Listen, I like a good hike. I enjoy laying at the beach. I’ll go driving in the Razr and get caked in mud. But spending a few days in the woods without my usual creature-comforts is a whole other animal.
I don’t need a full face of makeup and a blowout but if pictures are being taken to document, I at least want to look like said camping adventure isn’t killing me. So when I was hiking the Grand Canyon in the spring and then camping with my family last month, I knew I was going to make some beauty and comfort sacrifices.
Don’t get me wrong – I love being clean. I love showering. And I love going to the bathroom sitting on something that flushes, made of pristine white porcelain. Girls like me are the reason they created the term “glamping.”
Even with said sacrifices, I did still have a blast becoming one with nature alongside my family.
The kids spent their time on the lake, making s’mores, and playing together in between meals. I don’t know that you can count Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans as a proper meal, but it does have flavors like grass and earwax so maybe half a meal?
We also got quite a few #BraunSleeps moments while camping, but to be fair, we all had our moments when we dozed off midday!
But as any good experience does, my adventures this summer helped shape me, taught me a thing or 2 about how tough I am and lucky for you, helped me curate the list of all lists: The Perfect Girl’s Guide to Camping. This guide is a thorough and nuanced list of must-haves that will get you through the long days, the cold nights, and have fun along the way.
FEMALE URINATION DEVICE (SHENISE)
GoGirls website brands itself for women who camp, ski, boat, travel, or “just want to avoid the germs you find in nasty public toilets.” And it works. Apparently, it's how Katy Perry goes pee in all those crazy costumes she wears. That sounds like this thing was pretty thoroughly road-tested if you ask me. But seriously, if you never want pee-soaked jeans or shoes again, use a GoGirl.
The description for this sleeping bag boasts that it's so comfy, cozy, and warm you'll forget you're camping. And is there anything one wants to do more while camping than forget they're actually camping? That sold me! This really is the best sleeping bag. Keeps ya warm in even 0-degree temps AND you can buy a right and a left zip to create a queen size sleeping bag to take your couples cuddles on the road. These were amazing on our camping trip!
While the thought of camping under the stars in just a sleeping bag sounds idyllic, any of you who have done just that know that it usually results in grogginess and a sore back the next day, after a restless, painful night. So one item you should definitely have on your packing list for your next camping trip is a quality, comfortable air mattress. What you should look for in an air mattress for camping depends on your preferences and what kind of camper you are. If comfort and support are your main priorities, you’ll most likely want a heavier bed that’s made of thicker materials - like this one! It's queen-size, doesn't deflate in the middle of the night, and blows up all on its own!
Our one camping trip in our adorable very non-rugged tent hasn't quite required us to invest in these (yet!!) but I think they're brilliant! Have any of you tried these? So smart! I think they'd be super great for staying in hotels too! Traveling with 4 kids can get so expensive - sometimes I have to get two rooms! So if I could get my boys to sleep on these in hotel rooms instead of having to pay for double the rooms, the investment would be well worth it!
Does this one even need an introduction? The Hydro Flask is the only water bottle you'll ever want or need - keeps water cold for 24 hours and hot for 6! I literally don't leave home without it - it's like my adult security blanket. Available in every color on Earth and in several sizes too! Funny story, when Dash swallowed a button battery (worst weekend EVER) and we were admitted to the hospital, I accidentally dropped this in the emergency room. I had multiple doctors look up in a PANIC thinking an oxygen tank just got dropped.
You'll never feel like you need to join a gym again after hauling around a Hydroflask full-time. Why the heck are they so heavy?! What are they made of, cement blocks?! This thing makes it easy to haul a Hydroflask around on hikes and adventures... no more dropping the "oxygen tank"! I'm not the only one who thinks it looks like that right? I love that this cover/holder is washable too! Perfect for camping.
While water might be best, having a place to wash your hands at every turn while camping is a bit of a joke. The good news? For most things, hand sanitizers are fine, especially if there's no water available—like up in the mountains. Just use enough to cover your palm and get in between your fingers, and let it air-dry for about 15 seconds. But if you want to avoid the kind of vomiting virus that goes around in winter, good ole soap and water are going to be your best friend.
Growing up with textured, curly hair meant nightly detangling sessions that almost always ended in tears and lots of shedding. They were awful. It wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered detangling combs that made my life slightly easier, but life with my hair texture was still a bit of a struggle. Enter the Wet Brush. And just in time because now I get to avoid those tear-drenched mornings before school with my girls and just makes camping that much easier.
I don't like to freeze. I also don't like to freeze. And I hate being cold...and freezing. It could be the dead of the summer and super hot during the day but for some reason, when night falls, so do the temps. I love our super comfy sleeping bags but I also like super comfy clothing that keeps me warm. These thermals are fleece-lined, super cute, and will keep you warm on those cold camping nights.
This tent is the glamping version of "ballin' on a budget". Not quite a trailer, not quite Bear Grylls rugged either. This thing is probably the cutest tent of all time, so even when you haven't practiced proper hygiene in a few days you still won't feel like a complete wilderness troll. Not only is it adorable, but it's so tall and roomy! Great for family camping trips, this is the one we just took camping! The whole family loved it. If it's out of stock (you guys have loved this one as much as I do) there are so many good tents by this brand! Make sure you check 'em out!
What's a girl to do when she has approximately 1,344 free hours to occupy her kids' time? Give 'em tons of microscopic beads that take hours of backbreaking intensive labor to create jewelry and tell them it's "fun". Seriously, my girls have been on such a bracelet/jewelry making kick lately and I've been loving it too! They've been making some for themselves, some for me, and some to give to their friends too. So fun for camping!
This portable camping lantern comes with two hooks, one on the top and the other at the base that can hang the tent light upside down to get better light when lighting up a big area. It's also waterproof and can last between 12-25 hours on a full charge! Its brightness can also be adjusted.
K, don't @ me about this insect repellent and how bad all repellent is. This is one of the good guys. And I guarantee, when you and your family are being eaten alive by mosquitoes and being plagued by ticks, you're going to wish you sprayed yourself with something. This is not the deet-filled awfulness that you should be avoided in large amounts. This spray will protect you for 12-hours from mosquitos that may transmit West Nile Virus, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika. And provides effective protection from ticks carrying Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.
Ya know when you buy a lotion that literally smells like nothing and you have to keep smelling it just to make sure it smells like nothing so your husband will approve? No? Just me. Crickets. Welp, that is this. But more than being literally scentless it also works. It works SO WELL. I love that I can slather this stuff on and not have to worry about it smelling too strong for any scent divas around me (also me, when a headache hits..). Plus, you don't have to worry about it attracting mosquitos and it takes care of that extra dry skin that camping causes!
This is what I call camping chic. It's the much sought-after olive green, wide-brimmed fedora you see all the influencers wearing. Except it's naturafied. Yep, I made up that word. But I didn't make up how awesome this hat is. And I don't feel all Crocodile-Dundee in it. It ACTUALLY looks good! It's the one had made for the great outdoors that won't make you sacrifice your sense of style. And yes, it's a men's hat. They have women's, but this one is just way cuter.
No matter if your camping situation doesn't include a nearby sink/bathroom or you're just lazy AF (hey, no judgment), using a cleansing cloth may be one of the easiest ways to wash away stubborn dirt, sticky sweat, and the nature on your face. You know what I'm talking about. Camping is gross. Not washing your face is worse. You spend precious time on a nightly routine to keep your skin clear only to rough it in the wilderness for 3 days and come back with 3 to a zillion zits. These will help prevent that.
I don't know if anyone has told you but there is dirt and mud when you're camping. I know. Shocking. And IT. GETS. EVERYWHERE! Thankfully, I learned my lesson a few years ago when it came to kids and ruining shoes without even trying. We have our trusty Natives on hand for when we're at home but these boots are the next best thing when camping! Your kids can get as dirty as they want, splash in all the water, and they have the added benefit of covering the leg and acting as another level of protection against ticks!
No one ever said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it... guys, I finally found the link to this sweatshirt! The struggle was real hunting this down, but I know you'll love this easy, comfy, sweatshirt as much as I do! A super simple look that goes with everything, and only $25! Great fall transition piece. I'll be wearing mine constantly all season long. I wore it camping, I wore it to Sun Valley this weekend, and I will most likely never take it off again. You've been warned.
Camping with young kids can be exhausting. It seems like someone is always getting hurt, lighting something on fire, or running off on an adventure...without telling anyone where they're going. Plus, I'm a worry-wart! I couldn't even let my kids move their kids a few hundred feet away for the night. These walkie-talkies are great for them! They can communicate with one another, tune into our station and do the same, and is great for those little wandering feet. Plus, isn't it every kid's dream to talk by walkie talkie?
You know that one person in your caravan who tends to forget that they have people following them so your road trip quickly becomes a game of cat and mouse? These were made for them. With a 36-mile range, the lead-foot in your caravan can go on their merry way and you can still get in-touch without picking up your phones. And I don't know about you, but when we camp, getting a phone signal is a joke! These walkie talkies make communication possible!
Did you even go camping if you didn't roast something over the fire? Weenies, marshmallows, other things in your own version of #willitburn? These roasting sticks are fantastic. Adjustable, fantastic handles, and two-pronged so you can avoid any of the over-melted, droopy marshmallow messes.
When it comes to camping, there's almost no name as well known as Coleman. It's tried and tested and rated incredibly high. They're durable, great quality, and they have the necessary drink holder and a 4-can cooler so you can sit and lounge in luxury! You can never have too many chairs and sitting around the fire at the end of an adventure-filled day is one of my favorite things.