By Vicki Little
Campers, get ready – the season is starting! My family is big on camping, but we aren’t big on surviving in the wilderness alone. I spend weeks before camping trips finding new tricks and hacks to make camping even easier and more enjoyable for us, but more often, those “hacks” have let us down. So now I’m giving you the best tricks that I have actually tried and know to be true!
1) KEEP A LIST: After making the same list for two years in a row, I finally got smart and just kept the same list going and added or deleted from it as necessary.
2) PACKING CLOTHES: The tent barely has enough room as it is, and there is nothing worse than that small area being cluttered with clothes. Make getting dressed easy by packing an outfit in a larger Ziploc bag, then pressing the air out of it as you close it. Another option is to roll an outfit up like a sleeping bag, put a large rubber band around it and pack your clothing in a bin. A bag is fine, too, but the bin will keep clothing from feeling damp in the morning.
3) DON’T BUY ICE: Freeze your jugs of water and any freezable food that you will be bringing. This will keep your other items cool and then you can drink the water as it melts without wasting space.
4) HAND WASHING STATION: Sounds simple, but it is a necessity. Fill a large laundry detergent jug that has a spout with water and there you go. You can get really fancy and glue a paper towel holder on top as well!
5) FOOD ON THE GO: Keep trash at a minimum and prepare anything you can ahead of time. Put anything that will be grilled in foil and cut up veggies and fruit. Put some cut up celery or carrots in an almost-finished peanut butter container for a quick and ready snack. Make salads in mason jars (without the dressing) so there isn’t any prep work at camp. Do a quick Pinterest search to find tons of ideas for great camping food.
6) EASY ESSENTIALS: You will need something to start fires, and you will definitely need duct tape at some point. Keep your matches dry by putting them in a square baby food container or a soap box from the dollar store (it will be worth the dollar you will spend) and bring a long lighter with duct tape wrapped around it many times. Then you will have a flame AND the duct tape you will need. You can also wrap duct tape around your flashlight.
7) FIRE STARTERS: Speaking of fire, it can be a pain to get damp wood to take fire, or if it is getting cold, you will want one going quickly. Be sure to bring some fire-starter pods. Simply take the lint from your dryer, stuff it into a toilet paper roll or egg carton, and drizzle some wax from a melted candle on top. If you use the egg carton, you can break off one of the sections each time you need one.
8) SHOE BIN: Keep your tent clean by putting a milk crate or small bin at the entrance to your tent to keep shoes in one easy place.
9) SEPARATE BAGS: You don’t want too many bags taking up space, but keeping some items separate will make it easier to find what you need. The two separate bags you should definitely take are for your toiletries and medications (including bug spray, sunblock, anti-itch lotions and Band-Aids).
What is your favorite camping trick?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. She enjoys camping, volunteering, reading, and enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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