By Lorraine Shoemaker

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The secret to stress free camping is in the planning and preparation. Think first of what type of camping you will be doing and where.  Then, make a list of what you think you will need (there are several sites online to download a basic checklist). Make your master list as specific as possible. Then, set your list aside for a day and go over the list again- until you are sure you’ve included everything you will need.

Keeping in mind that you will have limited storage space, go back over your list and eliminate all kitchen gadgets.  You’ll find that you will only use the most basic utensils and pots/pans- those time saving gadgets take up a lot of precious  space.

Food is another area that takes up a lot of space. Most often  you can find a grocery store close to where you are going. Keep groceries to a minimum while  on the road. Remove foods  you  do take with you from bulky packaging and put them into plastic ziplock bags. You can use collapsible coolers as well.

Take a minimum of clothing, rolled up and put into a cloth or duffle bag. Many camping facilities have laundries on site or nearby.

Limit one gallon sized ziplock bag per person for toiletries and accoutrements.

Instead of books and full sized games, think Kindle, travel sized games and card games. Don’t bring movies and video games-you can do that at  home. Tell stories and sing around the campfire, gaze at the stars – enjoy nature!