Did you notice the “LIKE” in the title of this post? “LOVE” would for sure be too strong of a word. Also noted in the title, I’m not a camper. However my family loves it and if I am anything to our family, it’s a team player. Every summer I get a chance to prove it when we get packed up to go camping on our friend’s amazing beach property on Whidbey Island (don’t you feel sorry for me, LOL?) along with 6 other families. It’s the highlight of the summer and something the kids look forward to all year long. So many memories are made, good food gets eaten and fun is had during our stay.
Problem is, packing up 7 people for 2 or 3 nights along with tents, coolers, kitchen tools, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, pillows, camp chairs, blankets, food, drinks, flashlights, recreational activities, lifejackets, toiletries, towels, layers of clothing, etc. without overpacking (because it all has to fit somewhere), is sooooo stressful. Then there’s the setting up camp and figuring out where to put all the things you brought. Followed by hangout time which is amazing until it’s time for bed which is my least favorite because we’re out of our normal routine, trying to get everyone to go to sleep while laying under a layer of nylon and then my anxiety kicks in because we’re all spread out (in different tents) and you can’t lock a tent to keep everyone safe and I’m thinking about trees falling (among other things) and whether or not everyone is warm enough (also among other things) so I don’t get much sleep. After that, things are pretty wonderful (aside from the non-sleeping part… and bugs. Ha!). Until it’s time to pack up and pile all the tired, dirty and stinky people into the car :) And don’t get me started on the unpacking process… I’m still trying to catch up on all the laundry. So yeah, the work to fun ration (imo) is about 5 to 1.
But all the in-between time, play time and quality time are sooooo worth it. These are the days and they are so fleeting and camping is a great way to spend time with your babes making memories that are different than staying at a hotel or rental home somewhere. Which is why I wanted to write this post! So if you feel the same as me about camping here are a few things I’ve learned over the years.
5 WAYS TO TO MAKE CAMPING MORE ENJOYABLE:
- GET INSPIRED BY OTHERS — Talk to friends that camp often, look up blog posts, watch movies, hop on pinterest, ask the kids what they’re excited for, etc. And maybe even plan a camp trip with friends which also lightens the load… When we camp with our group, we plan and share meals for breakfast and dinner which makes it easier to feed the fam, but it’s also fun seeing and tasting what everyone brings!
- GEAR MATTERS — Just like skiing, gear matters. Especially when it comes to a tent, sleeping bags and mats/cushion/air mattress imo. Whatever you can do to make it easier to sleep well at night, the more you’ll enjoy the days. Since we’re not really a camping family we’ve always just gotten by with random hand me downs and a good tent or two. This year we rented a small teardrop trailer through rvshare.com. Having a comfy bed and fan was life changing — at least for Griffin, Poppy and me, LOL. Poor Johan spent most of the nights in a tent with the older kids. Next time I think we’ll for sure spring for a bigger trailer or camper!
- LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION — it’s fun/nice/convenient to be close enough to a town and grocery store for a little ice cream outing or to replace the toothbrushes you forgot to pack. Oh, and a laundry mat might come in handy too. Comes in handy if it rains which we were lucky enough to not experience this trip but that’s not always the case!
- KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO — Because there will be sand and dirt and bugs and missed naps and early mornings and _________(fill-in-the-blank)… so know what to expect and just be okay with it.
- KNOW YOUR WHY — It’s a lot of work and I will never be cool about bugs in my tent but I can for sure enjoy it for a few nights because I know WHY we’re doing it! The time with our family and friends, and all the adventuring is priceless.
I know I’m being a little dramatic about what I don’t like about camping, and if you haven’t already assumed it, I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world (HA!), but I did grow up hiking, fishing and staying at our family cabin. Always thought I would be cool with camping but turns out I’m a little on the high maintenance side (gimme all the cabins and trailers!)…. Sorry hun.
What about you? Did you grow up camping? Do you enjoy it now?