For as long as I can remember, my extended family has gone on camping trips. My dad is the youngest of nine, so there were always plenty of cousins to hang out with and piles of mischief to get up to.
There was the memorable year when I ran full speed into a partially buried fire pit and split my shin open. The time my cousin refused to put on a life jacket, flipped the canoe and almost drowned. The time I dropped a flaming marshmallow on my bare leg and learned that, similar to napalm, flaming goo does not coming right off.
Despite these mishaps, I actually love camping. I haven’t been on one of these family trips since high school, so I’m especially excited to go on the big trip this year!
Last year, while driving around the country for work, I actually picked up a tent and a sleeping bag and spent several nights camping out instead of in a hotel. Besides being an excellent money saver, it was actually nice to get back to nature (most nights – there was the memorable evening when the campsite was right next to a highway).
The point of all this is – the season for camping is upon us again and it’s a great way for all your frugal folks out there to enjoy some time with your family and friends in a thrifty manner.
To save even more money, make sure to check the state parks near you. They often have fewer amenities, but a much lower cost per site as well. It’s not impossible to find sites as low as $5/night.
Even in the wild though, you’ve still got to eat! Here’s one of my favorite campfire recipes (heads up, it’s definitely not clean eating):
- 1 Banana
- 1 Jar of Nutella
- 1 Bag of Mini Marshmellows
- 1 Roll of Aluminum Foil
- Peel back a single strip of the banana skin.
- Scoop out a trough along the revealed banana flesh.
- Fill the trough with Nutella.
- Top with mini marshmallows.
- Recover with the banana skin.
- Wrap in aluminum.
- Place on top of hot coals for 10 minutes.
The banana should be soft when you poke it. Then you know it’s done. Gobble it up with a spoon.
Looking for something a little more substantial? Food in a bag is one of my faves and totally at my skill level.
Reynolds sells hot bags, which make this dish even easier, but you can also make your own hot bags out of aluminum foil.
- 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
- 1 big pinch of flour
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 6 chicken breasts
- Any veggies
- Chop up the veggies (an onion is a must-have for this mix) and dump it in the hot bag along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Give it a good shake to mix them all up.
- Place it on the grill for 15 minutes.
- Flip it over and grill for 15 more.
Be careful opening the hot bag!!
Another thing I love about camping is board games. I am a total dork and can happily play hours upon hours of board games. Most people are not interested in joining, but when we’re camping, I can almost always convince some of the others to play and if it rains, everyone plays board games all day. Kind of my little slice of vacation heaven.
My two favorites right now are Cards Against Humanity (for the adult crowd) and Ticket To Ride. Ticket to Ride is pretty much the most addictive and amazing game I’ve ever played. You either love it or hate it very quickly.
So how about you guys? Are any of you campers? Got a recipe to add to the list or a board game I should bring with me this year?