With the kids almost back to school and summer entering its last hurrah, there has never been a better time to pack up the car and head to the great outdoors for a weekend of camping fun. Even the most indoor families will enjoy a few days off the grid and among the trees. Tent camping may have a reputation for being stressful and far from glamorous, but these tips will prove how easy it is to set up camp and rough it without having a rough night.
Pack It Up
First and foremost, you have to tackle the gambit of deciding which supplies to pack for your getaway. Consider the myriad of factors involved in your trip. Will you be hiking with your pack? How long will you be staying? And how much room do you have in your tent for storage? No matter what type of trip you’re taking, you will need to bring along these supplies for a successful camping experience:
- Your tent and tent poles
- Sleeping bag and pillow
- Food supplies
- Fire starting supplies
- Emergency/First aid kit
Though not necessities, you might also consider bringing along fishing gear, board games, or even a portable generator with cover for backup power. If you’re a more off the grid bunch you’ll want to pack hiking boots, fishing gear, and other outdoor accessories to keep you entertained while unplugging.
Your shelter is without a doubt the most important aspect of any camping trip. It's what will keep you safe from rain, bugs, animals, and any other inconveniences when enjoying the outdoors. Tents range in size from one person cocoons to multi-room setups fit for large parties. You will also need a durable tarp to lay underneath your tent for a solid surface. Pick the tent that will keep your family’s comfort in mind, and read over the setup instructions ahead of time. You can even practice pitching it in your backyard prior to your trip to ensure that the real setup will be smooth sailing.
Once the tent has been pitched and sleeping bags have been laid out, there’s a good chance your stomach will be rumbling. Thankfully, campfire cooking is a far simpler endeavor than it's made out to be. Gather up some wood and bust out the firestarters you brought along, or use your charcoal if it’s a grill style firepit. Once your flames have been stoked, it’s time to whip up some camping classics. From juicy hot dogs to sweet s’mores, cooking fireside favorites for the family is a cinch with the help of some skewers. And you aren’t just limited to simple snacks when roughing it; there are many recipes that can easily be adapted for cooking off the grid. Just be sure to bring along utensils and proper cookware for your dinner under the stars!
Keep Cool and Carry On
Learning how to beat the heat is crucial for summertime camping. Leaving the comfort of air conditioning at home may seem unpleasant, but there are plenty of ways to make sure that your campsite doesn’t swelter in the sun. Here are a few tips for keeping your campsite cool, calm, and collected:
- The simplest way to avoid overheating is to choose a campsite with plenty of natural shade. Pitching a tent in a spot with sufficient tree coverage will block out a good portion of sunlight, as well as protect from possible rain.
- Find a spot close to a running creek or pond, adhering to safe water practices to cool down on a hot summer’s day.
- Take down your tent during the day to prevent the sun from baking your shelter to a crisp.
- Consider forgoing a tent altogether and spend the night in a hammock instead, allowing the evening breeze to lull you to sleep.
Always Be Prepared
This Scout motto rings especially true when it comes to camping trips. Even if you are headed to a busy, well established campsite, the safety and preparedness of your family should be your number one priority. First aid kits, rain protection, and emergency supplies are all absolutely essential necessities for any camping excursion. A serious emergency is unlikely to occur, but you do not want to go into any venture unprepared. Even small setbacks such as splinters or surprise rain showers can be remedied when you have the proper supplies at hand.