So.. the last time you went camping was with your parents when you were 6.
Somehow we never realize how much work can go into planning a camping trip so it's not a total disaster. It might even seem daunting as you start to make a list of 'things to pack' that gets longer and longer (especially when you have kids to entertain and pack for and feed). But there are tons of tips and tricks out there that I have either done myself or am going to do this summer when we take our two youngest children to Yoho National Park in British Columbia for a few days. Some tips are so easy you can't believe you never thought of it before! I will be posting my FAVORITE ideas, tips and tricks right here in this blog.
Some tips will be handy for those camping in potentially colder climates like we will be. The days can be scorching hot in the summer, even up high in the mountains - but don't let that fool you! It can be very cool and damp at night. Damp likes to creep right into your sleeping bag and snuggle up to you. It is not pleasant.
So how about this tip (that is on the TOP of my to-do list for this summer's retreat) - use Foam Floor mats for the base of your tent. TADA. How easy is that? I have two dozen sitting on the floor in my kids' toyroom right now. Before we leave on the trip, I will pop up the tent and place the floor mats inside to measure out exactly how many I need (and pack a couple extra in case of unforeseen circumstances - of which there is probably going to be at least one). This will keep all of your sleeping bags, bedding, etc off the base floor of the tent and also provide extra comfort. It is also a lot easier to use than the 'foam rollies' that I always camped with... they are not exactly easy to unroll and keep in place. But an interlocking foam floor? HOW EASY IS THAT?
Tip from "A Little Campy"
This will also be great on the feet! Normally you don't want everyone tromping around in your tent with their shoes on - especially if you are camping near sand, gravel, pine needles (sticky!), or other unmentionables. Normally we take our shoes off outside the tent - and it is NOT fun to then step on a rock that is under the tent flooring. That can also wear holes in your floor. I recommend sweeping the area where you want your tent set up before placing it but there is always just that ONE rock that escapes attention and finds your bare foot. So it only makes sense to have your entire tent floor covered with nice foam mats. Keep each edge a little bit away from the side of the tent (an inch or more) in case of rain as an extra precaution. But most tents these days seem to have a waterproof bib around the bottom to help prevent that. Have you camped in a tent when it started to rain and something was accidentally pushed up against the canvas wall? It's not a good plan - water wicks in and you find yourself waking up cold and wet! So avoid this by placing your flooring a couple inches away from each side if possible and that also helps as a guide for where to put your gear. But my favorite thought from this idea is no more rocks in the feet, and no midnight fighting with a foam rollie that will not cooperate!