If the Brownies used a pass/fail system, I wouldn’t have graduated. Don’t get me wrong, I love being outside soaking up the sun, swimming, boating, walking/running. But when the sun goes down and the creepy crawlers come out, I prefer the serenity of my bed. I’ve camped before, but back in the day – pre-kids when “camping” was merely a synonym for outdoor party. One night before summer vacation, my daughter complained she couldn’t sleep. I told her to lay in bed and write down all of the things she wanted to do over summer break – a Summer Bucket List. To my surprise, as I thought this project would bore her to sleep, she came downstairs with a fairly comprehensive list – a list that included camping in our yard. Gulp.
I started how I frequently do when I don’t know where to start – I Googled it. The search ‘camping’ returned over 1/2 a billion results – yikes! Through my search I stumbled across several articles talking about Camping Hacks. A couple of my favorites were:
A lot of the ideas seemed to be genius, but to the novice camper, I just wanted sure. I thought I would put some of these ideas to the test.
1. Acorn Whistle
I came across this youtube video about making an acorn into a whistle in emergency situations.
It worked! Well, the adults got it to work, the kids did not. If you are concerned about kids wandering off on a hike or something, I suggest an actual whistle, but for true emergency situations in the wilderness, I think this is a great tip.
2. Fire Starters
Charcoal in Egg Carton
Karen on Sew Many Ways shows how to make your own fire starter by using a cardboard egg carton and charcoal.
It works! It lit easily and burned evenly. It made a great base to our cooking fire. Not much else to be said.
Doritos as Kindling
This worked too! We tried this method in the morning when making breakfast. They lit quickly and burned long enough to get the twigs on top to burn.
3. Eggs in Water Bottle
Cookie Crumbs & Sawdust suggests a 16 oz water bottle will hold 8-9 large eggs. This is genius if it works, especially if you do it in conjunction with the egg carton and charcoal fire starter in #2!
This worked as well! Egg cartons take up so much valuable real estate in a cooler, plus the eggs are still at risk for cracking. Putting the eggs in a water bottle solves all of those dilemmas. Plus, I think it kept them cooler as I was able to pack the water bottle with eggs toward the bottom of the cooler by the ice and I generally pack the eggs on the top so they don’t break.
4. Orange Cinnamon Rolls
I give this idea an ‘A’, but my execution a ‘C-‘. I’d probably go lower, but I don’t like to fail. I saw the idea on several sites. Each site suggesting a little different way to execute. One said to slice the orange in half, placing the pre made cinnamon roll dough inside, while a second recommended cutting off just the top and hollowing out. One cooked them on a pan over the fire and the other wrapped in aluminum foils and cooked directly in the fire.
I chose to try the cut in half method and placed the pre made cinnamon rolls inside.
I then wrapped loosely in foil.
I placed these peel side down on the fire.
Half turned out like this…
And the other half like this…
After doing it once, I realized I should have either put the 1/2 oranges on a pan -or- just cut the top off the orange so the peel can offer more protection. Basically if I would have followed either of the sets of instructions provided, I think it would have worked. I also should have let the fire burn a little longer so it was more hot coals than fresh flames. I am excited to try this one again as my little taste testers said they loved the added orange flavor.
Since we are on food, let’s move into the S’moreo. You’ve heard me mention my family’s recent Oreo obsession in my last post, so when I saw this hack, I knew it was a must try!
Delicious! We tried a little different version – we used Mint Oreos, but I could see almost any variety of Oreo working well. Are Peanut Butter Oreos still in production?
6. Wrap Duct Tape around a Water Bottle for Emergencies
I found this one to be mediocre at best. I guess if I was really in an emergency situation, it may be helpful. I found the duct tape lost a lot of its adhesive after the water bottle was in the cooler. Maybe I shouldn’t have put the water bottle in the cooler, but it also seemed to happen after the ice in the water bottle melted. Regardless, I don’t know if I would go through this step again.
7. Use a Cup or Bowl for a Makeshift Speaker
I didn’t try this one specifically for camping, but I’ve done this a number of times. It works. It’s note a Bose sound system, but it gets small jobs done.
These camping hacks definitely got the creative juices flowing, so I also came up with one myself.
8. Glow Stick Necklace = Dog Collar
We have a German Shorthair who is constantly on the hunt, so we need to take multiple measures to keep track of her. She is a medium/large (50 lb.) dog and I’ve found Glow Stick Necklaces fit her neck perfectly. Don’t judge, but I used them on the kids too. The dog was blue, Kate was pink and Noah Orange. We were all hanging out in the front yard, but it gave me some peace of mind to have a little better visibility on the crew. Joke ended up being on me as a green glowstick broke open and covered my shirt and hair. I looked as if I had been slimed.
In addition to the above, there were some camping hacks I wanted to try, but didn’t get to on this excursion.
9. Coffee Can Toilet Paper Holder
When camping everything just feels a little wet. The toilet paper this morning was a little damp. I would be interested to see if the coffee can helped protect against moisture.
10. Burn Sage to Repel Mosquitoes
a valiant an effort to try this camping trip. Unfortunately, our local health food store was out of sage. I’ve heard of sage being used to cleanse a new home or shift energies in an existing space. It will be interesting to see if it also repels mosquitos. If nothing else, the fire will smell good.
Overall, I think this whole experience was good for the family. It gave us a night to unplug from technology and try new things. I’m definitely looking forward to our next excursion, but as for tonight, I’m looking forward to the serenity of my bed!