Camping Tips and Tricks!

Camping Tips and Tricks

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I’ve received several questions from fellow Frugal Girls who are interested in starting to camp with their families.

Camping is a great way to save $$ on a vacation, and trust me ~ the memories are unforgettable! 😉

I rarely camped before I met my hubby, but our first vacation after our honeymoon was… camping.  Then we had a sweet baby boy, and then we had another sweet baby boy!  So… I live in a man’s world, and my men love to camp!  So… it’s a-camping-we-shall-go!  Plus… it’s just not every day that you can have a scooter race through the woods… in your pajamas!

{as always ~ thanks in advance for all of the great tips you share!}

Camping Recipes

So… what Camping Tips and Tricks work for you??

Do you have any tips for someone who’s a first-time camper?

Or any fun camping meal ideas, activities or games, ways to save $$ on gear, what gear to take… or not to take, etc??

Leave a comment & share!

See Also:
Camping Menu Tips

How To Use Dry Shampoo

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  1. Kaylynn says

    We use everything plastic except for serving silverware, like for the dishes and stuff on the grill. We pre-make our food for how ever long we will be gone, like have the hamburgers ready to just put right on the grill. If using a tent, you may find it useful to have a airmattress to sleep on. If using a camper, keep stuff in totes, in case a mouse gets in. Paper towels work better than napkins, and don’t blow away as easy, I live in SD. :) For games, you can bring balls along for kickball or baseball in the park. It’s just so fun and relaxing, I can’t really think of anything else.

  2. says

    I’m a forester by trade, a SAHM right now, and my husband and I used to own a rustic cabin- no ammenities in the middle of nowhere. One thing I highly recommend is to not be afraid to tell everyone you are going and ask for borrowed or hand me down supplies. MANY MANY of my friends have fabulous ideas about camping and figure out an hour into the trip, its not for them after spending hundreds on gear. We actually have collected duplicate gear and I’ve gotten pretty curvy in my Momma years, I have several fitted beautiful down sleeping bags. You have to realise that camping is not about pretty pink or matching outfits, but its about practical and warm or cool or preparing for the unexpected. And last, always always remember to go with the flow. A freak lightening storm that keeps the kids up all night long is no reason for Mom and Dad to be grumpy the next day for kids that freaked out, clothes that got wet, stuff that actually blew away, its all the reason for an extended naptime and cuddle time watching nature’s beautiful show. Nature will fill every camping trip with unlimited treasures, you just need to find them in ways other than we are used to. Also, I know many rec departments, colleges, and sporting programs loan and rent equipment. The best thing I ever did was rent this ugly, heavy foam sleeping pad before backpacking up a mountain for four days in college!

  3. Nicole Shepherd says

    My family and I recently stayed at the Disney campground and we loved it. It was off season, so it was only $40/night and we got all the same perks as staying at a Disney resort for probably have the price: free transportation to the various parks, Extra Magic hours and fun activities. Plus, we cooked breakfast and dinner in camp every night, so we saved money there.

    • susan says

      We did this also. It was nice to return to the campground in the afternoon and rest. The trailers were nice because you had separate rooms so the kids would sleep while you could stay up.

    • Jennifer says

      We’ve been camping at the Fort Wilderness Resort (WDW) my whole life. Even if you don’t want to go to the theme parks, consider a trip to go camping. It’s a lot of fun!!

      • Beth Nelson says

        We have stayed in the campsites the last two visits to WDW. Before that we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. It was beautiful but we never seem to “meet” anyone, they either were on thier way to the parks or to eat or to thier room. However we have made some wonderful friends at Fort Wilderness, it is a different atmosphere and people are always out walking dogs, riding bikes, driving thru on golfcarts and they stop and talk and get to know you. I will ALWAYS stay at Fort Wilderness !!!!

  4. says

    Make sure you take foods you like and can make easily at a campsite. First time camping is not the place to try fancy foods. Make sure you keep your foods locked up – put them back in the trunk of your car when not in use, never keep them in your tent. Same goes for the dishes – do them right away.

    Easiest camping we’ve ever done was to make sure we had an unbreakable set of dishes, just enough for the number of people to have one of each, a few old pans, a large camping coffee pot for making hot water, a dishpan, some biodegradeable dish soap and a good water supply – take it with you just in case – one towel for dishes, one dishcloth. I take a camping stove and fuel as well; for very little money, you can get a camping oven that goes on top of your stove to make baked goods while camping as well.

    Enjoy your trip!

  5. Melanie says

    Definitely precook what you can before you go. You can also put food in baggies to help with space. Great idea for cooking eggs ( no clean up)is to put them in a ziploc bag and boil them. Then add cheese or whatever else you need to them!

      • kristi says

        dice potatoes, season and lightly butter and then wrap in foil and place on grill or in fire. grill broccoli. we grill chicken alot.

        • Shauna Gaskill says

          Hobo packs… from a few years of camping with boyscouts.. just about anykind of meat, veggie potatoe can be wrapped tight in foil pack sprayed with cooking spray and cooked in hot coals…
          We have done taco mixes, sausage and peppers …
          so check out scouting books if your library has them, they will have all kinds of hints and tips in them

      • says

        When we used to go camping with our children we made foil dinners. They were great and we still do them on our grill. Use heavy duty foil. Use frozen Hamburger, mushrooms, green peppers.thin sliced potatoes, onion, carrots. Whatever you can think of. Put it in your camp fire for about 45 mins. Flip once when cooking fold back the sides of foil and eat.

        Also when its dark buy those glow in the dark necklaces and put them around the kids necks and you will always see them

        • Amy says

          We love to foil cook. We even bring frozen shrimp and toss that in with pre cut red peppers, white wine, garlic and butter. Couscous is a quick camp stove dish as well. Camping in Michigan during the summer we take advantage of road side veggie stands.

          • jamie says

            we make boiled omletes take quart freezer bags and put two or three eggs in it and put what ever fixins you want (ham, onion peppers) have a pot of boiling water ready with lid we use turkey fryer works great and about 10 min dump on plate easy omlet everyone loves them

      • M.Ellison says

        We always pre make our breakfast burritos, cooked scrambled eggs, some shredded cheese, diced bacon, sausage, ham (what ever you like) and some small tater tots. wrap them up in aluminum foil and throw over a fire or in a pan, (we go jeeping 4×4 and put them on the exhaust manifold, and there warm in an hr).
        We also pre make our ground beef, chop up all our essentials ahead and put them in plastic containers or baggies for tacos, burritos, or nachos for a dinner, then just warm up the meat in a pan, rest is done yum! My husband loves to make the wrapped veggie, potatoes and meat in foil its awesomely good while camping!

    • Debra says

      We do a group camping trip for Father’s Day every year. So getting ready now :). We are making the first night easy on ourselves and picking up pizza in town (the boys say its great there!). We’ll have pre-made at home breakfast burritos. Then sandwiches for the boys while they hike and tacos in chip bags for the kids and moms that stay behind. Brats and pre-marinaded shrimp put on skewers at camp for dinner. Sharing the responsibility for food makes it easier on everyone. Love our trips,

  6. says

    Oh I love to go camping with my family!!

    I asked my kids (ages 16, 14 & 11) what to post and here are their answers…

    Make sure you pack a tooth brush
    Make sure you pack clothes and not just toys (yes, one of them learned from experience)
    Make sure you don’t wear cheap jewelry that will turn your neck green after playing in the water.

    Ok, so their tips are what THEY say…here are mine:

    Use Ziplock bags to store food in. You need to keep your food in a cooler so if you put your stuff in the bags, it won’t get water logged when the ice melts…I hate using mustard that has water in the spout!

    Keep a bottle of dish soap in your camping supplies so you can wash your cooking supplies.

    Have a flashlight for each person. Place it under your pillow while sleeping so you know where it is for those middle of the night potty calls.

    Flip flops – camp ground showers

    Card games and board games are great! Keep a basket of games in camp supplies to always have handy.

    Have fun!!

    • JOANNE says

      I’ve learned instead of putting ice in your food cooler freeze 12oz plastic bottles & put them all around your food & then I have a seperate cooler for drinks theirs nothing worse than having water logged food. Also I use my big marinating tupperware lid & bottom to store my meats, cheese, butter & in the other one I put my vegetables in it makes it a lot easier when you have to get the food out you just pull out the whole lid

      • Daria says

        Wow Joanne! The marinating tupperware lid & bottom is a great tip! I’ll certainly be doing that this summer!

      • Amy says

        We recycle lots of bottles that we freeze and use in the food cooler. They say blocked ice keeps things cold better than cubes. I freeze all our proteins and then we eat whatever order the thaw in.

      • Delise says

        Wonderful ideas guys! We sometimes go camping where there is NOTHING, no running water, no bathroom, no electricity, no decent roads!Just sand and sea. Its 4×4 country! Very far to the next town. Normally we go during summer. The only means of power in this case is gas and battery power.Here in South Africa you will not find campers using ready-made meals! You have wood, matches, a braai-grid and a dutch-oven or a potjie! The food you pack mutton chops, sausage,chicken,steak,stewing meat. You bake your own bread in you dutch-oven. Veggies would be potatoes, onions,some carrots and cabbage. At first you use the salad-stuff like tomatoes,cucumbers,leaf-salad, but it goes off very fast! The dutch-oven is a must for stews.The lid doubles for a pan for eggs and beacon (You will need a clove to remove from the fire!)Drinking water is very important, a first-aid kit, don’t use inflatable mattresses,they deflate during the night leaving you on the hard ground! Invest in decent stretchers! Remember the sunscreen creams,hats, baby wipes and baby powder.You dont always have water to wash and the wipes comes very handy! Kids with sandy feet in the sleeping bag? Little baby powder and the sea-sand just fall of when applied!Keep meat-tenderizer close by when camping at a swimming beach. It takes the sting out of the blue-bottle burn.

      • Jen says

        My family and I have been camping for years and thought we knew most tricks but using the large tupperware for meats, cheeses, etc.,. is the best tip! I do not know why I hadn’t thought of it yet. So much easier than digging through everything trying to find butter or cheese. Thanks!

    • Pam says

      We save an old mayonnaise jar & crack our eggs into that jar. No matter what you do…the eggs stay whole. We use boxed hasbrown potatoes. It takes about 5 min. to re-hydrate them & they taste wonderful!
      For the ice in the cooler…we leave it in the bag. When it melts, the water doesn’t get every where & the water is still cold enough to keep the food safe. Food in zip lock bags is a must.

      • Pam says

        We also bring un scented baby wipes. They are great for washing up at night, before bed… we don’t have kids with us, but the baby wipes are still great for us ‘oldsters’…lol

      • cyndy holland says

        I do what my father always did, reuse old milk containers… Whether they be cardboard or plastic bottles, clean them thoroughly and then fill mostly with water to leave room for could leave a couple of frozen ones as they are- and put them in the bottom of the ice chest to help keep things cold and it will help the ice not melt so fast. Otherwise take your frozen container out to the cement in the driveway or something and crash it on the ground there. The cardboard containers or the plastic ones, you just open it up and dump out the crushed ice into your ice chest. And don’t forget to recycle those containers when you’re done.the cardboard ones would usually split open while trying to Crack them, and the plastic ones he usually sliced with a box cutter to open them up.

  7. Kay gilbert says

    We have an RV and we try to bring as much as possible from the house…example,mayo, mustard, pickles. I raid the freezer and get what I can from there also. Most cases, we know we are going to go camping several months in advance, so I will begin making lists..catching items I want when they are on sale and setting them aside to use in the RV. Depending on your family’s taste, we go from eating hamburgers, to grilling chicken, to steamed fish. We use the microwave and electric skillet a lot (note..this is not dry camping). I also prepare in advance tortillas that have sausage, scrambled eggs and cheese in them. Wrap up in non stick foil, put in freezer..take out as many as you want for trip…stick in microwave. Great breakfast. Don’t have to be camping to use this trick.

  8. Regina says

    Having started camping in a tent, then moved up to a fifth wheel, planning is where it’s at.
    Prep as much as you can at home. Kitchen space is at a premium, and you want to have fun and not spend all your time working!
    A crock pot is a campers best friend. Chopping veggies, etc and putting food in recloseable ziplock bags works great. They will lay flat and take up very little space in a cooler, unlike hard plastic/glass containers.

    • Angie says

      We have used a crock pot from the first trip in our pop up. We now have a pull behind with the same crock pot! Totally necessity in my opinion! :-) Something else to consider…get a crock pot with a plastic lid instead of the glass. The glass one shifts too easily going down the road and will break everywhere!

      • says

        Most new crockpots come with clips on the side that lock the lid in place so you can take food with you if you’re camrging close to home. Also we use an electric skillet for a lot of our cooking, really handier than the stove, just set up a table for all your appliances. And cook outdoors in style!

      • Lesley says

        Use oven bags for crockpot and deep fryer liners. As long as your appliance temp doesn’t exceed the oven tip it will work perfectly! You can even lift the bag after it cools to store the leftovers in and reheat.

      • gigi says

        Here’s how to stop that crockpot lid from slips. . I put a dishcloth over the top of the crock, then lay the lid upside-down where it should be, but now it’s on the dishcloth upside-down. I go all over and on some bumpy roads in the camp grounds. Mine hasn’t jumped off yet. Good luck

  9. says

    I cook anything that I would make at home. The big difference is, I do all the prep work ahead of time and store in plastic bags. So say I want burritos one night. I make a double batch at home of beans and whatever meat. We eat them that night and I store the rest in the freezer until it’s time to go camping (chop extras of any veggies you use the day before camping and refrigerate). When you get to dinner time at the campsite, layout everything and some foil. Everyone can make their own burrito, wrap it in foil and place on the grate above the fire. Pack long tongs so they can turn their burritos. Think of as many meals like this that you can. Not having a bunch of cooking or dishes cuts down on stress and lets everyone, even Mom and Dad enjoy the camping trip. Boboli pizza crusts and build your own pizzas are great too. Build one and place outside of the direct flames, loosely cover with foil and in a few minutes you have pizza while you camp. Have fun!

  10. Michaela says

    My husband loves backpacking, so we go for freeze dried foods to minimize cooking, but I’ve been saving his MRE’s that he brings home from work to take with us in case we HAVE to eat them. I’m currently trying to plan a trip now so keep the tips coming!

  11. says

    If you want to REALLY be cheap, find a campground with a primitive area. You just go out in the woods and find a place to pitch your tent. No barbecue pits, no campsite, and definitely no bathrooms.

    • Cynthia says

      For these type of situations, you might want to invest in a small port-a-potty along with a port-a-potty tent!!! My husband has found that he would rather put up this extra small tent than to wake up to accompany his wife and daughters to the bathroom in the middle of the night!

      • Mechelle Gilbert says

        I agree! I have further potty set up advice. We got a chemical toilet and it was not worth the money. We got the 5 gal bucket with snap on lid and we line it with a heavy duty trash bag and keep a container of kitty litter next to it. Just sprinkle the top with litter when your done. A tent from salvation army that even has a tear here and there works fine for this setup. Duct tape is your friend it works great to hold a small tear together in a tent!

  12. Rhonda says

    Bring personal size bags of corn chips. Heat a pot of chili & pour a scoop in each persons bag ~ top w/ pregrated cheese. Hand them a plastic fork & you’re done!

    Banana Sundays ~ Split banana in half lengthwise with peeling intact. Fill w/ miniature marshmellows & chocolate chips. Put on the campfire until the goods are melted. YUMMO & fun to make!

      • Kathi says

        We also make the Banana Sundaes at home. We make sure we have everyones favorite candy bar. Chop it. Insert pieces into the banana. Adding marshmallows if the person wants it. Topping with ice cream, syrup and sprinkles…My daughter in law taught me this trick :)

    • Lisa says

      We call them banana boats and we do wrap ours in aluminum foil. They are super yummy, easy, and a great alternative to smores every night.

    • cyndy holland says

      Or traditional- first night camping dinner- is always FRITO BOATS ! Yummy, good protein, and filling. I always have a supply of paper bowls you can buy from Restaurant Supply places. Not round bowls but the rectangular boats.
      throw some Fritos (your choice of flavors) in the bottom of the boat, put your nice warm chili beans on top(we use the No-bean kind) through a little Pre-shredded cheese on top and you are ready to sit down to the campfire enjoy your evening.
      this has proven for us to be the perfect thing… after the usual two to three hour drive Plus set up Time.

    • Mimi says

      We also do Dorrito Tacos. Using the individual bags of dorrito’s, scoop into the bag (pre-cooked at home and then re-heated at the campsite) hamburger meat, and whatever toppings you like on your taco’s. Beans, cheese, lettuce, etc. It was a hit.

      You can also use a big bag of dorrito’s and paper plates if you don’t have the little individual bags.

      I also found for s’mores that with little kids, it worked better to use a waffle ice cream cone and mini marshmallows and chocolate wrapped in foil placed on the coals than for the kids to roast the marshmallows. You can use any variety of toppings-chocolate chips, m&m’s, etc.

  13. Rachel says

    Free fire starter: You’ll need an empty cardboard egg carton, dryer lint, wax from a candle that is almost burned down. Fill egg “holders” about 1/4 way with wax, put some dryer lint on top and push into the wax a bit leaving some sticking out to light, and let cool. Use these instead of little starter logs!

    • Emily says

      Are you supposed to cut apart each section of the egg carton? So that one dozen egg carton could start 12 fires?

        • Kay says

          Another idea for a fire starter is just use cotton balls dipped in Vaseline, They work great and easy to make or store.

        • Delise says

          We buy small gas containers and start the fire with a hose with long metal piece with holes, just place under the wood. Very nice gadget that we can buy here in SA at any hardware shop!

    • Lindsay says

      What a great idea!!! I knew about the dryer lint but not the other stuff. Now if I can just get cage free eggs in somthing other than plastic… hm!

        • Karyn says

          Similar to this tip, I stuff dryer lint into empty TP rolls when I remove it from the dryer lint trap. Then, use these for at-home (or camping?) fire starters.

    • Nicole says

      We did this for our Easter camping trip this year and they worked so much better than the firestarters that we buy. Another trick we learned because it was vvery windy so we had trouble keeping the lighter lit to start the fire, we take juice pouches when we camp and we cut the box in half and placed the fire starter inside half of it to light it and then put our kindling and logs on top of the box. The box serves as a wind block as well as extra kindling to start the logs.

    • Kristy says

      Another great idea is to fill toilet paper tubes with shredded newspaper then dip them in wax. I’ve never made these because a local group of disabled adults sells them and I like to help them but they work WONDERFULLY!

  14. Sarah says

    We camp every weekend all summer the key for me is to cook like I was at home. I don’t by special camping foods becAuse that’s usually a pricey trip. Foil and a camp pot can do any thing! I use an old kitchen kettle that is for over the fire only. Rummage sale all the supplies like plastic plates utensils etc.
    An old coffee pot is my savior for heating water quickly. Kids tip / buy glow sticks at the dollar store and pack your own popcorn if they have a movie night! Camping is cheap fun! Kids game – make them a scavenger hunt. Great fun and gives mom some down time while all the searching is going on!

    • Lisa says

      I have a great idea for heating water. You take old coffee cans and fill them 3/4 full of water and freeze before the camping trip. This helps with keeping your cooler cold. Then you can just place these on the fire after cooking and then when you’re ready to do dishes, you will have hot water when you get finished eating.

  15. Karen Martin says

    I love camping! I use a mesh bag from the dollar store with samples from hotels and add toothbrush, paste, soap, wash cloth, towel and a few clothspins. The kids are in charge of there own bag. You don’t spend the whole weekend doling our supplies and dealing with wet sandy towels! Always have a first aid kit, with aloe and sunscreen. I use a plastic shoe box size storage container for all the things you “might” need. After camoing season we use it over the winter. Pepto pills are a good thing to add for the kid that can’t say no to the last smore! I also always put a piece of carpet (from the $ store) I put one inside the tent and outside the door, helps with the sand and dirt!

    • Lisa says

      You can get the mesh bags at walmart as lingerie bags for washing. We use a different colored carabiners so we can identify whose bag is whose. By doing this it’s easy to hang your shower bag in the shower or on the clothes line when finished. This way, they also don’t get lost in the tent.

  16. Becky says

    If you have electricity a hot pot is worth the ten bucks that it costs. We heat water for washing dishes, making hot chocolate or tea in a matter of just a couple minutes.
    We like to take peanuts in the shells and marshmallows for campfire snacks.
    Keep the food as easy as possible. Hamburgers, hot dogs, peanut butter, cold cuts, individual boxes of cereal (big treat for kids), baked beans, can corn, oranges, apples, bananas, scrambled eggs, pretzels, granola bars, yogurt. If you cook roast beef in advance and freeze it in a ziploc bag you can make hot roast beef sandwiches with bread and can gravy in no time. Bag lettuce, grape tomatoes a cucumber and one kind of dressing for a quick salad. I sometimes make homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs and then cook the spaghetti and put in a ziploc bag. Heat the sauce, boil water in the hot pot to pour over the spaghetti, done.
    Camping is not a fashion show, take warm comfortable old clothes that you could care less what happens to them. Old towels, blankets, sheets and pillows also. Thrift stores and yard sales are good places to pick up pots, pans, linens and the like. Store camping items in a plastic tub. Umbrellas and a first aid kit are a must. Keep food in the car trunk or plastic tub at night as not to draw animals.

    • Marisa says

      I bought a small plastic bin with a lid and kept our camping dishes, one for each family member (keep it simple), the bin did double duty as a sink for washing dishes.

  17. says

    While your children are still at the age where they enjoy spending time going out with you, camping is truly a great way to bond with them. Taking time off from the television and game consoles, a nice idea huh? Just enjoy nature with them doing fun activities.

  18. Cindy says

    We camp every other weekend durng the spring, summer & fall seasons. We have a RV and when we are at home we plug the unit in so our refrigerator stays cold. (we do not see an increase in our electric bill or would not do this) This way we leave all our condiments, extra beverages, frozen meat, etc in there.

    The day we are scheduled to leave I grab a laundry basket, head to our home’s refrigerator, place anything else we may need in the camper into the basket, next I open our “snack” cupboard at home & empty it’s contents into the basket. I then take the basket to the RV & place the items into refrigerator & cupboards. I will buy one “special” meal for us to take along every so often. This works for us the best. Plus if I really want to clean up our “snack” cupboard, which sometimes gets out of control. I will only take along camping the bags/boxes which seem to have just a cookie or two left, or bag of chips with practically only crumbs left. You know the ones that get forgotten about when new packages arrive. Then the kids have no choice but to eat them! Mean I know, but it works!

  19. Jenny says

    Invest in a dutch oven. We finally bought a small one last spring and it has been my favorite camping tool ever since. I’ve baked pilsbury cinnamon rolls, cornbread chili casserole, chicken and potatoes, breakfast quiche, just to name a few. My husband and I camped for years with just our coleman stove…the dutch oven has expanded our camping recipe collection and it’s just a really fun way to cook.

      • Jenny Hansen says

        I know you can use it on the fire, it’s just a lot harder to judge the heat of your coals. We use briquettes. Get them started in the fire and then set them below and on the lid of the dutch oven. I got a free app for my phone that tells you how many briquettes you need for each temperature and the size of your dutch oven.

        • Jenn says

          oh I need that app! We just recently invested in a dutch oven and love it, but I get worried about the temp being right. Thanks!

          • Melanie says

            One of our all time favorite camping meals that is so quick and easy is Green Beans, Potatoes and Ham. Just dump it in your dutch oven and when your potatoes are done your meal is ready. Good with Rye bread & butter.

          • Jenny says

            For android it’s called “Dutch Oven Calculator” and it was free in the marketplace.

    • Marisa says

      I like making enchiladas in the dutch oven. You can use your canned chili beans if you want (I like cooking from scratch) then add corn tortilla chips and cheese. Makes a casserol of sorts and its good! Can also make green chili chicken enchiladas.
      Use can green chili, can of cream of chicken soup, can chicken (or cooked if you have some already) add chips and cheese.

  20. BETTY TURNER says

    We camp in a vintage Scotty camper with other vintage camper enthusiasts from all over the east coast several times a year for the past five years.
    Packing everything in storage totes. Buy pots/pans/utensils/plates/cups/linens/play clothes etc at yard sales. That way if you break/lose it, it doesn’t matter.
    Definately have flashlight for each person.{great for a game of flashlight tag at night too} Free samples are great to take camping. I have a whole dresser full that I collect throughout the year.
    The activity the kids really like our “digital camera scavenger hunt”. They each have a cheap digital camera and are told to take a picture of one thing that starts with the letter A, one of a B item etc. When we get home, we compare their photos to see who was the most creative in finding each letter of the alphabet.We get some great vacation pics this way and its a good way to remember our camping time.
    Also, since we camp with usually groups of around 10-15 campers, we potluck most meals and always have a wine and cheese party around the campfire for the adults. each person brings a bottle of wine local to their area.

  21. cathy says

    Take a roll of duct tape. It fixes almost anything! Rafts, rubber boats, sleeping bags, clothes, shoes, tents, other camping equiptment, and on and on. My husband thought I was nuts but it sure came in handy!

    • says

      Also, we had horrid rain one year and got a leak in our roof of our camper. My husband went up with a big (lawn/leaf size) garbage bag and put it over the leak. Saved our vacation until we got home. We always pack a couple big bags now. Will add duct tape too now.

  22. krupa says

    My fiance and I always rent a campground place with two or three other couples. We literally pay a couple dollars a person by splitting the cost. Each couple brings food for one meal. We really enjoy this because we get to spend time with our friends but we also get alone time. During the day each couple usually does their own thing. We save a lot of money. We usually spend about $30 for food and such. $30 for a weekend in the outdoors is good bargain for me!

  23. says

    Love, love camping, and it’s one of the most economical ways to get away! We camp in tents, and some of our “essentials” for camping are a tarp (we use it under our tent – helps keep moisture from seeping in and extends the life of the tent), an air mattress, camp chairs and a Coleman stove for cooking. The suggestions above about flashlights and flip-flops for the showers are also very good! We always rent a campsite that has water, but we don’t usually need electricity. I also like to pick a site that’s not too far from the bathrooms for those late-night potty runs in PJ’s!

    Some of the “fun” stuff I like to take along is fixins for s’mores (gotta have ’em! :)), those little individual packets of individual flavored coffees (the “just add water” kind) and playing cards. Also, when you’re packing clothes, be sure to pack layers. I’ve had it go from cold to hot (and vice-versa) literally overnight and didn’t have the right clothes!

  24. Kathi says

    Thanks, ladies, for the tips. We leave on Sunday for a few days of rest and relaxation at a Florida State Park. Close enough that we can enjoy Busch Gardens during the day (we all have passports that include free parking/discounts on food/trinkets…We have had campers in the past but have gone back to Tent camping. We are excited to be able to spend these days with our 5 year old grandson. We cook, in the woods, just as we cook at home…No different for us…May you all take the time to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine in the days ahead :) By the way – we are addicted to Geocaching – any fellow cachers here?

  25. Nora says

    I have a file on my computer for camping lists. One for tent camping and the other for our camper. I keep a pad of paper with me and jot down any new ideas given to us by fellow campers or those “A-ha” moments while sitting by the fire. I have actually added quite a few things to my list reading all these posts (thanks!)

  26. says

    Thanks to thefrugalgirls for this post! I have to say my husband and I have had fun with your discussion here as well! I am a firm believer in camping being “tent camping” and using an rv as “rving”. There is so much fun to be had no matter what you’re doing, getting yourselves and your kids outside and away from technology can be so refreshing and help center yourself and bring your family closer together. Thank-you for such a fun topic! My husband carried this to work at his police department and had a huge debate among the officers. The modern way seems to be the rv way and yet I have to say that a few folks in this discussion brought back such good memories, I’m just as eager to tent camp this year! In case everyone doesn’t know, the NPS does have some free entrance days this year. Last year, with a new baby, we found day trips to work well for us, state parks, national parks, national forests, we love them all. Checkout this link though,!

  27. Linda C. says

    Camping food faves include Dad’s breakfast burritos, banana boats cooked in foil, & chili verde, cooked & frozen at home to help keep ice chest cold. We also freeze water in clean milk jugs to avoid buying ice for the first couple of days, which also gives us water to drink. For the long drive to the campground I make a list of about 25 things we could possibly see. We use it to play “I Spy”. As the list dwindles, I add new possibilities. The person to find the most items wins. Activities we like include making plaster molds of handprints on the beach or animal tracks in the woods & building models of shelters out of small rocks, sticks and leaves. No glue. The winning shelter is the one that stands the longest.

  28. wenda says

    am I the only one that keeps finding free campsites
    they seem to be forestry they are always at the water
    they have toilet picnic table and firepit
    freeze your juice and milk instead of all that ice
    it thaws you drink it
    we love taking our small dogs as I’m in a wheelchair and small kids LOVE to walk them LOL

    • Lisa says

      Yes, FREEZE your milk. 1/2 gallons work well. FREEZE lunchmeat, precooked sausage, meatballs. Eat as it thaws.
      Bring a small broom for the tent.
      Fruit for dessert travels well. Chill watermelon in the river before cutting.
      Shhh, Put a bucket in the tent for overnight, in a box to keep it stable.
      GLOW STICKS are fun. A book. Sunscreen.
      Mirror, tape, tweezers, string, sponge
      CAMP STOVE and two propane canisters.

  29. Lisa says

    Hint for smores: Buy the Keebler fudge stripe cookies. These work great for smores. You have the cookie and chocolate all in one. Just roast your marshmellow and you’re good to go.

    Hint for hot water: Freeze water in coffee cans. This will help keep your cooler cold and then you can put one can on the fire while you’re eating then you have hot water to do your dishes afterwards.

    Must have flip flops for shower shoes.

    Dryer lint is great fire starter.

    Hampers: we pack the collapsable hampers. They don’t take up any room on the way there. They are a great way to keep wet, dirty camping clothes separated from the clean clothes.

    Coolers: We pack all of drinks in one cooler and our food in another. This helps to keep from opening up the food cooler each time you need a drink.

    • Lisa says

      Also we have a camping notebook. We write down the campsite we visited, the date, and then each family member writes their favorite part of that trip. I also take notes about what we loved or didn’t love about the campsite for future camping site references.

  30. Jen says

    If you’re looking for gear, hit up flea markets. I’ve been camping by myself for a decade now, and while I have pretty much everything I need (most of it purchased at flea markets and yard sales), I’m beginning to look for things that are just nice to have. The prices can’t be beat.

    I always make a list of everything I think I’m going to need and check things off.

    Begin looking at your local state parks websites for deals. I know my state is advertising some half-price weekends and some book-one-night-get-the-next-for-half price. With many campgrounds getting ready to open, those deals will be starting soon.

    • Lisa says

      You can also buy a new weed sprayer, put in sun. As for the shower, hang an umbrella upside down from a tree, and hook a shower curtain on all the ends of the umbrella, instant shower or changing room.

      • Jeri says

        Lisa, that is brilliant. I made a shower room from a hula hoop and shower curtain liner, but your idea is even better. Thanks!

  31. Jenn says

    What a fun topic to get to comment on! My family, (4 young kids, me, husband and 2 dogs) camp at least once a month through the fall and spring. Summer is out of the question in Texas! We treasure each trip out. Some helpful tips that have made my life easier I’d love to share.
    -I have a master packing list on the computer, before each trip I print, use it while packing, and take it along to jot down anything else that will be helpful for next time.
    -We have a huge number of people and dogs for one minivan! Packing smartly is a must. I have each kid bring the prescribed amount of clothes/personal necessities, and they go in a collapsible fabric basket in the tent, and if their clothes are not on their person, they need to be in there or in the dirty clothes bag. Really cuts down on clutter in the tent. We also have tubs for kitchen stuff, dry goods, etc.
    -Chop, cook, combine whatever you can at home and haul it out there in ziplocs. I love to cook, but when we’re camping, nothing is better than dumping a bunch of ziplocs in the dutch oven and making something delicious!
    -I also do the separate coolers for food/drinks thing. Way more convenient.
    -Instead of buying ketchup and mustard to keep in our “camping” bins, we save the leftover packets from the drive thru and keep them handy.
    -always bring a roll of tp and a roll of paper towels. You never know how well equipped the facilities may be.
    -plan your menu in advance but be prepared to adjust. If it pours down rain make sure your meal can be cooked on a coleman stove and not just the campfire.

    Plan as much as you can beforehand, and be prepared for it to change! It seems like a lot of work, but it is most definitely worth it! Have fun :)

  32. Gerri says

  33. Ginger says Great source for outdoor cooking. Thousands more on the Internet. Put dishwashing detergent all over the outside of pots and pans you will be using to cook over a fire. Prevents soot from sticking to the pots and easily washes off. Make a box oven. I’ve even baked cookies in mine. Use tiki torches for lighting. We usually put four or five around the perimeter of our camping site, if there isn’t electricity. Use citronella oil in them to help keep bugs away. Freeze 2 liter bottles with water and salt in them to use in the cooler. Salt helps keep the water frozen longer and your food won’t be soggy from melting ice. We bring the bottles of water and salt back home and stick them in the freezer to use again. Cotton balls and Vaseline make good fire starters. A book light will light up a tent and can be clipped to the roof. Not as bright as lights at home but enough to find your way around in the tent at night. If there isn’t water at your camp site, use a 5 or 10 gallon water cooler that has a spout and a large aluminum pan under it as your sink for hand washing, etc. We fill a water cooler with ice and top off with water. Everyone has their own water bottle and we buy water mix-ins such as kool aid and crystal light. Plenty of cold water and everyone can make their own drinks. Line the inside of your Dutch oven with foil to make clean up easier. Steam vegetables by wrapping them in a foil pouch with a few ice cubes. Place on the fire grate and cook. If there is electricy, I take a 30 cup coffee pot and keep it filled with water. Great for hot cocoa, instant food such as oatmeal and soups and you will always have hot dish water. Have lots more ideas but will stop now.LOL

  34. Cindy Bronson says

    Our RV is parked at a campground all summer season. At home, I will cook a big pot of rice (Not the quick rice). I fill sandwich sized zip top bags and place them in the freezer. When we want rice for dinner, a couple minutes in the microwave and its ready. I don’t want to spend 20 minutes cooking rice in the RV and using all that propane! I do this at home, too. Works well with ground beef. Cook it all at once and freeze in zip top bags. It’s ready for chili or spaghetti in no time! That way I don’t have hamburger grease to deal with in the RV.

  35. Karla says

    Tacos in a bag are a favorite of our family. Cook the taco meat at home, store in a ziploc. Bring individual bags of Doritos or other nacho cheese chips, crush, open, add meat, cheese, lettuce, etc. Eat right out of the bag, easy clean up!

    We also frequently take our turkey deep fat fryer with. We use it to fry fish (small pan). But we also fill it with water to cook sweet corn and spaghetti noodles, it keeps all that steam out of the camper. A new favorite is making individual omelettes. Take a ziploc freezer bag, add a couple of eggs and what ever else you like with them (peppers, ham, cheese, etc). Mush it all together (make sure bag is securely closed) and put into the boiling water for 6-8 min. Make sure and have a set of thongs to remove from the water. Eggs should slide right out of the baggie. Be sure and use a heavy duty freezer bag!

    Bocce ball and ladder golf are favorite games.

  36. Cynthia says

    Glad to see there are others like us who do both types of camping! We enjoy our camper camping, but with high gas prices we will use it closer to home. When prices got high 3 years ago, we decided to head north in a tent. By being well prepared and organized, we traveled from Georgia to Prince Edward Island and everywhere in between staying a total of 3 weeks. It was the best family vacation we have ever had! The key is being organized for camper OR tent camping.

  37. Cheri Holbrook says

    Take advantage of the National Park Service Fee Free Days, the days can be found on This week is National Parks week so many outfitters affiliated with national parks are also offering deals which can be found on the website and over 300 parks NEVER charge fees and those can be found on the website as well.

  38. Mel says

    Our family has gotten brave we are used to long car trips but we never camp we are good at doing cheap and careful spending and being thrifty…we are thinking about planning a trip from MO to WA state…rain is my biggest worry. I have gotten so many tips from here on camping. Thanks all. I have learned for alot of campgrounds online is a good way to see campsites before you go. I have been hunting for good ones. Happy camping all!

  39. Allisha says

    I have been going camping since I was little enough to bunk with my 2 sisters and 1 brother on ONE side of a pop up camper! LOL!
    Just went camping last year with a group of families and one of the best dinners we had was taco salad! We bought a case of frito and dorito chips (individual bags) a 13×9 pan of already made taco meat (ground meat and taco seasoning) which we warmed up over a bonfire and all topping for a taco (cheese, sour cream, lettuce, taco sauce) Everyone grabs a bag of chips, crushes the chips up, and adds the meat and all topping that they desire. Simply grab a spoon and eat out of the bag! Simply…and delicious!!!!

  40. Marisa says

    $1 pool floating mattresses make great a great mattress for sleeping on, and if you camp by a lake you can float on it during the day. Cheaper than buying an inflatable bed, plus it’s easier on the lungs to fill up.

  41. Lisa says

    Just told my husband we needed to camp this summer. A good trick is to put your dishsoap on the bottom of your pot or pan BEFORE you put it on the fire, the black wipes right off! Also pie makers are great for making desserts (pie filling, marshmallows, chocolate pieces) or main dishes,like pizza sandwhiches, or taco whatever you can imagine. Also, slip a bar of soap in a knee high nylon, and hang it buy where you wash your hands, kind of a scrubber, and keeps the soap clean and off the ground. Best book is “Roughing it Easy” by Diane Thomas. She has lots of great ideas and recipes. Love, love love this book!!

  42. Jessica says

    We buy the gallon jugs of water that already have a spout, then set up on a tree stump. Perfect for a hand and face washing station!

  43. Karen in SC says

    When I was a kid, my mom put our clothes (1 outfit per day) in Gallon size storage bags. It made it easy to take your bag to the communal shower so your clean clothes would not get wet from the shower.
    Also my dad used to put a tarp under the tent. It would help protect from ground freezing.

  44. melissa says

    Camping! What a great subject. Camping is my absolute favorite thing to do when it is warm out. The biggest expense for me is usually the campsite, but this cost can be cut by finding a primitive campground or a cheaper campground. There have been so many great ideas laid out already…but i do have to say that i disagree with cooking as much as possible before you leave. I love the experience of cooking while camping. We have our favorites that we like to make and the majority can all be made over the campfire.

    Breakfast burritos- scramble your eggs up in an old pot/pan over the fire…do the same with sausage, peppers, etc. Tortillas can be heated using a marshmallow fork. Grab the cheese, salsa, and sour cream from the cooler and chow down.

    Instead of traditional smores i suggest using chocolate chip cookies with a toasted marshmallow sandwhiched in the middle.

    Don’t think of what you would usually make at home. Find special things that you can make just over a fire. This is something that has really made camping special to me since I was a child. No matter what happens during the trip you always have that favorite camping food to look forward to.

    Condiment packets from fast food restaurants work great for camping if it is just a couple people going.

    Remember you don’t need to bring EVERYTHING with you. Camping should be simpler than your home life and it should be fun/relaxing or whatever you are looking for in a camping experience. Camping is what you make of it.

    Dont forget a can opener if you are taking canned goods…and dont leave the bread in the car (it will mold!)

  45. Amy says

    We use solar garden lights for lighting in the evening. Then take one inside the tent or rv to use as a nightlight or bathroom light. Saves batteries and electricity.

  46. kristi says

    I have one of those large 5 gallon drinking jugs that we bring. we fill it with a bag of ice and add jugs of water. each kid has a cup with their name on it. they can help themselves to drinks at any time. this saves on cooler space (no need for bottled water, or juice boxes) and helps elimiate waste of un-finished drinks.
    we bring a bag of matchbox cars, bubbles and squirt guns. all stuff that takes little space but can entertain if needed. we have also brought coloring/drawing stuff for rainy days, as well as card games. Bug boxes are fun for the kids.
    My son has asthma so I always bring his nebulizer and other medicines along regardless is he is taking it at that time. I also check ahead to where the closet hospital is just in case we need it. I also bring a first aid kit that contains Benadryl, Ibuprofen etc. One of my kids had an allergic reaction to something and the Benadryl came in handy. Tweezers in case you need to remove a tick.
    a tablecoth and those clips to hold it down are helpful , especially if the picnic tables are dirty.

    • Donna says

      Did you know that ticks can be removed with dish soap or shower gel? My family and I camp and geocache a lot and deal with a lot of ticks here in NC. Pour enough dish soap over the tick to cover it, which in turn suffocates it and will cause it to back out of your skin making it easy to remove. We even coax it out a little quicker with the tweezers. This has worked well for our family on many occasions and you don’t have to worry about getting an infection from a tick head stuck in your skin!

  47. Kristi says

    * Purchase LARGE bottle of Hand Sanitizer – easy for everyone – to have clean(?) hands when eating from them.

    * Marinate Chicken Tenders in Italian Salad Dressing in Ziploc bag and then grill.

    * Bring Veggies (Broccoli, Carrots, Celery, Pea Pods, etc.) rather than traditional Lettuce Salad – store in ziploc bags. Eat w/ Ranch Dressing. Holds up better in fridge or cooler.

    * Pre-package portioned Pancake Mix, Waffle Mix or Oatmeal in Ziploc bags with instructions written on them, i.e. – Add 2 cups Water. Easy and simple for anyone to prepare. (With Oatmeal, I add Salt to bag, and small additional baggie with Raisins.)

    * Add Peanut Butter or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to Smore ingredients for a change of pace.

    * Make Camping Hash – Cook Frozen Hashbrowns in skillet, add Eggs, Cheese, Meat, etc. all in one pan! Eat with Salsa or Hot Sauce – can be folded into tortillas also. A family favorite! (Doesn’t look good, but tastes great!)

    • Kristi says

      Whoops! Forgot to add – that I keep lists on my computer of what I pack / need from home / meal ideas / grocery lists / etc. Was a bit of work to do the first time, but going back to this document makes it SO MUCH EASIER each time. I’ve even created clothes packing lists this way for each member of the family – so nothing is forgotten.

  48. Kelly Moran says

    We camp several times each summer. I’m a tent camper, but we are spoiled and like sites with water and electricity. I love to use my electric skillet to make some of our meals. We always make “silver turtles” (aluminum foil-wrapped packets) and we pre-cook the potatoes and carrots halfway done in the electric skillet so they’re well done when the hamburger is cooked.
    S’mores are a must, but I like the idea of using fudge-stripe cookies or chocolate chip cookies that I’ve read here.

    Putting your food in the vehicle is a must when camping. You don’t want bears, cougars or racoons in your campsite getting into your food containers! We even had a squirrel chew through our peanutbutter jar on our picnic table one year!

    Other must-haves:
    1. tarp under the tent
    2. small rugs for wiping feet before entering the tent
    3. roasting sticks for campfire cooking
    4. dryer lint fire starters
    5. we put solar lights beside all the tent and canopy cords so no one falls in the dark.
    6. Seam-sealer for the tent – learned this the hard way!
    7. Comfy chair and a good book – best vacation activity ever!
    8. Citronella buckets to keep the bugs away

    Enjoy your camping trip – it’s my favorite family time!

  49. TINA says

    We bake potatos in coals or on the occasions we bring the grill grill them. Add your toppings and you have a meal in about an hour. We also have UNO decks, checkers that sort of thing for rainy days. We pack our clothes in gallon sized storage bags. One complete outfit for that day in one bag. (It also helps if you are tent camping and have a sudden storm, keeps the clothes dry!) Just keep the bag for next time once you take the clothes out. One year my husband and kids decided they were beach bums and didn’t take a warm shower for two days (they did rinse the salt off with the showers at the beach)…makes for good memories.

  50. cheryl says

    Walmart had $1.50 outdoor solar recharged lights like you would stick in a flower bed. We charged during the day, but found that laying them on the table near our propane lantern while we played games or ate dinner charged them fantastically. We took them into the the tent at night. We didn’t use our flashlights which saved their batteries and could have on all night if we wanted to have a night light for the kids. A small styrofoam ice chest inside of your large ice chest keeps foods frozen or nearly frozen. Perfect for raw meat and keeps a barrier between the meat and the rest of your foods. Have to make sure it’s thawed in time for cooking. A port-a-potty is a must for us. It’s a pleasure not having to put the shoes on, take the roll of TP and go on 2 AM potty run amongst the animals and bugs. We keep a cloth shopping bag with shower items so the clothes and towel can go in the top for each trip to the shower. Precook hamburger for spaghetti, burritos or Hamburger Helper. Tablecloth clamps to keep them in place. Baby wipes, baby wipes, baby wipes. They keep you feeling clean and moisturizes dry camping feet and elbows and cut right through the s’mores sticky goo.

  51. Stacey says

    My in-laws have a property on one of the many lakes around our area so we will camp on their property or there is some state land that does not cost anything to camp we go there too.

  52. Angela says

    We have a tent-trailer that we bought a few years ago and just love it. We sometimes camp with power and sometimes non-power, depending who we are camping with.

    We bought 2 of those 3-drawer plastic organizers and took the top off of one of them to make a 6-drawer high “tower”. Each drawer is labeled. Top drawer is always “First Aid” stuff and other essentials, then a few drawers of cooking supplies, oven mitts, dishes, etc., another drawer has games (cards, dice w/ yatzee score sheets printed off the internet, frizbee, and various other games that stay in the trailer year-round). The bottom drawer holds all the mugs wrapped in tea-towels to keep them from chipping and I always know where the towels are. We keep these drawers in groups of two and they fit perfectly inside the tent-trailer when it’s in storage (the beds slide perfectly over top). While camping we put this “tower” by the door and its a perfect catch-all spot to hold important things (bug spray, sun-screen….. etc) on top and in easy reach.

    I grabbed a few “not-so-perfect” towels from the house (re-place the house ones and designate the ‘not-so-perfect’ for camping) and zig-zagged those ones for the trailer in a bright colour. Now when I do laundry after a camping trip we all know which ones go straight to the trailer. I did this for tea-towels and bath towels. I keep about 3 of each in the trailer.

    When we have power we use our coffee maker to make hot water for tea, hot chocolate, or dishes. Saves time and saves on propane!

  53. melody says

    I know this is an old post but I found out as a new camper this last year for the small kids tent camping….you don’t have to buy a large air mattress…the cheaper ones low quality cost around 30 dollars. I bought a couple dollar rafts I think from a dollar type store then I duct taped a couple together you can make them wide and even stack them…work great for the kiddos probably if You put enough together any person would sleep well on one.

  54. Debbie Riomondo says

    Put a bar of soap in the foot of a knee high nylon and tie it around the outdoor faucet at your campground. Makes for easy hand washing and keeps the soap off the ground!

  55. Daina says

    When I have food stuck on my plates or pots I use a hand full pine needles to scub it. Works great on cast iron without using soap.

  56. norma says

    I see this is an old post but decided to comment because camping never gets old! We first camped when my boys were 3 and 4. In their teens, they decided they were done camping. Now, at 24, my middle son is hiking the pacific crest trail, from mexico to canada. He said he now has new appreciation for the great out doors! I still miss watching them go lizard hunting!

  57. Jamie says

    When we are camping with a group – we split the meals. One family cooks breakfast for everyone, one cooks dinner one night for everyone, etc. It’s nice because you only cook and clean up once or twice. When you are on your off meal, you can take a walk, play with your kids etc. and just show up when dinner is ready! It’s very relaxing (when it’s not your turn to cook!)

    We also keep lunch meat, cheese, packets of mayo & mustard, lettuce & tomato in a plastic bin (shoebox size) in our cooler. Then when it is time to make lunch everything is all in one place – just add bread or rolls. Nothing gets wet with cooler water.

    My toddler daughters also have “camping only toys” stored in a plastic bin, that can only be played with while camping (we camp often) but even so, they probably haven’t played with the toys in a few weeks or a month so they are fun again.

  58. Amy says

    We have tons of ideas but for cooking, the eggs or egg whites if you prefer in the cartons you can buy are VERY useful. You could make your own in a tupperware type or pourable container with a good lid as well. (easier than worrying about breaking eggs in a cooler). The worst prob we ever had was we were being “smart putting all of our garbage into the trunk to stash it off the ground and away from our tent while we ate and all…and left the trunk open while we were eating and doing the fire.Well, on our way out the next day we heard a scratching sound. Turned out we got a mouse into the car and it ate it’s way through the entire insulation lining of our car. Apparently he rode into the car via our garbage bag that was on the ground by the picnic table while we were cooking dinner or got into the trunk while it was open. OOPS. Lesson learned. Keep garbage in a closable container and keep car closed, including trunk even if you just open it to unload/load. You never know who you’ll bring home with you. Also keep your extra firewood in the car or similar if you’re bringing in wood for fires so it doesn’t get soggy from nighttime natural moisture. (we live in pacific northwest). Keep a tarp handy for rainstorms, and some non perishable backup foods and snacks in case of fire not starting or rain or you just being extra hungry. French press makes making coffee simple, just boil water, dump the java and water in press and voila. An insulated one makes it stay warm faster and an insulated mug=same for the kiddies, insulated mug plus cocoa packet=simple warm up. big thermos filled with water and ice with spigot (filled ahead) is handy for a vast number of things. we put ours on picnic table and use it for drinks, some washing, some cooking, and it goes in car with us when we’re road tripping to save on stops for priced up cold drinks. :) I agree with everyone to do all “sous cheffing” in advance. Chop veggies to toss in the scrambled eggs and to put in foil packets with some chicken, fish or your fave pieces of meat (or if veggie then tofu or beans?) and add in some precooked rice or pasta or cook a foil packet of tatos or similar. Best easy cheese is the wax wrapped individual cheeses (lunch or snacks of cheese/apples/bread) etc. Premade tuna salad comes in little cans with crackers or foil pouches now also. just bring some pita pockets or bread or a veg u like it with. Bagels/cream cheese is easy too for summer but make sure to put the cheese in a baggy as the water from the melting ice will ruin the dairy. baggies are your friend so bring extras and I’m not sure if the recyclable kind would work but I’d be curious to hear from someone if any recyclable ones are waterproof on the outside of them. :)

  59. becky mccain says

    when cooking over a campfire,pour liquid dish detergent on just outside of pot. this makes cleaning pot so much easier leaving pot clean not black from smoke.

  60. Jamie says

    Along with what everyone else has said I would say buy good sleeping bags. We don’t have top of the line bags but they are also not Walmart $40 bags. I take good care of our sleeping bags. I have used the same one for 15 plus years and it probably has another 15 in it. My husband has family that opts for very cheap bags and they probably replace them every year plus they are always cold at night and have to bring extra blankets.

    For ice I like using gallon size milk or juice bottles better than smaller ones. The ice lasts much longer and keeps the whole cooler cold. Just make sure you put them in the freezer in advance they take a couple days to freeze solid.

  61. Julie Bridges says

    I know it’s not a traditional cook, but, we always have a low country boil when we camp. Pre-cut the sausage, get the short ears of corn, small red potatoes and a couple packs of frozen, shelled and deveined shrimp (so no mess with the shells). Don’t forgot the Old Bay seasoning. Any leftover sausage & potatoes can be thrown in the frying pan in the morning with a little butter and garlic powder and onions for loaded hashbrowns that the guys will love! You can even add eggs and cheese. Yummy! Also, use an empty clean large laundry detergent container full of water as a wash up station. You can add a paper towel holder to the top or side to keep everything together. You can also get a large box of shop towels at the DIY stores. It’s like a large kleenex box with heavy duty papertowels!You will find yourself using them for a lot of stuff. Twist them tight and use as a fire starter! Hope this helps!

  62. Anna says

    I also use frozen bottles of water in my “food” cooler. I freeze bottled water before the trip, place it in the cooler, then it serves well to take along to the beach or hiking the trails. As the day goes by the ice melts so you have fresh “ice cold” water to drink. I have a camper and I never drink the water at the campgrounds (just one of my quirks), but I take a 5 gallon jug of drinking water that you can buy at most grocery stores. At the end of the day I wash the used bottles, refill them with the bottled water, and refreeze them. I keep frozen water in the freezer in my camper so I can swipe them out. The only ice I buy is for my “drink” cooler.

  63. Denis Rondeau says

    Oragel ointment. Use the regular, it just works better. Any bruises, rashes, bee stings, small burns can be resolved with this. What it does is to block signals to the brain that there is a problem there where the brains diverts blood flow away from the area and thus bruises appears, etc.. Not being aware of a problem allows for free blood flow in the affected areas and the problems disappears in a short while and usually the pain within seconds

  64. Jen says

    We tent camp every year. Sometimes the tent can get a little stinky. We keep dryer sheets in each corner of the tent. It smells great! We also bought a small 3 person tent to keep as a “storage tent” where we put our extra food, pond toys, cooking items, etc.,. We also have tubs we use every year that we keep old pots, pans, a dish tup, cooking utensils, etc,. All you have to do is grab the totes and go. One other tip if you tent camp. Buy a door mat and keep it outside the tent to wipe your feet off before entering.

  65. Leslie says

    I always bring some rope and clothes pins to hang wet towels, clothes etc.
    If you are back packing, bring large garbage bags, you can dig a hole in the ground and fill with water to wash your dishes.

  66. Caitlin says

    Dessert Wraps
    Bring a wrap per person
    Place 1 on frypan with a little bit of oil
    Cook till light brown on bottom then flip
    Immediately add choc chips, mini marshmallows, banana slices, choc sauces, other fruit slices etc
    Then wrap up and eat

  67. Candy says

    My best tip is to get zip lock snack bags and go ahead and put one cracked egg, (out of the shell) and seal the bag so you don’t have to worry about smashing the eggs. Or for meals you will use more crack as many as you need in a bag ahead of time. No more broken eggs!

  68. Jenn says

    Keep it simple. Camping is the time to turn the tvs off, put the gadgets down and be outside. Get dirty and sunned and completely worn out! We’ve gone from a large trailer to a small fifth wheel to a tent and are buying a small trailer soon. In the trailers I’ve never done anything differenly than I do at home. Same as you’d pack for a beach condo – bring your food, linens and clothes. Simple meals you already grill at home, simple clothes than can get dirtied. The tent is a bit more work with all the coolers and bins but we still only bring the bare minimum (and we don’t go off grid). If we forgot something oh well we’ll eat something else or read that book next time. Simplification is the appeal of camping. I’m a planner by trade and personality so having to make lists and multiple shopping trips and days packing would ruin camping for me. In the beginning I thought I needed the Dutch oven recipes and preplanned games and did nothing but pack more stuff up to take home we didn’t even use!

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