Helpful Hints for a Tidy Campsite

Written by Stacie Simpson


Yes, camp is a place to get messy, but keeping things tidy can make a big difference when trying to pack up, unpack, or keep critters out. Test out these strategies and add your own favorites in the comments.

Keep your cookware clean(er)

  • If you’re cooking a meal in a pot or heating water, rub liquid soap on the outside of the pot before cooking to more easily clean off the black residue the fire leaves behind.
  • Take your time and wait for the coals. Food is less likely to burn when evenly heated by coals.

Plan out your dish-washing station

  • Add a trash can and a scraper to the beginning of the dishwashing line. This will keep your dishwater from getting gross long before dishes are done.
  • Dispose of your dishwater at least 200 ft (about 70 adult paces) from both your campsite and any nearby water sources. This will help keep away critters interested in any floating food.

Keep sleeping areas tidy

  • Consider a “Golden Dustpan Award”. Spray paint any old metal dustpan to make it gold and award the honor each day to the tidiest cabin or tent. Encourage things that keep critters out and prevent lost items, like having bags zipped close.
  • Make sure your girls have a packing list. They can even help you create it. Depending on the trip, you might need to limit the amount of baggage girls can bring. Keeping girls and families in-the-know will help them pack more of what they need, and less of what they don’t.

Keep activity areas and bathrooms clean

  • Set a kapers routine. Your length of stay, your activities, and your girls will determine how frequently the girls need to do kapers. Starting a routine during even your first, short campouts will help your girls see it as a natural structure as they grow.

Keep girls clean

  • Take note of a girl’s clothing. Some girls don’t have any interest in changing their clothes regularly, or out of their pajamas. You may need to prompt them for this task if you noticed today’s outfit looks similar to yesterday’s.
  • Girls, especially the young ones, sometimes struggle keeping their hair free of knots and snarls. The longer knots stay, the more painful they are to get out. If you notice your group getting a little tangled, hair brushing and braiding time can be a fun and chill activity.
  • If your campsite is lucky enough to have shower facilities and you’re making use of them, make sure girls know how to turn them on and off before shower time starts. A strange new shower can be tricky or just quite different to what girls are used to at home.
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Stacie is the Principal Consultant at Stacie Simpson Consulting, the editor of All Things Girl Scouts, the creator and hostess of the All Things Girl Scouts podcast, a lifetime member for 25+ years, and Gold Award Girl Scout. Stacie lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her family and dog named RuGBY. She loves black coffee and warm sunshine.