Tuesday, July 8, 2014

MORE Helpful Camping Tips and Tricks

This is Part 5 of My Camping Series. For more camping info, check out the links at the bottom of this post.

This past May I gave you some of my favorite Camping Tips and Tricks. This past June we had another great trip and I brought home even more tips and tricks!!

1. Pack Outfits, Not Clothes - When packing the kids, I give them each their own Personal Packing List. When they bring me their clothes, I lay them out in outfits then roll them up. Each roll in the picture has underwear, shorts, and a tee. During cool weather each roll also has socks. This way each morning the kids just pick out a roll of clothes and get dressed. It's easy to tell what's PJs and what clothes. I do throw in an extra outfit or two (You're almost guaranteed to get dirty and muddy at camp) and even in the middle of summer we take a light weight jacket and a few socks. So those are just folded and put under the outfits.

2. Don't Pack in a Suitcase - I don't care if you're camping in a tent or an RV, space is precious when camping. Instead of packing everyone in suitcases or bags, try plastic bins and drawers. Meme bought this drawer set for the kids to pack in. It fits nicely in the camper closet, but can also go nicely in the corner of a tent. I pack each child in a separate drawer and then they can easily get what they need on their own and still stay organized and neat. I have a large tote for my clothes, but I could actually fit all my clothes in one of these drawers too if I packed in rolls like pictured above. If you pack in plastic totes it can also help keep your clothes dry in case of a wet camping trip and they make a great side table in the tent. So much better than suitcases piled or strewn everywhere.

3. Fork-rests are For More Than Just Forks - In my last tips and tricks post I mentioned how we use the fork rests as a barrier around the fire pit... In my family it has come to be known as 'The Ring of Death' (I know morbid, sry)  Fork rests are also great for drying clothes and shoes on. When my niece, Princess, got too close to the water and drenched her shoes, we just put them on the fork rests by the fire to get dry. Usually the clothes line works great for drying everything, but shoes just never seam to get fully dry on a camping trip if you get them wet. I've dried shoes, socks, hats, and even underwear on the fork rests. During the cold months, I also love to put an extra pair of socks on the fork rests so I have warm socks to go to bed with.

4. ANYTHING Can Be a Toy at Camp - This is a tip and a warning: After setting up camp I hung the rubber mallet up on the lantern hook so we could find it easily when we needed. Bubee decided it would be fun to hit it like a tether ball. Not good! He almost knocked it off onto his own head. So, I took an empty water bottle, added some pebbles for weight and tied it up to the lantern hook. Viola! An instant toy. Bubee and Rosey Posey both spent hours hitting the new 'tether ball'. One of my favorite parts of camp is turning off the electronics, and using imagination and creativity to have fun.

5. Split the Water - If you're luck enough to be camping where there is water hook up, take a water splitter. I love this elaborate one that allows you to have 2 hoses and a faucet, but even just a simple one can be a big help. Especially if you need to hook a camper to the water, that way you can still get water without using the camper filter or filling the grey tank.

6. There's More Fun to Glow Around! - The fun doesn't end when the sun goes down. When camping fun can be had all the time. Yes, I love getting my body back on a more natural schedule while camping, but it's also fun to enjoy a few night time games. Meme always brings enough glow sticks and jewelry for each night (Check out the dollar store for lots). Rosey Posey and I went for a dusk swim one evening and wore the glow necklaces for safety and to be seen by any night time boat fishermen. We always have at least one night of ring toss by sticking a glow stick in the ground and using bracelets to toss. Most of the ones in the background are mine :/

7.Ring of Life - This past trip is the first time we did a lot of swimming outside of the roped off beach area at the camp grounds. I quickly discovered that there was a bit of a current off our peninsula and if I didn't hold onto Bubee he would float away before he knew it. So we used some string to tie 4 noodles together. This was perfect for keeping everyone together, we even tied it around the buoy so none of us would float away. The kids had the freedom of swimming around, but Meme and I still got to relax and not have to chase kids who floated too far off.  Since the ring around the fire pit was called the "Ring of Death" my kids dubbed the noodle ring "The Ring of Life". It was great for relaxing but still keeping everyone safe. I think next year we may string more noodles together to make the ring even bigger.

Note and personal plea: Rosey Posey is a wonderful swimmer and I have been swimming for over 25 years, but in our family anyone under 16 must wear a life jacket when swimming in the lake. I don't even go in deep water without a float (like a noodle). A lake is not like a pool: it has a current, hidden dangers, and murky water. PLEASE always use life jackets (or floats for adults) even if you/your kids are a great swimmer. Don't let your relaxing trip turn into a tragedy.

Okay, I'll get off my soap box now. Thanks for listening ;) Do you have any great camping tips?

Camping Series:
Tips and Tricks
#1: DIY Water Bombs + Camping Games
#2: Gourmet Campfire S'mores
#3: S'mored Banana Dip 

#4: Personal Camp Packing Lists Printable
#5: MORE Helpful Camping Tips and Tricks

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