This post has been sponsored by Star Market. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have you been camping yet this summer?
We haven’t. We haven’t actually been camping since before Lincoln was born, but I’m hoping to change that before Ben goes back to school in the fall.
We’re easing our family into camping, so today I have nine tips to make camping quite a bit easier (and I’m thinking our first “overnight” will be in my parent’s backyard up in New Hampshire this summer).
I’m headed up with the kids for a few days, and we’ll set up a tent and “play camp” (without actually sleeping out there) for a bit, so I picked up a few essentials. The Star Market Anniversary Sale is coming up and it’s the perfect time grab all your favorite snacks for the rest of your summer camping adventures.
My kids ask for Star Market whenever we drive by on the way to the gym because nothing quite beats driving around in a little car cart for them, but I love that it’s just three minutes down the road and has all the brands we know and love at great prices.
I grabbed things for my mom’s crowd-favorite camping salsa and a few bags of Tostitos Original Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips chips to eat with it, Quaker Instant Oatmeal (Maple & Brown Sugar) for breakfast, and lots of Aquafina water and Gatorade G Series.
I purchased these products and more at my local Star Market, but you can also save a bunch during the Anniversary Sale at any of the Albertsons Companies family of stores including Safeway, Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw's, and Carrs/Safeway. Visit Albertsons.com to find a store near you and discover some fun meal-prep tips and recipe ideas!
And now for the camping tips!
Keep it close to home:
If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of camping, your trips don’t need to be big week-long adventures in the tetons (unless you live an hour from the tetons). Consider finding a campground that is within easy driving distance and making your next trip closer to home. One of our family’s favorite places to camp growing up was just forty minutes away. Don’t worry about it only feeling like a short distance. Once you’re there, it’ll still feel like a world away.
Leave the ‘extras’ at home: DON’T bring them. If it’s not essential, just leave it at home. Of course, bring the food, the first aid kit, and what you need to sleep on, but don’t bog yourself down with too many extra bags. This is a great time to practice minimalism.
Look for gearless activities: Speaking of minimalism, look for activities that don’t require a lot of “stuff.” For these early trips, skip the rock climbing (Ben would be appalled at this), and look for nearby hikes. Depending on whether you’re bringing kids and what their ages are, swimming might also be a great low-gear option.
Keep meals as EASY as you can:
Always pack more than you think you need. I know I said only pack the essentials, but double up on food. Pack what you need for meals and then pack about twice as many snacks as you need. I snagged our favorites for our camping salsa + chips at Star Market recently so we can have them on hand for the rest of the summer! You can grab them all at the Anniversary Sale that runs from August 3rd to August 16th.
Do AS MUCH prep work ahead of time as you can so you can enjoy the camping trip without a lot of cooking or dishes.
We love doing tinfoil dinners that you can make before you come and then just toss over the coals of the fire.
I’ve even picked up takeout on our way so that we could eat it when we got there for our first meal.
One of the easiest + most filling breakfasts is oatmeal in a cup. All you need is hot water and bags of Quaker Instant Oatmeal. You can heat the water on the fire, but I like to just have a thermos of hot water handy. You can make them in washable cups/bowls or just use styrofoam cups for easy clean up.
It’s probably more of a treat than breakfast, but have you tried cinnamon rolls on a stick? All you need is a roll of store-bought cinnamon roll dough and a stick. Twist the dough around the stick, cook over a fire and you have a warm, delicious cinnamon roll for breakfast.
Keep incidentals packed in the car:
That first aid kit you should absolutely bring and hopefully not need and all those extra changes of clothes for a toddler that might forget he needs to go to the bathroom should be stored in the car. You’ll be able to grab them when you need them, but eliminate the extra work of unpacking and packing up at the campsite by keeping some things stored safely in your car.
A 24-hour trip:
If you’re only going away for the night, you can just skip the change of clothes. Embrace the true camping experience. Plan to just sleep in your comfy clothes and wear them again the next morning. You can wash your face before you head out, so leave most of your toiletries at home, too.
Lots of water:
This is another thing that you absolutely DON’T want to pack too little of. I like to have a full gallon or two for washing + cooking and then pick up a 24-pack of water bottles so we never feel like we need to be rationing water. I also like to have Gatorade on hand to keep people hydrated, especially if it’s a hot summer day. I grabbed the pack of Gatorade G Series and 24-pack of Aquafina water at Star Market. They’re both part of the Anniversary Sale starting August 3rd.
Consider packing and storing camping gear in bins: Get big plastic bins to store everything you need at home, like sleeping bags, chairs, tents, flashlights, etc. It’ll keep things organized on the home front, and then the bin can just be transferred directly to the car. It also makes for easier setup at the campsite because you can bring the whole bin to right where you’re setting up.
Some non-essentials for the kids:
The list would stop here if you’re traveling without kids, but consider some non-essentials for them. You could stop by any of the Albertsons families of stores—to pick up a few new things to keep them occupied while you set up camp or get dinner ready.
I’d love to hear if you have any tips! Have you been camping yet this summer?
And don’t forget to find your closest Star Market and stop in between August 3rd and August 16th to shop their Anniversary sale with discounts on some of your favorite items.