things, use the axe though, no saw.
My 2 stepsons have not showed much interest going. They are 9 and 10 and they go "camping" with their grandparents in a 35 foot 5th wheel so my tent doesn't look very appealing.
 
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murps

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All of you describing your children camping is making me feel like a child. I also poke things with sticks then eat sleep and poop. Also a big fan of cutting things, use the axe though, no saw.
My 2 stepsons have not showed much interest going. They are 9 and 10 and they go "camping" with their grandparents in a 35 foot 5th wheel so my tent doesn't look very appealing.
"glamping" Glamorous Camping.
 

Jacob_S

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"glamping" Glamorous Camping.
That's what they do hahaha

They have WiFi and TV. One day I will get them out. With my current platform it will have to be one at a time, I'm thinking of adding a 2500 suburban or something along those lines.
 

roamingtimber

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All of you describing your children camping is making me feel like a child. I also poke things with sticks then eat sleep and poop. Also a big fan of cutting things, use the axe though, no saw.
My 2 stepsons have not showed much interest going. They are 9 and 10 and they go "camping" with their grandparents in a 35 foot 5th wheel so my tent doesn't look very appealing.
Nothing wrong with being a kid. My son has it all figured out, everyday he just wants to have fun, only wants to eat candy. Sounds pretty ideal.
 

BoxRocket

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We have been off-roading and camping as a family from day one. It's always been a priority for me to involve the kids. Each of our kids was going Offroad and camping with us by the age of 3 months. Now they are 15, 13 and 7 yr old twins. I'm fortunate that my wife enjoys the time in the truck and camping but there are some comfort things we bring to keep her and the kids more happy. The game changers for us have been RTTs and a portable toilet with privacy enclosure. Those are definitely must have pieces of gear IMO to keep my wife and daughter happy and comfortable. My boys and I are much easier to please. :)

Some of the things we do to keep the kids entertained is regular stops during drives for short hikes or a little exploring. We send them on scavenger hunts. At camp, we all have assignments for setup, meals,cleanup, and breaking camp. We bring card games and other activities to take the place of electronics.
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