Let’s start with the summer basics – staying dry and cool.
We don’t get to camp as often as we would like these days, but we are making the effort to get out there. Tent camping can be a challenge even under good circumstances (that’s right, we don’t own a camper). We have had some unique camping experiences over the years as well as some outright disasters! We try to keep our sense of humor and muddle through (and know when to throw in the towel and get a hotel room).
My advice? Pack for the hottest or rainiest day of your life and you should be ok!
ALWAYS watch that weather forecast. Don’t cancel your trip because of rain but it may be cause for a little extra prep. If your tent is older, you may want to set it up and use a spray waterproofing being extra careful to get the seams. Take a pop-up shelter or extra tarp to cover your entrance – it helps keep your tent cleaner and drier. Monitor creeks and streams. We camped at the base of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina beside a beautiful stream. We attended festival activities tolerating the rain and have a great experience. On the second evening, water levels looked pretty normal but I woke up in the middle of the night to find the stream had risen considerably and the ground around our tent was swamped. The rain continued, and I informed Randy that I would be in the car waiting to drive to the hotel. I grew up in a West Virginia “holler” – if the water is rising and the rain is still coming down, assume it WILL block your escape! On that same trip, the air mattress had a slow leak. Each morning we woke up on a completely deflated piece of plastic. Always check your bedding before you leave. I would recommend that you try sleeping on whatever you are taking before the actual trip. Have a little “camp out” in your family room.
When you know it’s going to be above 90 degrees, have a backup plan. Escape to a movie, museum or even shopping mall. Have a list of places and their hours before you leave in case your cell phone dies. While it’s tempting to sleep in the nude when it’s hot, remember you are probably side-by-side with someone’s kids. Be prepared for the inevitable middle of the night disturbance – bathhouse run, bear attack, etc.
Remember, all the kids in the campground are cooling off in the pool, too. Wall to wall kids that have been sweltering in the heat may not be good pool mates and…. do they always follow the rules regarding pool hygiene? Probably not. A cool shower in the campground bathhouse is nice if you don’t have to wait in a long line or you get there after the entire scout troop. You could invest in a portable shower (check Pinterest to make your own – a project for our next camping adventure and we will let you know if it is a success).
So stock up on some personal misters, battery powered fans, cooling towels and hats and keep your cooler stocked with water. Take a few extra inexpensive ponchos. Check the internet for “cool” camping hacks. Just think, your ancestors survived the elements with little protection. If you are a camper, you will be hot and wet at some point. Live outside your comfort zone for a while. Experience nature. If all else fails, get in the car and tell your husband that you are ready to drive to the hotel.