Camping is a great choice for a family summer vacation, but it’s definitely something that can be intimidating for a lot of people! Here are some little tricks to get you started on your journey to loving camping!
With hot summer days upon us and travel restrictions still in place, a lot of people are looking to camping as a way to get out and have some summer fun with their families, while still being able to keep themselves safe and socially-distanced. You can find a campground near to almost any town or city and camping really is a perfect summertime activity. Of course, we’ve gone camping for years and it was going to be a part of our summer plans whether there was a pandemic or not, but I know not everyone is as excited about camping as we are, even if they’d like to be. Most people can see the merit in spending time outside, being close to beautiful beaches and hiking trails, sitting around a campfire, all of that, but they just can’t wrap their mind around the idea of sleeping in a tent, cooking outside, and being so far away from all of the comforts of home. Most people we tell about our camping adventures think it sounds like a lot of fun, but still maintain that camping “just isn’t their thing.” Does this sound familiar? Well, guess what? I didn’t grow up camping and it definitely wasn’t my thing either for a long time, but I really wanted it to be. So here are a few things I’ve learned to do to trick myself into loving the experience – well, most of it at least.
I shared a few of my tips for getting comfortable with camping a few years ago, but after our first trip this summer, I thought I had a few things to add, so here we are!
Ways to Trick Yourself into Loving Camping
Get Some New Gear to Try Out Each Time
If you have a fun little experiment to look forward to, that can help to distract you from some of your fears and/or worries about some parts of the experience. Whether you read about a new dollar store camping organization hack on Pinterest that you’re testing out for the first time, or whether you’ve invested in some high end camping gadget to reward yourself for your bravery, they all help. On our last camping trip, for example, we had a new camping chair that folds up to be really small a new camping grill/stove combo that we were trying out. They made cooking and campfire time extra fun and they actually both turned out to be perfect for us, so that was great! I was also pretty excited to try out my new sunhat on the beach because I have a really bad record of staying out in the sun too long without realizing it at camping and getting a serious sunburn. No burn for me this year though!
New lights and lanterns are always a good option for new gear as well because the darkness at camping can be a little disconcerting if you aren’t used to it. So new lights can really be comforting.
Bring the Good Stuff
I’ve mentioned this in past posts, but it’s been such a helpful piece of advice for me personally that I just need to repeat it. Camping doesn’t have to be completely full of rough and tough activities like chopping wood and gutting fish with your bare hands. Actually, it can be whatever you want it to be. We often get the impression that we’re supposed to bring the cheapo stuff that we don’t mind ruining or getting dirty, but what actually happens when we do that is that we just make everything else more difficult on ourselves, and less pleasant overall. If you bring junky knives and cookware that you don’t enjoy using, preparing meals is going to be a chore and if you bring your grubby clothes because you think you’re going to get too dirty to wear clothing you really enjoy, you’ll probably just feel icky and uncomfortable the whole time. So bring along your favourite everything. It will make a difference and you probably won’t ruin a single thing.
Find a Camp Ground That Works For Your Own Preferred Camping Activity
If you happen to be the least comfortable with the idea of camping in your family, and you also happen to be the one booking the camp site, use that to your advantage and book one with yourself in mind first. The less miserable you are, the better the trip will be for everyone. So think about what types of camping activities would most make you happy and factor that into your camp site booking decisions. Do you picture yourself sitting on the beach? Hiking? Sitting by a pool? Reading? Cooking something delicious? Look for a site that offers easy access to what you most want to spend your time doing. In reality, there will be plenty of time to do activities that are fun for everyone, but knowing that your own preferred camping pursuit will be a main focus will calm your nerves.
If ever there was a worthy time to indulge in your favourite treats and snacks, camping is it. Of course s’mores are a classic camping treat, but I think there’s something really fun about having a whole assortment of little snacks ready for you to grab and go throughout the whole day. And make sure these are things that you wouldn’t normally buy on a regular basis. A special package of cookies for the sunset at the beach? BBQ flavoured chips by the campfire? You can even find higher end healthier snacks that still feel super indulgent and like such a novelty if you don’t usually keep them in the house. We like to look for fancy granola bars, energy bites, and chips made from different veggies to balance out our fun snack assortment.
Just Buy a Trailer
We are definitely tent-camping purists and our kids absolutely love the experience of camping in a tent, but I definitely recognize that trailer camping brings some pretty big advantages to the table. If I ever start to feel like those advantages outweigh the good that comes from tent camping, I definitely won’t hesitate to buy a trailer. I’d rather give up my tent-camping pride than give up camping all together! I definitely found myself thinking about how nice it would be to climb into bed in a trailer and read just like I do at home before bed on our last camping trip. I recommend that everyone at least try tent camping a few times, but if there are still certain things about it that you can’t get over, there’s no shame in getting an RV! Anything that gets you outside and enjoying the fresh air, is a good thing.
What would you add to this list? What have been some tricks you’ve used on your journey to loving camping?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.