Camping……some people get excited when then they hear it and others shudder at the thought. I’m somewhere in between. I must point out my camping is more “glamping” than anything LOL.. When we were younger we did a lot of family camping trips. “We” as in my hubby and I. We have been together since high school so yeah, a lot of history with the two of us! I would say 5 years straight we went with his family to a provincial park where we would laze around all day and hit the beach. Easy back then, because we still had parents to do the dirty work of organizing and making sure we had food, shelter and safety items. Then boom!! We are the parents now and in charge of everything…. Ugh!
We first took our daughter camping last year with our friends, who have two little girls so that means constant play time for the kiddies. Nothing better than that! They loved the beach (who doesn’t) and literally just running around outdoors and in the trees playing with sticks. Good old-fashioned playing, I love that for my “princess” of a child, who is super feminine, doesn’t mind getting dirty when the time is right.
Last year was a success! First time with our little family and it ran so smoothly, except for all the mosquitoes but we can’t help that. Lots of bug spray was used let me tell ya!! Because of the fun we had we dove into another weekend of camping with our friends this summer. I’m sure you’re thinking yeah ok sounds too perfect that it was that easy. It’s not “easy” like staying in a hotel (obviously). At the campground we do use an outhouse type toilet (always ick), BUT they have regular restrooms and showers we make sure are nearby. We pay for an electrical site – because yes I’m glamping and I’m not ashamed to admit it! I have compiled a list below of the must-haves for my style of camping trip. For us it makes our time enjoyable and stress free!
10 Camping Must Haves!
We have an 8 man tent for the 3 of us because we need room for our bags and there’s area to get changed and not be cramped. We always find excellent tents at Costco.
2. Dining tent
This is crucial for us. It’s large enough that we put a picnic table inside and all of our coolers and food bins to enjoy our meals. It has screened sides you can zipper closed to keep bugs out, but they can be opened and tied back. Excellent when it rains, you can hang out playing cards and the kids can play at the table. No sitting on the ground in your sleeping tent!
3. Bins and coolers with lids
You don’t want those pesky raccoons eating all that food you just brought do you?! Then big plastic bins are a must! You can close them tightly to keep out animals. Sometimes we still put them in our car if we feel there are too many roaming critters in the night.
4. Large tarp
This is our back up plan for the unfortunate event that it pours rain. We hang a huge tarp (you know those big blue ones?) over our tent to keep it dry and avoid a flood. It’s just a precaution and we have the comfort of knowing we won’t have a leaking tent.
5. Air mattress
This is VERY important for bed time. I cannot and will not sleep on the lumpy ground. We have a double air mattress my hubby and I sleep on and a single one for our daughter. If this sounds like wow that’s even more stuff to pack!! You could use a water floaty air mattress that doubles as a sleeping mattress at night. Double duty!!
Because we have electricity, we always bring a lamp or some kind of light to see in both the dining tent and our sleeping tent. In the woods it gets extremely dark, like so dark it’s impossible to see anything. Of course flashlights are an obvious choice and a must, but why not take advantage of the electricity!! Don’t forget extension cords as well!
7. Little bbq/grill/stove
I’m telling you I seriously glamp and need all of these things to enjoy a meal. We make everything from fajitas, grilled chicken, fried eggs and the typical hamburger/hot dog combo. We use the fire to roast hot dogs sometimes which is super tasty! And of course smores!
8. Dish bin and scrubber
My list is endless!!! Something you do need is a bucket or bin of some sort to clean those plastic dishes and cups you’ve been using. I use the little dish scrubber that you just add soap into which makes it easy and cleans fast.
9. Water jug
We are not boiling water to make it drinkable, are you kidding? We bring two big water jugs filled with fresh clean water from home to use for drinking and cooking.
10. Toys, games, life jackets etc etc.
Now entertaining the kids is crucial. We like to spend one day entirely at the beach so that in itself is entertainment for all and lifejackets are key for the little non-swimmers in the lake. When we are back at the site however, we bring lots of games, toys, coloring books, crafts etc. Whatever we think will keep the kids busy and happy.
I could go on and on and on about all the things to bring, but I feel like these are the major ones to remember and always have with you. What is the must have item you take on your camping adventure??
I hope all the non-campers out there decide to try it out one day. Your little ones will love it and that makes it all worth it!
If you live in Ontario check out the Ontario Parks website and make your reservation!!