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Summer is almost here. It feels like I’ve been waiting for it FOREVER but now that it’s right on the horizon, I know just how quickly it can slip away. So, my family is planning as much time as possible to reconnect with each other and make the most of the time we have this summer! One of our favourite ways to do that is by camping. We love getting in the great outdoors. Fishing, building sandcastles on the beach, making S’mores, singing around the campfire, and just enjoying each other’s company. What could be better than that?
If you’re ready to start planning your family getaway, check out my simple but awesome camping tips below!
1. Check your campsite.
We once set up camp in this lovely spot where we had a beautiful view of the lake. What we didn’t think about was the fact that it was on a hill…at a basin near the bottom of the hill actually so when it rained, the water all ran down and drained and settled into our site. We wanted to be near the water, not in the water. Look for things like downed limbs (it might indicate trees with weakened limbs so more could come down anytime). Some tree cover can be good as it offers some protection but you need to be sure they’re healthy trees.
Also look for signs of insect activity like ant hills and wasp nests. Those are surprises you don’t need in the middle of the night! Speaking of the middle of the night, one of my favourite camping tips is to bring along some inexpensive solar lights – you know, the ones on stakes that you put in your garden? Place those near the tent pegs to light them up at night so no one trips!
2. Plan ahead and pack for all conceivable possibilities.
Of course, you may be camping near a town where you can go and buy more supplies but sometimes those stores that service camp areas can be limited in what they offer. Be prepared! You may be planning to cook over the campfire but bring a propane stove and fuel for it anyway. You never know when you just might decide that you’d like the convenience of a stove that day.
Think about items like a basic first aid kit, baby or hand wipes (great for a quick cleanup at the campsite), extra rope (making makeshift clothes lines or hanging items safely out of the reach of animals), duct tape (can help fix so many things in a pinch!), flashlights or head lamps with extra batteries (each person should have their own), and a few plastic dish bins (for washing dishes of course but also for cleaning sand off feet before entering the tent, hand-washing clothing items if needed). Don’t forget flip flops for the showers and a universal sink plug can always come in handy! I like to put our shower items in one of those dollar store bins. Get the ones that have holes in the bottom so all the excess water will drain out after use.
3) When it comes to food for your camping trip, I like to do as much prep as possible at home.
If we’re going to have burgers, I make the burgers at home and then just cook them on site. If we wanted to have stew or chili, I would prepare it ahead of time and put it into large freezer bags. Store it in the freezer until time to go camping. These will serve as extra freezer packs to keep the rest of your food cold while slowly thawing out to be used later on your trip.
Pack spices in tiny portions in things like old Tic Tac containers, or a multi-section pill container. The dollar stores often have these cool little collapsible bottles. You can use them for condiments, salad dressing, and items like that. They will expand or collapse to just the size you need so they don’t take up any excess space.
4) Don’t forget the fun!
Of course, there’s going to be fun right there in the experience of camping – after all, that’s what it’s all about. But you never know when a rainy day might leave you looking for something to stave off boredom. A few board games, blank journals with sketching pencils or pencil crayons, a novel appropriate for the whole family, and a deck of cards can be a great help. You might also want to bring a pair of binoculars, a camera, an inflatable beach ball, Frisbee, and maybe some sand pails and shovels if you’ll be near the beach.
Remember the sunscreen and insect repellent! If you’re trying to save space, instead of bringing lawn chairs for around the fire pit, go old school Girl Guides and make sit-upons for everyone. A simple one uses layers of newspapers taped together to hold them secure and then are placed inside of plastic trash bags and again, secured with more tape. Rustic but effective!
5) Pick a good camping spot with great facilities, customer service, and fun things to do.
I always begin my search online. I look for facilities that meet all of our needs either in a location with lots of things we could do on day trips or with lots of onsite possibilities for fun. Often, we really just enjoy spending quiet days swimming, reading, and maybe doing some fishing. But it’s nice to have other things available just in case. I ask around for some recommendations (it’s always nice to hear what others think of a place!) and check places like TripAdvisor for reviews.
Some great items you might want to choose to take along on your camping adventure!
Image Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling FanBe Smart Get Prepared 100 Piece First Aid Kit, Clean, Treat and Protect most injuries with the kit that is great for any home, office, vehicle, camping and sports. 0.71 PoundE-18th NEW Women Outdoor Design Resin Field Urinal Ladies Emergency Pee Vessel Camping Hiking Sports Accessory ToolWEKAPO Inflatable Lounger Air Sofa Hammock-Portable,Water Proof& Anti-Air Leaking Design-Ideal Couch for backyard Lakeside Beach Traveling Camping Picnics & Music Festivals (Black)Unisex Camping Hair Don’t Care-1 Vintage Jeans Baseball Cap Classic Cotton Dad Hat Adjustable Plain CapCampSpark 34Coghlan’s Deluxe Pop-Up Trash CanCamp Kitchen Utensil Organizer Travel Set – Portable 8 Piece BBQ Camping Cookware Utensils Travel Kit with Water Resistant Case|Cutting Board|Rice Paddle|Tongs|Scissors|Knife and Bottle OpenerColeman Camping CoffeemakerSportneer Portable Lightweight Folding Camping Chair for Backpacking, Hiking, PicnicLlama Llama Loves CampingVont 2 Pack LED Camping Lantern, Portable, Great Addition to: Survival Kits for Hurricane, Emergency, Storm, Outages, Outdoor Portable Lantern, Black, Collapsible, Battery PoweredColeman 4-Person Dark Room Sundome Tent, Green/Black/TealColeman Cooler Quad Portable Camping Chair, BlackColeman Folding Double Wash BasinColeman 2000020279 Compact Folding Table