If you enjoy nothing more than camping as often as possible and do so more than four times per month, this article might not be for you. However, if you really do like to go camping, but can only do so every now and again, you might want to read on for some handy tips.
I love to go camping. As often as we can, our family hits the campground to stay as long as we can before getting back to the grind. At one time, we thought RV camping might be our thing, but we decided against it. We have always enjoyed primitive tent camping, because that seems more like an overall camping experience to us.
Not that there's anything wrong with RV camping, as I still sometimes get jealous during a heavy downpour or thunderstorm when I see them camping nearby. I guess we're just old fashioned campers!
When you make up your mind to camp in a tent, there are always a few "hacks," as they've come to be known, that can make the trip a lot more enjoyable. I'm sharing some of those with you here today, in hopes that you will find them useful.
- Go ahead and rent the space with electric and water hookups. Just because you're camping in a tent doesn't mean that the sites with electric and water are off limits to you. While you will generally pay a little more for these sites, especially at state-run campgrounds, they usually turn out to be worth it. If you camp with children, you will especially love the ability to make use of the electricity to charge devices that they simply cannot live without. Of course, our rule is still that the children can't use those devices during family time or during the day. We do allow them access at night, right before going to sleep if they like. Having water goes without saying. I can't count how many times we've had to trek to the other side of a campground just for water to drink or wash the dishes with. After a few trips spent on a primitive site, this could very well make you feel overly privileged!
- Take along your bike! While camping and cycling may seem like two very different sports, there's nothing as relaxing as a simple ride around the campground on a bike. You'll get to see things you might have otherwise missed, as a bike can take you further than you would probably go if you took a walk, and you're spared the extra time it takes to walk around. It's also an excellent form of exercise that the whole family can enjoy, almost like a vacation inside a vacation.
- Think green. Our family really spends a lot of time recycling where we can, and doing so while we're camping just comes naturally. For one thing, especially if you get the site with a water hookup, forget about taking along paper or foam plates and plastic wear. I never could quite wrap my mind around the idea of spending my money on something I'm just going to throw away after a single use! (Other than trash bags, of course.) Instead, spend a little bit more on a nice camping set. You can find some on Amazon that are fairly priced and they last a long time. You can simply wash them and put them away to be used again at the next meal and you rest easy knowing you're not contributing to an overused landfill. You can do the same thing by forgoing paper towels and bringing along extra washcloths. Use them as you would use paper towels, then rinse them and put them in a zippered baggie to take back home for washing.
- Don't forget your camera. If you don't own a nice digital camera, even a single-use camera will do. Camping trips are always filled with wonder and there's never a clue as to the magical things you might see or experience. Thinking you won't need a camera can be the biggest mistake of the whole camping trip, especially when you get back home and want to tell the story. Having those pictures will mean the world to you and to the rest of your family as well. It's also a great way to photograph the kids as they are out enjoying nature. That's an all-too-rare occurrence these days and one you'll want a lasting memory of. So by all means, make sure you have a camera and make sure it gets taken along on the trip.
- Bring at least two more full outfits of clothes than you think you'll need. One of the biggest mistakes I've made in packing for a camping trip is not bringing enough clothes, especially with kids involved. It is an absolute sure thing that something will happen you're not ready for. For instance, if it should start to rain, when all the weather forecasts said that it wouldn't, there will be mud, slush and water everywhere. In spite of your best-laid plans, you simply can't keep it out of the tent, and the best thing to do is get inside, change clothes and wait it out. Believe me, I've been there. There's also the very likely chance that, while you're out hiking, you will encounter poison ivy, poison oak or some other plant that is known for irritating the skin to an awful extent. Trust me when I say that you will want to change those clothes and get them sealed up in a bag as soon as possible. A good percentage of poison ivy cases come from contaminated clothing that some other member of the family touches after you've come in contact with it.
These little tips are far from extensive, but are some little remembered tips I've come to ingrain in my mind. They do come in handy and I think you'll be happy with them as well.
Here's hoping your next camping trip is the best one ever!