We smashed the kids into her car and then shoved in all the gear. We were only going for two nights but I'm pretty sure we could have survived weeks in that car if a disaster had hit. We stayed at Moran State Park which I would highly recommend for kid camping! We were at the North End campground which doesn't afford a lot of privacy but it's very close to the wonderful Cascade Lake day-use area (swimming area, playground and boat rentals) and easy hiking trails. We hiked, explored the campsite, roasted marshmallows for s'mores, swam in the lake and kayaked. We really packed it all in. Monkey LOVED it and was so sad that we had to leave. We will do it again - but maybe in two cars!
1) If you don't have a lot of gear - tag-a-long with a friend who does! My camping guru had a camp stove and everything else I don't have or would have forgotten.
2) Start small (close to home/civilization so you can bail if necessary and not too many nights for your first time). You WILL be exhausted!
3) Bring wipes! A roll of paper towels doesn't hurt either.
4) Pack some of those wipes and some ziplocks on long hikes - let's just say we had a bathroom emergency about two miles away from camp . . .
5) Even if the weather feels like summer (which unfortunately this year it hasn't) bring some warm layers as it's colder in the trees and after the sun goes down. It's tough to sleep when you are freezing.
6) Have fun and get dirty. Realize that your back will probably hurt and you won't get much sleep but it's all worth it!