6 must-haves for your next camping adventure

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

camp trailer - 1It’s that time of year again! Time for packing up the camper, loading the tent, or heading to the family cabin for a camping adventure. Our family loves outdoor activities, and camping is one of our all-time favorites.

So…before you head to the mountains with your family, here are 6 must-haves our family has discovered to be helpful on camping trips:

Make Life Easier.

We love the $1 plastic tablecloths found at the Dollar Store. The rectangle ones fit perfectly on the campground tables and when we’re finished, we toss them. I stock up each year at the beginning of summer, and the kids love picking out a variety of colors, and we always inevitably include the “Happy Birthday” tablecloth just for fun.

Another great idea is what our family calls “the umbrellas.” These plate-size mesh net contraptions pop up to surround a plate of food and protect it from flies, wasps, mosquitoes, and other bugs. We like Coghlan’s Food Cover, which can be folded down when not in use.

A pop-up trash can is one of the best investments for camping we’ve made. We are sure to cover it properly each evening (to prevent bears from visiting our campground). We like the Stansport Collapsible Campsite Carry-All Trash Can.

Remember to pack a thin rope or strong string and some good old-fashioned wood clothespins for times when you need to dry out towels from a swim in the lake or wet clothes from being caught in an unexpected rainstorm.

Remember the Treats.658628_smores_3

Camping just isn’t camping without Smores. Marshmallows also double for those cool crisp mornings when a cup of hot chocolate is on the menu. We also pack carrot and celery sticks, watermelon, hot dogs (to roast over the fire), and our family favorite, homemade gluten free no-bake cookies. The recipe for these cookies (which can also be modified for those without gluten and dairy allergies) can be found in my post Gluten Free Delicious No Bake Cookies.

Have some fun.

Our family loves games and what better place to play a few board or card games than around the campfire? Some of our favorites include Uno, Old Maid, Farkle, K-9 capers, and In a Pickle. For a listing of family games, be sure to check out my Awesome Games for Family Game Night.

Do some exploring.

181991_indian_paintbrushOur family always takes to exploring when we camp. Birds and flowers are among the two things we enjoy learning about the most. Purchase (or borrow from your local library) a guidebook. Some examples include Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Phyllis Gustafson and Mark Turner; Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb and Gordon Morrison; and Peterson Field Guide to Birds in North America by Roger Tory Peterson and Lee Allan Peterson.

Remember Safety.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. If you have sensitive skin, a great sunscreen to try is Vanicream for Sensitive Skin.

Remember the bug spray. Not only are mosquitoes lurking about in the mountains, but so also are ticks. The CDC has some helpful suggestions for avoiding ticks on their website as well as what to do if you find a tick on your body. Coghlan’s Tick Remover is an effective tool for removing ticks on both people and pets.

Keep a first aid kit nearby. Adhesive bandages, peroxide, Neosporin, and Benadryl (for allergic reactions) are some of the items you should include. The American Red Cross has a comprehensive list on their website.  878051_first_aid_kit

An important thing to note is that since latex allergies have become more prevalent (as many as “perhaps one in every 1,000 people” according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation)  it’s a wise idea to include some latex-free adhesive bandages in your first aid kit. We use Curad ® Sensitive Skin LatexFree bandages.

Purchase a snakebite kit and bear spray. It’s always a good idea to be prepared!

Also, don’t forget to bring along a bucket for water to put out your campfire.

And lastly, a few important items…

A few more things to add to your list include a camera (for capturing those memories), a rainproof plastic poncho, individually-wrapped hand wipes (for when there’s no water), and roasting sticks for the aforementioned hot dogs and marshmallows.

1061488_yosemite_park_2I’d love to hear your must-have ideas for your next camping adventure!

For more marriage and family posts. click on the Marriage/Family image at the top of this post. 🙂


10 thoughts on “6 must-haves for your next camping adventure

  1. I include in my first aid kit one of those emergency heating blankets (in the mountains it gets cold). I also have matches in a water proof container, a pair of scissors, dental floss (for fine emergency string), flashlight with fresh batteries, duct tape (it fixes anything in a pinch), advil or other pain medicines —it is no fun to have pain on vacation, benedyl (for allergies, bee stings,) and tape for wrapping sprains, etc—nice when bandaids won’t stick or you have blisters and need extra cushion.
    Always bring a jacket–even to the desert!

    Snack foods like granola, nuts, mangoes, help when hiking—and always carry water.

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