Exploring new places, getting in touch with nature, being outside, swimming, hiking, making bon-fires and cooking over them, basking in the sunshine, cuddling in the rain, and making lists, upon lists, upon lists. I really do like camping and through the years I’ve been to a lot of places spending time with family and learning through adventure. This summer I really wanted to explore our own province and make it My Manitoba Summer. Getting out and exploring what your own country has to offer is really rewarding. Camping can be a lot of work but it’s also so very nice to unplug and get back to basics. There’s one thing I know for sure, organization makes it a holiday for everyone including mom! Here’s a few of the hacks that I depend on!
- Do as much meal prep as you can at home. Wash all your fruits and veggies, marinade and then freeze your meat, portion things out so you don’t over pack and be sure to bring extra ziplock bags and tin foil for making little bags to cook. your food in, less clean up that way!
- Store beach toys in crates that have holes in them so you can shake the sand out of them or better yet swish them clean in the lake.
- Bring along a plastic table cloth for your campsite’s picnic table and invest in some clips to keep the table cloth from blowing away. We also bring a plastic folding table to use under our awning for storing frequently used items.
- Bring along a rope to use as a clothesline or I’ve tacked up some of those reusable 3M or rubbermaid hooks to the outside of our camper so our beach towels and lifejackets can be hung to dry.
- Keep an emergency box with some form of duck tape, zip ties, a few frequently used tools like pliers, extra garbage bags, a few bungee cords, flashlights with batteries, bug spray, dry newspaper, matches and if you’re feeling extra zealous some firestarter lint pucks. (melt broken wax crayons and pour over dryer lint filled paper egg cartons. Cut into egg cup sections and store in a ziplock bag.)
- Pack extra towels…trust me. This year when our hot water tank leaked inside our camper the extra towels I store in a cupboard came in extremely handy.
- Get a dishpan for washing as well as rinsing dishes. This is super handy to use with biodegradable earth friendly dish soap when you’re conserving your grey water storage. Set up a dishwashing station outside your tent or camper and enlist the help of the sunshine to dry your dishes!
- I make s’more kits. We have yet to go through an entire bag of marshmallows on a trip so I portion some marshmallows and graham crackers out, store in ziplock bags and use up way less space that way. (Cheaper than the kits you can find at the stores now too!)
- Keep little ones (and old ones too for that matter!) busy with easy to store games such as dominoes, cards, cribbage, glow sticks, toys with carrying cases to store and carry them in, outdoor games like ladder golf, bocce ball, ball gloves and ball, coloring books and crayons or markers and notepaper for tic-tac-toe, word-guessing games etc. I find this especially helpful for rainy days or for keeping your toddler busy before you head to the beach.
- Bring a wagon! So useful! Great for getting wood, filling up with everything you need for the beach, hitting the showers or for filling with kids for a walk around the bay!
- Freeze your water bottles to use in place of ice to keep your coolers cold. Large jugs work too and as the water melts you have fresh drinking water!
- Weiner sticks and pie-irons are great tools if you don’t bring a BBQ or don’t want to cook over the fire in pans every night. They take up very little space and there’s so many things you can cook in a pie-iron or on a stick! Also use multi-purpose cooking items. One medium-large cast-iron pan can be used for so many things!
- Store things in rubbermaid containers to keep them sealed from critters and the rain. This is especially useful if you’re tenting. The rubbermaid drawer cabinets on rollers are really handy as well! Use a couple bungee cords to keep the drawers from falling out while in transit.
- Get together a master-list so that each year on your first voyage you know where to start when packing and getting ready! Laminate it even so you can just re-use it every year checking off the items you have packed.
- Don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, bugspray, some type of first aid kit (ours included Benadryl this year in case of an allergy), lavender oil which is great for burns and bites, swimsuits, footwear for sunny as well as cold and wet weather, extra blankets that can also double as beach towels in a pinch, a shower caddy or bag that can withstand moisture or as was the case for us this year, millions of fish flies (you never know what surprises lay ahead in campground showers!), and an attitude of c’est la vie!
Get out and explore and make sure to keep it simple! Let me know if you’ve got any hacks that need to be shared! I love learning different forms of organizing!!!