Thursday, August 7, 2014

Camping Tips, Tricks, hacks & what we learned along the way

{this picture was of our first tent, it was a 2 person. We later upgraded to a 6 for more space}
I'm a single mom & I wanted to go camping. I did a little camping when I was younger, always in a  small pop-up camper. Never in a actual tent {I know 33 years old and have never camped in a tent?}
 Caleb has finally gotten to a good age that I can trust us to camp and I wanted to be the first to take him. We have gone several times since and quickly discovered we both love it. Something about all that fresh air and sunshine, nothing else like it. I learned so much while on our trips and wanted to share our trip and helpful tips that I learned along the way.
Picking out a place.
We always pick a camp round that has full access to showers, toilets and security that runs up and down the streets for safety.  We always take a map of the area first, so we know where everything is before we get there. We pick out sites that are shaded with trees and close to water. Then call and reserve, give yourself a few weeks in advance to reserve spots, they book out fast. Summer is for camping
Making a list.
I can't stress enough just how important it is too make a list and check it twice before you leave, I printed up several sheets before our trip. I labeled one sheet "need" and other "take" and as I got these things ready and done would mark them off. Staying organized makes a world of difference.
What to take:
Every home and need will be different, but I wanted to include what our list looks like at most times. Take into account this is only for a family of two for a 1-2 day camping trip.
DO: Bring tubs, they are easy to stack and I divided each tub per daily activity.
Kitchen tub: cooking spatulas, cooking spray, salt & pepper, knife, long stick lighters, plates, cups, forks/spoons, cooking spoons, pots, dish soap, scrubby pan wash bin, first aid kit
Bathroom tub: soap, loofas, quarters for showering {they charge you per minute}, flip flops for shower, shampoo, conditioner, towels for showering & swimming, female products, hair brushes, q-tips, medicines, deodorant
Clothing tub: enough clothing for each day + a additional set for "in case", under garnets, bathing suits. What I did and it worked great was take each outfit and "roll" it. In the center include what you'll be needing for that day.
we showered at night, so one roll would have under garnet, socks and night ware
for the day time, a roll would have our day clothing and a "under garnet for women" etc.
Also a wise tip, dress according to the weather, really pay attention to it. I avoid shorts, due to bugs and wear capris to entire time. Dress in light colored clothing! Bugs/misquotes are naturally drawn to darker/more colorful clothing. We wear all whites and grays.
Extra tub: Toys for kids, if camping for kids. Somethings work better than others. Do take card games and books, these were life savers when it rained and we had to stay in the tent for hours. Plus reading at night can help transition your child easier into bed time. Bat mitten, footballs, balls, bubbles etc. are all great to bring. We also bought glow in the dark necklaces for night time, glow in the dark bubbles, they have glow in the dark ring toss games, Picnic table cover w/clamps, extra batteries, flashlight, bug spray {we use Avon skin so soft, I did a internet search and everyone swore by this, works great}. Marsh mellow roaster sticks, mallet for hammering in stakes, I made a scavenger hunt game/bag for Caleb, a bug sucker, bug dome, jar for catching toads
sleeping bags, make sure the kids don't use those cute cartoon character ones they really are not rated for outdoor use. We found out, my son froze the first night. Get something that can stand a drop in temperature. We live in Colorado so it can get cool at night.
Firewood, please do not use and buy those walmart charcoal logs. They will burn all up in 3 hours and you'll be sitting there wishing you had something better. Buy local firewood, it will save you money and last long. Rule of thumb for us is one bundle of wood per night. Usually around 3$ a bundle, unless you have your own wood then great!
Cooler, we got ours at a thrift store and works great. Make sure you bring ice and pack it good. You will need to keep your eye on the ice and change it out for a new bag when it melts. Our front office at the park sells ice along with other small things.
Latern for tent
Water jug, we brought a nice one that we would get all our ice cold water from
Hand washing station, we do this and SWEAR by it, buy one of those large Blue water jugs from Walmart, fill it with water, flip it on its side and tie it down with bungie cords. Attach a paper towel holder to the top of it with a roll of paper. Add some foaming handwash on the table and a bucket under the water flow and your set. No running to the bathroom to wash your hands. Whatever water is collected during the day you can use as water to put your fire out at night.
Fold up chairs, tarp {for your footprint} protects against weather
tent, we started with a small 2 person and one and figured out fast that we needed more room and purchased a Coleman 6 person tent. It had to be something that I alone could put up. Our tent we got on sale at Dick's for 60% off. Do get some rain protectant spray for the seams of your tent. Do buy some good stakes, the ones that come with the tent bend. Small broom and pan for sweeping out the tent.
Blowup mattresses, we use a queen and share. Also will need a pump, some extra batteries. If we had the space we would get a few cots that stand off the ground, would keep you warmer
Grill, this I wish we would have had from the start. Its hard to make meals on camp fires every night. Most people eat at 5-6 p.m. and that's super early to start a fire. So I invested in a Coleman propane grill and love it. You'll need a few extra gas cans
I'm sure there's things I forgot on this list, but its a great start for you! Do look online for camping tips and tricks, pinterest is a great place to start!
a few of our bins, rolled up clothing for faster easier storage
Natural person? No prob. we are too! we used a combo of essential oils for extra bug spray.
Tick spray:
2 prts vinegar
1 prt water
20 drops tea tree
20 drops lavender
15 drops eucalyptus
15 drops peppermint
Bug spray:
20 drops terra shield
1/2 part water
Our second tent
 our hand washing station

toad hunting!
 we did some metal detecting as well

scavenger hunt! Feel free to use the image below, we attached it on the bag and collected the items as we found them

 we enjoyed some trail walking

lake time, we spent hours here

 DO make smores!!
we packed ours like this and it was easy to assemble from one spot!
here we are! This was our first trip
They have these color changing packets for the fire at Walmart {Amazon carries them as well} and they make the fire change different colors. We used 3 packets per fire.

 nothing like cooking bacon for breakfast and using the grease for scrambled eggs! YUM

 morning tea

Caleb reading by early mornings light

1 comment:

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