HOW TO | CAMP WITH KIDS By Marcio Paes Barreto Business Operation Manager
ast winter, my 4-year-old asked me, “When are we going camping again?” My immediate thought was selfcongratulatory: You did it—the child wants to spend more time outdoors! Good work! My next thoughts included images of two kids digging a snow shelter, damp sleeping bags, and cold little fingers and toes. It’s easy to fall back on our NOLS field experience when planning our next outing. Many times, though, this can be a limiting factor and too daunting when taking your kids with you. It doesn’t need to be that way. Instead of planning a family winter camping trip that’s a version of an 1800s polar expedition, how about something easier for both children and adults? Will something like skiing to a yurt and spending one night outside do the trick? Of course, we’ll do it. My wife and I both spent time in the outdoors with NOLS as students and instructors. When kids joined our mari-
tal expedition, we were able to rely on our NOLS background to provide great outdoor experiences for our family. It only required some flexibility and creativity. Here is what we learned over the years:
1 | MAKE IT EASY Car camping, RV-camping, and nights in yurts are not going to get you removed from the NOLS alumni status and destroy your outdoor-leader reputation. Think base camp! Plan for long day hikes. Then enjoy the benefits of having something bigger than a backpack for your group needs when you return to camp.
If you like the idea of packing animals, you’ll love floating with kids. Remember, we are not talking about your NOLS river experience. Slow-moving rivers and lakes equal fun when traveling and camping with kids. Lastly, if you are having fun, they will learn how to have fun outdoors. Summer is here. Get outside and share a version of your favorite adventure with a child.
2 | GET SOME HELP Pack animals will make a multi-day trip look like a day hike. I am totally biased towards llamas, but horses and goats can do the trick, too. A short online search will give you an idea of what outfitters in your area are offering. Did I tell you that I have some bias towards llamas?
Keep it easy when you’re camping with kids: consider a base camp and day hikes. Marcio Paes Barreto
26 | THE LEADER
3 | BOATS ARE MAGICAL
Marcio Paes Barreto Marcio started working at NOLS as an instructor in 2005. He was a student on a sea kayaking course in NOLS Patagonia in 2003. His passion for outdoor activities started at a young age in Brazil and now he lives with his family in Lander, Wyoming.