Growing up in a God-fearing, America-loving, outdoorsy family was a blessing for a kid from Michigan. Virtually every weekend in the spring, summer, and fall was spent outdoors whether it was fishing, hunting, camping or just enjoying that fresh Michigan air.
When you’ve grown up enjoying the great outdoors and camping, you learn some tricks and tips along the way and I’m happy to share them with you.
Book your camping spot well in advance
If you’re going to a destination spot for camping (national park, beach, or lake), you’re going to want to book your spot at least a month or two in advance. This is especially true if you are camping near a lake or the ocean. If you want a beachfront camping site (and trust me, you do), you’ll need to reserve it a few months before.
If you are camping at a national park, some of the more rustic camping sites are first come first serve, so get there as early as possible to claim one of these coveted spots.
Stick with campgrounds when possible
I’ve been camping since I could walk and talk and all that time, my family and I have always stuck to camping in official campgrounds instead of roughing it randomly somewhere. It may cost a few bucks, but it’s worth it. Even the rustic campgrounds have fire pits, plus the organization will make it easier when people come back to their camping site late at night.
Know and check your gear
Now, before you go out on your epic camping trip, make sure you’re familiar and comfortable with ALL of your camping gear. This includes your tent or camper, air mattress, grill, etc. One of the worst mistakes I’ve seen new campers make is buying a tent and never attempting to set it up at home first. Trust me, you do not want to be that guy wrangling with their tent until 3 am in the morning.
It’s also important to check all of your gear before you leave for each trip. You want to make sure everything is in tiptop shape and that you have all the accessories you need to set up your campsite.
Make a list of everything you need for your trip
One of the many things I learned from my dad growing up is to make a list of EVERYTHING you are taking on the trip and then check it off after it’s packed and loaded in your vehicle.
The last thing you want to do is get to your campsite two hours away from the nearest Wal-Mart and realize that you forgot something important like matches, bug spray, s’mores, camping chairs, or heaven forbid… your ice cold beer.
How to eat when camping
If you want the true camping experience, eat the majority of your meals at your campsite. This means lots of burgers, brats, hot dogs, sausages, and sandwiches.
You have several options when it comes to food preparation. The simplest is a portable propane grill. Go to a Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop or Scheels and look in the camping section and you’ll find several different models that can work for you.
If you want to go old school, pick up some roasting forks and a cast iron skillet on Amazon.
Make sure you have fun
Camping is one of the many great ways to get to know the wonderful beauty of this glorious country. It’s also a great thing for kids of all ages to experience. Some of the best times of my childhood (and adulthood for that matter) were spent on a campground in front of a fire with the people that I love. I wholeheartedly suggest you do the same!