Isn't this what we all really want?
A nice, peaceful time camping without any stress or worries?
Well, let me tell you. It seems like more often, camping is like this.
Last year, on one of our camping adventures, I realized that I spent more time cooking and cleaning while camping then I did at home, or so it seemed. I started with coffee and breakfast; cleaned up and got lunch in the crock pot; cleaned up and put dinner in the crock pot; made dinner and cleaned again before getting out snacks and, yes cleaning again. On our next trip, I went on strike!
I decided to focus on what we enjoy about camping which is family fun and sitting around the campfire. Instead of labor intensive meals (either prepping at home or at the campsite) I went with stuff we could easily cook over the fire (Brats, Hot Dogs, ect). I kept crockpot use to minimum with things like baked potatoes or corn on the cob.
Every year, while camping, I say to myself, "Self, this year lets start working on camping stuff all winter - ideas, organizing, prepping crock pot meals for ease in meals." And every year I don't do it HA! So even this year, as we are getting ready to head out on our first adventure, I find myself scrambling to even find bins that I used last year because, well, I used them for other things throughout the year. I WAY over planned meals and had to re-plan and remind myself to stop with the hard work!!! (To think, I thought I would make an overnight breakfast so we could have a nice breakfast casserole one morning that only Darryl and I would eat anyway!!)
Camping is supposed to be stress free.
Especially now that the kids are older.
Here are a few of my tried and true . . .and a new . . .ideas for stress free camping.
1) I buy prepackaged snacks; like snack sized bags of chips, cookies, and popcorn. These are kept in the snack bin. We use these for snacks, obviously, but also to eat with meals.
2) Use an electric cooler. My mother-in-law found one for me at a garage sale a few years ago and it's great for keeping food cold without it being buried in ice. Between the mini-fridge inside the popup and the electric cooler I can keep the food cold; I still use an ice cooler for drinks to keep them extra cold.
3) Each person has a tote for their clothes. Since we only camp for 2-3 days our bins are small but they are perfect. At the end of the trip, all of the dirty clothes are then in the pop-up hamper and I can stack the containers together to save room. I did this last year for the first time and it was a game change. Bags just fall over and take up way too much room. The containers sit right on a shelf in the camper.
4) Take two vehicles HA! This is new this year. The latch on the back of the truck needs to be replaces so we can't open it up fully. We realized that we'd need to take the van too and have now realized that this is a game changer. We can fit all four bikes in the van plus all of the stuff. Prior to this, Darryl and I stopped taking our bikes because we couldn't fit all four on the bike rack and the boys bikes had gotten too big to tie on top.
I'm hoping that once we are on the road, the "stress free" feeling will take over because my lack of planning this time around does have me feeling slightly . . well . stressed HA!