Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tent Camping the Easy Way

I did not grow up camping. I was raised thinking that anything you can do camping, you can do easier at home. That statement is true, but the view out my windows at home is nothing compared to the views from a campsite!

I married an avid camper. The first 12 years of marriage I was able to avoid camping. He would take off to the Boundary Waters (BWCA) with friends for a week of portaging and no other human contact. He'd come home refreshed and if you look through this blog, you will see many of the projects I completed while he was away. Then we had kids, and inexpensive vacations became a priority.

Several summers ago we were gifted some money to spend doing something fun with the girls. We invested in camping equipment. 

Hopefully, you can learn something from our mistakes. If you forget everything I say, please remember to plan ahead. You can find my packing list here. It is long, don't let that scare you though. You can get by with lots less, we are going to attempt to float down the river on our kayaks and camp, and we will only be able to carry a fraction of those items!
We use this larger trailer when we bring our kayaks. You can see our totes in use though.

On the list you'll notice that 1 have 3 large totes. We picked up 2 of these and 1 of these at Home Depot. We chose them because they fit really nicely on a cheap little trailer that we picked up for camping. They also have wheels making them easy to move into the house to reset for our next adventure. The best part though is that they have heavy duty clasps that can be locked. What kind of places do I camp that locking is needed? We like to hike, swim, bike etc leaving our campsite unattended for several hours, most thieves are just opportunistic. They also keep out wildlife. On one occasion I watched a raccoon unsuccessfully attempt to get in, he eventually gave up and got into the neighbors stuff instead.

The equipment tote is essentially my portable kitchen. I have dedicated camping utensils and equipment. This is the one item I would be lost with out. It reminds me of the chuck wagon in stories of the Old West. Those old timers understood that camping anywhere is significantly easier if all the kitchen stuff is together and easy to access.

I do a lot of meal prep at home before we go. Heat and serve items are always easier than anything that takes lots of dishes. Breakfast and dinner are eaten at a leisurely pace around the campfire. Lunch is usually on the run and just meat and cheese sandwiches from the cooler. I also pack plenty of snacks such as granola bars, veggies, and chips for when kids are hungry and the adults aren't.

Tent sizes can be confusing. The 4 of us and our dog started with a 6 man tent that we thought would be plenty big. As the girls grew we decided to upgrade to a 12 man. I know that sound excessive but we had reasons. The walls on the 6 man angled in sharply and air mattresses take up more space than just a person in a mummy bag. We've been caught in the rain and like to leave a wide margin around the edges so that we don't touch the sides allowing water to seep in. We have space for our 80 lb dog to have his own dog bed. We like to camp late into the fall when it's nice to have a space heater, and those require clearance. My husband and I are both 6'1" the straighter sides allow for more head room inside the tent. True, most of the time spent in the tent is sleeping, but being able to stand is still a luxury we prefer.

Some of the the entertainment we bring, cards, dice, camera with laminated scavenger hunt list. The scope is great for sighting animals, birds, and star gazing.

These tips make camping enjoyable for us. If you have any tips please share as our kids grow and change our camping list needs to change too.

**Did any of you notice the bug spray hiding out in every photo? My husband rarely gets bitten, I am a mosquito magnet.

** I may get paid for links that you click on this blog. Any posts that include free or discounted services or product in exchange for reviewing are plainly stated within the post.


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