Tips for camp­ing with the fam­ily

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - Story and pho­tog­ra­phy by Mara Kuhn

Any­one who has planned a fam­ily camp­ing trip knows what a has­sle it can be. Sim­ply mak­ing a few tweaks can make the trip run smoother. When camp­ing with chil­dren, es­pe­cially small chil­dren, your arms are al­ready full and en­ergy low be­fore you even be­gin to set up camp.

HER has compiled a list of tips that will help lower the stress and give you more time for s'mores:

1. Keep all of your camp­ing gear stored to­gether in one place. This will cut down on time and en­ergy when load­ing the car. If sleep­ing bags, tents, cook­wares and such are all stored to­gether in boxes, you are pretty much al­ready packed.

2. Prep meals ahead of time. Foil pack­ets are a great way to save time and en­ergy while camp­ing and they can be as­sem­bled at home. Meats can be divided into in­di­vid­ual serv­ings and stored in Zi­ploc con­tain­ers or bags. They can also mari­nade in the con­tain­ers. This also keeps you from pre­par­ing raw meat on your pic­nic ta­ble, and it is eas­ier to clean up.

3. Heat wa­ter when wash­ing and rins­ing your dishes. Cold wa­ter can leave dish soap residue on dishes. This can give you a soapy- tast­ing din­ner or, worse, a stom­achache. Some campers cook with propane stoves, which make heat­ing wa­ter eas­ier. If you cook over a char­coal fire, fill a pot with wa­ter and place it on the coals as you eat to heat the wa­ter. Be sure to wash your dishes well af­ter you get home to en­sure they are clean for your next trip.

4. Keep your food stored in lock­able con­tain­ers. Rac­coons, opos­sums, crows and other an­i­mals love to hang around camp­sites be­cause they know campers equals food. You would be sur­prised at how much trou­ble they can cause and how eas­ily they can get into a cooler.

5. Do not keep any­thing with a smell in your tent. This rule is more im­por­tant in bear coun­try, but rac­coons are sneaky and like to get into things, too. Smelly items such tooth­paste and lo­tion can also at­tract bugs, which you do not want in your tent. Also, in hot weather, or if your tent is in the sun, be care­ful not to leave any­thing that can melt, like de­odor­ant, in your tent.

6. Pad the ground you plan to sleep on. A bad night of sleep can ruin a camp­ing trip. Air mat­tresses, whether full sized or an inch thick, can help you have a com­fort­able night. They also pro­vide in­su­la­tion in from the ground in cold weather. If you do not have any, a down blan­ket can give you a lit­tle ex­tra in­su­la­tion and


7. Do not put your bed­ding up against the tent walls. In fall, win­ter and spring when the tem­per­a­ture out­side is cooler than the body- heated tent in­side, con­den­sa­tion can form on the walls. If your bed­ding is touch­ing the wall it might be­come wet, as well.

8. If the fore­cast calls for a down­pour, hang a tarp over your tent for ex­tra pro­tec­tion. It is best to tie it to trees so it hangs above the tent, but it can be placed di­rectly on the tent.

9. Cud­dle up in cold weather, and camp near wa­ter in hot weather. The more peo­ple in your tent the warmer it will be. This is great for win­ter camp­ing, but not so great for sum- mer camp­ing. Be sure to give your­self space while sleep­ing dur­ing hot weather. Also camp­ing near a creek, river or lake, can help your fam­ily cool down dur­ing the day. 10. Do not for­get your bug spray and sun­screen. This goes with­out much ex­pla­na­tion. Noth­ing is worse than itchy or painful skin.

Camp­ing is a great way to spend qual­ity time with your fam­ily. Chil­dren are un­plugged and when ex­pe­ri­enc­ing na­ture you are more re­laxed and at peace.

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