And yes, I learned it the hard way.
“Throw out the to-do list.” “Go with the flow.” “Don’t worry so much about the details.”
None of these apply to camping.
The Melissa That Plans starts camping prep at least a week before. The menu is decided. The weather forecast, noted. A dog sitter is booked.
But this time, I decided to get over my need for lists and menus. Look at me! No control!
Never mind the fact that I would be stuck, alone, at the campsite, all. Day. Long.
It was hot. It was buggy. One can only live on potato chips and cheese curls for so long.
Looking to keep it simple when you camp?
Stick to these steps (and from now on, I will too.)
Assemble camping bins. This eliminates a lot of the packing pain from camping. I’ve used this method for years, and recently minimized the bins to only carry what we truly use. (Use two – much easier to lug around and move in and out of the tent.)
Inside Bin #1: Food Prep
- Plates, bowls, cups, utensils.
- Wine opener
- Can opener
- Frying pan
- Bag clips (clothes pins work)
- Propane fuel
- Salt & pepper
- Aluminum foil
- Roasting sticks
- Pocket knife
- Dunk bag
- Wash cloths & towels
- Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (use it for everything when camping!)
- French press coffee maker
Inside Bin #2: Like-To-Haves
- Camp stove (we only need a single burner)
- Small first aid kit (which I used this weekend … on my daughter’s cut from shaving her legs.)
- Bug repellent
- Garbage bags
- Flashlight & lantern
- Toilet paper
- Deck of cards
- Rope (for clothes line)
- Fly swatter
- Small umbrella
- Rain ponchos
- Medication buffet (pain relief, allergy, upset stomach)
- Tweezers (for slivers)
- Newspapers (to start the fire)
- Small broom & pan
Make your own ice. A few days before, dump ice into a plastic bag that seals shut.
Plan a menu. Include one fruit or vegetable per meal to avoid the potato chip/cheese curl regret. We love cut veggies and dip. And there’s something about cantaloupe for breakfast in a camp chair that’s incredibly refreshing. Think portable with bananas and apples; wrap whole potatoes in foil and cook in the fire.
Clothing: simple and functional. Camping is dirty, so plan for it. I’ve often packed too minimalist for camping and regretted it later. If it rains, the pants and sweatshirts get muddy. Have a spare. Don’t forget the functional accessories like headbands, hats and sunglasses.
Let everyone own a towel. A variety of colors of patterns keeps towel waste minimal – one towel per family member.
Finally, don’t forget to pack the:
- Refillable water jug
- Sleeping bags
- Camp chairs
- Rugs (for shedding shoes outside the tent)
- Duffel bags
Cheers to a summer filled with hot, buggy memories. (And please share your own camping tips below!)
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Photo by Steve took it. Except the bins. Those are my real camping bins.