Good morning! Practical luxuries-2 words that usually don’t go together. But some of our favorite camping items are practical items that serve a purpose, but are still luxuries. We could do without them, we don’t really need them, but I’m glad we have them.
Camping can be a frugal way to enjoy your family and nature. A borrowed tent, blankets and pillows from the bed and hotdogs over the campfire can be a great frugal camping weekend.
But camping can also be very expensive. There are sooo many fun gadgets and cute accessories that it is easy to think I need them to camp. While I try to be frugal and limit spending, there are a few items we use that are luxuries (who needs an igloo with wheels?), but are still practical, useful camping items. Some of them are so useful that I wish we had bought them sooner!
5 Practical Luxuries
1. Pie Iron/Marshmallow Stick Bag
I love cooking and experimenting over the campfire. But cooking over the fire means soot. Lots of black, messy soot. While I wash or wipe out the inside of the pie irons, I don’t clean the outsides often.
Thankfully, the pie iron bag contains all the sooty pie irons and pointy marshmallow sticks, keeping everything in one place and keeping soot off everything else in the outside cubbies. Now, if I could just keep it off of me!
Since I could use a grocery bag instead, the pie iron bag is definitely a luxury. But it is a very sturdy luxury with a zipper and handles! And it holds an amazing amount of pie irons and marshmallow sticks!
2. Led Lantern
While we have a propane lantern and many flashlights, my favorite is the led lantern. It was a gift a few years ago and I had never seen one like it before. It is safe, long lasting and amazingly versatile.
There are no globes, mantles, propane tanks or even kerosene to worry about with the battery powered lantern. I love kerosene lamps, but use them at home, where it is safer.
It does take 8 D flashlight batteries, but we haven’t replaced any of them yet. My sister used it after arriving to the campground after dark. The lantern was handy and bright, sitting on a picnic table, while they set up a tent. They were surprised it lasted so long.
I also love the 4 removable panels. They are like mini-flashlights with rechargeable batteries that you can grab when you don’t need the whole lantern. They are perfect for an after-dark campground stroll, or a quick walk to the restroom.
In our camper, the whole lantern tucks in next to the stairs. I always know where it is, it is not in the way, and since it is right across from the door- I can even grab it while standing outside.
3. Ceramic Heater
As I sit outside, on this breezy, rainy, 63 degree morning, I could almost use this practical luxury-even though I am at home! It would be a beautiful camping morning, unlike the 90 plus degree weekends we have been having!
Summer is definitely not the time for a ceramic heater, but fall and spring are. I love camping in the cooler brisk weather, but sometimes the nights are cold.
Most campers have furnaces, but there are several advantages to using the ceramic heater. This ceramic heater is similar to ours, which we bought many years ago. Like ours, it also has a thermostat (to set the temperature) but also has a knock over safety which we would have liked to have.
One advantage is being able to move it and localize the heat. Our 5th wheel bedroom is smaller and higher than the rest of the camper, so it stays warmer. If we used the furnace to keep the high ceilinged living room warm, the kids would be comfortable sleeping-but I would cook! Many nights, we are able to just use one ceramic heater for their room and everyone is comfortable.
Using the ceramic heater also saves money on propane. Since we pay for the electricity with our camping fees, we save money on propane by using the electric ceramic heater. At the campground, just like at home, I try to be frugal and conserve energy. We are comfortable, but we don’t overheat the camper or waste electricity.
4. X-chock wheel stabilizers
Campers can wiggle. Walking around or even rolling over in bed can make the camper shake. The husband uses the leveling jacks and braces on the front and back of the camper, but his favorite are the x-chock wheel stabilizers that fit between the tires. They are easy to place between the tires and tighten with the wrench.
It is important to check prices. We were able to be frugal when we bought our wheel stabilizers. Single stabilizers were on sale, making them cheaper than the double set. They also each came with a wrench, so we have a wrench in the outside cubbies on each side of the camper.
The wiggle wasn’t too bad with the leveling jacks and braces, but x-chock stabilizers have reduced it. With the kids walking around and the grandbaby running everywhere, they really make a difference.
5. Igloo on Wheels
Sometimes it is hard being an older (though not quite extinct) camper. Even though I don’t like it, my body reminds me that I am getting older and can’t do everything I used to do. My elbows especially don’t like to carry heavy items any more. Thankfully my all-time favorite practical luxury helps me!
A 5 gallon water cooler is a heavy item. Since we don’t drink from our camper tanks, we take a large igloo of water every time we camp. This means filling and hauling a heavy igloo. While the husband doesn’t understand “Just ask the kids to haul the igloo for you”, I am glad to be able to use the wheelie igloo.
When we bought it a few years ago, I didn’t want a new igloo; but we had to replace our old one. I couldn’t get the lid on properly and water would slosh out everywhere as ‘we’ carried it. Wet clothes and wet carpet are not fun when trying to carry an awkward water cooler.
I really didn’t want the more expensive igloo with wheels (not frugal), but the husband wanted to try it. Of course he’s always right, now I’m glad we bought it. I love it!
After filling the igloo with water, I can use the long handle and wheel it through the house, along the sidewalk and across a small gravel section to the camper. No wet clothes or wet carpet-yeah!
Since it sits on the camper kitchen counter, we try to keep the wheels clean. So, we haven’t wheeled it across grass, sand or much gravel. It does work great for me though, and my elbows appreciate the rest!
My Top 5 Practical Luxuries were not on my ‘to buy’ list, but I am very glad we bought them. While this post is not a review, it is my personal opinion and may differ from yours. This post was not sponsored or paid for in any way; in fact we have had and enjoyed these items for many years.
Camping can be a frugal, family fun activity. But there are also many fun, and expensive, accessories for camping. While I try to be frugal, there are a few luxury items I do enjoy when camping. Some of them add comfort, make life easier or are useful and cute (like the lantern!). I hope our list gives you some ideas of useful practical, though still luxury, items to make camping easier.
Happy Camping (or wheeling the water around)!