Organized Camping: Take the Bugs out

Organized CampingCamping is a wonderful and inexpensive way to take your family on vacation. Often, however, families who are camping with kids for the first time find camping hectic, frustrating and not much fun. Some of these families decide that camping is just not for them and never try it again. This is sad, because camping, with a little planning, can be an enjoyable experience even for first-time campers. Sure, there will always be things you just can’t control, but with some pre-planning, factors like rain or cold weather don’t have to ruin your day or your trip. Take the bugs out and your left with organized camping.

Get your Camping Trip Organized:

1. Make a Reservation at the Campground

The first consideration (and I think most important) is where you are going. If you are planning a trip on a holiday weekend make sure you make reservations in advance. If you don’t have reservations, don’t go.  It is almost a given that every campground will be full, and trying to find a place to set up camp on the 4th of July with no reservation is almost impossible. Even if it isn’t a holiday weekend and you don’t think you need a reservation, or if where you want to camp doesn’t make reservations, always have a couple alternatives picked out. Looking at camp books, maps or on-line is much more relaxing at home than it is in a hot vehicle with a couple of cranky, tired kids. Write the directions in a notebook and don’t forget to take it with you.

2. First Aid or Medical Box

Remember, campgrounds are usually a ways away from town; there is nothing worse than needing to get some aspirin or a band-aid at 9:00 pm and not having anywhere to go. Before we go camping I put together 3 medical boxes. One is for prescriptions, another is for first aid, and the other is for things like aspirins, children’s pain medication, cold medication – anything along those lines. Why, you wonder, do I have it all divided up? It’s so that if I’m in a hurry or if it’s late at night I don’t have to sift through a bunch of stuff to find what I need. I put it all into those plastic shoe boxes and label them.

3. Organize your Misc. Items in Plastic Boxes:

It always seems like the important little stuff is most prone to getting lost: batteries, lighters, pens, pencils (you can see where I’m coming from).  Well, you could put it all in one of those plastic shoe boxes, but I like to use a few little, drawered plastic cubes. The drawers allow for a little division, so you can find what is needed much quicker. For instance, I know I always keep the lighters in the cube’s second drawer. My husband has his own cube in which he keeps a small amount of tools, screws and little things like that.

4. Cleaning Up – Dishes and Laundry:

For years I had a big water pot for heating water for dishes. I leave that at home now that I have a small one for a little hot water. You can now get dish soap that foams when you put it on a sponge scrub and rinse. This saves a lot of water and a lot of extra work. Remember, it’s vacation time; whatever you can do to save on the work at camp makes everyone happy. On that note (and while we are talking about cleaning up), let’s address the laundry for a moment. You can’t go camping without creating laundry and it can get real messy real fast if you don’t have a system for it. At our camp everyone gets a king size pillow case and their laundry goes in it. This way there are not stinky socks floating around and lost clothes. You don’t have to buy new pillow cases. Used ones can be found at goodwill or yard sales.

5. Packing Clothing:

When considering what clothes to take camping first consider how much is too much. It is tempting to want to take lots after all you never know what you might need or want. The down side of this is that if everyone takes way more than they need these clothes become a burden on the whole family. Then again if you did not bring enough that can also be a source of frustration and discontent. I plan one outfit per day for each person with a couple of extras.  Two warm outfits and a jacket plus one bathing suit. and 2 pairs of pjs. We wash once a week at a laundry mat.

6. Plan Ahead:

By now you are no doubt getting the organized camping idea. Plan ahead, get organized and avoid a lot of frustrations, but what about the things you can’t plan for. When I have kids at camp I always send for those tourist guide books before I ever leave home. I pick out a couple of activities which would be good on a rainy day and are age appropriated to the children. You can always find a movie or sit in your camper or tent and play board games as well.. I always take a couple of games and a deck of cards. Rainy days are also great days to do laundry.

Be creative and organized and enjoy the wonder of camping. What ever you do don’t forget the bug spray. Remember camping is more than just a vacation, it’s family together memories.

If your worried about forgetting some essential camp supplies have a look at the camping checklist. The camping checklist is a great list to work off of, it has everything you could possibly need to remember to bring plus more!

Author: Sally Seals

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