If there is one thing I love, it’s camping. When I was younger I would go camping in a fifth wheel with my grandparents, but when we went as a family with my dad (my mom HATED camping) we would sleep in a tent. Regardless of method there is some planning that is required for going camping. From pre-booking a camp site, to planning meals and activities. Even checking the weather. It’s not very fun to camp in the rain! Here are some camping hacks to ensure you have a great time away, no matter how much you are “roughing it”.
First is location. Depending when you want to go, you may more than likely need to book a site in advance. Whether it has power or water, if you have a trailer maybe sewer too. Booking in advance is important for holiday weekends and long weekends because a lot of people like to book as soon as campground bookings open. That being said, activities are also key. Do you have kids and want a campground that puts on a lot of activities for kids? Maybe you just want a pool and or a lake or stream and make your own fun. Do you want a campground where you can be in a wooded area or more of an open field? There is a lot to consider before even leaving home when it comes to camping. even distance, do you want to be driving an hour from home? a few hours? Maybe a different province or state? Planning a camping trip should be seen as a mini-vacation of sorts.
Another big thing is food. Planning out meals and snacks is key for not running out and also planning space. Keep it simple. Ain’t nobody bringing steaks and 4 course meals camping. Basics are totally fine too. Also do you have a camp stove to cook on or are you just using a fire pit? If a fire pit make sure you know the local fire index or bans. A lot of times depending on the amount of rain there may be a ban on when you can light. Here, some times you are unable to light a fire until after 2pm. Other times there is no fires what so ever because there has been no rain and everything is far too dry. Hot dogs, s’mores and marshmallows are all great, but so are meals like eggs and sandwiches too. Which is also important to plan ahead and freeze some blocks of ice to keep your cooler cold too. Instead of having to buy ice from a local store or canteen too becasue we know the price of ice is never normally cheap. Even utensils are a great thing to bring. A local Dollarama also has some that I am sure would be worth checking into too. That way you can wash them (don’t forget the wash basin too!) And reuse them instead of throwing them in the trash after a use. Even different containers and things can be found in the spring as the weather begins to warm up too.
If you planning using the fire pit a lot, perhaps bringing your own firewood if possible instead of buying from the campground will save some more money too. Campgrounds typically have wet/dry/hard/soft woods. And never does it last a long time either. Bringing your own will save you from having to purchase it from the main office there too. the only down side is that wood does in fact take up some space, so you may need to play a bit of Tetris with your vehicles in order to make sure you have space for everything, if you don’t it may be something you might need to just get at the campground!
Basics are important. Here is a quick list of basics to not forget that are typically hard to remember.
– Bug Tent (For eating, not necessary however a really nice thing if you can have one!)
– Clothing line
– Swimming toys, towels, floats, etc
– Secure location for food at night (Trunk of a vehicle also works)
– Tarps in case of rain and covering a tent
– Change of clothes
– Layers, Blankets, sweaters, slippers, socks, shoes
– Sleeping things, Sleeping bag, mattress, etc.
– Yard games
Activities!! Is it a bunch of adults going? Maybe some drinks or special foods? Maybe kids and you want snacks. Are you bringing glow sticks or sparklers for the kids? Yard games? Swimming? Board games? All of these things do not need to be expensive. You can totally get them from a dollar store. And keep them together for future trips. Keeping busy maybe with a few books? Also remember, even if it calls for no rain sometimes there are quick showers that you may need to keep busy for an hour or two! Planning for this time especially with kids will save a lot of headache when they ask what your doing while it rains every 5 minutes until it stops. Even having something as simple as a deck of cards or coloring books is a great way to pass the time if there is a temporary shower passing by.
And finally, fast forward to after camping. Once you empty the cooler from food and ice, dry it out and store everything you need to be able to go back camping. That way next time you go, you aren’t trying to find every little piece you need. Everything is in one place. Sure you will need to have a box to put the contents of the cooler into but it still saves time! I know for our family, with our children being so little, we may not take the plunge into camping just yet, however my husband and I are very excited to finally be able to take out boys camping and sharing memories that we also had when we were younger too.