Summer is approaching and you have possibly already made a campsite reservation. You’re starting to tear through closets, the basement, and the attic for camping gear, and someone is drawing up a list of family fun activities. If you’re new to camping, then the following 10 family camping tips will help you out more than you ever know. Even if you’ve been camping before, scroll through them to see if there’s anything you’ve missed:
1) Precool your ice chest: If you want to get the most you can out of it, then cool it down with ice a minimum of six hours prior to loading it up with food and beverages. Fresh block ice lasts longer than cubed ice. Also only put in foods and drinks that are already refrigerated or frozen. Warmer items will get cooled, but they’ll also warm the ice.
2) Mind the animals: In any established campground, you can safely assume the area wildlife has gotten used to free eating when other campers leave food out or even go so far as to feed them intentionally. Secure your food the best you can to keep unwanted visitors out.
3) Clothes: Everyone should have their own backpack or duffel bag, so that they all can get to their own clothing easier and faster. For dirty laundry, just use a hefty garbage sack. Do make sure everyone has towels and shower shoes for the bathhouse.
4) Common sense etiquette: You’re likely not the only family camping. Don’t let kids run wild, keep the noise down, and don’t wash dishes in a public drinking fountain.
5) Storing gear: Plastic storage bins are cheap, durable, and sometimes transparent, so you can see what’s in what. They make it easy to keep camping gear secure and organized at home, and you can just lift them into your car or truck. Putting an empty bin right next to your tent makes great shoe storage at night. Just remember to keep a lid on it to prevent morning dew wetness.
6) Take nothing but pictures: leave nothing but memories: You might discover debris ranging from parts of cans to cigarette butts when you get there. Teach your kids about this, and always leave a place cleaner than you found it. You do the world a favor, or at least the next campers.
7) Care for your tent: UV rays from the shining sun and abrasion both are common causes of tent damage. Use large tarps to protect your tent floor, although the manufacturer might have provided a specialized material piece named a ‘footprint.’ Zip up the tent during the day to keep bugs and little critters out.
8) Simple menus: Common ingredients make easy camping meals. Freeze chicken breasts to use for dinner burritos and grilled sandwiches or salads over multiple days. Egg scrambles are hearty breakfast fare that make quick work of leftovers.
9) Sleeping bags: These should be unzipped during the daytime, giving them a chance to dry and air themselves out. The absorb body moisture during sleeping hours, which hinders the effectiveness of their insulation.
10) Headlamps: These are increasingly replacing flashlights, since they are hands-free and automatically point light in the direction you are facing. Think about how much fun it is brushing your teeth while managing a flashlight, and you’ll understand the appeal of these.