I am not a huge camper. I would love to try camping again, but my family was never really into it. In fact, the one time we went when I was a little kid, it poured and flooded our tents. We had to drive to my grandparents. That’s my only experience. But I do want to go sometime with my husband, and one day with our children when they come along. So, in the meantime, I’m keeping awesome ideas that we can implement in the future – and you can implement right now!
This is the most important thing you can do when camping. Unplug! That means turn off your cell phones, don’t bring along portable TVs, gaming systems, iPads, iPods, etc. Everyone in your group (whether family or friends or a mixture of both) needs to make a promise not to touch an electronic (unless it’s an absolute emergency) for the entire trip. This has several benefits – it really does! First, it will help you to let go of your normal routine. Forget about work. Forget about school. Just focus on right here, right now. Second, it will help you to relax. You aren’t going camping to just be in a new location where you can worry and stress about money, career, school, etc. (at least I hope not). You came to get away from all that. To unwind and rest. Unplugging from the electronic world can really help you to do that. Finally, unplugging helps us connect more intimately with our friends and family because we are all totally focused on one another, not our phones, computers, or TVs. So, make sure that you unplug for your next trip!
2. Scavenger Hunt
If you have kids, you’re going to want to keep them entertained. Remember, heading off into the woods is only so amusing and it can get old fast, especially if your kids are used to playing on electronics or always having something to do. So, why not plan a scavenger hunt?
Have your spouse or friend watch your kids at the campsite while you head off and hide things around the camping spot (in safe locations of course), then make a little map with clues they can follow. Or just make a list of things you know they can find in the area (certain plants, animals, etc. – please no bears). If you have more than one child, turn it into a competition! This will definitely keep them entertained, at least for a little while.
What is better than a s’more? A s’more with Oreos! Thanks to Be Different, Act Normal’s blog this is a deliciously tasty idea for your snack time. Toast your marshmallows, open the Oreo up, put a slice of chocolate and your toasted marshmallow inside, then close it up and you’ve got your s’moreo sandwich! Ohmygosh I want to try it so bad!! If any of my readers try this, please post pictures in the comments because I’d love to see how they turn out.
4. Sage on Your Campfire
I don’t know about you, but what freaks me out the most is the thought of being attacked by mosquitos when I’m trying to relax on my outdoor adventure. But hey! I just found out that if you put sage on your campfire, you can drive away mosquitos! That’s so awesome, especially because sage smells really good too. And it isn’t expensive to buy some and bring it with you in a ziplock bag (to keep it fresh).
5. Go Exploring
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes people get to a campsite, set up camp, and kind of just hang out there. But to be honest, that can get really boring, really quickly. If you are camping with friends, or if you have kids, you’re going to want something to do. Exploring the area where you’re camping is a great idea! Have that adventure. Pretend you’re on a quest: maybe to throw the ring into the volcano, maybe to explore uncharted territory, whatever is fun for you and your group.
6. Tell a Story
Give me a chance here! Telling a story can be AWESOME! Make sure someone in your group enjoys telling stories. They can be funny, true stories; they can be scary stories; they can be stories full of adventures – or maybe everything in between! Remember number one on this list? We have made a promise to unplug when we go camping. That means we need other things to do – things we probably haven’t done in a very long time. Stories have been a huge part of all human cultures for as long as we have written history. That tells us how important stories are to us. So, let go of your inhibitions! Don’t feel embarrassed. Just get out there and tell one darn good story!