Relocating your family to the woods for a few days can be a major undertaking. Providing everything for your survival can be a major undertaking, yet provides a way to unwind like no others.
Preparing for camping need not be a major stressor or project, though. With a recent camping trip under my belt, I realized that how I prepare might be useful. Here are my five ways to simplify the experience.
Camping should not be about lugging all the creature comforts of home with you. They don’t call it “roughing it” for nothing. Simplify everything ruthlessly: meals, activities, gadgets. Do you need to bring the portable DVD player, or can you instead spend time playing a card game or sit around the fire talking? While I would rarely ever do food-in-a-box at home, at camping it is a very compact way to do a dinner.
See how little you can do with. Size down the coffee pot; minimize the clothing; can you cook over the fire? Every activity should be a target. Don’t skip on the bug spray or sunscreen, however!
3. Keep Things Together
When you are not camping, store the camping items together. We have one shelf in the garage that holds the tent, cook stove and gas bottles and empty water jugs. The air mattresses (my partner refuses to sleep on the ground) are stored with the sleeping bags and the air pump. The kitchen paraphernalia is stored in a plastic box in the kitchen. When we pull things together, it is simply going to the three places and staging everything.
4. Keep A Kitchen Box
This one has been a major stress reducer for me. Instead of using our everyday dishes and cooking gear, I purchased inexpensive things and store them together. This box has also come in handy at other times, such as right after we moved. I couldn’t find the plates or serving stuff, but I knew there were some in the camping box and was able to find them very quickly!
5. Prepare a Checklist
Instead of viewing preparing for camping as a project, write down what you bring and do and put it into a checklist. The first time we went camping was chaotic compared to later trips. For example, my checklist has the staging items to pull out, a reminder to pull out pillows and towels, a basic list of things for the cooler, and the reminders to bring food and comfort items for the dog.
Photo by proviatoes