Last weekend a friend of mine admitted to me that she and her family went tent camping this summer and she absolutely hated it. I told her that I had a completely different opinion about our own camping adventure this summer. I loved it!
Of course, there was a small difference between their trip and ours. Luckily, we had a very small camper to stay in, not a tent, but even tent campers can make the best of camping by planning ahead.
My friends husband suspected that it was the tent that was responsible for spoiling her camping trip so he found a used pop-up camper to purchase at an unbelievable price and bought it in hopes that it would help her change her opinion of camping. I could see she was still reluctant.
So, as the guys drove the pickup truck to retrieve the pop-up camper, us girls followed behind them in a separate vehicle just in case they needed our help – you never know…
On our way there I told her not to look at camping as camping, but to look at it as glamping. I could see there was a slight hesitation in her processing what I had just said so I elaborated.
The bottom line I said, is to make your temporary home (away from home) feel like home.
As she continued to drive, I continued to share my philosophies about camping with her. By the end of our road trip to pick up the camper, and by the time their new camper was home and set up in their yard, I could see her perspective on their next camping adventure had already started to change.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your camping adventures here are some of my suggestions. My advise applies if you have a small camper and electric available, but if you’re planning on tent camping make sure you add a nice air mattress to this list.
For sleeping, take warm and comfy blankets and pillows camping; something cozy that anyone would want to snuggle up in. In other words, ditch the sleeping bags and make a bed. Make sure to include a couple soft and warm throws too. These come in handy when your sitting by the campfire or spending time in your camper on a damp and rainy day.
Throw down a couple soft and pretty area rugs that your bare feet will thank you for when you get up in the morning. And don’t forget to bring large plush bath towels. Why sacrifice?
Stock your camper with nicely fragranced soaps for hand washing and showering.
Prior to camping go thrift store shopping to find some nice and inexpensive glasses, coffee mugs, and flatware. Sipping a hot beverage out of mug while camping is a luxury – sipping wine out of a real glass is equally as nice. In other words, bypass the Styrofoam cups and plastic flatware.
Set the mood with real or faux flowers, scented candles, or a fragrance plug-in.
If you know that you’re going to have electric available at your camping site like we did, and you love coffee as much as I do, then take an electric coffee pot and coffee with you. Forget making cowboy coffee cooked over the open campfire.
If possible, take an extra mini fridge. This will allow for plenty of cold storage space. Over the course of several camping trips it will save you from spending a small fortune on ice too.
Speaking of ice, I filled empty cottage cheese containers with water ahead of time and froze them for our trip. We used the ice to keep our beverages cold in a cooler which saved space in the mini fridges for our food. This reduces the risk of food spoilage. If your camper happens to have a mini-fridge/freezer combo then pack a frozen treat – something to look forward to on warm days.
A Crockpot can be a lifesaver and I can almost guarantee you will use it one time or another. We used ours twice in three days. Once to cook spaghetti and meatballs on a cold and rainy night, and the other time I made Crockpot Apple Crisp for dessert.
Pre-pack some home cooked meals to take along. This makes meal preparation so simple and exceptionally tasty.
Pack a cooking ring with extra propane and cast iron skillet’s as well . The cooking ring makes life much simpler by keeping the mess outside of your camper. A cast iron skillet works great on cooking rings, stove tops and in ovens, They cook more evenly and hold the heat much longer than many alternatives. Remember to pack the eggs and bacon for breakfast.
Carry a small table and comfy camping chairs. The table will give you a place to set drinks and snacks while your outside and will also save you from having to set things on the ground or hold onto them.
Cover tables with plastic tablecloths. This makes clean up easy. At the park where we camped a large picnic table was part of our campsite. Unfortunately, it was well used so the tablecloth covered the wear and tear the table had seen over the years.
Use an awning or take a pop-up canopy with you. We actually made an awning for our camper using an inexpensive tarp. This will save you on a wet and rainy day which is almost always guaranteed to happen at one time or another when you camp. With an awning or canopy you aren’t confined inside your camper or your tent the whole trip. We even cooked under ours.
Don’t forget to pack a variety entertainment. Board games, cards, a good book, and/or a television and DVD player with movies will help keep you occupied if the weather isn’t cooperating, or you just want to kick back and relax after a long day of hiking or exploring.
And lastly, if you don’t have the luxury of a bathroom in your camper then I recommend a cheap Porta Potty. Why? To save you from having to trek through the park to the public restrooms in the middle of the night.
Our first camping trip gave us the chance to see what worked and what didn’t for us. Unlike my friend, I don’t think we were disappointed with anything about our first trip. The important thing to remember is that if you don’t like rustic camping then don’t torture yourself. Plan ahead and think about the things you can do that will make your camping experience pleasurable. It’s okay to camp like a girl!