7 Fall Camping Hacks

It’s almost here…sweater weather. 

We compiled these 7 Fall Camping Hacks to help you make the most of your time in the great outdoors! The temperatures may be dropping, but our love of camping isn’t.

Get outside and enjoy the season with these 7 Fall Camping Hacks!

1. Put clothes in your sleeping bag.

Put your next day’s clothes in the bottoms of your sleeping bag with you overnight to keep them warm with your body heat. Bundles of clothes can also make a decent pillow.

2. Cuddle with a water bottle.

A great fall camping hack is to put some boiling water in a durable water bottle (a popular quality brand is Nalgene) and place it at the bottom of your sleeping bag before you go to sleep to keep your feet warm. Be sure to give it a few minutes to cool or insulate it by wrapping it in a shirt or some other solid fabric to protect your skin.

3. Bring headlights.

With shorter days comes less daylight. Having a headlight or similar lamp allows you to still move around and get stuff done with access to both of your hands. Bring extra batteries!

4. Stay moving.

When it gets chillier during the day, keeping yourself moving is essential for keeping up your body temperature and keeping your blood flowing. Go for a hike, enjoy campground activities, and take a walk or do some jumping jacks before bed to warm your body before settling in for the night.

fall camping hacks

5. Always have extra socks.

It’s always good to have extra socks when camping, but especially in the colder months. Not only is it helpful to layer up for extra warmth, but socks can mistakenly get wet, especially if left out overnight and covered in cold morning condensation. Plan ahead!

6. Use hand sanitizer.

Yes, it’s great for personal hygiene. But hand sanitizer can also be an effective fire starter if you find yourself short on fuel this fall. Stay clean, and stay warm!

7. Get glow sticks.

Glow sticks are both functional and fun for the kids. Placing glow sticks in certain spots can make your campsite easier to navigate at night and help you easily find the places and things you need around your camp.

Have any other good fall camping hacks? 

Let us know in the comments.

And check out our campsite availability to schedule your fall camping trip today! We’d love to have you camp with us at Small Country Campground!

Camping Hacks: Easy Camp Meals

Camping Meals that are Ready in a Flash!

Camping is all about enjoying the great outdoors and all of the hiking, swimming, and other activities it offers. Those activities, however, are sure to work up an appetite. When most people think of campfire meals they generally think of hotdogs on a stick and s’mores, but there is so much more that you can whip up while enjoying the great outdoors. When cooking by the campfire the easier the better. Here are some camping cooking recipes that are sure to be crowd pleasers for everyone in the tent!

  • Hobo Dinners

    • Hobo dinners are straight from the summer camp cookbook. The beauty with these in that you can really put whatever you want in them. The gist is that you put all of the desired ingredients cook everything in tin foil. Add ground beef, shredded cheese, onions, corn or whatever else you prefer. Add taco seasoning to give it a Mexican kick or add green onions and soy sauce for an Asian flair. Tin foil is your best friend out in the woods!


  • Fireside Pancakes

    • For a no fuss easy breakfast, try mixing your pancake batter before you get to the campsite. Clean out a used squeeze type bottle (ketchup bottle works great) and fill it will pancake mix for easy dispensing. All you need is a frying pan, a spatula, and some oil for the pan.


  • Easy Low Country Boil

    • A low country boil is the perfect prep meal that can feed a crowd. Throw in some shrimp,sausage, corn, red baby potatoes, and onions into a pot full of boiling waterand just add some OldeBay Seasoning. It all cooks in one pot and can feed a crowd.


  • Crescent Rolls on a Stick

    • Did you know that you could make your favorite side dish without an oven? Take the dough and wrap it around a clean stick or skewer. Hold it over the fire and watch the dough change right before your eyes.


  • Banana Boats

    • Make an easy desert by wrapping a banana in tin foil and roasting it over thefire. Add whatever toppings you want, chocolate chips, nuts, marshmallows. Slice open the banana and stuff it withyour favorite toppings and then roast it until it is melty and delicious!


  • S’mores with a Twist

    • Make your favorite campfire desert a different way by making s’mores dip. Grease a cast iron skillet and layer chocolate and marshmallows in the pan and place it over the fire until melty and bubbly. Once it is ready just take graham crackers and scoop it like a dip!

Camping Packing Hacks!

Packing for camping: Fit more into every space!


Help your camping experience go smoothly and bring the right things with you.
Being prepared is key to a successful camping trip. And we all know that less is more in the great outdoors.  Whether you have an RV or are committed to tent camping, the less stuff to haul makes every trip more enjoyable.


 Here are some helpful tips on how to pack all you will need in the most efficient way possible.


    • Waterproof your Matches


  •  Wet and/or broken matches are of no good to anyone on a camping trip. Storing matches in a plastic box keeps them from getting crushed. You can also waterproof your matches by dipping the head of them in melted candle wax. They are still able to strike against the box but are protected from moisture.


  • Rolling it Out!

    • When packing up your clothes for a camping trip getting everything as compact as possible is key. Instead of folding your clothes, try rolling them to save space.


  • Powder Drink Mixes

    • Instead of lugging around different bottles of your favorite drink bring powdered mixes to add into water. Most campsites have access to water, so just bring a reusable bottle and make whatever drink you desire! If you don’t have a water source you would still only need to bring jugs of water to sip on!
  • DYI Lantern

    • Put that jug of water to another use by strapping a head lamp to it. This creates an instant light source that is sure to illuminate your tent.


  • DYI Ice Packs

    • Freeze gallon size jugs full of water and store in the cooler to serve as ice packs. They will stay cool for a while in the freezer and then can be used for drinking water when melted (Moral of the story save your gallon size jugs and reuse them!)


  • Premade Food Mixes

    • To made fireside meals easier, prepare food mixes such as eggs and pancake mix in advance. Instead of lugging all of the ingredients to the site or trying to protect a delicate carton of eggs, premake pancake mix and beaten eggs and store it in recycled water bottles for easy storage, pour, and clean up!

  • DYI Firestarter

    • Make your own Firestarter by stuffing toilet paper rolls with left over dryer lint. This upcycle DYI is sure to get your campfire going!


  • Keep it Spicy

    • Camping in the wilderness shouldn’t mean bland food. Bring along all of the spices you need by storing them in plastic straws. Clamp and melt one end of the straw with a lighter and fill with the desired spice and repeat at the other end. This keeps the spices contained neatly and more compact to carry around.
  • Dorito Hack

    • If you are in a pinch and need a fire starter, Nacho Cheese Doritos work well as a way to get your campfire going. Plus they double as a snack!
  • Single Use Soap

    • If you don’t want to use the same bar of soap for the entire trip but also don’t want to lug around hand/ body soap make some single use soap peels. Take a bar of soap and a potato peeler and shave off little soap curls. Store them in a Ziploc bag and use them for handwashing, or for bathing.

Here are some more camping hacks that will make your time more enjoyable!


26 Badass Camping Hacks For Your Next Trip

Autumn Campfire Like a Boss

Autumn Campfire like a Boss

A primer on all campfire basics.  


As the nights grow long, as dusk creeps in, as the weather brings a chilly nip in the air, it becomes the perfect time to gather with family and friends around a campfire.

Campfires bring special moments into ordinary days.  Giving us a chance to pause, gather, visit, laugh, sing, and reflect.  The smell of wood smoke hovering through crisp autumn air matches the sound of leaves crunching under your shoes.  Follow the ideas and basics below to make the most of your campfire moments.

Campfire Basics: (for campgrounds)

  1.       Use designated sites and fire rings (verify with the campground that fires are permitted, due to weather, sometimes regulations change the time when fires can be burned)
  2.       Gather Tinder, Kindling, and Firewood (again, when you are at a campground, verify that you can gather yourself, or find out where fire components are available)
  • Tinder – small twigs, dry leaves, pine needles
  •  Kindling – small sticks (smaller than your pinky finger)
  • Firewood – pieces of wood the size of your thumb or larger
  1.       Loosely build your fire structure.  The teepee or log cabin configurations always work best for me.
  2.       Light your fire.  Gently blow air on the tinder/kindling to help the flames take hold.  As the fire burns,  move the embers to the middle of the fire to burn them completely.
  3.       Never leave your fire unattended.
  4.       When your evening is complete, gently sprinkle water over the embers, stir the embers.  Continue until the fire is out and the ashes are cool to the touch.  Be certain that your fire is completely extinguished before leaving the area.

If you are not in a campground, or you want even more information, REI has a great primer on building campfires.

Campfire Snacks – Nom, nom, nom

Light snacks are always welcome as you sit around the fire.

  1.       Popcorn—This is easy to make in advance and bring along with you.  Or if you want to try to pop it on the fire, find out how here. It is fun and a great addition to marshmallows and hot dogs.   (I might make some in advance anyway, in case popping is problematic) Provide some great mix-ins like pretzels, M&M’s, raisins, nuts, dried fruit, coconut, bacon, cheese cubes.  Munch and enjoy.
  2.       Hobo soup – Build your fire with a grate for cooking.   Place a heavy-duty pot on the grate.  Have each person bring a can of soup.  Open all soup and pour them all into the pot.  Heat through, add water if necessary.  Rinse cans and serve soup directly in the cans* with a spoon.   This is a fun and tasty way to stay warm.   *Watch for sharp edges on the cans.
  3.       S’mores — I don’t know how you have a campfire without these fun treats.  But to bring some new fun to the traditional flavor, try these ideas to create flavor-filled combinations.  In fact, provide a combination of these and have a “cooking” competition to see who can come up with the most flavorful combo.
  • Use cookies, brownies, biscuits, or donuts instead of Graham crackers. Even apples sliced around the middle will work.
  • Use different chocolate bars such as peanut butter cups, sea salt caramel, dark chocolate.
  • Use a spread instead of chocolate – Nutella, caramel spread, peanut butter, lemon curd, jelly can all work
  • Add fruit to the mix.  Sliced strawberries, peaches, pineapple, oranges, apples can all make combinations that are different and tasty.        

Campfire Fun – Wonderful and Wacky ideas

Remember the benefits of connection with some fun games you don’t play every day.

  1.   Telephone – An oldie but a goodie.  And great for groups of 8 or more.  In addition, all ages can play, and generational differences can add a variety of different cultural references to the game.  To Play: A person quietly whispers the message to another person. This secret message is passed from one person to another until the last person announces it to the entire group. Thanks to the errors that usually arise in the retellings, hilarity usually ensues.
  2.   The Winking Assassin — A great game to play with pre-teen and up.  To Play:  One player is the Godfather.  Players close their eyes and the Godfather secretly taps one of the other players on the shoulder. This player becomes the “assassin.”  Everyone opens their eyes and begins to wander around chatting.  The “assassin” secretly winks at players.  As soon as someone is winked at, they must sit down, and they are out of the game. When someone thinks they know who the “assassin” is they say, “He/She’s the winker!”  But if they are wrong, they are out of the game.  The winner gets to be the Godfather for the next round.
  3.   Campfire Songs Silly songs are a campfire tradition, if only for an excuse for excessive bad singing in silly voices.  If you can’t handle 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, try these fun, quick songs.

o   Apples and Bananas –

 I like to eat; I like to eat

I like to eat apples and bananas

I like to eat; I like to eat

I like to eat apples and bananas

Repeat changing all the vowels to a,e,i,o,u

o   The Name Game – Use names around the fire. (example uses Katie)

 Katie, Katie, bo-batie,

 Banana-fana fo-fatie



o   Do-Do-Run-Run – I always like this song because the hook is so fun to sing.  And if you are creative, it also lends itself easily to lyric improvisation.  Full Lyrics here.  

  1.   Spooky Scary Stories – Later in the evening, a spooky story will leave you with chills from more than just the temperature.  Find a great list here.


Checklist: How to Beat the Heat

If you are going camping during the summer, it is important to always consider that the weather can be extremely hot at times. Staying cool when camping in the summer is not just a matter of comfort. Doing so can help avoid developing heat stroke, dehydration and other potentially deadly complications.

We’ve collected a super cool-you-down checklist for your next hot summer camping day!


Water Based Activities

Small Country offers gorgeous Lake Ruth Ann, our giant lake toys, two sand beaches, boats for rent, as well as a pool for your water based activities on hot summer days, sure to cool you down. Even take a cold shower!

Find Shade

A classic way to try to beat the heat is to get out of the sun and find shade. At Small Country, where we are surrounded by many mature and gorgeous trees, your shady hideout should not be hard to find!

Keep Hydrated

Perspiration draws water out of your body, which must be replaced frequently. Don’t forget to frequently hydrate – water, sports drinks, electrolytes all will help replenish your body. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  No, I’m not the fun police.  However, cold water will do a much better job at cooling you in a heat wave.

A Cooling Head Towel

Soak a towel or bandana in ice water and wrap it around your neck or head. This will also work if you dip your hat or cap in ice water. For a towel with some advanced cooling technology – check out the Enduracool towel – according to Mission, the Enduracool towels cools to 30 degrees below your average body temperature. The claim is that their technology causes the water molecules to circulate in a way that causes them to be cooler and evaporate slower, not to mention the camo bandana makes you look like a total badass.

A Misting System

A misting system can help keep cool you trough evaporative cooling on hot days in camp or on the go. A misting system is as simple as bringing a spray bottle along with you on your outdoor adventures and spraying cold water on your face when you need relief.

Repurpose Your Ice Packs

Ice packs are commonly used to either keep your drinks or lunch cold, but they are actual dual-use products that you can put on your body to cool you down. As long as the pack is kept insulated, there is no reason why putting an ice pack on your forehead or the back of your neck won’t cool you down.

Don’t Forget HeadGear & Mind What You Wear

Wearing a lightweight brimmed hat is great to help keep the sun off your face. Hats with flaps on the sides and back also can help you keep the sun off your neck and ears, and cool you down in the process. Wear light colors and light, breathable fabrics.  Try flowing cottons and linens.

Fans and Fan Ideas

Use battery-operated fans. Place a bowl of ice in front of it for even cooler air.

And don’t forget that at Small Country – there are cool drinks available at the shop. Keep cool and keep safe this summer!!!

Top Repellant Ideas for Camping: Mosquitoes

We’ve collected the best of the best advice on how to repel mosquitoes during your camping trip.

Take a look at our exhaustive list below and pick a few options to add to your gear on your next trip!

Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Mosquitoes just don’t like these oils, so when you put them on your skin they won’t like you either. Mix a half teaspoon of lemon eucalyptus essential oil with a cup of water in your spray bottle and apply to your skin as you would any other spray repellant.

Destroy their Breeding Sites

The most effective method of warding off mosquitoes is to identify and destroy their breeding sites. Locate the sources of standing water within a radius of several miles. Mosquitoes prefer still water for laying eggs and usually steer clear from aerated or circulating water. Common sources of standing water include: puddles, buckets, bird baths, rain gutters, downspouts, ditches, garbage cans.

Introduce Natural Predators

The gambusia fish, also known as the western mosquitofish, eats mosquito larvae. Dragonflies are a top predator of mosquitoes – dragonfly larvae live in the water and feed on mosquito larvae, and adult dragonflies eat adult mosquitoes. Other species with an appetite for mosquitoes include ants, ground beetles, spiders, water striders, frogs and snails. Birds such as purple martins and bats have also play a role in managing insect populations, including mosquitoes.

Use Your Garden

Some gardeners swear by certain types of geranium plants to keep mosquitoes at bay. Others grow lemon thyme and lemongrass to yield oils that are supposed to serve as effective insect repellents. Other herbal remedies recommended for battling mosquitoes include mountain mint and even basil.

Citronella Candles

Citronella candles, which contain oil made from lemon-scented plants that are native to Asia, have long been used for this purpose. Citronella is an oil that is considered a natural insect repellant. Many companies make candles infused with citronella oil and a few lit candles can be effective around camp. Though they aren’t typically strong enough to ward away the masses, citronella candles do minimize the bugs.

Catnip Oil

Scientists have also reported that oils found in catnip can be effective at repelling mosquitoes.

Light Colored Clothing

Put on light-colored, loose clothing (mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors). 

Electric Fan

Nothing beats an old-school house fan. It’s clear that mosquitoes avoid flying through a 10-mile-per-hour airstream. The fan also provides steady wind while diluting and dispersing the carbon dioxide you exhale — a major chemical known to attract mosquitoes. However, fan control solutions may be difficult at campsites without electricity.Mosquitoes can fly but they are terrible at it. You can use that to your advantage by using a fan and blowing it across the area where you will be sitting. It should be just enough to disrupt their flying and they will avoid the area because they feel off balance. If you don’t have electricity, hope for a good, steady breeze.


Lavender has considered a natural insect repellant and a number of sunscreens have lavender oils for a little-added bug protection.

Avon’s Skin so Soft

Avon’s Skin So Soft products are considered by many people to be the most effective insect repellant that does not contain DEET.

Raw Garlic

Garlic is also thought to ward the bugs away, but you’ll have to eat a lot of raw cloves to see any results. Many people swear that garlic steers bugs away from them. It doesn’t hurt to try, so why not add a few extra cloves of garlic to your dinner!

Insect Repellant Clothing

A few outdoor clothing companies make clothing with insect repellent in the fabric. These shirts actually work well. You can also by a wash and treat your own clothing. The advantage of wearing treated clothing is that you don’t have to put toxic creams or sprays on your skin.

Mosquito Coil

Mosquito coils can also be effective around your campsite. The pyrethrum-infused coils emit a repelling scent and smoke. A few coils placed strategically can help decrease the mosquitos.

Mosquito Repellent Lantern

There are camping lanterns that are customized for insect repelling. A removable cartridge on these lanterns emits a scent that fights the bugs and keeps them away from the lantern’s vicinity. These insect repelling lanterns have removable cartridges that need to be replaced.

Screen Room

When all else fails, the clothing, the repellant, candles, coils and lanterns just won’t keep the bugs away, consider a screen room. Try to purchase a screen that has openings that zipper from the bottom up and are located in the centre. The D-opening style I would not recommend if you are a family with small children, as they are a tripping hazard. Remember to make sure the entire bottom of the tent is sitting flush on the ground. Place rocks on the lower flap. Mosquitoes are heat seekers, so even the tiniest of holes allows them to enter.


Not only is coconut practically the official smell of summer, but it’s also said to be a natural bug repellant. Use coconut soap to wash yourself, and finish up by rubbing coconut oil into your skin. Bugs should steer clear, and your skin will be gloriously soft.

Be Smell-less

Aside from a little coconut, you should aim to smell like nothing at all. Bugs love our fragrant perfumes, colognes, shampoos, shaving creams, deodorant… the list goes on. Opt for unscented products to blend into the environment as well as possible.


The number one chemical product on the market is NN-Diethyl – Meta-Tolumide or as we know it “Deet”. Although it is harsh in smell, Deet does work wonders.

Pure Peppermint Oil

Natural Peppermint oil can be dabbed directly on skin, clothing, picnic table, umbrellas, tent‘s or wherever you need protection.

17 Genius Camping Uses for Everyday Items

When you’re spending time in nature, these genius uses for everyday items will lighten your load and increase your comfort.

Weather has been fantastic for camping, and the season is ramping up. As families pack up their gear and hit the road, these genius uses of everyday items for camping might be a list to keep in mind!

Over the years, our campers have come up with some creative solutions while camping! Space is always a premium, but more and more thought has gone into some really inventive ways to enjoy your time in nature.

We’re finding the trends towards minimalism – away from the burden of too many material possessions and towards a simple, authentic, enjoyable family experience in all the fun that nature has to offer – is growing in the hearts and minds of folks around us like wild fire.

Along those lines, we thought we might share a few of our family favorites – genius camping uses for everyday items.

Zip Ties

Keep items tightly packed so they use less space. Use to attach a snare just about anywhere, giving  you more flexibility with this trapping method.Make handcuffs, in a pinch. Repair backpacks, straps, tents, clothing. Close pant legs around the ankles to protect against ticks, snakebites, and mosquitoes. Attach items to packs, bags, or shelters.

Tin Can

Storing and organizing other things as well? Screws, nails, sand, herbs, matches, utensils.


Trash Bag

To keep supplies dry, put your clothes, food, water-sensitive gear, etc. in a trash bag in order to keep them protected from the rain. Use it as an apron to stay clean during messy jobs, use to stay warm or even build a shelter!

Dryer Lint

You probably know that you should keep your dryer’s lint trap clean, as lint buildup can pose a fire risk. However, what’s bad for the dryer is good for the campfire: Dryer lint works as excellent tinder if you’re trying to get a fire started.

Aluminum Foil

Crumple it up, and you’ve got an effective tool for scrubbing your camp grill’s grates, scour pots and pans. Wash it and wrap it around your water bottles and canteens for added temperature protection. Used sheets of aluminum foil can line your tackle box to keep moisture out and the rust off your hooks and other gear.


The cornstarch you bring along to thicken your campfire gravies and soups can also be used for personal care. Soothe sunburns or bug bites by creating a paste from water and cornstarch, applying it to the affected area and then rinsing clean. Additionally, cornstarch can absorb oil from hair between showers; simply sprinkle a bit of cornstarch at roots, let it set for a few minutes to absorb the oil and then comb it out.

Shower Curtain & Liner

Use these as tarps or drop cloths at your campsite. If you need tarp for covering luggage stowed on the roof of your RV or spreading on the ground on picnics, old shower curtains save you buying a tarp. 

Liquid Detergent Bottles

Liquid detergent we throw out are often not as empty as we think. They still have a lot of soap sticking to their sides, so why waste? Use them to set up a washing station when camping -  fill with water and you'll have diluted liquid detergent. Place them at one spot with a roll of tissue, a garbage bag, and a basin for collecting water. You can then use the water for washing hands or cleaning dishes.

Newspaper Sleeve

Have your newspaper delivered - wrapped in a plastic sleeve to protect it? Instead of throwing away these newspaper sleeves, you can collect them and use them as disposable work gloves or handy travel bags for wrapping items such as kitchen utensils, toothbrushes, and lotion bottles.

Orange Peel

After eating your oranges, don't throw your orange peels - the natural oil on orange peels is an excellent bug repellant. Rub the inside of the peel against your exposed skin and place the orange peels you have collected near your sleeping spot before retiring for the night. You're sure to have a good night's sleep free from mosquito and other bug bites.

Tic Tac Containers

Camping food doesn’t have to be bland. Common spices such as salt and pepper, or even cinnamon, can be siphoned into these Tic Tac containers. These containers are the perfect size for just a little bit of spice, don’t take up much space, and can be securely sealed to prevent any spillage.


Dryer Sheets

Stick them in your bag to prevent weird smells and stick them underneath the tablecloth to keep bees away!

Tortilla Chips for Kindling

Fire won’t start? Not a problem! Skip the expensive fire starter sticks and reach for a bag of Doritos or Fritos instead. These dense, oily corn chips are easy to light on fire and will last for a long time, making them ideal kindling for starting a fire. Plus, they double as an emergency snack if you get cravings.

Toilet Paper Rolls

Instead of throwing out those cardboard tubes, put them to work as hair tie organizers, extension cord and Christmas light detanglers, and biodegradable starter pots for seedlings. They even work as napkin rings for outdoor parties.

Milk Jug

Fill clean, empty milk jugs with water and freeze it before leaving on your camp trip. Add the jugs to your cooler to save money on ice and keep your food cold for longer. When it melts you can use that water as drinking water for your family.

Duct Tape

Wrap duct tape around your water bottle or a flashlight to save space and also have quick and easy access to it. Duct tape is great for blisters and also can be used to remove ticks.

Head Lamp

Wrap a headlamp around an opaque plastic bottle to make an instant lantern. It can light up your tent by hanging it in the middle of the tent or you can leave it outside to use it at night.


Three Types of Camping Trips & How to Plan Yours

We’re all tired of being cooped up for the winter. If you’re anything like our family, you turn towards planning summer experiences when you’ve had enough! As you plan your quality time to enjoy the outdoors this season — here’s what you need to know to plan your best camping this year!

Avid outdoor enthusiasts are more than ready to hit the road and check out new & favorite camping destinations during peak camping season.  The benefits of camping in our region are plentiful! We feature a variety of terrain, cultures and scenery all available within a relatively short distance of each other.

Peak season is different for each region you visit. The north east has a short camping season, and as you move south down the coast, campsites fill up rapidly as winter approaches since the weather stays warm year round.

The east coast is covered in great campgrounds like Small Country, and all will offer their own special reasons to stay. We like to treat all of our campers like family, and welcome everyone year round. We host multiple family friendly events throughout the seasons! Check out our upcoming events HERE.

The below are the most important things to remember when planning your perfect trip.

The Experience Driven Trip

You might be the type of family that comes to Small Country to bring our your cooler, beach chairs and lake toys and enjoy getting sun all day at the beach of Lake Ruth Ann. In Virginia, our lake is swim ready late April or early May and remains lovely for getting out on a boat through fall.

The experience driven trip is set around your favorite way to play — check out our great ways to play and reserve your time!

The Event Driven Trip

Another type of family plans each year to visit Small Country on holiday weekends like Labor Day weekend. The family – two siblings each with spouse and three kids, and two grandparents, all book their stays months in advance and the festivities each year. The campground serve as a background for something of a family reunion! Not to mention the kids are instant friends with our regular weekenders and other Labor Day families.

The event driven trip can be based on one of our awesome events each year, or another event nearby – like a nearby performance, an anniversary or a birthday!

The Natural Phenomenon Driven Trip

Our family has been thinking through summer travel plans the moment we discovered an upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st – and we decided what a better way to experience its full potential than planning a camping trip around it!  

The natural phenomenon driven trip can be set around a place like a visit to one of our nearby natural wonders, or a specific time like the eclipse, or just to enjoy the night sky and do some planet watching! Just a heads up, eclipse weekend is filling up fast… so plan your stay today!

How to Plan Your Perfect Trip

No matter which type of trip is driving you as set your plans, here are a few steps you need to consider:

Decide Your Way to Stay

There are lots of ways to enjoy Small Country to accommodate any number of group size and experience desires – from a tent site, to spaces for your RV’s, to RV’s for rent. We have for rent cabins, park models with various numbers of bedrooms, and of course our historic three bedroom Manor House! Decide the number in your party and how you want to stay and check availability!  

Decide Your Date Options

Whether it’s an experience, event or natural phenomenon driven trip, your dates will begin to form and you will begin to narrow down your ideal trip options.

Lock In Your Reservation in Advance!!!

Make your reservations as far in advance as possible. It was after we started researching options for the eclipse weekend we realized how quickly sites are reserved in advance!

We look forward to seeing you at Small Country Campground soon, whether for a carefully planned trip, or just for a quick getaway! Feel free to check out our site for more information on ways to stay, ways to play, our upcoming events, what’s near us and availability, and don’t hesitate to give us a ring on any questions!!!


Camping Hack: How to Winterize

At Small Country, we require that you perform winterization your RV in a timely fashion, at the latest by November 15.  The following steps should be taken:

* You must heat tape and pipe wrap your water hose from your trailer to the hose bib and heat tape and pipe wrap the spigot and pipe all the way to the ground.  If you don’t know how to do this, please check with management.

* Make sure your sewer hose does not have any low spots that will hold water and freeze.  Ensure that you have a “donut” in around the sewer hose.

* We also recommend that you skirt your unit which will help prevent potential freezing and water leaks under your trailer this winter.  Use approved skirting ONLY (ask management).  Do not use cardboard boxes, scrap wood, insulation or other such materials.  This campground will not look trashy.

* If you haven’t already made arrangements for a large propane tank, you can call Blossman Propane on 540-832-0090.  If you don’t have a large propane tank, we will assume you are using electric heat and expect you to pay an additional $5/day for electric heat unless you can show that you are using your own propane tanks (receipts required).

* We highly recommend that you keep your parking places and walkways raked, swept or shoveled this fall and winter as the accumulation of leaves will cause slipping and sinking … plus you will carry the leaf trash into your units.  DO NOT put down straw or hay or any other organic material in the parking spots or walkways as that only causes more sinking and slipping.

Read Below for more great and in-depth tips for successfull winterization of your RV!

During snow falls management will endeavor to open the roads as quickly as possible.  Please be patient.  We will NOT shovel your driveway or walkway. This is your community.  We ask that you keep your site clean and neat and that you please don’t throw down cans and bottles or other litter on the campground or on our roads.  We do recycle.  Call or come to the office if you want to report any problem.  Thank you!

Most RVs simply weren’t designed to be used in the winter. They were built for family outings and weekend getaways during the warm months and were intended to be stored away when the weather got too chilly for outdoor picnics. Full-timers are faced with living in their traveling home, whether it is well designed for cold weather or not. Luckily, there are lots of things that you can do to make your RV more comfortable during the colder months.

Let’s start by keeping that cold weather outside and the warm air in. To do this, you need to increase insulation and reduce cold air infiltration. Your windows are a great place to start. Most RV windows are single-pane and many do not seal well. A simple solution is to use shrink film on the insides of your windows. This film is readily available at home supply and hardware stores. It is a clear film that you cut to size and affix to the window frame using double-sided sticky tape. Once the film is stuck down good, you use a hair dryer to shrink it until it is smooth and tight. This not only slightly improves the R factor of the window, it makes the window airtight. This will eliminate those annoying cold drafts and also help reduce condensation on the insides of your windows. After the winter, you simply peel it off and throw it away. Getting the tape residue off the windows can be a bit of a hassle, but rubbing alcohol works well to remove the sticky stuff. It’s a great, inexpensive storm window and is relatively easy to apply. I do almost all of my windows, leaving one window at each end of the rig uncovered so that it can be opened on warmer days.

Now that the windows are covered, let’s think about the roof vents. Most vents really don’t seal well and we all know that warm air rises, so what can we do to stop it? Again, there are lots of possibilities: That same shrink film can be used, or some fiberglass insulation can be cut to fit and held up with a piece of cardboard. There are also nifty little pillows that are designed to fit snugly into the vent opening to seal and insulate it. These are great, as they are easily removed when you want to have the vent open.

Finally, we need to seal all those other places where cold air can enter our rig. Any compartments that open into the inside of the rig need to have good weather seals. Under the rig, there are many openings where water and gas lines enter the living area. These openings need to be sealed and some of that aerosol self-expanding foam is great for this. Alternately, foam rubber can be forced into gaps to help reduce air leaks. Finally, the entry door needs to be checked to make sure that it seals properly. Adding some inexpensive foam tape or weather-strip will really help seal those air leaks.

Now that we’ve gotten the rig pretty airtight, we’ve got a new problem to deal with. Moisture from cooking, washing and just our breathing raises the humidity inside the RV. As it gets colder, this moisture condenses out on cooler inside surfaces like window frames and doors. This can lead to mold and mildew, water stains or even worse. The best way to prevent condensation is to avoid introducing excessive moisture into the air. A good practice is to always use the range hood vent when cooking and the bathroom vent when showering. This will draw most of that moisture out of the rig. It may be necessary to keep a roof vent open slightly to provide some ventilation and keep condensation in check. Insulating exposed surfaces that tend to collect moisture will also help. A small dehumidifier or some of those little tubs of desiccant crystals may be necessary, depending on the RV and how many are living in it.

This discussion of condensation brings up a related subject… the method of heating that you use in your RV. When propane is burned, it releases combustion byproducts and one of those byproducts is a surprisingly large quantity of water vapor! Most standard RV furnaces are vented to the outside of the rig and will not add any moisture to the inside air. This is not true of any unvented propane heater, including popular catalytic heaters. Using your stovetop burners also adds moisture to the inside air. If you intend to heat your rig using an unvented propane heater, you will have to provide a larger amount of ventilation to remove the additional moisture added to your air. Most unvented heaters are pretty nice for milder climates and are great for taking that morning chill off. Using them as your primary source of heat in really cold weather can prove to be a challenge because of the potential for condensation problems.

Many folks choose to use portable electric heaters to heat their rig. This method of heating doesn’t add condensation to the air and depending on the cost of propane may actually be slightly cheaper to run. Great care must be taken to not overload the wiring in your RV or the electrical system in the campground. Most parks will either put you on an electric meter or charge extra for electric heat. Use only UL approved heaters and keep combustibles away.

Now that we’re warm, draft free and hopefully dry inside, let’s deal with the stuff outside your rig. The first thing we need to do is keep your fresh water hose from freezing. If you are traveling a lot, simply use the hose to fill your freshwater tank and then disconnect it each night. If you are parked for a longer period, consider heat taping and insulating your water hose. Standard 110v heat tape can be wrapped in a spiral along the length of the hose and then covered with either round foam insulation or fiberglass batting wrapped with tape. Don’t forget to wrap the faucet to protect it and add a pad of insulation where the hose connects to your RV. In moderately cold weather, this should keep your water flowing. If it gets extremely cold (below zero), it may still be necessary to let a faucet drip overnight.

Sewer lines need special attention in sub-freezing weather too. It’s necessary to support the hose and provide a continuous slope from the RV sewer connection to the park sewer hookup. That way, water will drain from the hose and not create an ice plug at the low point. Alternately, you can use a straight section of thin wall PVC sewer pipe and the necessary fittings to complete your sewer hookup. The PVC will stand up to cold temperatures better than your plastic hose and is fairly inexpensive.

Depending on your RV’s design, you may need to take extra steps to protect your fresh water and holding tanks from freezing. Tank insulation for exposed holding tanks can be fabricated from fiberglass insulation and light plywood… just build a small lightweight box around the tank and line it with fiberglass. A small electric light bulb can be used to provide a safe source of heat. For rigs with enclosed tanks, it’s often enough to provide some source of heat in the tank compartment and small electric bulbs can be used here as well. If you are too mobile for such solutions, then you should look into special heating pads designed for RV holding tanks. They can be purchased from many RV parts dealers or camping catalogs and will allow you to use the holding tanks as you normally would with no fear of freeze ups. Alternately, many Rv-ers who travel in the winter simply minimize use of the holding tanks and keep plenty of RV antifreeze handy to treat them.

We hope these winterization tips and campground instructions are helpful! Stay warm out there campers!

Camping Hacks for Fall Safety

Fall Safety for Campers

Fall weather brings a fantastic time to go camping. Crisp air, sunny afternoons, and a ton of colorful trees and fun! We wanted to take this time to share some of our favorite tips for safely staying warm while camping, and give some pointers on Halloween safety for the little trick or treaters! We hope to provide the best fall safety for campers!


Protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can cause illness or death in people and pets. Never use fuel-burning equipment such as gas stoves, heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter. It can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up. As alternative heat sources to fuel-burning appliances inside an enclosed shelter, campers should bring adequate bedding and clothing and should consume extra calories and fluids during the outing to prevent hypothermia (a dangerous loss of body warmth that can cause death).

Staying Warm While Tent Camping

  • Make sure that you have a good quality temperature rated sleeping bag. For maximum toastyness, get a sleeping bag that is rated for zero degrees. You can also get a fleece sleeping bag liner to increase the temperature rating of your sleeping bag by about ten degrees. If you are in need of a good sleeping bag, you might want to check out the highest rated sleeping bags.
  • Use a sleeping pad. Sleeping pads offer more insulation than an air mattress does since air mattresses get filled with cold air on cold nights. An air mattress by itself doesn’t offer any insulation between you and the cold air in the air mattress. If you want comfort and warmth, you can put the sleeping pads right on top of your air mattress. Thermosets Sleeping Mattresses are excellent.
  • Use a Coleman Blackcat Catalytic Heater. These heaters are made for use inside of a tent. We do not recommend however letting the heater run all night while you are sleeping. If you use one of these heaters, we recommend that you run it for a while before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning.
  • Use a Mylar Thermal Blanket to reflect the heat from the heater back down at you. Most people just think of these blankets as emergency blankets. Whether you use a catalytic heater or just your own body heat, this tip can really help a lot! Just attach the thermal blanket to the ceiling of your tent with duct tape and it will reflect much of the heat inside the tent back down at you.
  • Heat up a few 5 – 15 pound rocks by your fire for about an hour or so. Pull them away from the fire and let them cool down for a bit. Once they are cool enough to handle (but still very warm) wrap them in towels and put them in the foot of your sleeping bag. They can also be placed in the center of your tent and combined with the Mylar thermal blankets on your ceiling, they should keep your tent warm for hours!
  • One other tip that is important that most people don’t realize is that you need to keep your tent ventilated at night. This may sound a little strange at first but there’s a good reason for it! The heat from your body and your breath itself inside your tent at night can cause condensation to build up and make everything in your tent slightly damp.


Staying warm in your RV

  • The first thing the owner can do is take a good inventory of their RV, and perform an inspection of all the slides and windows, and door seals on their RV. Those cracked and torn rubber seals and gaskets around your windows, doors and slides should all be maintained regularly and either replaced or repaired depending on their condition. If they are cracked and hard, then they are probably not going to give you a good seal against the elements, so replace them too. They are probably letting air into your RV, wherever you can see that the fit is not perfect. Once you have taken care of any and all gasket and seal problems on the outside of your RV, make a thorough check for air leaks on the inside.
  • If your RV feels “drafty” the leak is often something that can be fixed with a little Silicone rubber, or maybe a little strategically placed spray foam insulation, then great. But if you have significant level of cold air coming into your RV, from wherever, you might consider finding a short-term solution.
  • Use insulated “Snakes” One of the things that we used, in our older RV was a couple of those insulated “snakes” that you will find in places like Walmart. They are long (3-4 feet) stuffed cloth tubes usually about 4-inches in diameter. They are often sold to be placed at the bottom of the door of your house, to stop the cold air from entering.
  • Another quick temporary fix is the use of painters tape. You know the tape you can purchase at your local hardware store that is similar to the old tan masking tape but has one great advantage. It is designed to be removed after several days, or even weeks, and the glue will not stay on the surface when the tape is removed. And the tape will come off later easily and without leaving any residue when you hit the road again.
  • If you have Day-Night shades, and windshield window shades, as almost all RVs do, you should keep them closed. Even if you do not have thermal-pane windows in your RV, by closing the shades, you trap an added layer of air between the window and the shade that aids in the overall insulation of your RV interior.
  • Another thing you should do is, place throw rugs in the central parts of your RV floor where you walk the most often. These rugs placed in the heaviest traffic areas of your RV can shield your feet from the cold and often uninsulated floors.
  • A heat pump works pretty efficiently down to about 40F, so rather than run your Propane furnace at nights, that are cool but not near or below freezing, set it to a low temperature of 52-54F for a base temperature. This saves us a lot of money over the winter.
  • The proper warm clothes are the next layer of cold management you should address. With a little forethought, you can dress warmly while in your RV, and improve your comfort level dramatically. Here are some tips we have learned when we are in a cold climate: Keep a pair or two of warm Sweat pants and a Sweat shirt in your RV. They are not only useful when outside, but they can also keep you nice and cozy when sitting around inside the RV. Wear socks when inside. Don’t walk around on your cold floor barefoot. The socks will not only make your feet feel warm, but they will block most drafts from affecting your feet. A pair of Bedroom slippers is also good to have and wear in your RV on a cold night. And, of course, when you go to bed, wear some pajamas.
  • Use a space heater. It should be small, have a built-in sensor that will turn the heater off when and if it is ever kicked over. It should have a multi-speed fan for adjusting the amount of heat it puts out. One of these heaters can make a big difference in a room’s temperature, and it will keep the furnace from cutting on nearly as often, as it would if you did not use one.

Halloween Safety at campgrounds –

  • Plan the route – You can scout your trip ahead of time, visit sites that look trick or treater friendly. Don’t be afraid to walk up and ask, you may even make a new friend!
  • Keep the costumes bright – carry glow sticks and flashlights.
  • Set some ground rules – don’t enter any campers, cabins, or tents, do not approach any vehicles, cross the street with caution.
  • Older kids – set an approved route, approved group, ground rules, and a curfew.
  • Do not eat any candy until it has been checked out by adults!

We hope this guide to fall safety for campers comes in handy! Let us know if you have your own tips for staying warm this fall and into winter!