As a kid I went on quite a few camping trips with my family. Through the years, however, I’ve exchanged the great outdoors for relaxation indoors. Now that the kids are older, we are making it a point to get back into the wild. Since I know that at the end of the day it’s Dad and I cleaning everything up, I’ve come up with some great tips we use for how to consolidate as much as we can.
1) Pack Only the Essential Clothes: Since the kids are running around and playing all day long, I’ve come to realize that their specific outfits for each day aren’t as much of a priority anymore. A couple pairs of pants and a few t-shirts usually do just fine. I also like to bring a bathing suit, depending on where we’re headed. My husband and I try to pack the same way — minimal.
2) Keep Camping Gear and Kitchen Utensils in Plastic Bins: Tents, flashlights, sleeping bags, and all the rest of the camping essentials are stored in plastic bins. Keeping it down to a plastic bin for kitchen utensils, and a plastic bin for sleeping and first-aid allows us to get rid of things we don’t need. We hunted down sleeping bags that roll up into small balls to conserve space. I also made nap mats for the kids that can roll up, just in case the floor is too rocky underneath. When it’s time to go, we just load the plastic bins right into the car and head out.
3) Plan Your Entire Trip’s Menu Ahead of Time: In order to keep food down to a minimum, I make a menu the week before we go. This helps me plan out my meals and get exactly what we need when we’re at the grocery store. It’s easy to get caught up in buying a whole lot of extras that we end up lugging around most of the time anyway. For breakfast we usually do hot oatmeal or cereal, keep sandwich stuff around for lunch, and dinner is when we get a little more gourmet. We definitely don’t forget the s’mores too.
What ways have you found to make camping go a lot smoother with the family? I’d love to hear in a comment below.
Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.