Camper, check. Entire family, check. No phones or laptops, check. We headed out on a weeklong camping trip last week. Snow was already starting to fly in Crested Butte and Calla had a week off of school for October break so we left for the desert… in our new old camper.
Read more for lots of pictures from our trip! And I’m sharing tips on camping trips with kids in a camper.
We’d been looking around at used campers all summer, and finally decided to pull the trigger on one the week before going to Utah. Why not, right? We drove to Moab, Utah and found the most amazing camping spot about 20 miles out of town. There’s nothing like waking up in the desert. We filled our days with hikes, a trip to Arches National Park, biking and exploring the red rocks around Moab. Calla is obsessed with dinosaurs these days, so we made a stop at the Fruita, Colorado Dinosaur Museum on the way out and once in Utah we saw actual dinosaur tracks. Pretty amazing to say the least.
But what was also amazing was the time we got to spend as a family. It’s been too long since we were all together, not working while away. We were present this trip. Unplugging as a family in the middle of nowhere was divine.
Camping with littles can be a challenge, but a very worthwhile challenge. Packing for a camper, I felt a little spoiled. There’s room under each bench seat for a plastic bin. So Calla got a bin, Poppy got a bin and so did I. It’s easy to stay organized this way. Along with clothes, I packed a bin with some books, watercolors, paint brushes, crayons, plain paper, a few games (like Spot It and Go Fish) and then on the road trip there, let the kids pick out a brand new activity book or coloring book. This is a treat that goes a long way.
If you’re camping with very little ones, consider bringing along a travel high chair. We used one for Poppy quite a bit on trip. It gave her some autonomy while mom and dad could use both hands to finish cooking dinner.
And speaking of dinner, we like to prepare camp food that doesn’t make too much of a mess. On our menu were quesadillas, fajitas, hot dogs and pasta. These meals are simple and the kiddos like them too. It’s great to mix it up – some nights cook over the campfire and some nights cook with the camper stove.
We didn’t have an itinerary on this trip. We took each day as it came. Leisurely breakfast, a little hike, then let Poppy nap in the camper. As you can see above, she ended up using the camper as her jungle gym! We set up a table outside and Calla would use that to show off her rock collection, do art and eat lunch. We tried our best to go for our longer hikes in the cooler part of the day. The early afternoon light in the desert was unbelievable as you can see below. Definitely dusk was my favorite time of day.
I highly recommend unplugging for a week, hitting the road with the family and living in the moment. Our only responsibilities for the week were keeping the kids safe and happy. We made memories, lots of them. And a sure sign of a successful trip? When we got back home to Crested Butte, Calla started to cry. With tears rolling down her face, she looked as us and said, “I want to go back to the desert.”
photos by Melissa Fenlon and Alex Fenlon. all rights reserved.