Camping wasn’t a part of my childhood. Probably because my mom’s family had access to a cottage, so it wasn’t until I was a young adult that camping was introduced to me. I loved everything about it. The tents, the outdoors, the fires, the food preparations. My husband and I are self-proclaimed camping experts and now that we have a family of our own plan to make it a part of our daughter’s life. Camping is one way to have summertime fun on the cheap!
Camping is something that can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Planning a weekend camping trip with your family should definitely be kept simple and don’t overcomplicate things when kids are involved. When I talk to my non-camping friends, a lot of them are turned off by the volume of stuff required to do it. I disagree. By opting to stay at an established campground (vs trekking into the woods yourself and popping a tent), for a small fee you’ll save a lot on both things you need, and time.
Campgrounds offer bathrooms, water and when needed, electricity. It is 2015 after all, we may have a device or two that needs a recharge. Some larger campgrounds even have extra amenities like laundry, playgrounds and pools which, when you have kids, can be a blessing.
What You Need to Buy
To plan your weekend away you don’t need much. If you don’t already have access to, you really only need to acquire a tent, possibly a tarp if you think you may need coverage for your site and a cooler for your food. You don’t really need sleeping bags or air mattress, just layer a bunch of blankets and pillows on the bottom. Though they can be nice, you don’t really need things like camping stoves, though we do use our camping stove a lot when we do camp, we would manage just fine with a decent fire, a cast iron skillet and tin foil to cook all of our food.
Frugal Camping: Use What You Have
You can get away with using a lot of things you already have which is what makes camping such an easy thing to do. Blankets, pillows, utensils and cooking the food you already bought, makes camping a cheap option for family fun. When we camp as a family, we bring food from home that’s easy to cook over a simple flame (you’d be amazed what you can create in a tin foil package) or bring food that’s prepped ahead and warmed up (think stew or chili). We usually replace our ice daily and if we don’t have firewood from home we buy it from the campground (another bonus to staying on a ground).
What I love about camping is the simplicity and, at the same time, the complexity of it all. We cook all of our food and then spend time washing and drying our dishes for the next meal since we don’t have access to a dishwasher and only have access to enough dishes for one meal at a time. Keeps us grounded.
Camping is a great way to seriously relax. Yes, I bring my cell phone but I really only use it for picture taking and emergency calls. Social media is turned off- it’s almost sacrilegious to do in the wilderness. It is a great way to really connect with friends and family lazing around on a sunny afternoon or catching up while roasting marshmallows at night (again save the fancy metal roasting sticks and use a legit branch, the dirt won’t kill you!).
Do you camp with your family? How do you keep it simple?