Want to know how to have fun camping? If you're the type who'd rather have a root canal than spend the night in a tent, even you can have fun camping with the right preparation. The key to a fun camping trip is focusing on the positives–getting outdoors, hanging out with friends and seeing things you don't ordinarily see. You don't have to suffer or feel deprived of your creature comforts to have fun camping.
- Get Comfortable. You want to sleep comfortable and feel comfortable while you're hanging out at camp. Your camp bed should be warm and soft. You have to get a good night's sleep if you're going to have fun camping. Get a good sleeping pad or air mattress. Test it out at home to make sure it's comfortable enough. Double up if you need to. Add a warm sleeping bag. There's nothing like waking up with cold toes to ruin an otherwise pleasant trip. Take a pillow. If that's not enough, take along a sleeping pill. Ignore the naysayers who brag about sleeping on the ground wrapped in a tarp. They'll be tossing and turning all night while you sleep like a baby. Bring along a camp chair with a back you can lean against for hanging out in camp. If you're car camping, pack a comfortable folding chair. And take a hammock. String that baby up between two trees and you've got the perfect spot for relaxing with a good book or taking an afternoon nap. After all, this is supposed to be a fun vacation.
- Eat Well. Forget freeze-dried food and trail mix. One way to have fun camping is to eat well. You can freeze steaks, wrap in aluminum foil and stash them in zip-top plastic bags. They'll be ready to grill by the time you get to camp. Go for comfort food, such as mac and cheese, spaghetti and sauce, or Thai peanut noodles. Part of the fun of camping is indulging in foods you feel guilty about eating at home, so bring your favorite treats, whether that's pig skins or peanut brittle. You can eat gourmet, but you don't want to spend hours cooking, so opt for boxed meals, which are lightweight and fast to fix.
- Drink Well. A bottle of wine or a flask of Scotch may weigh a few ounces, but you won't begrudge the extra weight when you're at camp sipping a good drink while less fortunate campers make do with lukewarm water or gritty hot chocolate. The right libations are one key to having fun camping. Wrap glass bottles in bubble wrap to cushion them while you transport them to camp or pour the contents into a non-breakable bottle or flask.
- Dress Right. Wear comfortable clothes: sturdy shoes for walking around, and pants and a shirt you can move around in. If you're going to be hiking, throw in a pair of flip flops to wear around camp. Unless you're camping in the South in the summer, carry a light jacket or sweatshirt, in case it gets cool at night. Pack a poncho or rain gear in case of a storm. And throw in an extra pair of socks and a second shirt in case it does rain. A hat, bandana or beanie can keep your head warm and ward off the sun.
- Relax. Forget the ten-mile hike and instead take a leisurely stroll to explore your surroundings. Lobby for relaxing at camp and enjoying the scenery. If that sounds too boring, bring along a ball to toss around, or a collapsible fishing pole. Unless you're in an area that prohibits it, build a campfire. Roast marshmallows, tell ghost stories or play Truth or Dare. Have fun camping by taking advantage of this time to bond with your fellow campers.
A camping trip isn't about deprivation and suffering. You can have fun camping by enjoying nature and hanging out with friends, while still enjoying your creature comforts.