Camping

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Shaun
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Camping

Postby Shaun » Thu May 10, 2012 7:25 am

We were looking for something inexpensive to do with the kids and a friend mentioned camping. My wife and I have both been camping as small children, but have no real experience. We're planning our first trip for the last weekend of May... we will be staying in a tent at a state park. After doing a little research we are buying a tent, sleeping bags, folding chairs, a lantern, a hatchet for firewood, and some flashlights. These things are going to cost between $170-$200.

For you campers... is there anything else that you can think of that we need for our first trip? We plan on buying more as we go, but are trying to keep the initial cost as low as possible.

If it matters... my kids are 2 & 3.
Shaun

brad
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Re: Camping

Postby brad » Thu May 10, 2012 9:43 am

There are many brands of camping, I think this is what we call "car camping," in which you drive to the campsite (or hike a short distance) and set up. Totally appropriate for a family with young kids.

In addition to the stuff you mention, you'll need:

air mattresses (not just for comfort but insulation from the chilly ground). Since you're car camping these don't need to be the expensive Thermarest variety; you can get one of those airbed-type things that blows up with an air compressor.

Unless you're planning to do all your cooking over the campfire, which can be tricky, you might want to get a camp stove. The cheapest ones use propane or butane cartridges; again this is fine for infrequent car camping. For backpacking or frequent camping it's cheaper in the long run to get a flexi-fuel stove that can run on white gas, kerosene, etc. because propane or butane cartridges are more expensive over time.

If you do cook over the campfire, bring some Ivory soap and rub it all over the outside of all your pots and pans before you cook with them. This will make it a lot easier to clean off the wood smoke afterwards.

If you're in bear country, be sure to leave any food, dirty dishes, etc. in the car and roll up the windows. Don't keep anything edible in the tent overnight, and also remember that food or dishes left out on picnic tables will attract raccoons etc. even if there are no bears around.

Have fun!

brad
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Re: Camping

Postby brad » Thu May 10, 2012 9:55 am

Oh, and a few other things:

  • bug repellent unless you live somewhere like the desert Southwest
  • sunscreen and hats
  • something to hold water -- the campground will probably have running water but probably not right at your site, so you'll want a big gallon jug or something similar to have water available at your campsite.

Shaun
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Re: Camping

Postby Shaun » Thu May 10, 2012 10:23 am

Bug spray will be an absolute must... we're in South Louisiana. Thanks for all of the info.
Shaun

brad
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Re: Camping

Postby brad » Thu May 10, 2012 10:46 am

Okay, just watch out for alligators. :)

peachy
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Re: Camping

Postby peachy » Thu May 10, 2012 5:12 pm

I thought Brad had some really good ideas. If you can find a headlamp for the same price as a flashlight, I would get that. It makes things so much easier when you are preparing the fire and carrying wood and doing things with 2 hands versus one. Holding the flashlight really gets in the way of progress.

Another helpful hint would be to find the bathroom in the daylight! I would also carry an extra roll of toilet paper. You don't know what you are going to get in some of those bathrooms; some are nice, and some are a nightmare.

Don't forget the marshmallows, graham crackers, scary stories and chocolate bars. Camping is no fun if s'mores aren't included. Have a great time.

brad
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Re: Camping

Postby brad » Fri May 11, 2012 5:02 am

+1 on the s'mores.

I thought of another thing: some tents come with this, but you usually have to buy it separately: a groundcloth to go under the tent. Most tents have a waterproof tub-style floor so a groundcloth won't keep you drier, but it protects your tent floor from abrasion and wear (it's cheaper to replace a groundcloth than the tent). Any decent waterproof tarp will do; some tent manufacturers make groundcloths whose dimensions match your tent's footprint but those are always more expensive. See http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/article ... cloth.html for more information.

For your first trip you could get along without this, but if you start camping more frequently it'll make your tent last longer if you use one.

Talking about all this is making me yearn to go on a camping trip! I've mostly done backpacking and canoe-camping. My favorite trips were by canoe, paddling to an island and camping there for a few days, going for a swim in front of the campsite each morning and going to sleep to the sound of loons calling. And taking the canoe out into the middle of the lake late at night in early August, watching the Perseid meteor shower while drinking Drambuie and eating Oreos, the perfect combination of the sublime and ridiculous. There's not much better.

stannius
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Re: Camping

Postby stannius » Fri May 11, 2012 11:35 am

Do you know that you and your family will like camping? If not, can you borrow some or most of the equipment? Most people aren't using their camping equipment every weekend.

Shaun
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Re: Camping

Postby Shaun » Tue May 15, 2012 3:32 am

My wife and I both went as kids and have fun and my kids love being outside all the time. I can't imagine we won't like it. I actually considered trying to borrow equipment for the first trip and found out that no one I know camps. Not a single one of my friends even owns a tent.

Here is a question... Do we really need sleeping bags for this first trip? Lows are in the 60's at night right now. Or should we just bring sheets and blankets?
Shaun

brad
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Re: Camping

Postby brad » Tue May 15, 2012 9:41 am

Sheets and blankets were traditional for camping up until the early 1970s; I used a bedroll when I first started camping as a teenager and couldn't afford a sleeping bag. The Boy Scout manual had instructions for how to set up a bedroll, but basically you put your sheet and blanket together, fold up the bottom and the sides, and use a couple of safety pins to keep everything in place. And you don't even need to do that if you don't want to.

I went further and used a tarp and groundcloth instead of a tent (again because I couldn't afford a tent), but the first and only time I tried that I was camping with a couple of friends who had a tent and we got a big thunderstorm during the night. The wind drove the rain into my tarp and after about three minutes I was completely soaked and miserable. I squeezed into my friends' tent for the night.

Bichon Frise
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Re: Camping

Postby Bichon Frise » Tue May 15, 2012 11:30 am

I've always found out what I needed to bring camping while I was actually out in the "wild" and in need of the item. For instance, a can opener to open cans, something to drink out of, something to eat off of, something to eat with, a hammer, some spare cord, a first aid kit, a lighter, some matches, spare batteries, dish soap, a rug for outside the tent (and one for inside), a small handbroom, a shovel (a must if camping on BLM land), kleenex, TP, wet wipes etc. All these things are by no means a necessity, but it definitely makes things easier and more enjoyable. I would recommend a piece of paper and a pen to write down all the things you wish you had.

We have "action packers" with all our camping stuff, so we can just grab those and take off with out having to grab every little thing. Also, if you plan to cook any meat while camping, cook it before you go, this will help to preserve the meat a bit longer, keep it less messy and cut down on your cooking time.

and if you have a GPS, another activity kids seem to love is geocaching. good luck.
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."

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camping
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Re: Camping

Postby camping » Fri May 25, 2012 11:28 am

As long as they're okay with you chopping up your own firewood there shouldn't be a problem. Often times they will sell firewood to you in the park since many parks do not allow you to bring outside firewood into the park due to the spread of invasive species.

In terms of what to put underneath your tent, I find that a tarp works fine. I don't usually find an air mattress to be necessary but I am embarking on a nine-night camping trip throughout the state so I might purchase one because my neck might not like the cold, hard floor for nine nights straight. (Otherwise, I've been known to fall asleep on hardwood floors and on the ground during hunting trips.)

People have mentioned some other stuff and I'll just list a few other things here---sorry if I repeat anything I haven't really slept:
-First aid kit
-Trash bags and containers to store food away from animals (if necessary) - as someone mentioned do not leave ANYTHING out---some animal is waiting for you, somewhere; keep stuff in the trunk when needed
-Disposable cups/plates/utensils if you don't plan on bringing/washing your own stuff
-Water proof matches and fire starters
-Cooler, though you'd probably have to replace the ice regularly
-Purchase food that will last at least a couple of days (canned things, obviously, etc) and bring other things you might need (can opener, something to cook on or in, stuff to cook with, etc)
-Fun stuff you can do inside of the tent in case it's raining (cards, puzzles, etc) and some rain gear in case you do get stuck in the rain
-If you plan on hiking, a day pack with multiple canteens/water bottles
-General stuff that might be helpful/necessary at times: TP, a roll of paper towels, foil if you plan on cooking stuff, baby wipes are good to have on hand (for anyone) and some type of soap/sanitizer (especially if the facilities run out of this stuff)

Good luck!

partgypsy1
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Re: Camping

Postby partgypsy1 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:23 am

These are great ideas, think I'm going to copy some of these lists!
I don't know if I'm picky, but I vastly prefer cots (and a sleeping bag) over an inflatable mattress pad. I sleep almost as good on a cot as I do at home; not true with an air mattresses (especially if sharing with 1 or more people). Kids may not be as picky, but there are cheaper low ones for kids. Heavy if hiking in, but fine if you are driving in.

My kids love: campfire songs or stories (especially ones that either happened to you or have to do with area camping), "treasure hunts" where you make a list of things to find, have a prize at the end (could be things that are commonly found, with a couple unusual things thrown in), marshmellow roasting, weenie roasting. Kids LOVE to have their own flashlight or headlamp, so I'd make sure every person had their own with their name on it. If you can, bring guides of: bugs, reptiles/amphibians, birds/plants/trees of the area, so can identify local wildlife you see.
Almost all kids are interested in fishing. Your kids may be too young, but at some point finding bait and doing catch and release is a relaxing low key activity.

Tonni
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Re: Camping

Postby Tonni » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:38 am

partgypsy1 wrote:These are great ideas, think I'm going to copy some of these lists!
I don't know if I'm picky, but I vastly prefer cots (and a sleeping bag) over an inflatable mattress pad. I sleep almost as good on a cot as I do at home; not true with an air mattresses (especially if sharing with 1 or more people). Kids may not be as picky, but there are cheaper low ones for kids. Heavy if hiking in, but fine if you are driving in.

My kids love: campfire songs or stories (especially ones that either happened to you or have to do with area camping), "treasure hunts" where you make a list of things to find, have a prize at the end (could be things that are commonly found, with a couple unusual things thrown in), marshmellow roasting, weenie roasting. Kids LOVE to have their own
flashlight or headlamp, so I'd make sure every person had their own with their name on it. If you can, bring guides of: bugs, reptiles/amphibians, birds/plants/trees of the area, so can identify local wildlife you see.
Almost all kids are interested in fishing. Your kids may be too young, but at some point finding bait and doing catch and release is a relaxing low key activity
.

I'm surely agree with you. Those are really great ideas and I wanna take some form these. Thanks to the author :-)

partgypsy1
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Re: Camping

Postby partgypsy1 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:12 am

It's funny, we are going camping next week! My husband used to camp regularly (he's a life scout) but it's been awhile so we need to reconstruct what to bring.

One thing is true, is if you end up camping regularly, do have a box or something that you can throw in: cheap can opener, hammer, axe, first aid kit, etc so the next time you go you don't have to assemble everything from scratch.

We have left our cots and our big tent at the cabin where we "camp" every year (it's a small cabin so some of us tent).
So, we are thinking of getting a more compact (6 person versus 8 person) tent for us 4, but that would mean we would need either sleeping pads or blankets versus cots.
I think cots are SO much more comfortable than ground sleeping, but your tent, depending on size may not allow it. You don't want anything touching the sides of the tent.
Does anyone have experience with any of those self inflating sleeping pads? They seem to range from 25 to 100+ (with most being on the high end!) That seems very expensive but don't know if it would be worthwhile investment if we can't do the cot route.


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