Camp more comfortable by asking yourself, “What’s the purpose of the camping trip?” This should be the first thing you do before you start packing. Are you going to lay in the sun at the beach, hike in the woods, rock climb, swim, fish, or relax by the fire? Knowing the answer to this will help you pack efficiently and wisely. In this post, we’re going to talk about shelter, sleeping, cooking, water, activities, hygiene, and coffee. Let’s reduce stress and get camping comfy style!
Why is getting out in nature so important?
First and foremost, nature heals. We are creatures who not only depend on nature for our survival, but it nourishes our souls and reduces stress. According to “Nature’s Nurture” by Wendy Helfenbaum, an article in the Costco Connection it says that nature decreases anxiety and negative thinking. It goes on to say that outdoor activity improves our mental and physical well-being and reduces high blood pressure. Nature even helps us learn better! There are so many positive benefits nature holds for us. This doesn’t mean you have spent hours outside to gain from it, but studies show that even 10 minutes can lighten your load. And all we need to do is open the door.
There is something about nature and embarking on a family adventure. Nature relaxes us and opens our minds and hearts to experience God’s beauty. Family camping is a popular activity, or simply doing a family outdoor activity together is fun like cornhole, volleyball, or a scavenger hunt!
#1 How to make camping more comfortable in the weather
The main issue with camping is the weather. Before you pack your first item, look at the forecast. The key here is to have a plan for the opposite…at least something to get you by, like an umbrella or stocking cap. We’re not going to let the weather get in our way of the “serenity now” experience.
My essentials no matter what kind of trip we go on include: a rain jacket, wool hat, dry-wick pants and shorts, wool socks, 3 pairs of underwear, 1 vest, 1 fleece or down jacket, 2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts, and I never leave home without my swimsuit. Of course, this packing list depends on how long you’ll be gone. With that said, it’s a good idea to pack a little pouch of laundry detergent.
#2 Getting Z’s in nature
Sleeping matters. Take sleep seriously. When we’re tired, most of us tend to be a bit on the cranky side. Sleep can ruin our trip. Without it, our bodies fall apart, our minds get messed up, and we’re not fun to be around. Make sleep your priority. By making your sleeping area comfy, you’ll sleep like a rock. Take note of the area you’re sleeping on; whether it is the ground, hammock, bed, or picnic table…I’ve seen it…make it as comfortable as possible. If your campsite has access to electrical service and you want to block out the neighbors’ chatter, use a white noise machine.
During the night our temperature changes; to stay warm people generally pile on the blankets, but what you really want to do is to beef up what you’re sleeping on. The ground will sap your heat and energy, so think sleeping mat/s. If you’re in a hammock, think about laying on top of a couple of sleeping bags before you crawl into yours.
As for sleeping bags, they are great for sleepovers and hammocks, but when you’re camping at a modern campground in the dead of summer, you’re probably best served with sleeping on top of your sleeping bag then using a sheet and thin blanket over the top of your body. And don’t forget your precious pillow!
#3 How to make camping comfortable with meals
Cooking. Food is probably the next priority…assuming you’re bringing your own water. Typically when people think of camping they think of hot dogs. However, now a day, people are making gourmet meals! My rule is whatever floats your boat. I like things to be easy and already prepped. With that said, I spend an afternoon preparing our meals and planning our vacation menu. I get specific with what we’re having for each meal because when I’m camping I don’t want to be cooking or worrying about what we’re going to eat.
As for cooking equipment, this depends upon your camping shelter. Are you using an RV, 5th-wheel, camper, pop-up camper, tent, or just a hammock?
#3.2 Cooking in a tent
If you’re in a tent or hammock, you have more freedom to camp in places that don’t provide an electric and water service. This brings tremendous opportunity to camp in amazing, hard to reach, campsites with breathtaking views. Tent camping also forces you to simplify and to keep things simple the whole vacation. With that said, cook more comfortable in a tent by getting a titanium pot and a camp stove. The pot will serve you in many ways. You can almost cook anything in the pot. Plus it boils water when you don’t have a water filter. And, golly, if you’re in bear country or if you get lost, you can use the pan to bang on it and make some noise!
#3.4 Cooking in a camper
As with all the other types of camping shelters, I mentioned before you will most likely camp somewhere with an electrical hook-up and have access to water unless you’re ‘boon-docking. Boon-docking is where you aren’t hooked up to anything except maybe a solar panel.
If power is on your side, I’d suggest bringing a Crock-Pot or an air fryer. Our 5th-Wheel has an over, but we use the air fryer instead. It’s cleaner, easier, and does things the oven can’t do. The air fryer’s capabilities give you more cooking options. The Crock-Pot comes in handy when you’ve had a full day and don’t want to cook when you get back to camp. Gosh! Don’t forget the grill! We have one of the skillet grills that you can essentially cook anything on it, including pancakes. And, yes, still have a titanium pot on hand.
#3.6 Our 5 quick camping meals we like
Chicken salad. I pre-make this at home and serve it with grapes and chips.
Mac & cheese with brats, hot dogs, or salmon patties. A side of spinach or broccoli is usually served with this. It’s also tasty to put potato chip crumbs on your mac & cheese!
Sloppy Joes This is my favorite recipe. No mess, no fuss with the kids. I serve green beans, potato straws, or a store-bought salad on the side.
Pulled pork nachos. This is so yummy. I simply buy pre-cooked pulled pork (not the saucy kind), I then put a layer of corn chips, cheese (fake cheese in my case), the pork, and taco sauce. Pop them in the microwave then put fresh avocado and diced tomatoes on top. SO GOOD! Here’s a link to the recipe.
Burgers and sweet pot fries. We make the fries in our air-fryer. In fact, we’ve made the burgers in our fryer too! I add a side of spinach, green beans, broccoli, or grapes.
As for dessert, I either bring pudding and whip cream, homemade granola bars, stuff to make rice crispy treats, or premade cookie dough to bake a fresh batch. Of course, you have s’mores to fall back on. Heck, you could make cookie s’mores! Whaoza!
#3.8 Use the LapLander for comfortable eating
The LapLander Cushion is a must when it comes to eating in a camp chair. Simply place it on your lap and eat. This cushion has a non-slip strip that helps your paper plate stay in place on your lap. It’s like a placemat for your lap! You can also sit on it at the picnic table. Simple, but VERY helpful! This is seriously a game-changer. Go to Etsy to order. I handmake these myself!
#4 Drinking water while camping
There is no joke about drinking water. Clean water is a must no matter if you’re in the backcountry or in a fancy campground. Please bring a filter. If you’d had Guardia or some other illness from water, I know you wouldn’t leave home without one. Plus, dehydration is no joke.
For tent camping, we like the: Sawyer filters
For our camper/5th-Wheel, we really enjoy the gravity-fed Berkey Water Filter you put on your counter or picnic table.
Of course, you can bring jugs of water, been there, done that, and frankly, that’s not fun. Jugs are heavy, and what if you run out of water? Now what?
Please do not drink from any body of water without first either boiling it to a roaring boil or putting it through a filter…note the titanium pot. Dehydration comes quickly if you get sick from bad water. The pot will seriously save your life.
#5 Camping activities for kids
How to make camping comfortable with kids? It’s a great idea to have some activities on hand for foul weather. When the weather is super nice, activities come naturally. The park system has great ideas of where to go and what to explore, so use those services. But if it’s rainy or cold you can still have fun!
First off, it is okay and healthy for your kids to play outside even if the weather isn’t ideal. I remember playing in the rain all the time! Just be sure when they’re done to warm them up and get dry quickly, there is no time for hyperthermia.
Bust out the board games. Here is a list of some of our favorite and top board games. This is something the whole family can enjoy and make memories with. If mom or dad needs a break from the littles, download my Camping Kit or Outdoor Activity Bundle before you leave. This will not only keep your kiddos busy, but if you get the bundle they’ll learn about trees, fireflies, and general nature. These activities actually help your child learn how to play outside!
If you have tweens who have a phone, they might have fun making trick-shot videos. My son did this video and was busy for hours! Here is a link to one of his videos while we were camping: David’s trick shot video.
#6 Hygiene while camping
Hygiene when camping can be tricky, especially if you’re in a tent. How do you camp more comfortable in this department? It kind of depends on how long you’re going to be gone. If you’re gone for a weekend in a tent, you can probably wait to shower until you get home. If you’re in a campground that has showers, by all means, use them, but please wear flip-flops in the shower, trust me on this. And most campers have a shower, so do what you will.
Going to the bathroom. Yep, we’re going there. With tent camping, you have three choices. The first choice is to walk to the bathroom if you’re in a campground. The number two option is to bring a pee bucket and pee in your tent with the bucket. I know it sounds gross, but if it’s storming outside, I’d rather pee in a bucket than hold it.
The last option is to go outside. For men, going outside is part of their nature, for women, it’s a bit more intimate with the ground and feet placement. I’ve heard of people hugging a tree and going, and others hover, yet my preferred method is to squat. Peeing outside will come naturally; you’ll learn how to aim and avoid your feet. Just don’t wipe with any kind of leaf, bring your own tissue and either put in a Ziploc or bury it when you’re done. My secret bathroom weapon that makes my camp more comfortable is the baby butt wipes, enough said.
#6.5 Ticks & Mosquitos
I’m not sure what the purpose of ticks and mosquitos is, but at least there are some species that eat them. How to keep ticks off you and how to stop mosquitos from biting you can be done with a few simple steps. First, bring your own bat and chicken to the campground, the bats will eat the mosquitos and the chickens will take care of the ticks. Now that would be a scene, wouldn’t it?
If you want to kill to two birds with one stone, grab your handy bug spray and spray on your clothes if you use DEET. Deet is a serious chemical, please use caution in using it. Spray it on your shoes and clothes only. Do not use it on the skin.
Wear light clothing so you can spot the ticks easier. I can’t stress enough how much I dislike these bugs. It’s okay to have anxiety about this, I do! If you have a pet, protect them and yourselves by giving them their flea & tick medicine. Ticks can attach to your pup or outdoor cat VERY easily. Your pet can then bring them inside and then ticks can attach to YOU!
Tick season is April to October in most parts of the country. If you’re picnicking in the grass, hiking in the woods, or chasing your dog in the tall grass, please do a tick check every night before bed. Ticks like to hide by the hairline, near and behind ears, armpits, bellybuttons, the back of knees, in-between toes, and in the private areas. Look for little black dots.
If you have a tick on you, keep calm as much as you can. Carefully remove them with a Tick Twister or tweezers. Be sure not to squeeze the body, get as close to the head of the tick as possible and pull straight out. Be sure to wash the area with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Put the tick in rubbing alcohol…this kills it. I recommend keeping the tick in a jar or freezer bag and putting it in the freezer…this is just in case you start to experience symptoms. While you’re at it, take a picture of it. The doctor can send the tick to the lab and test it for Lyme’s Disease.
Mosquitos are more prevalent than ticks, at least where I live. They like that sweet blood. Stay away from eating bananas. I know it sounds weird, but there is something about bananas and mosquitos. Wear long-sleeve clothing and spray the good old bug spray.
Natural ways to consider are using lemon eucalyptus oil or spray. They also don’t like tea tree oil, lavender, and peppermint. Smoke from a campfire helps as do the Thermacell devices. Honestly, there are so many mosquito tips and tricks out there. Just be smart. Cover your skin, use spray you are comfortable with, and don’t eat bananas.
There is nothing like a cup of hot coffee in the morning. For camping in a tent without electricity, use instant coffee. Just boil water in your titanium pot, pour in your cup, and mix. It certainly does the trick. Instant coffee has come a long way.
Camp more comfortable with your coffee in the camper. If you want to keep the mess at bay, simply spend the extra bucks and get a Keurig K-Slim. We tried the traditional coffee pot and the one-cup serving kind. Both worked, but we got tired of wet coffee grounds in the garbage and down the sink. Coffee grounds are hard to get out of the tank. We splurged and bought the small Keurig and use k-cups. Yes, it’s a little more expensive, but it’s a nice luxury while camping. If you’re peeing in a bucket, drink the good stuff.
Camping Comfortable Conclusion
Camping is meant to refresh and enjoy the outdoors, why not camp more comfortably? When you camp more comfortably, you’re likely to camp again. It’s not to cause stress or poison ivy on your butt. It’s a fact that trees help relieve stress and nurture the soul. Remember the great outdoors is good for the soul and mind alike. It’s those awesome sunsets, rainbows, thunderstorm clouds, and majestic scenery that attracts us to the wonderful creation God gave us to enjoy.
Before you go, check out these other great posts:
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