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Our Favorite Camping Hacks

There are two things people tell us we’re crazy for doing. Can you guess what they are?

1. That we’re married and work together.
2. That we go on extended camping road trips. (I’ve even camped while pregnant!)

Many of our adventures have included camping trips of all sorts – whether it be on a beach, on a road trip, or a weekend excursion. We also go camping every Easter with Tyler’s family, and that weekend is a staple in our spring season. It’s so nice to break away from the busy-ness of our wedding season and spend three days in the woods with just the essentials. To some people, we’re crazy, but if you’ve ever wanted to camp, or you already love camping, this post is for you! We’ve gotten a lot of questions, specifically about our long road trips, so we felt like a blog post would the perfect way to share!

Camping has a spectrum, so I feel the need to clarify that we are primarily tent & electricity campers with a car nearby, or as Tyler used to call it coming from his Boy Scout days, “luxury camping.” (Tyler would still be satisfied to go backpacking for an extended trip)  So here we go, here’s some of our favorite tips and things to pack!

  • Buy a pop-up tent – One of our biggest tricks for quick set-ups, especially when arriving at your site after dark, is using a pop-up tent. They’re really popular now and they come in both small 2-4 person tents, as well as large family tents, like the one pictured above. Before William, we used a small tent that literally “popped” up in under a minute! Total. Game. Changer.
  • Two tent essentials: a welcome mat and broom – We always keep a small welcome mat right outside our tent door or a rug right inside. This gives us a quick place to leave our shoes and keeps our tent so much cleaner! Small, but so helpful! And any time we forget a broom we always want to go crazy! Haha. Use it to sweep the tent out before you fold it up (you’d be surprised how much dirt gets tracked in despite your best efforts) and to sweep the underside of the tent as you’re folding it up to keep from folding up extra dirt and leaves that sticks to the bottom.
  • InstaFire for wet wood troubles – Starting a good fire with wet wood is not only exhausting, but just about impossible. So while Tyler is our expert fire starter, sometimes the wood just isn’t capable, so we use InstaFire. We saw it on Shark Tank and knew we had to try it. It did not disappoint, and is the only thing, tons of starter logs included, that we’ve found that will burn long enough and hot enough to start wet wood! We now carry an emergency pack of it on every trip. Also, a pair of heavy duty fire gloves is a great thing to have for moving burning logs around as you’re building/maintaining the fire. And while we’re talking about wood and fires, we recommend buying your wood about a month in advance to give it chance to absolutely dry out by the time you use it. Just about every time we’ve bought wood from gas stations outside a park or nearby suppliers, it’s wood that they’ve just cut down recently, so it’s going to be too green (and wet) to burn.
  • Pre-cook meats for easy meals – I got this one from Tyler’s mom, but I pre-cook a lot of things to simplify cooking while camping. Some of our favorite meals while camping are chili for dinner and breakfast burritos, so by pre-cooking the ground meet, it’s so much faster to just throw on the skillet and heat it up! Cleaning up after meals is enough of a chore, so we try to simplify the cooking as much as possible. One obvious exception to this is bacon and steaks. Obviously you should never pre-cook those, Tyler says lol.
  • Bring bungee cords – Bungee cords have always been a staple on our packing list. We specifically use them to close our coolers at night to keep raccoons out. We’ve also used them to hold our lantern inside our tent, tying up tarps, hanging lights, and other various things. Having plenty in varying lengths is always a good idea, and they’re simpler and faster to use than pieces of rope.
  • Be mindful of water run-offs/drainage around your tent – This is a must! Even if it’s not raining when you set camp, always look for where water will run if it does rain – you don’t want to inadvertently set your tent right in the way of the natural drainage, so look for signs of dried up water streams. If putting your tent in line of the drainage is going to be unavoidable, dig a moat on the uphill side around your tent to keep it protected. Also, bring a small camping shovel for things like this and for hot coal management.

We hope these are helpful and make you one happy camper! ;)

If you’re new to our camping adventures, you can catch up on the blog here:

William’s First Camping Trip

Our LA Camping Roadtrip

Our Charleston Camping Roadtrip