Camping Tips – Keeping it Simple

Simple camping trips are a favorite of our family. Sometimes, the camping trip is in conjunction with a fishing or hunting trip and sometimes, it is just to get out and enjoy the outdoors. It is not always the case that we want to do this kind of “bare bones” camping trip, but it is nice to have the option. To be able to camp this way, only a bit of knowledge and organization is required. The ideas and so forth that we describe here are adaptable, and I encourage the reader to do so to meet his or her own needs.


We bring one dome style tent for my wife and I, and two solo tents that my two sons use. For sleeping we have our four sleeping bags and four sleeping pads (some are foam and some are self-inflating air pads). In two milk crates I have packed a hatchet, camp saw, foldable camp shovel, fire starter sticks, lighters, a one-burner propane stove, several propane canisters, a propane lanterns (with extra mantles and a wire mesh globe as opposed to breakable glass), flashlights and extra batteries, rope, extra tent stakes, and a coffee pot. We also keep a stocked first aid kit for camping. We bring four foldable chairs for sitting by the camp fire. We each have our own backpack where each family member is responsible for the clothing, reading material, or anything else they wish to have on the trip.


We are usually headed out on a Friday night and stop to eat on our way to where we are headed. Typically, our Saturday morning breakfast is instant oatmeal made using hot water from the one burner stove. We use paper bowls and plastic ware for eating. We drink water, instant coffee, and/or juice. For lunch we keep things very simple. We bring lots of granola bars, fruit, trail mix, jerky, and water to drink. For dinner, we usually bring canned chili and corn chips and sometimes also hot dogs (depending on whether we want to bring a cooler). For dessert we have s’mores (graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars). The chili is warmed in the campfire in the can (partially open cans first). If we eat hot dogs, they are cooked on sticks. Again, all eating is done on and with disposable utensils, plates, etc. Breakfast the next morning and lunch the next afternoon is a repeat of the previous day.


To be ready for these trips just requires some organization. When we do our weekly grocery shopping, we add the items for our camping trip that we need, This eliminates an extra trip to the store or a stop on the way to our camping spot. We keep our gear on a shelf in the basement, and every time we return from a trip it goes back just the same way. If some supplies need to be replaced, we do so immediately (such as propane canisters). We pack our bags for the trip the previous evening. On the day we leave, it takes no more than 15 minutes to pack everything to go.

One thing you might forget, bring a match anywhere because you might need it in an emergency. Many people have ignored this trifle on their vacation trips. bring a USB lighter because it is very safe and practical to carry anywhere.

Being able to get out like this makes the prospect of heading out on a trip much more appealing than if we had to bring a vast array of supplies. We do on occasion go on much longer trips where more gear and preparation is necessary. Each person or family will need to make some adjustments to this plan. We do hope that this does give folks at least an idea of how they can get out the door to their favorite camping spot in an easier and less stressful fashion.