Ah, the great outdoors! Summertime is an open invitation to head into the wilderness and experience Mother Nature in all her glory. But before you toss your sleeping bag into the car and set course for the nearest national park, we want to help you make this your best camping trip ever. From the latest tech to creative camping hacks, we’ve put together a collection of expert ideas that will inspire you to turn your trip from ordinary into extraordinary. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time camper or an experienced outdoors adventurer, there’s always a way to improve your camping experience!
A great camp out begins with a great location. After all, the point of camping is to experience the wonders of nature. So, do some research to find a setting that will awe and inspire you during your stay, whether that means mountains, beaches, lakes or forests. Since there are literally thousands of places to camp across the country, here’s a short list of some of the best camping sites in the United States. And when you get there, here’s some great tips for setting up camp.
Camping doesn’t have to mean roughing it. It’s possible, with a little extra effort, to bring the comforts of home with you into the great outdoors. Basic supplies for glamping (that’s “glamorous camping”) include throw rugs, air mattresses with real bed linens and a folding table or two to keep things up and out of the dirt. Set a dinner table that includes cloth napkins, battery operated candles, and fresh flowers. Add decorative touches that express your personal style, from ribbon garlands and crystal chandeliers to sheepskin throws and strings of twinkling lights. It’s these aesthetic touches that add the glamor to your campsite, ensuring that your outdoor adventure will be both comfortable and beautiful.
Meals cooked in foil wrapped packages might be fun for kids, but they can be a turn off for any real foodie. But you can turn your next outdoor adventure into a gourmet adventure, too. Some extra equipment might be in order--invest in a reliable camp stove at the very least, but don’t forget the cutting board and chef’s knife, along with a good cast iron skillet. You might even want to purchase a camp kitchen that includes storage, prep surfaces, and even a sink! Plan your menu ahead of time, with recipes that translate well to the campground, and prep what you can ahead of time. Of course, the real secret to great gourmet food is the best quality ingredients, so don’t be afraid to splurge just because you’re cooking outdoors!
You don’t have to live like a caveman to enjoy the pleasures of the wilderness. Modern technology has given us a wide range of portable and lightweight gadgets that make camping a whole lot easier. How about a cooking pot that charges your phone while it’s boiling your potatoes? Solar powered lanterns, pressure showers, and handheld espresso makers are obvious necessities. Water filtration systems and GPS devices could actually save your life. And then there’s hi-tech updates to camping basics, like inflatable tents and all-terrain coolers for storing drinks and food, which can make your camping experience that much more enjoyable.
If creepy crawlies give you the creepy crawlies, you can still enjoy the outdoors by taking some steps to keep bugs away while camping. For starters, pick a campsite that is dry and a good distance from standing water. Keep food and trash contained so it doesn’t attract pests. Avoid perfumed hygiene products and keep your arms and legs covered as much as possible. Coconut oil, garlic, and citrus scents are just a few natural repellents that keep mosquitos from biting. Finally, employ a bug spray or electronic zapper to improve the overall bug-to-person ration in camp.
If you’re one of those people are turned off by the potential dirtiness of camping out, take heart! It’s possible to enjoy the outdoors and still keep neat and clean. Start by keeping your campsite tidy. Come equipped with shop towels, biodegradable soap, and pop-up trash cans. Spread tarps or mats on the ground to prevent excess dirt getting into the tent. Hygiene is important even in the wilderness, so set up a handwashing station and pack hand sanitizers and baby wipes for quick cleanups. For longer trips, put together a portable shower, or be bold and take a dip in a nearby stream or lake—not only will it wash away excess dirt and sweat, it’s incredibly refreshing after a long day out of doors.
Nothing spoils the fun of a camping trip like a rainy day. Be prepared for wet weather with a stock of activities that everyone will enjoy when an unexpected shower curtails your outdoor fun. Coloring books are board games are great for kids and adults alike, or you can always spend some time recording your trip in an Adventure Journal. But if you’re really feeling adventurous, gear up and hit the trails for a rain hike, puddle splashing and mud pies for a day of dirty but memorable fun.
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