Camping season is here. The mountains, lakes, streams, etc. are calling. Whether you are a pro camper or a beginner, you can always learn to make your experience even better. Learn from other camping geniuses to perfect your camping experience.
Dollar Store Shoe Organizer
A simple shoe organizer can be used as a great camping organizer. Hang it from a tree next to your tent or canopy so you can easily access your camping necessities. Fill the pockets with cooking and sanitary items, as well as medicines,toys or whatever you need easy access to.
*Note- Do not use this for food unless you are able to easily pack it in an airtight container for night protection.
Foam Floor Tiles
Line your tent floor with children's interlocking foam tiles. This helps keep your tent floor dry and clean, as well as preventing you from sleeping on those pesky hidden rocks.
Reflect The Heat Away from Your Tent
Some inexpensive space blankets attached to your tent (or just above your tent) can help reflect the sun away from your tent to help keep it cooler. Use emergency/space blankets to keep other areas of your campsite cooler, too.
Make a DIY Air Conditioner
Check this out. If you don't have a power source, you can use a battery operated fan. A nice, cool tent can make all the difference on a hot, summer day.
Bring a Toilet
Yes, you can do your business in the woods. That's fun and all, but sometimes you just need a private place to take care of business (especially if there are females in your camp). A simple camping toilet located in a secluded area downwind of camp can do wonders for a comfortable camping experience. If you don't have time to order a good one, you can always attach a toilet seat to a bucket with either kitty litter or a trash bag lining the bucket.
Protect Your Toilet Paper
While you're making a lovely toilet experience, you might as well protect your toilet paper from wind and rain. A simple round coffee container with a slit cut from its side hung next to your toilet can will protect that precious toilet paper. (Who wants wet toilet paper?)
Freeze Your Meals
Cook your meats at home days before you camp and then freeze them. When it's time to prepare dinner, simply add the frozen meat to your camp stove or dutch oven to thaw and heat through. This helps prevent food borne illness from under prepared meats. It is also a time saver. Even better, if you have a vacuum sealer, seal your meals before you leave. You'll still need to keep them at appropriate temperatures, but this will help minimize bacteria growth.
*Note- Always keep meat at a safe temperature. Use dry ice or replace ice in coolers regularly to keep your meat safe. Your cooler should never drop below 40 degrees.
Use Freeze-Dried Meats
To keep meat safe, consider buying it freeze-dried. Once reconstituted with warm water, you simply need to add whatever seasoning you want to create delicious, safe meals. If you're really ambitious, you can freeze-dry your own meals and bring them completely pre-made.
Prepare All Food Ahead of Time
To minimize mess and chaos, prepare batters, eggs, or any other food ahead of time. Eggs can be broken and saved in water bottles. Pancake batter can be put in condiment containers or sealed plastic bags and stored. Hot dogs can be microwaved ahead of time to cook thoroughly so they just need to be heated. Think of your menu and decide what can be done ahead of time to simplify campfire cooking.
Create a Wash Station
An old liquid laundry detergent container is a great tool for a wash station. Simply attach paper towel to the container and put it on the end of a table next to some soap and you have a great wash basin. Use a bucket underneath to collect the dirty water. This works great for hands and dishes. If you want to go even further, attach one to a tree for a quick (albeit cold) shower.
*Note- Make sure to dispose of dirty water away from water sources or plants that could be damaged by it. Also, before you set up camp, you need to know where clean sources of water are. Do you have to pack water in or is there a source close by?
Make a Water Tight Matches Container
Using a mason jar, a baby food container, pill container or anything water-tight, glue a piece of sand paper to the lid and keep your matches in the container.
Check Out Surrounding Town Restaurants and Other Amenities
I know, I know- camping is about getting away from the world. But, there's nothing more refreshing on a long camping trip than going into town for a fun meal. Especially if you have kids, this could be the difference between going home early and staying out all week. Check out restaurants, snow cone shacks, and other fun indulgences to help break up the week a bit. You can surprise your family/friends with a pizza while you go into town to pick up ice.
Keep Communication Options Open
Even if you want to get a way from everything, it's always a good idea to keep cell phones charged or other communication available. You'll also want to be aware of sudden changes in weather or other emergencies. Consider bringing handheld radios, walkie-talkies, solar powered cell phone chargers, etc. for your communication needs.
Learn The Art of Hammocking
Camping is a mix of adventure and relaxation. Perfect your relaxation with a hammock. Whether you want to chillax and read a book or you're looking for a good nap, your tent may be a bit warm and stuffy in the middle of the day. Tie a hammock between a couple of trees and enjoy a cool, easy relaxation spot.
Star gazing is more fun when you know what you're looking at. Download or order a sky map to bring out at night. Your family will love finding their favorite constellations. Even better, schedule your camping trip around known meteor shower dates . Watch for falling stars as you star gaze.
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