Sunday, July 25, 2010

Camping tips & tricks 2

My last post was getting so long that I had to break
it up into two parts.
I wrote a lot about cooking & the kitchen stuff you'll
need or want to bring. In this post I will cover other
aspects of housing, set up, and a little
about how to make your life easier on the campsite,
especially with kiddos!!
So for housing...tent, camper, tent homes. There are
a lot of choices. We tent it. So, I'll just be talking about
tenting it. Buying a tent can be very overwhelming. We
have a tent for 8, but there is only 4 of us. Why, you ask.
Well you have to think about where to store your clothes,
extra blankets if it gets chilly at night & more things like
that. We have our bags at the end of each bed to make it
easy to just sit up and get dressed. You also want to think
about the option of standing up in your tent. If you will
be doing all your changing in the tent it would be nice
to have a 6-8 foot tall tent. We have a 6 ft (something)
tent & it just makes it easier for my hubby & me get

As you can see from this picture, we
have a little porch on our tent. Our
tarp under is bigger than the tent and
makes a great little porch area. Here is
where we put our shoe bag, games & brooms. Let me take
this moment to say that large "tarp-like" reusable bags
(like the ones from Ikea) Make great shoe & game bags.
There are no shoes aloud in our tent, so it's a great place
to shed them before entering in the tent. A little tid bit about
shoes...crocs are great camping shoes!!

We also use air mattresses. We have a really nice pump
that hooks up to the car cigarette lighter and works
great for all our mattresses. If you do air mattresses
instead of a mat or just sleeping bags, you can also use
sheets. We don't just because it's easier to transport
everything. We lay out one sleeping bag on the top
and one on the bottom and bring extra blankets if
it's going to be cold. As I said in the last post, we have
a ceiling fan for the tent and we have a light that hangs
from the ceiling. It is a great little thing and didn't cost
very much.
Our food tent (also seen in the picture above) covers the
picnic table and sometimes where we cook and leave our
food & stoves. This time we stayed in a place where there
was bears. So we had a bear box where everything that had
to do with food was stored. On this trip we just left the table
cloth on and cleaned it really well after every meal. A little
tent for your food area is a great idea, especially if you are
surrounded by trees. It keeps most of the flies out and it keeps
leave & stuff from falling in your food. We've only had it for the
last two trips and it's is a must from now on!!! We also play
games in there and sit and chat. Here is a picture of the bear
box from Yosemite. We basically set up all our cooking &
dish washing stuff on it.

Another must, that you can see in this picture is bikes!!! It
keeps the kiddos entertained forever! On our Yosemite trip
our girls made some friends just by riding their bike around
our loop. They would get up and ride until breakfast, then
ride as we got ready for a hike, then ride before lunch, etc.
Another thing we discovered is walkie talkies. We would
give Hannah one while she was riding so we knew where she
was at all times. We never let her go very far or anywhere we
couldn't see her, but it gave her some independence and
helped us keep tabs on her. We didn't bring our bikes this
time and really wish we had. Biking is a great way to get
around a campsite without having to drive everywhere!!!

Stuff to keep the kiddos entertained:
We bring a whole reusable bag filled with games. Board
games, outdoor games, balls, etc. It's a great way to pass
the time and builds great memories!! This trip we taught
the girls Yatzee with my grandmothers old set. It might be
older than me. We also bring crafts to do or worksheets.
This time I found a great worksheet on that
had to do with a nature walk. Basically they write down
things they see, copy leaves, etc. I also brought them
travel journals to write down their memories of the trip,
and to later add photos to. We let them use an old camera
and they took some great pics. It also helped to keep them
interested in the hike or place where we were going. We
sat down a couple of times and had them write their
memories and draw pictures of the last couple of days
while it was fresh in their minds. And we also brought
books in that bag for nighttime reading. Last time we
brought a couple of books about camping and that
was really fun for them to read.
Sidewalk chalk is another great way to keep them enter-
tained. Usually at the campsite your park your car on a
paved parking space. We just leave a little room for them
to draw and it keeps them busy for a long time. We also like
to bring jump ropes, hula hoops & other outdoor toys.
A lot of the ourdoor games or lawn games you find at
Target or Walmart are great for camping.

I hope some of these tips & tricks help you to have a
wonderful camping experience! I grew up camping and
still love it. It can feel intimidating, but hopefully after
reading this, you will be able to do it too.
Please feel free to ask for any other tips or if you have
questions, please leave me a comment and I would be
happy to answer them!!!

Happy Camping!!!

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