Here are a few hints gleaned from years of experience:
Remember to camp responsibly. Protect the vegetation, water quality and the camp's appearance. Strain dishwater and dispose properly. Look for micro-trash; leave the site cleaner than you found it.
Keeping the cooler cool is a challenge. Freeze all food items you can. Freeze liquids in milk jugs, they’ll keep things cool and you can drink the contents later in the trip. You can freeze eggs, out of the shell, if you’re going to scramble or cook with them. Take block ice, wrap and tape it in scrap neoprene or in newspaper and plastic, then freeze it and it’ll last much longer. Dry ice works well in a cooler with all frozen foods; wrap it well in newspaper. On longer trips, pack coolers in order of use; duct tape the lid seam and don’t open until needed. Cover the cooler in an absorbent material kept wet for evaporative cooling or with a reflective “space blanket”. Using these tricks we’ve kept food safe for many hot summer days.
Avoid tying off boats to live vegetation. Instead use rock, stumps, a sand stake, or bury a paddle, camp shovel, etc. But do remember to tie off the boat!
If you haven’t tried a headlamp for camp use, they’re great – point where you’re looking and leave your hands free. Quit roughing it; bring a real pillow and a nice sleeping pad. Don’t forget the tent ground cloth. Many water sources are contaminated; a water purifier/filter is getting to be a must if you can’t pack all your drinking/cooking water.
Riley Baxter of Andy and Bax, an NRS dealer in Portland, has a good idea. Tape an inventory sheet on the inside of your dry/kitchen box lid. This keeps you from forgetting something. When you see you are running low on an item, a check mark or note will remind you to replenish the box when you get home.
Have fun in camp! A horseshoe set (they make plastic ones) and volleyball and net (oars make fine poles) don’t take up much room. Consider a summer Halloween party; let folks know ahead of time so they can bring costumes. Talent contests can be a hoot. Bring Tiki Torches. Rocks are usually plentiful and can be used in some great contests. Be creative!
Last, but not least, don’t forget the toilet paper! And make sure it’s in something waterproof.