Thursday, June 30, 2011

Family Camping: Dishes

One of the things that I have struggled with when taking my family camping is dishes. If I buy paper or plastic ware then I spend the majority of my camping trip chasing down plastic cups and paper plates and I swear that my family of 7 can easily got through a 100 pack of cups and plates on a 4 day camping trip and that gets expensive really fast. I have tried using washable plastic ware and always wind up with a huge pile of dishes to wash. NOT my idea of a relaxing camping vacation! So I was thrilled when I found this idea for individual mess kits and washing stations.

So here's what you need:
1 Nylon Mesh Bag (like a garment bag) per person
1 Washable Plastic Plate per person
1 Washable Plastic Bowl per person
1 Washable Plastic Cup per person
1 Washable Plastic Fork per person
1 Washable Plastic Spoon per person
1 Washable Plastic Knife per person
1 Strong Clothes Pin per person
2 Scrubbie Sponges or Brushes
1 Bottle of Dish Soap
1 Nylon Rope (to hang between trees as a drying line)
3 Plastic Buckets, large enough to fully submerge the plastic plates.
1 Large Rubbermaid Tote, Large enough to fit everything in.

Here's how it all works....
Label each dish, bag and clothes pin with a family members name. Use a marker or sticker that is waterproof. Setup the three buckets just before dinner. You'll line them up in a row. Fill the first bucket with plain warm water and a scrubbie sponge or brush. Fill the second bucket with hot water and add dish soap & a scrubbie sponge or brush. Fill the last bucket with cool plain water. Hang the rope between two trees. After dinner, each family member will scrub & rinse their dishes in the first bucket, scrub & wash their dishes in the second bucket, rinse their dishes in the last bucket, put all the wet dishes in their bag and using the clothes pin, secure it to the rope to hang dry until your next meal.

As an after note: I assign each child to a chore throughout the day. One of the children will be responsible for washing the meal preparation dishes, after everyone has washed their meal dishes and another child will be responsible for cleaning out the washing buckets when everyone is through.

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