Every summer we go camping. We have a camper, so I can't really claim to be a "hard-core" camper I guess.
Regardless of my camping mastery, I do have some tips to surviving the whole camping experience, and I feel that in any event, one should be prepared. Camping certainly requires one to be prepared.
(Disclaimer: this isn't going to be a list of essential items to take with you, or survival skills you may need, or even what kind of tent to buy - it's some common-sense, "been there, done that" kind of advice.)
Before you go:
There are a few things you should do long before you even go camping. A little preparation will help you in the long run.
- Fox Urine. Before you go out on any adventures, be sure to spray Fox Urine around your camper. Mice will not set up camp if they smell Fox Urine. (It smells delightful to humans, so be sure to put a dab behind your ears. That's a joke - don't do that.)
- Bounce Dryer Sheets. Nothing says "comfort", like a camper full of spiders. Avoid them by placing dryer sheets liberally throughout the camper when it isn't in use.
- Packing. Bring LOTS of clothes. Clothes you don't mind throwing away. Because you will never wear your camping clothes again. They will be impregnated with campfire smoke and bug spray for EVER.
- Pull ups for potty trained toddlers. No matter how long your child has gone without wetting the bed, inevitably they will pee in their sleeping bag, and you won't have a washing machine. Don't be a Hero, bring pull ups.
- Dog. To make your camping trip complete bring your dog. They generally have to be on a leash and/or tied up in campgrounds. Hours of amusement can be had, endlessly untangling your dog from around trees or the picnic tables.
- And don't forget your plastic grocery bags. Picking up dog poop seems like a chore - but why not turn it into a treasure hunt! Fun!
- Clorox wipes. Trust me, you're gonna want to disinfect the public bathrooms if you're staying at a campground.
- Hair straightener. Just joking!!! It will either be so hot and humid, or so cold and damp, you will NEVER be able to straighten your hair.
- Tweezers. After several days, your eyebrows will look like caterpillars on your forehead. Or maybe those ARE caterpillars... Regardless, you're going to need the tweezers to remove ticks. I don't care how many layers you wear, ticks will find a way to nestle right up! It's quite sweet really.
- Hot dogs. They are the easiest thing to cook over a campfire. Don't try to expand your cooking repertoire for the kids while camping... There's no need, because your kids will love you when you serve them hot dogs for 10 straight days.
- Bug spray. Why is it that no matter how much bug spray you have on, or how careful you are to shut the door, you always end up with that high-pitched "ZzzzzzZzzzzz" in yourcamper at 3 a.m. ?
When you get home:
- Apply Calamine Lotion. Works on poison ivy and bug bites. It's always fun to spot who just got back from camping ~ their entire body will be covered in pink splotches from the calamine application.
- Eat. By the time you arrive home, you will have had nothing but hot dogs, marshmallows, and beer.
(Now, go google "camping tips" and find some camping information that might actually be useful to you!)
Even with the mention of fox urine and dog poop, talk of camping is making me hungry for camp food. So here are a couple more quick snacks to make when you're camping.
Camp Fire Nachos
Can of beans or chili
Cheese - Use bagged Mexican style grated cheese for ease
Any other nacho topping you may want to add after heated - salsa, sour cream, black olives, shredded lettuce, chopped fresh tomatoes.
The best way to fix nachos on the grill is to use aluminum foil. Pull off a long piece of foil. Fold up the edges on all sides so that the nachos will stay in place.
If you are going to use beans or chili, you may want to heat them in a pot first. If you don’t have a pot, the beans will warm up when you melt the nachos.
Spread the chips on the foil. Pour the beans or chili on top. Sprinkle on the cheese. Add any other ingredients you desire on top. Remember to bring a can opener for the beans and a knife to cut any toppings.
Place the nachos on the grill. When the cheese is melted and the other ingredients are warm, remove the nachos. Allow them to cool a few minutes before eating. Add any of your cold ingredients (salsa, etc.)
Hot Dog Octopus
Simply cut 8 "legs" in your hot dog as above. Cut a large piece of tin foil and put it on the grill over a medium flame. Put your dogs on the foil, and the legs will curl up as the hot dog heats.
If for no other reason, you should go camping so that you can make the following recipe around the campfire - it's from the Chiquita Banana website, and is possibly one of the cutest camping ideas I have ever seen!
Leaving the peel on the banana, slice the fruit twice lengthwise to create a 1/4-inch wedge. Remove the wedge. Fill each banana with half of the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and marshmallows. Fold peel over top and wrap tightly with 2 pieces of foil. Lay bananas in coals, and cook for 10 minutes, turning once half way through. Remove from fire and let them cool before eating. Eat with a spoon.
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