I’m going to preface this post with the following disclaimer: “camping in style” is an oxymoron. If that’s what you’re looking for, try the new “glamping” trend–which isn’t camping at all. With that said, it’s still possible to camp without cramping your style. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful on my many, many camping trips:
1. Bring (and use!) sunscreen
Nothing is more un-stylish than a sunburn and not only does it slowly ruin your skin over time, it’ll ruin your camping trip immediately. As we all know, sun is essential but it’s best to enjoy the sun with the protection of a 50+ SPF slathered all over your exposed skin. While you’re at it, wear a hat for added protection from the sun.
2. Keep the bugs at bay
Another source of endless annoyance and potentially bites scratched raw (and bleeding) are mosquitos and other pesky bug bites. I try to use a natural (non-deet based) repellent for my skin but if the bugs are particularly bad, I’ll spray a deet-based repellent on my clothing and on the tent perimeter. Mosquitoes tend to be at their worst at dusk so cover up as soon as the sun starts to set.
3. Bring a bucket
This is a gross suggestion but it’s more gross not to wash up (and certainly NOT stylish) so I’d consider this an essential. I always bring a bucket that I use to wash myself and the kids. My husband…takes care of himself. For the kids, it’s easy: heat up water and mix it in with cold water for a lukewarm stand-up bath (or, if you’ve got older kids, repurpose a large Rubbermaid container) and wash away but for the adults, it’s a little trickier. I’ll often wait until after nightfall to do a little squatty bath. But honestly, washing even just a little bit makes such a difference!
4. Be smart with make up choices
Don’t bring every palette you own. Seriously, don’t even bring a palette. I once brought a MAC palette camping and I smashed the whole thing–devastation ensued. When I go camping, I bring the bare essentials. A multipurpose BB cream with built-in SPF, a waterproof mascara and a blush that serves as blush, highlighter and eyeshadow. Better yet, bring samples or make-up in sample sized containers.
5. Drink [insert alcoholic beverage of choice] in [appropriate receptacle for said alcohol]
Hey, no one is driving! My husband and I always enjoy some wine by the campfire when we’re camping. It’s a nice ritual. During our last camping trip, he served it to me in this ugly florescent pink plastic cup. I realized then and there how big of a roll the serving plays in food/beverage consumption. If you want your wine to taste better, serve it in a pretty plastic–cuz you don’t want it breaking-goblet.
6. Pack comfortable, quick dry clothing
There are so many choices for comfortable, quick drying clothing nowadays. Think: something I could wear all day, hand-wash or spot-wash, wring out and tie to my tent and it’ll be dry by morning. Those are the key items I bring on a camping trip. North Face, Lululemon, Columbia, and many other brands have created some very stylish pieces that are extremely comfortable and dry very quickly.
7. Don’t forget dry shampoo
Most of the public campgrounds don’t have showers. If you stay in a private one, you’ll likely get lucky with a coin-operated shower. If you’re staying at a campsite with free-flow showers (non-paid), you’re likely paying almost as much as you would for a hotel room. I’m able to jerry-rig a wash bucket to wash my young kids’ hair but good luck with your own. Bring dry shampoo. Since most dry shampoos come in these big bulky containers, I usually bring a deluxe sample size “purchased” using my Sephora points.
8. Bring pre-prepped food
If you’re doing a one or two night camping trip, you can easily pre-slice and dice all your food. I pre-plan and pre-prep the meals I’m going to make during our camping trip. Ok, I know I sound very organized (I’m not) but if you’re miles from a grocery store, you are forced to have everything available to you or else…you just don’t. Honestly, camping is a break for everyone involved; the less worrying, the better my campin’ style, right?
9. Maintain a grab bag of essentials
I keep a cosmetic bag of all running essentials: bandages, tylenol for adults and kids, extra soap, tiny toothpaste, wipes, kleenex, tweezer (damn those splinters!), etc. I never unpack it but I do make sure to keep all the items well-supplied so when we’re ready to go, I can just grab it. I’d rather have it in case and not have to worry about the “what-ifs” in life.
10. Keep it fun!
Bring books, magazines, devices, movies, whatever it is that floats your boat. Since I get very little free time with my two kids, most of my time is spent trying to keep the kids occupied. I stay stylish by not getting frazzled by the kids’ incessant whining. So, I pack games for the kids. Some of my favorite camping games: rock painting, card games, play-doh, puzzles (we have a collapsible table that has served us well!), allowing them to play in the mud in their dirty clothing, lego, coloring and just about any portable activity.
Do you have any top tips for camping in style? I’m always open to upping my camping game.