Camping, Glamping, and the Glories of the Great Outdoors with Anna Krafve Pierce

Confession time: last time we went camping, I rented a room at a nearby lodge.

“That was so nice of you to let the baby spend the night with you,” laughed Anna. With grandchildren ranging from 1 to 14 years old, I felt good about my decision. Honestly, who am I kidding? There’s just something about indoor plumbing.

My plan created a fun overnight with our littlest angel. Plus, her big sister who boldly spent the night in a tent, showed up bright and early the next morning for a shower and breakfast with me, Super Gram!


Three kids hang three hammocks in two trees like bunks.

Camping, Glamping CathyKrafve.comCamping—or glamping in my case—is a perfect way to get the whole family together painlessly. Plus, I like the way everyone expects to eat cheap food. In fact, nothing tastes better than a flame-cooked hot dog followed by s’mores.


To listen in on Anna’s easy camping conversation (or how to’s on creating the famous Primer hammock bunk beds), click on the podcast. Or, find more at 

A shout out to my two amazing siblings today with our bunk hammocks flash from our past!

Christian Camps

Speaking of glamping, or glamor camping, we started our family’s camping adventures at Pine Cove Christian Camps, not far from our home. I’m pretty sure no one but me would think of Pine Cove as glamorous. But I love the way their people help you do everything.

As a mom of toddlers, I needed a break. At Christian camps, families enjoy lots of activities and fun together, while college-age counselors do all the heavy lifting. The cabins are air-conditioned, at least in Texas, and the food arrives at your table on real plates. Ah! All the niceties of home, including indoor plumbing, without the work. Anna offers an additional benefit of camps like Pine Cove.

“I wanted to be like that counselor who honored God all week in front of me,” she says, remembering many happy hours at Pine Cove. Plus, most Christian camps offer scholarships to families who may need a financial boost. 

Real Camping and Kids

“Once I got married I discovered I like real camping, too,” says Anna. “Tent camping is what I think of as real camping.” She married into the right family for real camping.

“I love the way camping allows kids to learn to be prepared,” Anna adds, suggesting the benefits fit all personalities.  But if that’s their natural inclination already, it also teaches them how to be flexible. It’s not just planning ahead it’s also being ready to change the plan.” 

For instance, if there’s a downpour on your campsite, you have to be ready to roll with it. She likes the accountability of being in the glorious outdoors. 

“In my daily life I plan ahead and I have the illusion of control,” she laughs. “I forget I’m watching God’s plan unfold.” (For more on how to get in touch with the God of the Universe, click here.)

Easy Does It: Living Room Camping

With small children, sometimes families are not quite ready to take on the great outdoors. Anna suggests seeing them up for success, no matter their age. (For more on staycations, click here.)

“Little children love to play house, and love to play school, and they love to play camping,” laughs Anne.  “My kids can set up their little teepee. They make little ‘camp fires’ where they stack every stick they possess—the hockey stick, every stick-like toy they possess–to be the campfire.” Anna’s children throw all their blankets and pillows in their teepee and play camping.

When they’re done, she insists they put it all away, just like they would at a real campsite. That way they are practicing great skills and etiquette for their next real family camping trip. (For how to set up a natural sanctuary in your own backyard, click here.)

Backyard Camping

When I was a child, we piled our sleeping bags on the covered porch out back. The gas grill became our ‘campfire.’ I’m sure our parents loved having us safe and happy in a backyard adventure as they slept in their own beds.

“For single parents, it’s really hard to go camping; one adult with a group of children,” says Anna. “There are so many unpredictable factors; the weather, the creatures, all of that.” She recommends making it easy on yourself. When you can camp in your own back yard, less things can go wrong, according to Anna. 

“You can get the credit for doing the fun, exciting thing,” says Anna, analyzing different parts of the adventure, “Going to the camping store and getting the tent. Your bigger kids can practice setting it up.”

When their friends invite them to go camping, you don’t have to go because you’ve already trained them to be safe. You can wave goodby, “Enjoy your camping trip!”

Warm Beds, Safe Kids

I soon learned our kids and their friends tended to wander in around 10:00 p.m. to sleep in their warm, soft beds. 

“That’s the other thing,” laughs Anna, “When it’s in your yard, unless you lock your door, everyone is probably going to move indoors for the air conditioning part way through the night. At least here in Texas.”

Safety concerns are real, though. Only you can judge if your backyard is safe from strangers wandering about at night or kids sneaking away for misadventures. You have to know when it’s time to bow out or change the plan. But the rewards of safe, fun, easy camping are countless.

Camaraderie of a System

Something as simple as setting up and tearing down a campsite allows you to teach your kids to be part of a team. Plus, they learn to steward nature wisely. Anna learned quickly that her husband had a whole different way of camping than what she learned growing up at our house.

The first time they went camping as a young married couple, her husband demonstrated his system for her. Then, he included her in the work the next time. She loved his system. (For more about our book on how to draw out authentic conversations with your family, click here.)

“It was like playing leap frog,” she laughs. “He would do something, I would do the next thing, and we’d fold it all up to go in together.”

It made Anna happy to be so efficient together. Plus, she loves the communicating and practicing together. She thinks it’s fun to set up, to pull down, and to take care of their gear together. (To find out more about our marriage communication book set to release next fall, click here.)

Leave the Campsite Better Than You Found It

My dad, an Eagle Scout, always said to leave the campsite better than we found it. I must have quoted him often as my kids grew up.

“You quoted him about the car. You quoted him about the hotel room,” laughs Anna. “It was your go-to quote whenever we were leaving somewhere.”

Just to be clear, Dad’s motto meant our family picked up other people’s cigarette butts in the 1960s. Stewardship of nature meant taking care of the glorious outdoors, not only our own camping gear. Campsites were butt free after we left. Can I even say that in public?

“If you do it right, stewardship involves fellowship,” explains Anna. Most importantly, even the hard work of stewardship should be fun–and funny–when a family does it together.

“If I’m at a campsite, picking up other people’s trash, I’m just never going to get it all done,” Anna adds. “But if I have a team of people doing it, it’s not overwhelming anymore.” Plus, there’s the fun of being part of a team.

Our childhood camping trips always ended with one special touch. My dad always insisted we leave a neat pile of gathered wood for the next campers. 

Where Eagles Soar

Family memories are made while camping or glamping. I’ll never forget one spontaneous, simple camping trip with my son and his dear friend. 

A large bird swooped down over us. Astonished at the bird’s boldness we ducked and looked up. Soaring up above us was a BALD EAGLE! I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. 

That was the same trip I forgot to bring the coffee, so we had to go to breakfast at a restaurant. Yep, I’m kinda spoiled that way.

Fortunately, kids remember the big moments. Even if mom insists on store-bought coffee, they laugh about it later. Finding easy ways to camp will mean sweet memories for your kids, even if it’s in your own backyard. Please get into the glorious outdoors. You and your kids will be glad you did!

We are grateful!

The numbers are in! Fireside Talk Radio downloaded over 2 million times again in 2019! What joy! 

YOU, dear listening and reading friends, are the reason we exist. 

We are grateful for all the experts who join us to share their sacred stories and wisdom, just for you. You tuned in! We rejoice to share our life with you. Thank you for sharing your sacred stores with us to add to our treasure. Thank you for passing our stuff on to your friends.

Don’t forget, there will be more ways to share this year when our first two books hit the market. Plus, Anna and I are hard at work for a fun book due out in 2021. We love you and can’t wait to share more fun stuff together!

May we pray together?

Good Father, Thank you for the glorious outdoors. We rejoice just to feel the sunshine on our skin. What could be sweeter than to sit around a campfire, telling stories, laughing, and savoring the companionship You designed us to enjoy. Give us energy and insight to create fun memories with our families. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

We LOVE to hear from YOU!

When have you shared a hilarious moment on a camping trip? Wat is your favorite hack for camping? Please send us your favorite glorious outdoors story.

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang.

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A Semi-retired Mom, Queen of Fun, and Coffee Cup Philosopher Cathy Krafve pulls in exciting guests from all walks of life who rejoice in deeply spiritual truths.

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