Outdoor Adventures in Colorado for the Whole Family: An Intro to Camping, Fishing, and Climbing with the Kids
Kid's hiking and exploring in the backcountry. Photo Credit: imgorthand (iStock).
Are you looking for the perfect outdoor activity for your family this summer? Something that not only your kids will love, but that you’ll enjoy too?
We’ve partnered up with Northern Colorado’s local and family-owned JAX Mercantile Co. to get you prepared for your family’s next outdoor adventure.
Whether you want to go climbing, fishing, or camping, we are going to share our three favorite camping spots, some of the gear you’ll need to bring with you, and some tips for how to make sure your family has an unforgettable time in the great outdoors!
Three Northern Colorado Camping Spots You Don’t Want to Miss
1. Chambers Lake, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland
Located just north of Fort Collins, Colorado, Chambers Lake offers a campground and is a popular spot for local anglers—making it the perfect spot for a family camping and fishing trip. The area is filled with lake trout and rainbow trout so you and your kids are destined to make a catch! Each campsite offers picnic tables, a campfire ring, and access to water and a restroom facility. Before you go, make sure you know the rules and regulations of fishing Chambers Lake. To book a campsite at Chambers Lake for your next family camping or fishing trip, visit recreation.gov.
2. Carter Lake, Loveland CO
Located in the foothills just west of Loveland, Carter Lake offers two campgrounds and some of the best Walleye fishing around! If you’re looking for the right trip to take your kids climbing, Carter Lake is just the spot. Carter offers multiple climbing areas that are perfect for beginners and young climbers. If you’re ready to take your family on an activity-filled trip, learn more about climbing at Carter Lake and book your campsite today! If you’re thinking about dropping a couple lines in while you’re out there, make sure you check out the fishing rules and regulations for Carter Lake.
3. Gross Reservoir, Boulder County, CO
Gross Reservoir is located just a few miles southwest of Boulder for adventurers who want to venture higher up in the mountains. The reservoir offers campsites around the waterfront that are free to the public and is also a great spot for fishing (learn about the rules and regulations of fishing in this area before you go). You can even explore the area surrounding Gross Reservoir on the many trails available for families who love to hike. Plan your next camping adventure at Gross Reservoir today!
What kind of camping gear should you bring for your family?
Camping with kids can be chaotic and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! JAX Mercantile is here to help you gear up and get out with all the knowledge you need to create those lasting memories your family will cherish year after year.
Here are some of the basic camping gear items you don’t want to forget to pick up from your nearest JAX:
- Sleeping Bag(s)
- Weather-appropriate Clothing
- First Aid Kit
- Firewood and Starter (matches, lighter)
- Bear Spray
- Folding Chairs
- Grill with Fuel
- Water Bottle/Hydration Pack(s)
- Sun Protection
- Freeze-dried ice cream (even if you’re not backpacking, this is a unique surprise treat for the kiddos!)
There are so many different kinds of tents, sleeping bags, and gear to choose from in our stores, but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. When you stop in, ask one of our expert staff members to help you find the gear that is the best fit for you and your family.
Also, before you head up to your campsite, make sure you know all the rules and regulations of your destined campground. Amenities available depend on where you go, and certain areas restrict vehicle types. Depending on the season you may need to bring a cooking stove if fires are prohibited.
Gear Just for the Kids = Guaranteed Summer Memories
- Durable insulation and construction that is both warm and packable—made to last for years of adventure.
- Pad attachment loops keep the sleeping bag in place, keeping them warm even if they move around during the night.
- Fits kids while they grow, up to 5 ft and 4 in. Recommended for ages 10-14.
- Backed by Kelty’s Lifetime Warranty.
- Features an on/off lever so that water won’t leak out of the tube.
- Reservoir is easy to fill with an ergonomic handle.
- Built-in safety features including a whistle and reflective accents so you can see your kids in low-light environments.
- Designed to be breathable, lightweight, and comfortable for young explorers.
Whether you and your family have never gone fishing or will be fishing for the hundredth time, JAX will set you up with all the supplies needed to catch that big fish!
- Fishing Rod (comes in all kinds of fun styles for kids)
- Fishing License (ask a Jax employee about which family members will need a license)
- Fishing Reel
- Fishing Net
- Fishing Line
- Tackle Box
- Appropriate Clothing and Sun Protection
Cast-off With the Right Fishing Gear
But where are the best fishing spots? What kind of bait should you use for the kind of fish you’ll encounter? And what are the catch and release requirements for local Colorado waters?
JAX’s knowledgeable staff can let you know all kinds of tips and tricks for your next angler outing.
Don’t forget to stop in at your local Jax to get your fishing license today!
More than Climbing Trees
When heading out to climb outdoors, make sure at least one family member is an experienced climber to keep you and your kids safe on the wall. Pro tip: map out the climbing areas, routes, and the best spots for your younger climbers before you go.
Here are the climbing essentials:
- Climbing Shoes
- Belay Device
- Climbing Ropes
- Protection and Crash Pads
- Full body harness is both comfortable and more secure for children from 5-10 years old who weigh less than 88lbs.
Wherever your outdoor adventures take you this summer, don’t forget to bring your camera! Share your camping, fishing, and climbing photos with us on Facebook or Instagram by tagging @Jaxoutdoorgear.
Voted Fort Collins’ Best Outdoor Gear Store, Jax Mercantile is a family-owned business that provides quality gear for camping, hunting, fishing, boating, and more. Visit your local Colorado store in Fort Collins, Loveland, Lafayette, and Broomfield or our store in Ames, Iowa to meet our experts and find the best gear for your summer adventures. Learn more about us at Jaxmercantile.com.