This summer and fall is all about camping cooking & connecting!!
We just upgraded our camper and I’ve been spending the week planning our summer! We made the decision to go from a pop up to a small hard shell travel trailer.
This decision did not come lightly as just a few years ago we were upgrading from a tent to our first tiny pop up. What has changed? We went from 1 to 3 little ones and now require a bit more space. The kids are growing like weeds too so the space that they do require is more grand.
Not only will we be able to camp more comfortably but this upgrade will allow us a longer camp season as well! We will start our first trip in the Spring and not finish until late Fall. Which for us is such a win. Some families plan lavish vacations, jetting off on a plane somewhere. Us Whalens hook up to the tow hitch and hit the road!
I wanted to take you along on what we have planned for our camp season, what I’ve got cooking (or on the list to try out this year), and ways we plan to connect as a family more.
Plus….stay tuned throughout the season because if you are a New Englander or plan to come to New England this summer season I will be doing insider reviews on the campgrounds we go to. Some will say they are all one in the same but if you camp as much as we do….and especially with little ones in tow…you will know that certainly is not true! I’ll get the insider scoop to help you plan your camping itinerary.
Camping, Cooking & Connecting!
So far we have three Vermont based camping trips, two Maine and one in New Hampshire. Our plan is to spend this year focused in New England and then next year start venturing further with our camper! We have even started to map out our dream trip out West. That trip will be National Park and foodie galore!
We want to get ourselves comfortable with towing and setting up camp with this larger camper and also spend the season figuring out what we will absolutely need to purchase and stock the camper with.
I know I am having a blast planning to decorate it and to find inventive ways to utilize storage. Although this camper is larger it isn’t a full size RV so we still need to be smart about how much we are packing into it!
One thing I have been keeping in mind is collapsible! Anything that can be folded up or tucked away when it is not in use will make the space feel a lot bigger.
Must Have Camper Upgrade Accessories
These are the first few purchases that I have made to make life much easier and more organized for my camping crew…
We don’t have a lot of counter space in the new camper. Just enough to get the job of cooking done. So when it comes time for clean up I don’t want to take up the entire space with dishes. It being a smaller travel traveler means keeping it as organized as possible will help it not feeling too cramped. With this collapsible drying rack I can get my dishes dried and then fold it down and slide it away! It also works well to bring outside and dry on the picnic table!
Another way to keep things feeling airy in a smaller camper? Don’t take up too much of the already limited floor space! With that being said, we need a place to store our dirty clothes. With 5 people and 3 of them being children, going camping can be dirty business. We encourage the kids to go exploring and get their hands and clothes dirty during our camping trips. With this hanging basket we can keep it on the bathroom door and it’s out of sight and out of mind until mom needs to do her laundry day!
Having more cooking space means having more cooking and eating supplies! Dishware and cookware will take up most of our kitchen cabinet space but we still need a spot to store our food storage containers. We usually end up with some leftovers because I tend to cook for an army plus my husband likes to have containers to pick from when he gets the hunger pains from all the wood splitting and camp maintenance. These collapsible containers serve their purpose and then when they are emptied and cleaned they fold up and tuck away using minimal storage space.
Bonus: They do well in the cooler! So if you want to use these down by the pool, out to the beach or on a hike they will hold up really well!
Camp Style Cooking
I am forever trying to find fun, creative but also easy to make AND clean recipes for our camping trips. Having a full kitchen space will make the cleaning much more of a breeze as I am use to scrubbing dishes under easy ups!
One of my all time favorite ways to cook while camping is skillet cooking, right over the fire! Things taste more rustic and the recipes for skillet cooking are endless.
If you haven’t seen it before check out my article, 17 Delicious Cast Iron Camping Recipes. There is no limit to what this article showcases. Breakfast, lunch, dinner AND dessert in the cast iron skillet? Yes…please!
Another really easy way to put together a hearty dinner while camping is using a crock pot! I usually do at least 2 crock pot meals while we are on a trip. It is way less cleaning and you can get it all ready and cooking and then enjoy your day with your family. Make sure you have a safe set up with a good crock pot plugged into a safe area. I have even plugged my crock right into the our hookups and left it cooking on a stump with the lid taped down so critters didn’t grab a bite.
Truly it is as easy as throwing some frozen meatballs and a jar of sauce with some herbs into the crock and worry about your grinder rolls or cooking up your pasta later! As simple as this meal sounds we have won over the hearts of people we were camping with on those chillier camping evenings after a long day out hiking with a dish like this!
Connecting Through Adventure
Our girls are getting older and we are ecstatic for this years camping adventures. Not only will our new camper allow more relaxed camping with less time spent setting up the camper and all the extra needed items that come with a pop up but it will also allow a longer season. This means new experiences overall!
We want to focus on teaching more card games, breaking out the game boards, telling campfire stories and getting my girls in on camp cooking! I want to incorporate some old school skills into camping like making butter at the campsite or washing clothes by hand.
To add more spark of special we are going to invest in jazzing up the girls exploring backpacks! New exploration materials and educational reading!
This article talks about some of our favorite, must have’s for the kiddos…
Make sure you check back in throughout the year to see where we have been and what is worth mentioning along the way.
Happy camping, happy campers! (Now for this wintery white stuff to go so we can get our camp on!)
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Love, light and a little grace…
Olivia Whalen is mama to three young girls who is devoted to creative learning, exploration and free range imagination. Olivia enjoys thinking outside of the box when it comes to preparing homemade baby food or meals for her family. She most enjoys allowing the little minds in her life to flourish and with that you will see her write about creative kid crafts, recipes that fit a family budget and keep everyone asking for more, tips and tricks for a tiny babe, and beginner homesteader fun! Some of her hobbies include gardening, hiking, reading, cooking or just basking in motherhood.