Thursday, July 11, 2013

We are an outdoor family and some camping tricks we have used

Some of you may not know this but my husband and I met in the outdoor club in college.

Since our family has grown (we now have 2 boys who are 9 and 6 years old) it has been challenging to continue our backpacking and canoeing trips to say the least so in the past couple years we have been family camping with our car. This past weekend we went camping at Stony Brook State Park in Central New York State.

my husband and son to the left of the falls

Daddy carrying Andrew back to the trail

Here are some little camping tricks we have learned over the years that work well:
1) prep food at home and freeze it if you can
 I made these breakfast burritos from Ninth and Bird's Blog and froze them
at the campsite you can set them out so they thaw and then put them on the fire so they get indirect heat (NOT directly over the flames or coals)
FYI: I made extras for mornings at home and froze those also. To heat them up in the microwave put them on 50% power for 3 minutes and then 40 seconds on full power. DELICIOUS!

image from Ninth and Bird

 I also cut up and prepped veggies and fruit for snacks

2) make a salad that travels well and doesn't get soggy
like this bean salad from Echoes of Laughter's Blog
image from Echoes of Laughter

 3) freeze bottles of water for your cooler
because they can be a beverage when they melt, they can be refilled, and they don't take up useless car space like those blue gel ice packs like these.
I like the gel ice packs if I am leaving my house and going on a short day trip but if you can't refreeze it in a freezer then it's a waste to take these on a 3 day camping trip. Cooler space is valuable and water bottles are useful frozen or melted.

4) Papertowels can be used as napkins

Take an entire roll of paper towels and put them on to a plastic hanger so they are off of the ground. (I broke the hanger in the middle so I could get the paper towel roll on to it)

5) pack a sandwich bag of dryer lint  (it's lightweight and makes a great fire starter)

6) reuse a Mio drink bottle for condiments
I got the idea from

My condiment of choice on everything is Sriracha hot guess what ended up in this bottle?

7) Make a stromboli 
and then wrap it in heavy duty foil and freeze it. When camping you can leave it out to thaw and put it directly over the fire for a quick dinner. The idea and recipe came from this website. Familycookbookproject

8) You can make cinnamon rolls over the campfire
(as seen on the blog Whimsey-love) FYI: they are MUCH better than s'mores in my opinion.
image from Whimsey-love

9) Take solar powered landscape lights
because they can be used to help you see your way in the dark, they don't use up batteries, and if you take the dangerous point off of the bottom, they make great flashlights for the kids.

10) put everything in your tent inside a trash bag.
It keeps your bag of clothes out of water, and slide the trash bag up the end of your sleeping bag so if your sleeping bag touches the wet sides of the tent, your sleeping bag will not get wet.

I hope that you found these tips helpful on your family car-camping trip...coming up in a future backpacking! Yep, we haven't done it yet with the kids but we will document the ups and the downs of a family adventure.
What camping tips and tricks do you use?

originally posted on


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