Turn Family Camping Trips Up a Notch

altLately I’ve been talking a lot about camping, and not just because it’s Summer, but because it’s also a fantastic year round family activity that will leave everyone with lifelong memories.

If you want to make sure you’re going to have the best family camping trip ever, one of the best ways to help facilitate that, is to grab your Scout motto and “Be Prepared”. I have some of my own really fond memories of family camping trips when I was a kid, and even though I’ve been accused of being somewhat of a princess at times, I still love an evening spent outdoors around a campfire, sharing great camp food, laughs and spooky stories.

So being the super organized, OCD personality type that I am, my strategy for enjoying (and surviving!) a family camping trip is to be organized and take the right equipment. 

In a previous article I covered a few of the more basic and traditional camping accessories that should be on your must-have list. However, in this article I want to rachet things up a bit by covering some newer camping accessories that will add appreciably to the ease and quality of your family’s camping experience.



So let’s start by first creating this cool DIY hand wash station. All you need is some kind of a large water container with a spigot (this one’s even collapsible for traveling), a roll of paper towels in a dispenser, a couple of bungee cords and a bottle of hand sanitizer. While at first glance, you might think this wash station is a little over-engineered for a camping trip, I promise you, after you’ve cleaned off at least a couple dozen sets of grubby little camping paws, you’ll be really glad you have this nifty self-service hand wash station. After all, camping is meant to be fun, but it’s also a valuable experience for teaching kids a whole bunch about independence and what it means to pitch in and help too.

Images : ehhd.org & target.com




If you’re going tent camping, I’m partial to using these dome-shaped Tent Lights. It’s not that I’m opposed to the more traditional, camp style lanterns, but something just feels safer to me about using one of these battery operated lights when you’re inside an enclosed tent. This one comes with a magnet attachment system, so it doesn’t require any tools to install it and it also makes a great nightlight for the kid’s tent. So if you have an old style family heirloom camping lantern, don’t throw it out, just use it outside and supplement using this one inside your tent.

Image: coleman.com




If you’re not sure there will be a camping grill or barbeque provided at your campsite, this Table Top Charcoal Grill is perfect to use on top of your campsite picnic table, plus it will help keep little fingers away from whatever it is you’re cooking. It provides 225 square inches of cooking space, yet it folds down compactly, so it’s easy to pack up for traveling.

Image: wayfair.com




And what camping trip would be complete, without the sticky gooeyness of S’mores for dessert or an afternoon treat? So here’s a DIY S’mores kit and checklist that you can assemble yourself, so you’ll be armed and ready when the mood strikes for one of those sticky chocolate & marshmallow concoctions. And if you’re a guest on this camping trip, your camping host or hostess will be thrilled when you present them with this cleverly assembled S’mores gift kit as your hostess gift for them.

Image: bystephanielynn.com




If you need inspiration  for camping recipes, this Leave No Crumbs Camping Cookbook is a great place to start. It’s co-authored by Rick Greenspan and Hal Kahn, who have three decades of experience teaching camp-out cooking. This book is great because it not only includes a wide array of recipes, but it also gives you some great camping cooking techniques, along with a trip planning guide to help you with your packing list. And again, if you’re a guest who’s been invited along on a camping trip, this book could be another great gift idea to present to your host.

Image: amazon.com