8 Tips to make your tent camping a great experience.

For those who want to take a break from the routine and experience the great outdoors and commune with nature, tent camping is a wonderful option!

Tent camping is great for a weekend getaway to the mountains, lake or even the beach. Here are eight tips to help make it a great experience:

1. Buy the right sized tent.  A family or group of four with a tent that  accommodates six will have plenty of extra room for backpacks, or to just stretch out. Visit Amazon.com, or Kmart.com for a variety of tent styles, sizes and prices.

2. Choose a tent campsite that is well shaded. A tent that is constantly in the sun will hold heat like an oven, making the tent unbearable. Find a nice place near a tree where your tent will be in the shade for most of the afternoon if possible.

3. Research the campgrounds. Find out what's activities are available at the tent campgrounds. Some offer nearby swimming pools, or fishing, or nature walks at night. Many campgrounds websites have photos with a view of each campsite. Get  information on the site before making the reservations.

4. Invest in an air mattress. Even after clearing the site of sticks and rocks before pitching the tent, the ground can still be very hard and uncomfortable. Waking up with aches and pains on the trip is not fun! An air mattress or airbed will help make sleeping more comfortable. Both manual and electric pumps are available online.

5. Bring a portable camping stove or grill. Both propane and charcoal stoves and grills are available but propane is more convenient to use. Cold weather or strong winds can make it difficult to light a charcoal grill, but with propane the fire is lit with a strike of the match. Either stove or grill are handy for preparing food, heating water or making the morning coffee.

6. Bring food that's easy to prepare. Burgers and hot dogs are good choices for grilling on an open fire. There are also many dehydrated foods available that are very tasty. These meals only need hot water and are easy to pack and prepare. Peanut and jelly sandwiches are also easy and make a good meal the for the last day of the trip when supplies and ice are low.

7. Have fun! Board games are a great way to have fun together. Something as simple a frisbee or football toss seem more fun when in nature's backyard. Binoculars and cameras are great for hiking adventures.

8. Cleaning tips - Bring a small plastic or metal tub for washing dishes. To help keep the tent clean, try to remember to take your shoes off before entering the tent. This helps keeps dirt, leaves, and other debris outside.

Have a great trip!