Camping is a classic summertime activity, and it’s a great way to spend quality time with your family enjoying the outdoors. But there’s no denying that camping does take quite a lot of planning and energy, depending on where you live and how big your family is! But there are plenty of ways to make camping easier, less stressful, and therefore more fun! And you don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy camping gear or equipment to do it. :-)
To help you make the most of the remainder of summer, I’ve put together 10 of my best tips to help make your next camping expedition easier. (And if you have a great camping tip that isn’t listed in this post, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment at the bottom of this post and your response could be featured in a future blog post!)
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The best thing about camping meals is that it doesn’t have to be complicated! Even the simplest of meals taste great when you’re enjoying them in the great outdoors. These tacos-in-a-bag are a great way to keep things simple without being boring. Kids and adults alike will love them! Get more taco-in-a-bag tips at Camping With Gus.
Camping lanterns are great for keeping your camp site well lit, but many of them are really bright (as in TOO bright) once you get them into your tent! You can make a softer, more diffused light source using a headlamp and a gallon of water. Just strap the light around the container, with the light pointed towards the water. Much better!
3. Campfire Cones
Don’t forget about dessert for your camping trip! One of the easiest and kid-friendliest (I might have just made that up) camping desserts is Campfire Cones. Just fill a waffle cone with your favorite combo of fruits and sweet treats, wrap it in foil, and place it in the coals of your fire for about 5-10 minutes.
My favorite Campfire Cone additions are chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and sliced bananas. Yum!
4. Solar Lights
It’s pretty much inevitable that someone is going to get at some point in the night to use the bathroom. And even if you think you know where you’re going, it’s easy to trip over things in the dark. An easy way to give yourself some extra light is to place outdoor solar lights near the stakes or tie-downs on your tent. They’ll charge during the day and give off light at night so you can avoid those midnight mishaps.
5. Scavenger Hunt
Most families plan hikes or bike rides during the day when camping, but even the prettiest views won’t keep a child’s attention forever. One easy way to keep them busy and entertained is with a nature-themed scavenger hunt! (For added motivation, be sure to offer a small prize or treat to the person who finds the most items!)
I went ahead and made a scavenger hunt card that you can download for free and print at your leisure. Use the link below to download!
6. Easy Eggs
Scrambled eggs are an easy breakfast to make while camping, and you can make it even easier by enlisting the help of your biggest mason jar. Just crack your eggs into the jar and keep them in your cooler until you’re ready to use them. (You won’t have to worry about the eggs breaking, which is a great added bonus!)
For easy scrambled eggs in the morning, just shake vigorously and pour into your pan! No muss, no fuss.
7. “Shake & Pour” Pancakes
Speaking of shaking things, another easy breakfast option for camping is homemade “shake & pour” pancake batter. You prepare the dry mix ahead of time and store it in a mason jar. When you’re ready to make pancakes in the morning, all you have to do is add water and an egg, and shake! (And don’t worry if the batter seems lumpy – they cook up like a dream!)
Get the recipe and all the details by following the link below.
Related: Homemade “Shake & Pour” Pancake Mix
8. Mini Survival Kit
You probably already take a first-aid or emergency kit with you when you go camping, but it probably stays in your car or at your campsite. But an emergency kit is useful if it’s with you when you have an emergency, so it’s smart to keep a smaller kit on you at all times.
Enter the humble Altoid tin! Altoid tins are a great size, and they can hold a surprising amount of stuff! This outdoor survival kit I made holds a small compass, a whistle, flint and steel, ibuprofen, bandaids, and more. For the full list of items and even more Altoid tin kits, follow the link below.
Related: 5 DIY Mini Emergency Kits
9. Fire Starters
Campfires can be tricky to get started, especially if the fire ring or wood is damp. You can make the whole fire-starting process much easier by bringing a few homemade fire starters along with you! Just clean out the lint trap in your dryer, and stuff the lint into a cardboard toilet paper tube. Stack your logs, place the fire starter somewhere near the base of the stack, and light it up.
10. Battle Bug Bites
Mosquitos are one of the unfortunate realities you deal with in the great outdoors. And as effective as many mosquito repellants can be, it’s best to just prepare for the eventuality that someone is going to end up with a mosquito bite or two (or five).
For mosquito bite prevention, you can make a paracord bracelet that’s infused with mosquito-repelling citronella essential oil. And these bracelet play double-duty, because they can also be useful in an emergency. The paracord can be unwound from the bracelet and used to tie up gear, set traps, or even make a tourniquet (though I hope you won’t have to use it!) Get the details on these easy-to-make bracelets below.
Related: DIY Mosquito-Repelling Bracelet
And for mosquito bite remedies, there are quite a few effective ones out there. I recently posted a list of 10 ways to stop a bug bite from itching, and every item on that list was suggested by my clever and capable readers! You can find that post at the link below.
A FEW BONUS TIPS:
—Make “camping donuts” from canned biscuits. Poke a big hole in the center of each biscuit and fry in a cast iron skillet. Dust them liberally with sugar and cinnamon and enjoy!
—For easier pancake-making while camping try this neat trick! Before you leave home, fill plastic storage bags with pancake batter and tie off one end. When you are ready, just snip one of the corners to use as a piping bag and you are ready to cook!
—Create a “luggable loo” for your next camping trip by attaching a toilet seat to the top of a 5-gallon bucket. Line the bucket with a plastic garbage, add some kitty litter, and you have a great portable toilet so you don’t have to go to campground bathrooms for those late night potty runs.
—Surprise your family with pizza on your camping trip! Using pre-made pizza crust that comes in a tube makes it a snap to prepare. Remember, any type of pizza that you can make at home, you can make in a Dutch Oven!
—Create a portable hand-washing station at your campsite by repurposing a large laundry detergent dispenser (the kind with the push-button spout) and filling it with water. Put a bar of soap in a nylon stocking and tie that to the spout. Perfect for kids and adults to wash up before meals.
—Keep your camp toilet paper fresh and DRY by storing it in empty coffee cans. Some of the plastic “cans” even have a built-in handle for easy carrying to the campground outhouse or out in the woods.