It is no secret that people around the United States love to camp. In 2013, it has been reported that at least 40.1 million Americans took camping trips. This is according to the 2014 American Camper Report. Not only did 14% of the country’s population do this, 99% of them said they were either “likely” or “very likely” to do it again at some point. If you are planning a trip to one of the lakeside campgrounds around the country, there are some things you can do to make the most from your camping trip.
- Get the right sleeping bag. People who are sleep deprived are never “happy campers” and you sleep better when you are more comfortable. If you are going camping during cooler months, you are going to want to have a sleeping bag with a little more padding. Whether you are going tent camping (the most popular kind) or are looking for a cabin rental, you should get a sleeping bag that will keep you warmer than you think you will want to be. Bringing pads or cushions to put under your sleeping bag with make your time at the lakeside campgrounds a lot more comfortable.
- Plan your meals. Just like being sleep deprived makes people testy, being hungry is not a recipe for happiness while camping. Before you go, and this is even more important if you are going on family camping trips with children, plan your meals. Plan for three meals and then some snacks. You can do some things at home to make meal preparation time easier while you are at lakeside campgrounds. Pre-cook (partially) potatoes. Cut up vegetables in advance. Take Tic Tac containers and bring spices with you. Just because you are out in nature does not mean your food has to be bland. Remember to bring the fixings for s’mores. No camping trip is complete without them.
- Bring more water than you think you are going to need. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already starting to get dehydrated. Most people are a lot more active when they are camping than when they are at home. At least 87% of all campers like to do a variety of activities and are active. If you do not use all the water, that is ok but it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. You would be surprised how much water your body needs when you are active on the lake.
- Bring and use sunscreen. This is especially important when you are doing things on the water. The UV rays from the run will bounce off the water and get you even more sun exposure. You will need to reapply this often throughout the day. Many camping trips have been ruined by bad sunburns. They can make you miserable. Bring aloe vera with you as well. Many aloe products come with lidocaine to make the burn less painful. It is worth it to have it with you in case anyone in your group finds themselves with a sunburn.
- Keep the bugs away.You can bring traditional insect repellent with you but Tea Tree oil also works at keeping biting bugs away. You should check everyone for ticks on a regular basis as they can spread disease.
- Be prepared for rain. It does not matter how carefully you plan your trip and watch the forecast, rain may happen. Bring games and other things to occupy everyone in your group so that if it does rain. If you talk to the staff at the lakeside campgrounds where you are staying, they may also have inside activities for you and your family if it should rain.
- Pack to dress in layers. Throughout the day, the temperature may change quite a bit. As you are active and the day gets warmer, you may want to drop some layers and then put them back on when it cools down again. You should also wear comfortable shoes. Break in your boots before you head out on your camping trip.
Camping trips can offer families a great opportunity to reconnect and have a great time while engaging in healthy activities.