Warm Weather Camping
by Nikki Willhite
Camping can be great fun for the whole family. It does not have to be expensive. A few well-chosen pieces of equipment will make the whole experience easy and fun for the family.
Camping, hiking, rock climbing, and other outdoor sports have been a big part of my boy's lives. One of my sons is very accomplished as a mountain climber. He has traveled to Alaska and summitted Mt. McKinley, Argentina to climb Mt. Aconcagua, and because we live in the Seattle area, he has visited Mt Rainier many times.
He will be passing the love of the outdoors to his son, as you can see from this picture at www.allthingsfrugal.com/eric.hiking.jpg.
You have to have a lot of expensive equipment to climb mountains, but you can have a very enjoyable experience car camping with a minimal amount of relatively inexpensive equipment.
What is car camping? Car camping is basically driving to a camping site and pitching a tent next to your car.
You have access to a lot of items (to make you comfortable) that you would not have if you had to carry them several miles to a camping site.
You can still take day hikes, fish, and do other activities, but you will always be near your car. You can bring your own wood for your campfire, battery-powered lamps for when it gets dark, and games or other activities for your family.
You have several options when it comes to cooking. The easiest and fastest way to cook is by using a small propane stove. Everyone should have a propane stove at home anyway in case the power goes out. You can also bring a portable grill that uses charcoal. Just be sure never to use it inside your tent.
There are many tents now that only have two poles and are very easy to put up. You may also want to bring a tarp to cook under, in case it rains.
Car camping does not require expensive, lightweight dehydrated foods. If you want, you can just open a can and heat it up. In the morning, crack some eggs in a skillet and cook them quickly on the propane stove or make pancakes. You will find that food always seems to taste better outdoors.
I will include a trail mix recipe at the end. It is always good to take food with you when you are hiking, and always, even if you do not feel like it, drink a lot of water. Dehydration, when hiking, is common, and you don't feel it happening to you.
Here are some more tips to make camping a fun experience for your family. You will enjoy the experience a lot more if you invest in a few simple items. The cost is minimal, a one-time expense, and will make your camping experience more enjoyable. If you've never tried camping, give it a try. You may start a great family tradition.
- When you are outdoors, everything tastes good. Bring a lot of food. Do some of the preparation before you come to make things easier and have more time to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
- Fill your leftover bread bags with a lot of ice and bring it in a cooler.
- Invest in a propane stove. They aren't expensive and make breakfast a lot easier. You can cook over the campfire when you are not in a hurry. Also, the propane stove is a good backup at home when the power goes out.
- Air mattresses under your sleeping bags are good, but cots are better.
- A few folding chairs make sitting around much more enjoyable.
- Be sure to bring a day pack for hiking.
- An inexpensive tarp will provide shade and make eating more enjoyable. You will also appreciate it if it starts to rain. A tarp both under and over your tent will help keep you dry.
- Use either a big tent that will accommodate your whole family or smaller tents. If your children are planning on going into scouting, they will eventually need their own tents. They may also enjoy sleeping in them in the backyard in the summer.
- Bring insect repellent, but avoid areas with a lot of mosquitoes. You should also have a first aid kit in your car. In general, the farther you go out from the city, the less the cost of the camp site, if any.
- Bring some wood and fire starter from home for the campfire.
- Bring adequate light, which usually is a lantern and flashlights.
- And finally, don't forget the marshmallows, coat hangers, and your camera!
Teach your children to enjoy the outdoors, and it will bring a lot of pleasure into their lives. My boys have gone from scouts to scoutmasters. I can't imagine their lives without their outdoor activities. They are now sharing their knowledge and expertise with others. Watching that cycle has been a great joy to me personally.
Granola Trail Mix
1 cup coconut
1 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered nuts (almonds are good)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
5 cups oatmeal
1 cup wheat germ
dried fruit (love banana chips)
Mix all the dry ingredients. Then stir on the stove until blended:
1 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
Mix this liquid mixture with the dry ingredients.
Press this onto a cookie sheet about 1/2 inches thick. Bake in a slow oven (about 200 degrees) for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool thoroughly, break up the mixture, and store in a cool, dry place
Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at www.frugalhappyfamilies.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! Article first published at www.allthingsfrugal.com
© 2008 Nikki Willhite
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