How To Set Up Your Campsite

As you might know, @essieburns from The Mommy Diaries and I have taken our families and our blogs on the road to the beautiful Harbor town of Grand Marais, MN.

Essie and I have not been together face to face in a very long (too long) time. We used to live 27 miles from each other and now we live three states away from each other. Such is the deal with pastor’s families.

So, yesterday we both arrived at our adjoining campsites, screamed like schoolgirls, then sized up the nine children. But, after 15 minutes of silliness, it was time to get to work. We had three tents, a screen tent and a dining fly to set up.

This is not my first camping trip, and not our first trip camping with our two families. So, we had worked out some of the kinks. Let me share my camp set up tips with you!

  • Make reservations. Seriously, camping is more popular than ever and don’t expect that you can just roll into a campground, especially on a holiday weekend. We made our reservations a few months ago, and were lucky enough to get two adjoining sites.
  • Scope out your site(s). There are good spots and bad spots within your campsite to pitch your tent. If the previous camper just left, you can see where they left their tent. While that might be a good spot for you to pitch your tent, it is poor camping etiquette. It is better to give grass a chance to recover. Dakotapastor has become very good at picking out tent spots. I tend to pick out “pretty” tent spots that end up flooded. . .or worse. Also, pick a spot to put your table (you can move it) and, if you have a moveable grill (we do) pick out a fire spot.
  • Give everyone a job. We’ve been camping enough that the kids all know what their jobs are. First we set up the tents (we use two for our crew), then the dining fly (we got a replacement for our beloved but discontinued Gander Mountain dining fly), and then the chairs around the fire.
  • Keep little people busy. The twins are cute, and so is Essie’s Emma (she’s my Goddaughter!), but they are less than helpful around camp when we are pitching tents. I bought them an insanely huge box of brand new, pretty, sharp crayons, and some coloring pages. I had trouble finding my skillfully packed coloring pages, but we did get a campground map. This is not our first , or even our second time at this campground, so I handed the girls our map. . . happiness prevailed.
  • Don’t forget to put garbage bags within reach. You would think that camping is a clean vacation. However, nine children and their parents can create a lot, a lot of trash. keep your park beautiful. Pick it up. Toss it out. Our park has recycling and I have several kids that can take care of sorting things out!
  • Have an easy first night meal planned. You are going to be tired. You may have driven many hours to reach your destination. Your first night meal needs to be easy peasy. We had canned corn, brats and canned baked beans. Exciting, no, but quick, yes. Our fancy meals may or may not follow. Want to see how Essie plans her camping meals? (she is way more organized in that department!)
Keep posted for more camping tips, tricks and hints! @Essieburns and I (@dakotapam) are tweeting our vacation with the hashtag #campingtrip2012.



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Written by Dakotapam
I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and mom to six kids, including young adult sons down to 8-year old twin daughters. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!