I’ve been camping for years with three kids and I’m here to say. Make it easy for Mom. Here’s my top seven tips for how to plan a camping trip.
I’ve see too many Moms trying to make scones at the campsite with a carful of gear. Just don’t. Why?
Who are you trying to impress? Your frustration is scaring the chipmunks.
How to Plan a Camping Trip
Rent a Cabin—If it’s your fist camping trip, skip the tent.
Ask around and Borrow Gear—Lots of people keep camping gear stored in their garage.
Make Fun Food—And s’mores are a must for every trip.
Prepare Food at Home–Chop those onions and potatoes then put them in plastic bags.
Pack a Game—For a passing time or campfire fun
Skip Bath Night—The kids will get dirty and no one will care.
Give the Kids Jobs—One sets out the sleeping bags while one tends the camp fire.
Cooking and Eating Outside
Don’t plan for crazy, complicated food. Hotdogs and burgers are fine for the family. Really. Or buy the best steaks you can find for the adults.
Cut up potatoes, onion and garlic then add seasoning salt before you leave home. At the campsite, put the potato mixture in foil packs and put on the campfire.
Green vegetables sauté up great in a cast iron skillet with a cut-up bacon for flavoring. Then add a loaf of french bread rubbed with some butter and wrapped in heavy-duty foil. I suggest slicing the bread at home.
Buy a cast iron skillet and season it. Put the cast iron skillet on the fire grate and heat it up. Then slap those steaks on it. Or patties or wieners.
Wipe it down with a paper towel and a bit of oil. Scrub off bits of food with salt then put it into a plastic bag. Clean up done.
Don’t forget the marshmallows and the rest of the fun food.
Packing List for Camping
I’ve been car camping for years. I store all this gear in the attic in a heavy duty tote. I pack the cheap gear and use a few reliable items, like my stove and cast iron skillet.
- Cooler, smaller the better
- Cooking Fuel—I pack a least two cannisters
- Stick lighter and back-up matches
- Cast iron skillet—Old-fashioned black Lodge Brand
- 2-quart pot (larger pots will take forever to heat)
- 1-quart pot
- Pot holders—at least two
- Sharp chef’s knife and paring or steak knifes
- Camp Mugs—use for instant oatmeal or coffee
- Baskets with paper liners-less waste than paper plates
- Real Silverware—Don’t eat a good steak with a plastic fork.
- Can opener
- Mixing bowl
- Vinyl Tablecloth
- Heavy-duty foil
- Bread keeper–Because no one like smushed bread.
- Assorted plastic bags
- Wine bottle opener
- Polycarbonate wine glasses
- Roasting sticks
- Egg keeper
- Plastic cutting board
- Disposable dishcloths
- Microfiber drying towel
- Biodegradable soap
- Small container of bleach—I put a capful in water to sanitize
- Multi-Purpose bleach spray
- Plastic trash bags—One per day
- Gas Lantern
- Extra Lantern Mantles
If your campground is under a burn ban (no open fires because of drought conditions) then pack an electric skillet and heavy-duty extension cord.
Cabin Camping Gear
I gave up tent camping. My kids won’t help set up or take down the tent.
- Sleeping bags
- Battery-operated lantern
- Flash lights for everyone
- Air mattress, just in case
- Air mattress pump
Camping Gear for Kids
Each of my kids carries a backpack for camping trips. In it I put some essentials.
- Small flashlight
- Board game or a deck of cards
- Glow sticks
- Blow up beach ball
- Toothbrush and paste
- Sun hats
- Water shoes
Restrooms and Showers
Research the restroom conditions before making a reservation. Find your comfort level and stick with it.
Personally I like hot water showers and flushing toilets. I can’t go more than 36 hours without a shower. Since I’m making the reservations, these are important features I need before committing to a campground.
- Toilet paper roll
- TP Kit with toilet paper and hand wipes in a reusable bag.
- Bleach wipes
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Lysol travel size
- Basic travel toiletry kit
- Quick-drying or Beach towels
You Just Never Know
I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the what ifs.
- Multi purpose tool
- Duct tape
- First Aid kit
- Insect repellant
- Lip balm
It’s a windproof, water-resistant, multi-functional lightweight blanket you can wear almost like a skirt. With an adjustable closure system, you can wrap around your waist for sustained heat retention when outdoors. It’s much warmer than traditional stadium blankets and the fasteners won’t snag your clothing.
Looking for a cabin?
Here’s some of my favorite from across North America.
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