Camping in Style

by Leslie Pleasants

Camping is one of my favorite things to do every summer.  Now, I am not the kind of person to “rough” it.  I need my showers and toilets.  We use to tent it.  Then we upgraded to a tent trailer.  Finally we got a motorhome.  It is an older one but it gets us there (knock on wood).  We don’t spend much time in it but I do enjoy having a toilet, AC, TV, beds, fridge… and all the little stuff.    However,  we did just fine with out all of that.  I want to share with you some of my secrets and tips with all of you….   make your camping experience a successful one where you and your family will want to do it every year.  Not only that but the other campers around you will be walking by your camp spot admiring your site.   Yes…  it is true…  when I go camping we have people just walk by to see our site.  Can’t miss it at night.  Lights up the whole campground.  πŸ™‚  You don’t even need to be hooked up to any electricity!! If you’re looking to take a family camping trip soon, you can get all the gear you’ll be needing on

My MUST Haves:
Tiki Torches (funnel & tiki fuel).  Burn those bugs away, light up your campsite and feel like your in Hawaii.   You can’t go wrong!

Battery Operated Strand of Lights (plug in if you have electricity).  You can find these lights during any holiday season.  Usually have the most during Christmas.  You can even use Solar Lights but I notice they don’t produce enough light.  Also make sure they are LED.  They last a LOT longer and are brighter.  Hang these from the trees, inside your tent, on your shelter.  You wont need a lantern and bugs aren’t attracted to them.

Radio (we use a wind up radio that you can find at almost any camping store… also works great when power goes out at your home)

Solar Path Lights(that you put in ground).  You can buy these at Target, Walmart even the Dollar Store carries them now.  These are wonderful to guide you to your tent.  Use them all around your camp area.  They don’t put out much light but you can see where you are walking and don’t take up much space.

Table Cloth & Bench Cover.  You don’t know who and what has been on that table and bench.  Protect it all!  Table clothes you can get anywhere.   By an extra one and cut in half (length wise) use the same clips that you use for the table to hold it down on the bench for the seats.  Now your tushy is protected.

Plastic Mesh Net (approx 2-3 feet height) & Wood Stakes.  If you have young kids sometimes it can be hard to keep track of them.  They are little explorers.  I have learned over the years to make it easier on us is to trap them in.  We start by placing stakes around the area that they can escape (about 5-8 feet apart) then put make a fence with the mesh net.  This is also a great place to hang battery operated lights from.  πŸ™‚  It is also nice cause people can’t just walk into our area too.  You can get the mesh net at any home improvement store.  Try not to get the construction safety orange though unless you really want to STAND out. 
Kids Stuff..  Glo Sticks, Crafts, Bikes, Buckets/Shovels, Kites & Balls.   Don’t want them to get bored!!  I really do recommend the glo sticks…. they are such a life saver at night time.
Awning/Shelter.  No matter where you go… cold or hot… wet or dry… you should always have a shelter of some type.  Also bring along at least one tarp for emergency cases. 
Prepare your Food Ahead of Time and Freeze IT!  If you can pre-freeze your food it will keep other food in the cooler colder longer.  Which means less trips to go get ice.  Some of the things that I make ahead and freeze to take is….   Marinated chicken, spaghetti & steak.  Now I do set up a kitchen outside… I do not cook over the fire unless its smores, little smokies or biscuits on a stick.  πŸ™‚ 
Organize Your Picnic Table.  Put a basket filled with all the necessities.  Hand sanitizer, Sun screen, Bug killer, Bug anti-scratch ointment, Clorox wipes & Salt&Pepper. In the middle of your table.   
Smores Basket.  Keep all your smores fixings in a basket. Put your marshmallows and graham crackers in large zip lock bags to keep fresh and moisture out.  Also, add small paper plates, small thing of baby wipes and napkins.  Every night you just pull out your basket and you are ready to go!
Floor Mat & Rugs.  You can buy outdoor rugs for camping at any home improvement stores or camping stores.  They are great for those little ones who like to go barefoot.  Also keep a small mat in front of your tent or entrance to your trailer.
Dry Ice.  If you are going somewhere hot.  Bring a smaller cooler with dry ice(wrap in newspaper) and pack some Popsicle’s.  They will last you a couple of days. 
Portable DVD Player.  Can be hard for kids to take their naps or go to bed because they are out of their normal surroundings.  Bring along a portable DVD player so they can watch a movie to make them sleepy.
Battery Operated Fan.  We have a few of these.  These were great when we used a tent or our tent trailer.  We even use it in our motorhome when we are driving and the kids get too hot. 
Food Net Cover.  Keep those little pests away.  You can get these food net tents at lots of stores…  Dollar Tree, Target, Joann’s or any camping store. 
Pre-cut Veggies & Dip.  When you camp it seems like we are always wanting to snack.  I bring a huge Tupperware full of precut veggie and dip.  Everyday we are pulling that out multiple times snacking on it.  Much better then chips.
Container of Change.   Don’t forget about taking a shower….  most need quarters. 
Camping can be a lot of fun but  I have learned that you need to be organized for a relaxing trip.  You have kids now… you can’t just wing it.  πŸ™‚  Most important…  remember your camera.  Take lots of pictures…  your family will remember these camping trips but its always fun to look back at all the pictures of your trips!!
Below are some great websites to help you find that perfect campground. 
(great for kids…. usually has kid activities and pool)
(this one is for Washington…  take out the wa and put in your state.  not all states have this though.  This is my favorite website to go to.  Has pictures of each campSPOT)

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