We love to go camping! If you’re a regular reader of our blog you’ve probably picked up on this already, given the number of posts we’ve done about camping. How often we camp depends on a number of things, but we have an annual camping trip with friends that we look forward to all year, and always make. (One year we even went with 5 month-old twins!)
Last year after this trip, we realized that a lot of people might find some general guidelines about what to do, or not do, when camping, helpful. There is one really big one from that list that I’d like to share again: Don’t burn plastic. Burning plastic lets off toxic chemicals that are bad for people and animals. These toxins don’t go away. Most campgrounds have dumpsters for trash, use it. If the one you are using does not, then plan to take your trash out with you.
Another really important thing to do before camping is to check your gear. One year we pulled a tent out of it’s bag at the campground and found that it must not have been completely dry when we put it away because it was covered in mold! That trip my mother-in-law slept in the screen room! We learned from that lesson and now we always try to take out our tents, screen rooms and sleeping bags and air them out before the trip. Besides avoiding unpleasant surprises, this also helps to insure that we haven’t forgotten or lost any pieces from year to year. You should also air out everything after your camping trip when you get home.
The adults in our crowd like to sleep on air mattresses. Well, they do now that I’ve introduced them to the wonders of air mattresses! I endured rolled eyes the first year, but ever since, they are a staple in our group. Taking the mattresses out in the yard and blowing them up confirms there aren’t any big holes and that we can find our air pumps! It’s great fun to test them out, but make sure everyone knows, no jumping!
I also strongly recommend developing a packing list. Even if you don’t take much, you don’t want to forget the important things. We have sections for toiletries, medicines and clothes that are pretty much copied from our regular packing list. Then we have sections that list what is in the chuck box, general camping gear and a section for food. Each year we open the previous year’s list and save it with a new name and edit it. One of the great benefits of keeping the old copies is that when we had our third child, I could just go back to lists from years when the twins were babies and see what I thought I needed then! It is interesting to see how our “must have” foods change from year to year as well!
One thing I’ve learned about packing lists for annual trips is that at the end of the trip, often during the car ride home, we talk about what we don’t think we should bring next year and delete it. I also make notes on it for things that I wish I had had, so that I add them for next year. A good, personalized list makes a trip like this much more relaxed. We do this for our annual beach week and our annual winter vacation as well. It takes time to develop the list the first time, but once you have it, it is easy to work with it!
We love to camp and we highly recommend it as a great vacation and a great way to spend quality time with friends and family.
What’s your favorite tip for camping? Tell us!
Other articles in our Greening Your Camping Series:
- Green Your Vacation – Go Camping!
- Greening Your Camping – Getting Started
- Is Your Gear Ready? Prepping for Camping
- Greening Your Camping – Mosquito Bite Relief
- Greening Your Camping – Reusable Utensils
- Greening Your Camping – Reusable Dishes or Disposable?
- Greening Your Camping – Cloth Diapers
- Camping Desserts – Apple Crumble
If you liked what you just read, please signup below to receive our blog posts and tips via email.