Want to try camping, but unsure if you can feel totally at ease without the comforts of home? Don’t worry, you’re totally normal. Not everyone wants to spend their vacation playing Survivor! Whether you’re in a tent, a cabin, or even an RV, there are plenty of ways, big or small, to make your campsite feel more like home sweet home during your stay. Follow these hacks to make the most of your stay, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself dreaming of setting up camp again!
1. Set the scene
Whether it’s a doormat for your cabin, a set of solar-powered string lights around your tent, lawn flamingos, candles, throw pillows for a cabin’s porch swing, blankets, whatever, adding a personal touch to your site will have you feeling right at home in no time. Home decor isn’t the only thing you can bring to make your site feel more homey. Hanging sorters and shoe organizers are a great way to keep little things together and easy to find; it’ll save you from rooting around in the dark for new flashlight batteries or for your cell phone. And keep a basket outside the tent or cabin for shoes to avoid having sand or dirt tracked in! No one likes sleeping in a dirty tent.
2. Cook up something tasty
Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a home cooked meal. Everyone knows how to cook s’mores and hot dogs over a fire, but you can even make your favorite recipes over the campfire as well. Bring pre-prepped, chopped, and mixed food in mason jars, plastic bags, or wrapped in tin foil. You’ll be the envy of the campground as you chow down on mini pie tins of mac and cheese that you prepped at home and heated over the fire, pancakes from pre-made mix stored in a plastic bag (just add water), or scrambled eggs (did you know that one water bottle holds approximately 8 pre-whisked eggs?) And, of course, if you’re the kind of person who NEEDS coffee to get going in the morning, tie up coffee grounds in a coffee filter that you can toss right into a cup of hot water; steep it until it’s your ideal strength.
3. Get a good night’s sleep
The worst thing about being away from home is probably missing your bed. And, nothing can ruin a day more than a sleepless night! Dealing with the temperature on a chilly night can be a pain. Fill a heavy-duty water bottle with hot water and toss it in the bottom of your sleeping bag to warm chilly toes. And if you find you’re not missing your mattress so much as your pillows, you can create more by stuffing clothes into a pillowcase or even a spare sweatshirt.
4. Keep the family busy
This is important especially if you’re with kids; if they’re not having fun, no one is. Preparing lots of activities in advance will help cut down on boredom and make the trip memorable for kids of all ages. Make a scavenger hunt of things for kids to find at the campground, with prizes for the winner. Remember to bring along extra flashlights for flashlight tag. Or, there’s always our personal favorite: Use washable paint to create a Twister game in the grass. You can even pop glowsticks into water bottles for glow in the dark lawn bowling. Cards are always fun, but board games with lots of little pieces that can get lost aren’t your best bet.
5. Bathroom breaks
Sometimes, something as simple as fancy toilet paper can really change your mood. Bring along your favorite brand of super plush toilet paper stored in an empty coffee canister (for discretion and to keep the roll from being crushed or getting wet). And then there’s the issue of lugging all of your shower stuff to and from the bathhouse. Make toothpaste dots and chop bars of soap into single-use squares to cut back on the amount of stuff you have to tote back and forth. And if you’re short on time, there’s always our favorite age-old hack: Baby wipes for a quick pseudo-shower if you find yourself sweaty and dirty after a hike. It might not be exactly the same as being at home, but feeling clean and more like yourself certainly helps!