My boys and I recent trekked upstate for our first (of hopefully many) family camping trips. My husband is a long time backpacker, and I grew up in Girl Scouts and sleepaway camp, so we couldn’t wait until the boys were finally old enough for this opportunity.
Among all of the things I worried about in advance (cooking over an open fire, sleeping in a tent, keeping the kids entertained), my biggest worry was a potential anaphylactic reaction in the middle of the woods. Camping with food allergies is not something you can take lightly.
A few tips from our experience:
Get an Epi-Pen refill
In case of an emergency, I didn’t want to be stuck with an old or nearly expired auto-injector. Thanks to a $0 co-pay card available on the manufacturer’s website, I got two fresh epi-pens for free. Score!
Research the campground’s emergency procedures and find the nearest hospital
Luckily our campground was a state-run facility with regularly patrolling rangers and state police, along with emergency procedures posted everywhere. The nearest hospital was probably about 20 minutes away.
Know where you packed the first aid kit
This was a car camping trip, and being our first time, we totally over-packed the car. I placed the Epi-Pen, Benadryl and Claritin in the glove compartment. The first aid kit went right in the center console. (Note: it was about 70 degrees when we camped, but this would not be a good medicine storage place in warmer weather.) In case of an emergency, I would have been able to access the medicine in seconds, instead of frantically searching.
Skip the nuts
If you camp with another family, like we did, ask if they will forgo bringing food with nuts. The camping default is to bring trail mixes and granola bars, so knowing we wouldn’t have any cross contamination fears was important to us.
Plan your meals and bring lots of extra snacks. This is one thing I could have spent more time on. Pinterest is full of great camping recipes. Next time we’ll definitely try hobo packs!
We had an incredible time on our first camping trip. It was wonderful to unplug from our busy lives and connect with each other. There’s no reason we can’t do anything a non food allergy family does. We just need to plan ahead. We’re already working on our next trip!