I think most of us realized in the last week that we are in the last half of summer vacation.

Some of us may be soooooooooo excited about the return to school and some of us may be in a panic mode at all the things we wanted to do this magical summer!  (It’s okay to be both!)

If a last-minute camping trip is on your bucket list, here are some tips to make it a hit!

Since campfire bans are likely on for the rest of the summer, don’t forget to bring or rent a portable propane fire pit which are still okay to use (check local regulations, of course).

Roasting marshmallows and making s’mores is a camping tradition.  (Remind your kids when roasting marshmallows that if their marshmallow catches fire to never fling it around to stop the fire.)   I personally struggle with finding all the ingredients – yeah, I KNOW there’s only 3 – so I like the little Hershey’s kits.  They typically don’t cost that much more and you have the exact amounts of everything for s’mores.  Done!

Bug spray… sigh.  Mosquito bites are the worst, aren’t they?  I haven’t yet found a completely foolproof repellant, and I hate putting chemicals on my kids.  There are some essential oil based repellants that I have heard good things about, but this is an area where I just give up and bring the calamine lotion.

Glow sticks are also super fun for kids of all ages when camping.  You can take some pretty cool pictures as well!

For your morning caffeine hit – if you’re not the type to break out the French press or own your own propane-powered camping coffee machine – Starbucks makes some decent little instant coffee packs.  Just add boiling water and you’re set.

Wipes… bring a few packs of diaper wipes.  They will help wipe off those sticky marshmallow remnants and you can wipe the sunscreen off your face and feel a bit less… sticky.  They’ll wash your hands or the picnic table – a very versatile tool!

It’s hard not to be wasteful when you’re camping.  Washing dishes can be a pain and we don’t necessarily bring back all the paper plates to compost them at home.  I do make my kids bring their re-useable water bottles and then just bring one big jug of water rather than the individual bottles.

Lastly, my kids have figured out this life hack: if you don’t change your clothes, you don’t have any laundry.  Happy camping!