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The Down and Dirty Guide to Avoiding Camping Mistakes

"You have to be a lot more strategic when you camp with kids."

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Helen Olsson is the author of The Down & Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids, which includes everything from planning tips and safety information to recipes for kid-pleasing meals in camp and ideas for campsite activities.

A former executive editor at Skiing magazine, she grew up camping in upstate New York and currently lives in Boulder with her husband, Jeff, and their three children. Having camped often with her family in Colorado and elsewhere in the West, Olsson has made plenty of mistakes along the way.

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While pre-parent camping meant just throwing stuff in a bag and leaving, with little concern for schedules or forgotten items, she says, camping with kids is a whole different animal.

“You have to be a lot more strategic when you camp with kids,” she says. “But it’s all completely worth it to me. It’s the best way that we bond with our kids. We”re creating memories for them that they”ll remember the rest of their lives.”

To ensure you’re creating happy memories on your outdoor excursions, learn from these common camping mistakes.

Favorite Camping Spots

“As far as Colorado favorites, we love the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It’s not crowded and it’s gorgeous. Another favorite is Molas Lake near Silverton. The campsites are right on the lake and very private. Helen Olsson, author of The Down & Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids

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