Camping Tips and Tricks

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Wow! Holy snow, Batman! We just got dumped on with the powdery, cold white stuff over the past seventy two hours, and it ended with just a touch of freezing rain here in good ol’ southeastern Michigan. I believe that we got close to 16 total inches of snow in these past few days. Yes, it’s absolutely gorgeous watching it come down, and then seeing it shimmer and sparkle in the day’s sunlight. But, do you know what else that means? That means slaving for hours on end shoveling, taking a few hour break and doing it again, and again, and again. And it doesn’t really help when you have a plastic shovel with a crack in it. You have to be a little bit more delicate. Hmmm…that reminds me. I should buy a new shovel. Just watch. I’m going to purchase a new shovel in the next few days, and then it won’t snow anymore.

Anywho…I was just outside shoveling, straining my back and arms, sweating profusely, pining for a nice steamy cup of hot cocoa, and I got to thinking. Okay, I guess it was more like dreaming about heading out for a nice hike and camp trip, in shorts, with a short sleeved shirt, sun shining, with like 75 degree temperatures. I’m beginning to get antsy to start hiking and camping with my youngest daughter who just started walking within the past few months. I just know that she is going to love it just as much, if not more than my older daughter.

It got me thinking about writing an article about camping tips and tricks. But, I wanted to get some ideas and insights from current blogs about the subject first. I find it kind of funny that the article titles do an amazing job gaining your attention, creating such a hype for this secret, little known, bit of information that they are about to provide you. Intrigued and excited, you click the link, begin reading with such intensity, such wonder. After the first paragraph, you scroll down…and you already see the end of the article. Hmmm. I end up being completely disappointed, and the only tip I got out of it was that you should bring a tent. Wow! Who would have thunk it?

I would just like to warn you now. This is NOT one of those. I have been racking my brain coming up with tried and true, interesting, and helpful tips and tricks that I could offer. The list is not inclusive; as I am sure I will be coming up with more for you in the future. So, you ask, what are we waiting for?

Bring a tent. (hahaha, I had to do it)

Scrambled eggs in a bottle. This is the perfect tip for camping, whether you are going for one night or multiple, for one specific and important reason. Who wants to worry about carefully, gently packing and storing eggs and constantly worrying about not cracking them? The tip is simple. The next time you finish your bottle of liquid Coffee Mate creamer, or item sold in a similar bottle with a closeable, pourable lid, don’t throw it away. Instead, rinse and clean it out, and save it for your next camping trip. When packing your food for the trip, grab a large mixing bowl and crack open all of the eggs you plan on consuming during your trip. Mix it all up while dancing a jig and listening to your favorite band on your headphones. I would recommend 6 eggs at a time, so you can pour the mixture into the bottle, use a permanent marker, and mark a small line at 6 eggs, then you can kind of figure out where the line should be for 4 eggs and 2 eggs.  Then repeat with 6 more eggs and marking the lines for 12 eggs, 10 eggs, and 8 eggs, until you have all of your eggs already mixed and in a nice and neat pourable container that you can pack and store much easier than in the shells.  Tada. You’re welcome.

Omelet in a bag. This next tip is if you are more of an omelet camper than just a traditional scrambled eggs camper. Now, if you are more of an omelet person, such as myself, you understand the importance of preparation before cooking your masterpiece. This can be a little time intensive, needs a ton of countertop space, and can be a little messy. These are all things that aren’t exactly available to you when camping out in the woods. Instead, do all of your prep work at home before you go. Cut up your mixture of meat, veggies, or favorite omelet ingredients and toss enough to make your individual omelet into a freezer bag. Crack and mix up your eggs for the omelet and pour this into the same bag. Add your elected portion of cheese (if that’s what you’re into), close the freezer bag, and shake it all around. You can even knead it to mix it up good, or play catch with it, hoping it won’t open up and burst all over the place. When you’re ready to cook it, boil up a pot of water. Multiple omelets can be cooked at once. Just leave them in the bags, drop them in the boiling water, and time about 7 minutes per egg. So, if you made a 2 egg omelet in one bag, it should be done in about 15 minutes. A 3 egg omelet would be ready in about 20 minutes. Just open the bag, and dump your cooked omelet on your plate, no mess, ready to eat.

Sage keeps mosquitos away. Have you ever read about or heard of the sacred art of smudging? Well, it’s a spiritual ceremony or ritual practiced by some indigenous people in the Americas, that involves the burning of sacred herbs, for spiritual cleansing or blessing. The sacred herbs are wrapped into what is known as a smudge stick. In the case that we are discussing, the sage leaves can be gathered and held together with twine into a smaller smudge stick. One of these tossed into the campfire will actually keep mosquitos away for a good period of time. Make a bunch of these mosquito bombs and bring them with you, already prepared, to just toss on the fire when in need.

Doritos can be used as tinder. Let’s just say that it just finished raining, and you’re having trouble getting your fire to light. If you are willing to give up your sweet tooth to stay warm, then open up a bag of Doritos, and dump a few into a small pile in your fire pit and light. They may not be very nutritious, but they work great for starting a fire. I bet you never knew that one.

Coffee bags. Pour some coffee into a coffee filter. Fold up the edges and tie closed with dental floss. When you are ready, heat up some water and pour it into your coffee mug. Drop in the coffee bag and steep for a couple minutes. Presto. Coffee.

Always bring duct tape. You never know when you may need some duct tape. Small tear in your jacket? Tent leaking? Need to cover a blister? Don’t bring the entire roll, as it takes up extra space. Instead, use the classic camper tip and wrap some duct tape around your water bottle, lighter, or other cylindrical object like a canister. It won’t take up much extra room, and it will be available to you when you need it the most.

The best part of waking up…is Folgers keeping your TP dry. Yep. You heard me correctly. When you finish off your plastic jug of Folgers coffee, save the container to hold your toilet paper during your next camping trip. You can cut a hole in the top and one in the bottom to feed a piece of thin rope or string through that you can use to hang your TP holder. Then cut a slit in the side that the TP can feed through. What a genius idea!

Bring a tent. I’m sorry, but that joke just doesn’t get old with me. Smile.

So, these are my camping tips and tricks for you all. These are at least the ones that I see as informative and useful. I know that there are a ton more out there. I would love to hear your best or favorite camping tricks. Just comment below and share your hack. I would love to hear them. I can smell warmer weather in the air. It’s coming soon. I can’t wait. Happy camping you outdoor souls.

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