A new (better) kind of camping

Alternate title for this post: Why Camping Is Totally Way Better When You Figure Stuff Out.
I wrote last week about our last (and longest-yet) family camping trip, and the … uh … frustrations that I felt during that trip. (Why no, I didn’t threaten to push the trailer off a cliff! That would be too, too dramatic!)

We spent this past weekend away (for two nights this time, instead of three), and it was really, really fantastic. 
What made it different, you ask? … 


We got side-by-side lots with my longtime friend, A, (we’re talking from our university days, which were A LONG TIME AGO a.k.a. 2005) her husband, and two kiddos.

We stayed at one of the (many) Yogi Bear/Jellystone campgrounds, and I’d highly recommend it. Lots of stuff to do. Lots of kids and families. Plus, it was “Christmas weekend,” so that’s why my kids are wearing Santa hats in some of the pictures. (I haven’t just lost my mind)

One of their kids is right between D and C, age-wise, so the three of them played together really well. It was awesome to have two extra sets of parental eyes as we set out on walks or went to activities, because we were all collectively watching all of them. Ahhh, reinforcements.

Once the kids were in bed, the adults got to sit around the fire or play cards (or dare each other to pee out in the open, while camping neighbours may or may not have been peeping on us). It was like having two date nights without getting babysitters, because the kids were 20 feet away in the trailers!

And you know what? I feel like I cracked the Camping Code.

If you’re anything like me, this may help you …

  • Only camp when you are with friends to make things fun (also known as the You Will Not Squabble With Your Husband If People Are Around clause)
  • Camp with friends who have kids! The kids will (mostly) entertain each other, and it will be blissful.
    Only camp for two nights, so you can shower the morning you leave and the afternoon you return home — meaning you only have one gross-ish non-showering day (Related: Yes, campgrounds have showers, but you try finding a free one!)
  • Camp at places with tons of non-stop activities for the kids, so there is always some scheduled to look forward to and/or skip if you feel like it.
  • Find pockets of alone time. I’m very much an introvert, I work from home, and I require a certain about of alone time. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Even when camping with my husband, kids, and good friends. Not having any alone time has really affected my mood on previous camping trips, so this time I made sure to get a little. I volunteered to stay back and wash the dishes while everyone else went to an activity, and it was really nice. (Will you unfollow me if I admit I enjoy washing dishes? It’s true.)
  • If the bathrooms are disgusting and/or far away, pee in the kids’ potty. Yes, you read that right. I’ve embraced the potty. It made the trip significantly better for me, because I don’t do well with smelly/foreign/line-uppy public bathrooms.
  • Wash up and brush your teeth before seeing a single living soul, and your mood will be 300% better. Normally when we’re camping, I skulk out of the tent-trailer and run to the (disgusting) public bathroom while screaming DON’T LOOK AT ME! and hissing and flapping my cape. Pretty much, anyway. But this trip, I had Darling Husband pour the leftover hot water (from making tea/coffee) into a basin, add a little cold, and BAM! I had a little bucket of warm washing water. Once the kids were dressed and sent outside to Daddy, I could scrub up — as well as you can with a travel bar of soap, a washcloth, and a plastic razor — before getting dressed. I also taught myself to brush my teeth using a bottle of water and a cup. But lest you think I’m a total diva, I left the tent-trailer without any make-up on (and put it on at the picnic table). 

TLDR (too long, didn’t read) version of my camping advice: 

  • Only camp with friends
  • Pee in your kids’ potty
  • Don’t tell the internet you peed in a Baby Bjorn potty

Happy trails!


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