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What I learned from my in-laws about camping.

Discovering the fun of a weekend travel trailer with a big family.

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My husband has been camping with his family his entire childhood and he loved it. When we met I was pretty clear that I was a room service girl. My experience with camping involved a lot of work on my part and a lot of baby sitting other people’s kids, cooking, cleaning and taking care of those who had too much booze or sun or both. It also involved tents, cooking over a fire pit, bug bites and sunburns.

So why am I writing about camping? My mother in law and father in law are RVers. They are retired and tour the country 9 months of the year. They assured me that rv camping is not the same as tent camping. They are so adorable when they show us pictures from their trip or how they organize the RV or tell us stories of things they have experienced together. They are great ambassadors for the RV lifestyle.

Which brings me back to making the decision to buy a travel trailer. I thought it would be a great idea to take my husband RVing for his birthday weekend. My girls thought he would really enjoy it so I began looking at RV rentals or used RVs. I may post about that process later but basically my husband was sure if I got a used camper or rented a small camper that my experience would not be great and we would not go again. Also, I am one of those women who doesn’t like to tell her family no too often, although I am sure they would disagree with that . So we bought 2016 Coachmen 246RKS.

Happy campers

My Camper First Aid Kit

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DIY First Aid Kit

 

I am a huge fan of creating your own First Aid kit. Mainly because you will know what is in it but also because it will be full of stuff you actually use. I’m a Mom and I would never put an alcohol prep pad on my little one’s scrape when I could use Hydrogen Peroxide that doesn’t hurt.

To start I used an insulated lunch bag but you can use any bag. I used a red bag and wrote “First Aid” on the top and sides with acrylic paint. Most of the time it resides on top of my fridge and fits nicely in the bathroom cabinet in the camper. I use it all the time instead of stocking a medicine cabinet. This keeps the supplies fresh and updated.

It is important to take a first aid and CPR class. They will give you general first aid information and increase your confidence if an emergency does happen. When I make my kit, I ask myself a few questions:

  • What are the most common accidents or incidence that could happen that won’t need to go to hospital,
  • What would I need to stabilize someone who would need to go to the hospital,
  • What skills do I know and what supplies would I need to do them,
  • What specific medical issues are common for my family.

Some common incidence when camping are:

  • sunburns – burn cream with Lidocaine
  • bug bites – tick key, anti-itch spray and possibly antihistamine or pain reliever
  • scrapes – tweezers, gauze, tape, antibiotic cream, band aids, ice pack
  • upset stomachs – antacids, antidiarrheal medicine, motion sickness medicine, Pepto Bismol or Quesy drops
  • colds – cold medicine, fever reducer, cough drops
  • allergies – antihistamine, in my family’s case we also carry an Epi pen
  • hang overs – pain reliever and lots of water

If someone is experiencing symptom that could lead to a hospital visit I carry a stethoscope to take heart rate, pen light for pupil responsiveness and a thermometer. If I am not going to the hospital with the injured person, I will write what I administered and when, their temperature, their heart rate, tourniquet information and their pain scale on something durable that won’t get lost, like their t-shirt or the blanket they are wrapped in. Since I have triage training, I will clean and prep a wound and I carry supplies to do this as well. Your first aid class with show you how to prepare a splint so I include gauze rolls or you can include triangle bandages. Basically the kit should be a reflection of the kind of care that you can provide.

We travel with dogs so I also include a self adhering bandage roll and styptic pen for any cuts or scrapes. Often you can call your veterinarian if a problem occurs and they will give you instructions on what you can administer immediately while you are on the way to the animal hospital. Keep hydrogen peroxide, ibuprophen and Bendryl on hand but do not administer it unless the vet recommends it to stabilize your animal.

I keep a pair of reader eye glasses that you can buy at the drug store in the kit as well. For me, these work better than a magnifying glass and keeps my hands free. Some things I have are specifically for my family. We have dental work so I bring emergency dental kit. We have food allergies and bug allergies so I have an Epi Pen from my doctor and have Benadryl to administer before we head off to the hospital.  I keep everything in Ziploc bags with the category on top so it is easy to look through with one hand in an emergency .

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Ziploc bags with Categories on top for easy access.

Below you can download the PDF of my camping first aid kit checklist. Please leave comments if you have any questions or have items that you keep in your first aid kit that could be a help to others.

First Aid Kit

 

 

 

Little touches during the off season

So far we have only had weekend excursion in our camper since we bought it last fall. This summer we have our first week long trip planned. Luckily, my Mom and Dad in law will be going with us. I can’t wait! Although it has made me think about how to store all of our things in a way that will be easy to maintain.

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Bedroom closet hanging shelves

The first thing I added was hanging closet shelves that seem to be a staple on all camper organization blogs. What I learned is that there is a vast difference in quality and price for these things. A lot of the affordable ones that were under $10 were made with cardboard support on the bottom shelf only or they were made with non-woven material. Non-woven material is that fabric that is very popular for reusable shopping bags, but if you get a hole in it it’so worthless. I found those pictured made of fabric with plastic sheet supports in the bottom and middle shelf. They were too long for our cabinets so I cut the bottom three cubbies off to use for another project which is why I needed the right materials.

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DIY Broom closet insert

I took the two bottom hanging shelves that I had cut off and stapled them to 1 x 1 outdoor patio posts. The plastic support was important to increase the sturdiness.

I placed this in the wardrobe to hold cleaning supplies. I used rubberized hooks to hold it in place on the clothes “rod”. In our camper our “rod” is a metal bracket with triangle holes in it. The vacuum is also held in place with rubberized hooks.

One of the things I love about the camper is the glass fronts on the cabinets. When we were camper shopping my Mom in law had told me how important it was to have cabinets that have big doors so you can put bins in them and get them out easily. Of course she was spot on, I love the kitchen/dining area cabinets.

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I hot glued fairy lights to the ceiling of the cabinets. I made sure to leave enough cord for the battery pack to be taken out and changed. They turn on automatically and stay on for 4 or 8 hours. They give ambience to the camper at night and are great for watching TV.

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I also love the circular corner shower in the bathroom. Beside the shower is a small wall that is at an odd angle. I found an oval trash can with a lid that fit snuggly at the bottom and a small wine rack to hold towels. I installed it using wall anchors. If you look closely you can see that I installed the bolts that attach the two pieces backwards so that the nut does not rub against the wall while we are on the road.

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These were fairly easy installs that I think will increase our storage capacity and accessibility for the upcoming camping season. If you need more detail on how I did anything leave me a comment and I will give you step by step instructions.

Thank you for reading and following my blog.

What do you mean I can’t use the bathroom in the camper?

We arrived at our site last night to find that our grey water and black water outlets had been damaged. This was our first trip that was a distance from our home so of course something had to go wrong. We called Campers Inn where we bought the trailer and again there customer service shines. We will bring the camper in next week for the repair. For now, we are at the Big E, Massachusetts state fair, with no sewage capabilities. 

Luckily we are near the bath house. They are fairly clean but the windows are just chicken wire, no glass so the bathroom is cold. I did a quick evaluation of what I had with me to accommodate our new found independence from water. We had a gallon size jug with a spigot that I use for drinks for the kids that we can fill with water, wet wipes and foaming dish soap. What I don’t have is a bucket for the used water, or do I know where I would dump it except for maybe the dumping station. 

I miss my bathroom!

Glamping campsite

We stayed at Cape cod campground that offers “glamp sites”. These sites come with paved spot for the camper, stone paver patio, stone campfire ring, andorondack chairs and a circular picnic table. The site is manicured with a pine needle ground covering. We arrived in the dark again, our good plans seem to go haywire at the last minute. Some friendly campers across the street turned on ther headlights for us which made things easier. We also discovered that buying two sewer lines does not mean we have the right coupler to join them together. Not a big problem as the store at the campground had what we needed in the morning. The problem with arriving in the dark is you don’t know what the area looks like until morning. Wow it was beautiful. We are camped across from a nice pond underneath beautiful aged tree. We are around the corner from the dog park so the puppypies were thrilled. Our baby girl joined us on this trip, and got to spend some quality time with Dad. Can remember last time they were able to do that. Mom and I enjoyed time together too. Yes that included movies and napping. At night we had the obligatory Smores, nummy. The chairs and fire pit made it so easy and comfortable. Our oldest son and daughter in law were able to join us later in the evening. What a wonderful day. 

This trip I brought an old tin bucket that I had spray painted. It is big enough to hold a gallon size zip lock bags. I am using this to hold our organic trash such a peels and scraps while we are preparing dinner. I can zip it closed so the smell doesn’t get into the trailer while we eat dinner then it can go to the dumpster with the rest of the trash.  

You can also see in the background, what we call in the south, a salt pig. This is a magnetic craft tin that I have stuck to the stove filled with sea salt.

Camper storage ideas.

My mother in law stores a years worth of supplies in her RV. I used her inspiration to put together these ideas for our weekend camper.

I put our silverware, straws, napkins in a basket that can be stowed in a cabinet when we are underway and live on the table when we are set up. 

I got the placemats on clearance one dollar for a dozen. I use them in cabinets and under anything that sits on something. They are thicker than shelf paper and come in multiple colors.

Shoe bins from Ikea were in the clearance section. I have several of these that I keep food in. At the end of our trip they come out of the cabinet in the camper and go into the pantry in our house. I have one I keep spices in and one for zip lock bags and foil. These stack on top of each other like little shelves. The other cubes I fill with what we are using each day. So at the beginning of the day I take out a box and put it on the counter to use. When it’s empty these fold flat and get tucked out of the way.

My office supplies on the road consist of a three ring binder pencil case hung on a command hook. This little bag has come in so useful. It is easy to grab a pen and paper for a list or put the bag on the table for making out notes or a bill. I keep markers and note cards inside and the small outer zipper holds stamps and membership cards.

My daughter in law helped me come up with this idea. My camper only has two drawers and the only breakable dishware are our coffee mugs. We bought plastic  three ring binders at walmart and cut them to fit around the mugs, with the puff placemat to fit underneath. They are snug and easy to get to. We are going to put a cam lock on the top drawer so we can securely hold wallets and purses while we are camping.

We have a cabinet that has an odd shape inside, it is like a V. So we put in a sturdy market basket for our laundry. It is located between the bathroom and bed room so it makes a perfect dumping spot. At the end of our trip I take the basket home and wash everything up then use the basket to bring everything back to the trailer.

The cabinet under our bathroom sink is only 7 inches deep. I found this closetmaid mini cubicle on Amazon’s warehouse deals for 10 buck. It had scratches on the outside bottom panel that you can’t see and fits the cabinet perfectly.

Another brilliant idea from my daughter in law. The cups are velcroed to the shelves. Depending on who is camping we stack up the unused cups which leaves space for the small makeup bags we bring on the trip. There are a few cups with no names for guests. On the bottom shelf I have a bag full of sunscreen, a small nail kit and a bag of beauty samples just for fun.

We are still figuring out how to best use the space we have, I’ll share as new ideas come along.