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Ideas on Preperation for Camping

Updated on May 6, 2022

Ideas On Preperation For Camping

We’re a family of seven. Our older three children are on their own now with their families. Our two youngest sons are still at home with us. We enjoy camping on our vacations. We’ve stayed in hotels, but found camping to be more affordable, more family oriented as far as doing everything as a family unit, and being involved with each other. It’s enjoyable to see the wildlife. Exciting to explore your surroundings.

There are many things to plan out for a camping trip. First we have to decide what kind of activities we’d like to do. Will it be Amusement Parks? Fishing? Beach? Tours? History? Maybe exploring a place we’ve never been? Then I go on the internet to find a campground. Also by going online, I can see maps of the campgrounds, how the campsites are laid out around the campground, where the facilities are located, what activities are offered, what sites are available, prices, get directions and phone number, and I can even make reservations. Or I can call and make reservations over the phone and ask a lot of questions.

I prefer to camp at State Parks. We can get a nice campsite, close to the facilities, with water and electrical hook-up, and very well maintained. The facilities are always clean. It’s wonderful to be able to take showers whenever you want. Nice, clean bathrooms close by, and throughout the campground. They also provide washers and dryers, and ice machines. After we decide where and how long, My opinion, if we can’t go at least three nights minimum, it’s not worth the work of setting up camp, just to have to pack it back up in a couple of days. If you are only able to get away for a couple nights, definitely do the hotel thing. And that’s another story.

I start making lists. My first list, I figure out how many meals, and a rough idea for drinks. You can always find a store if you should run out of something, or forget something. But it’s a lot cheaper to bring it from home. Usually if you are in a tourist location, you can bet on high cost. I start out listing things I can prepare at home, and the ingredients I need to make them. Then another separate list of the things I need to buy. Then there's a list for the equipment and things we will need.

For an example:

Foods To Take: ketchup, mustard, mayo, cereal, milk, coffee, creamer, sugar, salt and pepper, buns and bread, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, eggs, bacon, butter, hamburger patties, hotdogs, steaks, sandwich meats, peanutbutter and jelly, apples, bananas, watermelon, variety pack of chips, snack cakes, graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershy bars, for Smores, canned pie filling,

Foods To Prepare: seafood salad, ( small shell noodles, crab meat, small salad shrimp, chopped celery, onion, hard boiled eggs, mayo,salt and pepper, can of drained peas, sprinkle paprika on top), tuna fish salad, egg salad, deviled eggs,

Things To Buy: any of the ingredients I don't have, case of drinking water, case of sodas, gallons of water,

We usually will go someplace once for a big breakfast, and once for a nice supper, depending where and what we’re doing. One night we’ll make smores over a campfire, by taking graham crackers and breaking them carefully into squares. Then you break the Hershey bars into two sections, and placing two sections onto one of the squares of the graham cracker. You can use a nice green stick and shave one end of it into a thin point to be able to securely put a marshmallow on the end, and roast it over the campfire, or nice red coals. Or, instead of a stick, you can purchase long handle forks in the camping section in any department store. We also use either way, (stick or long handle fork) to roast hot dogs. Careful not to let the marshmallow catch on fire, or let it fall off the stick into the fire or coals. Watching the marshmallow expand, and turn into a golden brown color. If it suddenly bursts into a flame, quickly blow it out. Although, some people like them when they catch on fire and turn into an ashy black. I like them both ways. With care, because now the marshmallow is very gooey on the inside, hurry and place it on top of the Hershey bar, then cover it with another graham cracker square. Now, patiently wait for the hot marshmallow to melt the chocolate. It’s well worth the wait, to bite into the sticky, ooey, gooey, smore! On another night, we make pies. Take a campfire pie maker, open it, and place a slice of bread on one side, then spoon some pie filling on the bread, then place another slice of bread on top. Close the pie maker, and slide the piece down to hold the two handles together. It seals the bread together all the way around, like a sandwich maker does, then hold it over the fire, turning it until the bread is golden brown. You can use any kind of pie filling you like. From apple, cherry, lemon meringue, even chocolate pudding. Anything you want. You could even make a breakfast sandwich with it, or pizza filling. Another night we’ll roast marshmallows. The same way as making smores minus the graham cracker and Hershey bar.

Next List: Obvious things we need to take, and easily forget. 1) tent, 2) gazebo, 3) folding table, 4) folding chairs, 5) folding inflatable cots, 6) sleeping bags, 7) pillows, 8) flashlights, 9) extension cords, 10) hanging clip light, 11) lantern, 12) tabletop grill, 13) coolers, 14) storage bins, 15) small fan, 16) dishpan, 17) sponge, 18) dish soap, 19) pail, 20) paper plates, 21) plastic ware, 22) paper towels, 23) cereal bowls, 24) two coffee mugs, 25) cooking utensils, 26) sharp knife, 27) griddle, 28) fry pan, sauce pan, 29) zip lock bags, 30) foil, 31) saran wrap, 32) cutting board, 33) garbage bags, 34) charcoal and lighter fluid, 35) coffeepot, (tried campfire coffeepot, takes forever to make coffee.) We bought a real cheap coffeemaker for our camp trips. 36) When we pull our trailer, we take our bikes. 37) rope, 38) binoculars, 39) sometimes, fishing poles, tackle box, and bait bucket, 40) snorkel, mask, and flippers, 41) a few games, cards, Yahtzee, our boys like to take their football, and baseball and gloves, 42) cameras, 43) cell phones and chargers, 44) beach towels, 45) bathing suits, 46) water shoes, 47) sunscreen, 48) vinegar, 49) alcohol, 50) peroxide, 51) band-aides, 52) meds, 53) bug repellent 54) personal hygiene stuff, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shower soap, scrungies, shampoo and conditioner, get travel sizes, and two of each, for male showers and female showers, so nobody has to wait, unless there’s a line! 55) small laundry soap and dryer sheets, 56) whisk broom and dustpan, ( the first time we went camping I had to find a Wal-Mart! I had to buy a dishpan to wash stuff after we ate, a whisk broom and dustpan to sweep sand, dirt, and leaves out of the tent from being tracked in, and a grass mat to lay in front of the door of the tent. And we bought large storage bins with lids that locked on to keep our dry foods and snacks in, and anything else that critters might carry off. We found out raccoons raid the campsite the moment you leave or go to sleep. They will also run off with shiny things like cooking spatulas. Also be advised, when you start to throw trash away, tie your garbage bag up in the air. We tie our’s up in the corner of the gazebo frame. 57) rake, 58) tools, like a hammer, 59) paper, pencils, 60) atlas.

As you arrive at the campground, you have to stop at the office to check in. They’ll go over some rules, answer all your questions, let you know of any activities, and times the activities start, or anything outside of the campground that might be going on while you are there. You will get a map of the campground showing where everything is, like facilities, laundry, usually a little store, play grounds, pool, if there’s a lake or river, or ocean, places to rent things, depending what they offer, like bikes, floats, canoes, wave runners, snorkeling, scuba diving equipment, golf carts, etc. Then they will draw a line on the map to show you how to get to your campsite. You’ll get a number or something to put on the dash of your car showing you are camping there. Every place we’ve camped at has had an electronic gate at the entrance that closes at a certain time, you will either get a code or a card to swipe to enter after hours. Then they give you a list of the rules and any other information, and tell you to enjoy your stay.

When we set up our campsite, we look around for the most level spot to set up the tent. We rake the area to remove twigs and stones. Next we put up the gazebo so that it’s just over the entrance of the tent. Then we make sure it’s all tied down real good. The table and chairs are set up under the gazebo. We put the dry storage bins under the table, and the ice chests on the ends. The gazebo frame is great to hang wet beach towels to dry, and also makes like a curtain for a bit of privacy while you are sitting out in the evenings. There is usually a clothes line supplied. We also hang our clip light in a corner and plug into the extension cord. During the day, if it’s hot with no breeze, we hang the little fan up on the frame. At night, if it’s hot in the tent we hang the fan in the tent and set it to oscillate. There has always been a picnic table and a grill at the campsites we have stayed at, but we like to bring our table and chairs to sit under the gazebo in case it rains, or for the shade. Most campgrounds won’t allow an open campfire because of any chance of wildfires. Being a State Park, you also aren’t allowed to collect wood, disrupt or harm any plant life, or wildlife. If you want to have a campfire, they have campfire rings. If you want to burn wood, they usually sell bundles of wood at their camp store, or you’ll see bundles around places outside the campground. Or you can use charcoal. Never start a fire and later decide to go someplace leaving the fire unattended, even if it is just smoldering. Big No-No. Always make sure the fire is totally out before going anyplace. If you smoke cigarettes, don’t litter the ground with butts. Use a paper cup or something with some sand in it. Before you go to sleep, just pick the butts out and put them in your trash bag. All around the grounds are bins to put your full trash bags and bins for soda cans for recycling. At night, if you go walking around the camp ground, or going to the restroom, always take a flashlight. Be courteous, and shine it on the ground ahead of you, so you can see where you are walking. If there is someplace you want to go, you don’t have to worry about leaving your stuff. I wouldn’t leave any valuables laying out in sight, like cameras, radios, etc. but your coolers and equipment will be fine. We have never had any problems. Specially in State Parks, and well known campgrounds. You’ll find that a lot of people that go camping are so nice and family oriented. People walking by, or your neighboring campsites like to chit-chat, and just be neighborly asking where you are from, how long are you camping, have you been camping long, where have you camped. People keep an eye on things for each other. Plus during the day the camp ground has workers all day long cleaning empty campsites, emptying trash bins, cleaning the facilities and restocking them. People riding bikes and walking around exploring the campground. The only thing you have to worry about leaving your site or going to sleep are the critters invading your campsite. Specially raccoons. They are so smart, as I explained earlier. So before you leave, just be sure to to put the lids on tight to your coolers and storage bins. We put our cases of soda and water on top of them. Zip up your tent, if you need to leave any valuables behind, hide them in your clothing or someplace in the tent.

My first experience of camping was with my first husband, three children, and another couple. We roughed it in a National Forest. No facilities! That was really roughing it. We took our toilet seat from the house and dug a hole, and propped it up over the hole with some logs. After a couple of days, we were feeling kind of yucky from having no shower. We had used sunscreen and bug repellent when we went canoeing. We didn’t dare go swimming, we could see sergeant fish, and turtles, snakes, and were afraid there might be alligators. It was in the afternoon, we decided to hike on this small trail. We walked quite awhile. All of a sudden the sky got dark with clouds. We ran back to camp as fast as we could. Not just because we were afraid of a bad storm, but because we were attacked from some people call them yellow flies and others call them deer flies. To me their bite is worse than a bee sting. And the bite leaves big welts that itch worse than a mosquito bite. We were actually praying for rain to beable to rinse off. We took a tarp and tied it up to some trees to catch the rain. We stood out in the rain washing our hair and bodies. We took turns standing under the edge of the tarp while another took a long tree branch and pushed up on the tarp to release the rain water on us to rinse off. It was freezing cold. What an experience that was! I’ll never camp roughing it again. Plus, it’s not safe to camp like that anymore. You hear of people getting robbed and murdered out there now. There’s Rangers, but the only time we saw one was when we first got there. We stopped at the Ranger Station to ask if it was okay to just camp anywhere, and how to find a good place to camp. So, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go roughing it, unless you really know what you are doing. Even then, you are taking chances, not knowing who or what is out there.


Photos Of One Of Our Camping Trips

Me coming out of our tent. This was one of our first camping trips before we got our gazebo.
Me coming out of our tent. This was one of our first camping trips before we got our gazebo.
Setting up campsite.
Setting up campsite.
Unloading our van.
Unloading our van.
Our son in the tent.
Our son in the tent.
Youngest son getting a drink.
Youngest son getting a drink.
Dad cooking on the campfire ring.
Dad cooking on the campfire ring.


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