Camping can be the best memories that you can share with your friends or family. Growing up, I really loathed camping and actually being outdoors in general. I did not see the point of it. But now I love it. Being in nature is a requirement for me to live a happy, balanced life.

Going outdoors has come such a long way since when I was growing up in the 1970’s. At that time, if it was raining, to keep us dry, my father would put my brother and I into garbage bags and poke holes in the sides for us to put our arms through. If we went camping, my brother and I would wonder around the forest wearing our garbage bags to protect us from the wet and cold. There were few family camping options during that time.

Now, camping can be easy and fun and there are so many options! You can have the creature comforts you enjoy and enjoy nature. To find out all the latest tips and tricks to make camping fun and easy, I spoke with Andrew Sutherland, Public Relations at MEC. Andrew shared the top tips for choosing the right tent and how to make camping fun for the kids.

First, choose a campground with amenities like flush toilets, hot showers, fire pits, and running water to help make life outside a little easier. If you are camping for the first time or if you haven’t camped in a while, then try a camp ground close to home. This way if it starts to rain or you want to try it for the weekend, it makes getting there and back easy.

Don’t feel that you have to purchase all your equipment up front. You can use items from home (like sheets and bedding) and many camping items can be rented too. This provides you with the option to try it out before you buy it.

Also, many camp grounds across Canada let you make a reservation before you arrive. This is a great idea if you are going camping during the summer or long weekend when it can get busy.

The key to fun camping is having the right food:

You can make popcorn at your camp, try it with spices or mixed with some yummy olive oil. Stoves have come a long way, easier and not as much work as years before. There is even a bio light space camp grill that you can have a backcountry barbeque. You can make some burgers while you charge your e-gadgets too.

If you like a smoothie first thing in the morning, there are manual blenders which you mix by using hand power. The manual blenders can make it easy and fast to enjoy a smoothie first thing in the morning (yum!).

Stove for camping:

Try a propane stove. This makes it much easier for you to get heat going and start to cook. It is also faster to set up. Many of the propane stoves now have multiple burners so you can cook burgers on one side and boil water on another burner.

The propane stoves now a days have a piezoelectric ignitor which means no fumbling for matches or lighters. You can purchase a propane canister for these type of camping stoves at most hardware stores. Look for removable grill trays with non-stick coating, this will make it easier to clean.

Choose the best tent for you and your loved ones:

Look for a waterproof fly. This will keep you dry if the weather turns. When looking at tents, try to find a tent with a small number of poles (maybe 5 or so) this makes it easy to set up and take down. If you can, look for aluminum poles. These are lightweight and super strong, with no chance of rust.

If you have any tall members of the family, you will want to choose a tent that has height and will be comfortable for everyone when they are in the tent. When choosing a tent, make sure that you stand in the store’s model to ensure you can easily be in it and have room.

Last tip. Good lighting means it’s easy to find things, games can be played till after dark and a gloomy rainy day can still be fun. Find lighting that is portable, light and easy to use on dark nights or wet afternoons.

I will continue to enjoy the outdoors and share my experiences. If you have ideas or questions about the outdoors, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to find the answer for you.

Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to enjoy life to the fullest. Let’s have the very best 2015!

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