The weather is warm, school is out and your kids are … already bored! Ugh! Camping is an inexpensive way to spend some quality time with your family, assuming of course, that you already own or can borrow the camping equipment! Sleeping in the woods at night or under the stars is thrilling. Hiking through the woods or along a stream and cooking over an open fire can also be very exciting for kids. The creative ways they can prepare a meal will make memories that last for years. If you have never taken your family on a weekend camping trip, you might be surprised to learn how easy it can be - especially with a few camping hacks up your sleeve! Do you consider yourself to be a savvy camper? How many of these camping hacks have you used?
- Use powdered mixes or dry milk when possible to save valuable cooler space for other perishables. Tastefully Simple has dry soup mixes like Perfectly Potato Cheddar Soup Mix that only require one additional ingredient prior to heating – water!
- Fill wide-mouthed sports water bottles with powdered pancake mix and add water at the campsite. Shake and pour the prepared pancake batter onto the pan.
- Raw seasoned eggs can also be stored in sports water bottles for scrambling. Try this scrambled egg recipe during your next camp-out.
- Transport seasonings in plastic straws (Heat open ends with a lighter until soft and clamp shut to seal). Try Tastefully Simple’s Seasoned Salt, Rustic Herb Seasoning, Spinach & Herb Seasoning, or Salt & Peppercorn Seasoning as all-purpose, flavor-packed blends.
- Prepare campfire nachos in a cast-iron skillet using Tastefully Simple’s Corn, Black Bean Salsa.
- Freeze loaves of hearty, textured breads such as Bountiful Beer Bread™ and slice as needed for sandwiches, French toast or dipping into cheese or dessert fondue.
- To make cheese fondue, melt cheese in a packet of heavy-duty aluminum foil or in a make-shift double boiler created with a coffee mug inserted into a pot of boiling water over the hot coals.
- Prepare hamburger patties using the inside of a peanut butter lid as a mold. Hamburgers can also be seasoned, formed and frozen ahead of time and stored in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper in the cooler until they thaw. Try Perfectly Simple Burgers for your next cook-out.
- Foil is your friend! Make campfire pizza by loading up your favorite pizza toppings on hot dog buns on a sheet of heavy duty foil over the coals.
- Choose recipes that can be prepared ahead of time or require few steps to limit exposure to dirt and bacteria. One-pot meals like Smoky Bacon Campfire Beans are easy to prepare ahead of time.
- Tape a small thermometer inside the cooler to ensure the temperature remains cool and constant (below 40°F).
- To avoid attracting rodents, raccoons and bears, keep your food secure in a lockable cooler or in your car while you are sleeping or away from the campsite on a hike. Never store food inside your tent!
Keep Bugs at Bay
- Use original Listerine (yellow) in a spray bottle to spray yourself or your dog to keep mosquitoes and gnats away. Dryer sheets are also said to repel mosquitoes.
- To keep flies away from your food, clean up your cooking area thoroughly after meals.
- Try placing a mason jar half filled with apple cider vinegar sweetened with dissolved sugar or honey some distance from the food prep area to draw bugs away while you are cooking. Seal the top with the ring screwed onto the jar over plastic wrap with a few slits cut in the top. Flies will crawl in but have a hard time getting out and eventually drown.
- Freeze drinking water in plastic food storage containers or water bottles to use in place of ice cubes in a cooler.
- Use a mesh laundry bag to hang washed dishes up to dry.
- Use an empty plastic coffee can to keep toilet paper dry.
- Familiarize yourself with the poisonous plants, insects and snakes in the camping area and pack a first-aid kit that provides treatment.
If you haven't tried a camping outing yet, these tips will get you started! And if you are an experienced camper, then please share your favorite camping tips or hacks below!