Camping enthusiasts enjoy communing with nature — dirt, bugs and all. Others, not so much. If you fall into the latter category but the rest of your family loves to camp, keep the site as clean as possible by following these five tips and enjoy the trip:
1. Inspect your camping supplies.
Days before you plan to pack up and go, inspect your supplies to ensure they are clean and free of damage. For example, it will be difficult to keep your tent tidy if it has a large hole in it or mold has grown on the interior since the last trip. Clean and make any necessary repairs or purchase new supplies with enough time to spare if you perform the inspections ahead of time.
2. Pack the proper cleaning supplies:
- Full-size broom, small brush and dustpan — Even Mother Nature needs a little help with housekeeping.
- Biodegradable/unscented dishwashing soap, dish towels and dishpans — Using camping dishware and silverware, as opposed to disposable items, which is better for the environment, and it reduces the amount of trash you must carry from the campsite.
- Pre-moistened cloths — Pack both body and surface wipes for cleaning up before and after meals, or anytime you or an item feels gritty.
- Trash bags — When you leave, your campsite should show no signs you were there. Reduce trash by bringing food and other items in reusable containers instead of their original packaging.
- For a complete list of items to pack for a camping trip, check out this excellent checklist from the Love the Outdoors website.
3. Tidy up the campsite upon arrival.
Before unpacking the car, use the full-size broom to clear twigs, rocks, and other debris from the spot for your tent. This allows for a much more comfortable surface on which to sleep, especially if you brought only sleeping bags and not air mattresses. Use the small brush and dustpan to clear off any tables and seating, whether natural or manmade.
4. Keep the campsite clean.
Keep two separate trash bags accessible at all times: one for nonfood items and one for food items. If your campsite sits in bear country, follow the same procedures for hanging food waste as you do the food itself.
Do the dishes immediately after every meal. This article offers a few different methods for doing dishes while camping.
5. Keep your tent clean.
Place a mat outside the entrance to your tent and leave your shoes there. Taking off your footwear allows you to keep the inside of your tent relatively clean. To be on the safe side, bring along a nylon sack with drawstring or zipper and place your shoes inside to keep out insects and other critters; travel laundry bags work well for this purpose.
Camping can be an enjoyable experience for just about anyone by following these tips. If you still find camping to be a bit too back to the basics, consider renting an RV for your next camping trip or opt for campsites with comfy cabins in which to sleep.