The 12 Best Prepper Summer Vacation Activities

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Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

It’s summertime! School is out in most places (or will be soon), you may have time off work, and everything just feels a bit more relaxed without the usual hustle and bustle. Now is the time to really give your kids something to write about in the inevitable “What I Did Last Summer” essay when school starts back up.

Bonus! It’s also the perfect time of year to brush up on some of your skills with prepper summer vacation activities.  Not only is it a fun way to pass the time, but most of these activities are also frugal. And even if you don’t have a week off for vacation, many of these activities can be done over the weekend.

Obviously, don’t forget to keep your summer fun safe and accident-free following these tips.

Here’s a list of the best prepper summer vacation activities!

  1. Go camping. This time of year, you won’t have to worry about getting too cold at night. Put down your devices and go stay somewhere wild and wonderful to camp with your family. Be sure to practice all of the necessary safety precautions at your destination. (This book is a guide to freebie places to camp all across the country.)
  2. Cook outdoors. Go beyond the barbecue and try a sun oven or cooking over a campfire.
  3. Go hiking. Take the family out for an all-day adventure. This is a great time to put on your bug out bags and test them. Are they too heavy? Do you have everything you need in them?
  4. Take a class.  There are lots of weekend classes in the summer. Get certified in First Aid or Wilderness Survival. Learn a new skill like sewing or home preservation.
  5. Grow your own food. Even if you live in the city, you can use a teeny patio or balcony to grow at least some of your own food. This is a skill that could serve you very well one day. (Here are more than 300 ways to become more self-reliant)
  6. Pick survival-themed beach books. Even if you’re headed to the beach, you don’t have to leave prepping completely behind. Pick up an awesome piece of prepper fiction to enjoy while you’re lying by the water. (I am a huge fan of this series for grown-ups and here’s a list of some of my daughters’ favorite books through their childhoods.)
  7. Send the kids to a summer camp. But not just any summer camp! Pick one in which they’ll be spending lots of time doing outdoor activities, many of which are the precursor to serious survival skills. Some programs to look for are archery, marksmanship, hiking, fishing, outdoor skills, swimming, and cooking.
  8. Go fishing. Hang up your shingle and head out. Fishing is a great skill for preppers. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, but you are also learning two very valuable skills: acquiring food and cleaning the fish. Bonus points if you cook your catch over an open fire.
  9. Learn to preserve food. If you don’t yet know how to can or dehydrate food, summer is the perfect time to learn, when produce is abundant. Hit the farmer’s market and grab a bushel of something delicious. Then go home and put it up to enjoy throughout the winter. (Here are some tips for water bath canning, pressure canning, and dehydrating.) My kids were always very proud to serve jam that they had made and preserved themselves to guests, and they also loved giving homemade jam as holiday presents. Check out my book, The Prepper’s Canning Guide, for our favorite canning recipes. (Our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning will help as well.)
  10. Go shooting.  If your family enjoys firearms, summer is a great time to brush up on your skills. You can go to a range, or even better, go to a place with simulations so that you can really up your personal defense game. Even paintball can be a fun way to improve your skills.
  11. Hit some secondhand sales. One of our very favorite activities is getting up on a weekend morning and heading out with a thermos of coffee in hand. We go to yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, and thrift stores and come home loaded with treasures for only a few dollars. The stuff you find will often be of very high quality for a fraction of the price of newer, lesser quality goods. As well, if you purchase from an estate sale, you can often find extremely useful things like tools and kitchen devices.
  12. Go foraging. This is a great way to teach kids about edible plants. Grab a good local guidebook with high-quality pictures and head out to the woods with a basket. Then, come home and prepare your finds together in a delicious foraged feast.

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list, and all of the caveats apply. (Don’t eat poison stuff, don’t drown in the river, don’t leave food in your tent and get eaten by a bear, and if you do, please don’t blame me for suggesting you go foraging, swimming or camping.) For more ideas, check out this article from Mind4Survival.

One of the most important things is to put down the devices, get away from the screens, and go outside. Spend some time in nature and some time away from your normal responsibilities. Really connect with one another and take a break from the demands of our normal lives.

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What are you going to do this summer?

What are some other good, family-friendly activities that build skills while being fun? What are your summer plans? Please add your ideas in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The 12 Best Prepper Summer Vacation Activities
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Swimming. Learn to how to make clothing be it weaving, spinning, sewing, crocheting, or knitting. Stargaze – learn to navigate using stars, sun position. Learn to use a compass. Spend an ‘adventure’ day without power and running water.

  • We have a ‘primitive’ camping trip yearly, altho with a camper, but no hookups (electric or water) that is always an opportunity to use our ‘skills’. We might also do some glamping (with electric and water available).
    The one thing I am hoping to try this summer is water bath canning of my tomatoes. Last year, I tried freezing them, and that worked well, so I want to ‘expand my horizons’! We cook out all summer long, make sure you learn how to cook over an open fire as well as utilizing your gas/propane/charcoal grills! Garage/yard/estate sales are a preppers best friend, you never know what you might find! Just get out and take a walk! If you live in a neighborhood, get to know your neighbors!

  • We have a two day/overnight Kids’ Camp with all the grandkids (15). They are all ages and sizes, but we do some shooting (air rifles), swimming, kayaking, water rescue, cooking outside, fishing, use of a seine net, hiking, tree and plant identification, and lots more. A few of them have serious slingshots and target practice.
    The cousins love spending time together. They help build a fire and cook the food. The big ones look after the ‘littles’.
    It’s fun. Creates memories. Teaches skills.

  • Have to disagree with ya, Daisy, on the time of year to go camping.
    I prefer to go late fall to avoid the bugs (and in the past, avoid the gators).
    I also like doing multi-day, primitive camping for a few reasons:
    -I look at a park map, see where the trails are, and primitive sites (usually just a fire ring, and so if something were to happen, the park rangers would know where to start looking, most parks require an itinerary for safety).
    -Look at the terrain/topology. Get an idea of how rugged it may be. Map might show one thing, reality completely different.
    -Look for water sources. Again, map might show one thing, reality completely different.
    -Camping in the late fall, during the day, might be warm. A t-shirt, light pants or shorts. At night, base layer, fleece and a outer jacket. Woke up on more than a few mornings, a light frost on the tent fly, thin layer of ice on still water.
    -Test out your gear and your physical fitness.
    -Good exercise in logistics.
    -Afterwards, lessons learned: What did I use, what did I not use, what I should of packed more of. What gear was useful, and what was not. How did gear hold up. How did I hold up?

    • I have to agree about the camping weather. The summers where I live are miserably hot and humid. It’s only 10:30 am and already 106 with the heat index. I don’t want to go out to get the mail, let alone camp. We are planning to camp once it cools down and are prepping to do that. Just ordered a solo stove last night and I’m excited to try that out. My son (11) has been taking an online survival skills class. Yes I’d prefer it be something in person but there’s nothing like that nearby. Anyway he’s still learning a lot. How to make weapons, edible flowers and bugs, how to survive animal attacks, etc. we love to go fishing but catch and release. We decided we will start cleaning and freezing them since we need the practice.

    • I’m with you there 1stMarine. Here in Commierado, we prefer to go in September and early October. Not many people in the woods at that point, except for Bow Hunters and Muzzle Loaders, and we know where they like to hang out.
      Yes, a lot of our time is spent testing our gear, and clearing the junk. We’ve gone through a lot of tents over the years when we were avid backpackers (too old and decrepit to do that anymore). Like anything, you get what you pay for. Luckily, we invested in high end sleeping bags in the 80’s. They’re still in top shape and rated to -30° F, so even a sudden snow is survivable. One year we woke to 4 foot of snow, and it took us 3 days to get off the mountain.
      No Gators though, for which I’m grateful.

  • Google Lens–a free app on Android phones can be used to photograph–and identify–wild plants, critters, even wild animal droppings. Check it out…

  • Once again, a great article with wonderful ideas.
    I m upping my van game by stripping it out, redoing the curtains n window covers.
    I keep Spring water in the van at all times along with food n emergency gear but now, I m adding more like a water purification system n tablets along with a tote of supplies to grow micro-greens, lettuces, radishes, beets n herbs etc.
    I m also taking the opportunity to replace the fuel pump n filter, water pump, thermostat n flush n refill all fluids n replace belts.
    Its an expensive prep for my budget but parts are getting harder to get n keep going up in price.
    I ll reward myself with a camping trip and try my hand at fishing as you suggested.
    Thank you so much for all that you n your team do for all of us. I look forward to all of the emails.
    Enjoy your Summer!!!

    • “replace the fuel pump n filter, water pump, thermostat n flush n refill all fluids n replace belts”

      not the tires? might want to do that now before any new embargos are imposed.

      • Already did the tires, rotors, brakes, tune up, air n cabin filters, MAP n cleaned throttle body, oil n filter change, ignition coils, starter, O2 sensors, relays n fuses, n all light bulbs. LOL!!

  • Usually I’m a fall and winter camper. Love camping in snow and cold. Not much into summer camping, don’t mind summer camping , just like to avoid bugs and taking to many bandana baths because sweating with a 50 pound pack has gotten old. I like to carry lots of things to make life easier and more enjoyable with my wife, I have cut the weight down from 70 pounds
    I would carry the bulk of the food, stove and fuel so my wife wouldn’t hate backpacking, we like to go out identifying plants and tracks, finding out what to eat is a great thing to do while camping.

  • For 10 years I used to drive from the lesser 48 through Canada to Alaska every summer for my work. We brought all our food and camped, rain or shine, the entire way. My wife and I could set up my MSR in 10 minutes or less. Pegs, poles and lines. The kids made a game of trying to beat us and the slowest team had to buck water. It wasn’t long before I was bucking all the water.

    One time we were in Wall Drug SD. I gave each of the kids a $20 and a list of five items to purchase. I sent them in different directions and I told them which ever one came back with the most change (should have been only a couple bucks)they could keep the list, the change, and another $10.

    The youngest came back with the list plus an extra Mars bar. The oldest came back with 5 Mars bars, that’s it. They started laughing and, apparently, the youngest stalked the older one and after he secured all the list he traded 4 candy bars for his list of stuff (knowing he wasn’t going to go through the embarrassment of returning the items). Both were pleased with themselves and I have to admit, I was a little proud of them both.

  • This article’s lined-through mention (in item #2–Outdoor Cooking) of the Sun Oven (that’s no longer sold via Amazon) might benefit by referring to the company’s website at

    However that may not inspire dedicated frugalites given the steep pricing. While there are many competitors that an Amazon search will turn up, there is a vastly larger collection of the many different types of solar cookers including DIY plans here:

    Also on that page are links to several retail sources.


  • My summer plans: Apply for grant to get insulation for my home for winter (not fun or entertaining, but practical). Build greenhouse in front of my garden-facing big glass doors that will not just be good to grow vegetables in, but also will help reduce heat loss in that direction.

  • Hitting moving targets at farther ranges.
    Shoot and Scoot,
    CQB Drills
    And reloading every piece of brass I can get my mitts on.

  • “What is your expected survival rate for each such encounter?”

    Well, less if we have no training, thats for sure.

    • (grin) good answer.

      but, for example, if you presume a survival rate of .9 for each such encounter, and 5 such encounters, that results in a total survival rate of .6. not good odds.

  • I’m in the process of moving at this which that includes packing and looking for a place to move to at the same time.and if things go right. I’ll be living not to far from campgrounds. I have some fold up stoves that I need to tryout. among other things.

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