We’ve talked a lot on our blog about how camping can be a good way to practice some of your preparedness skills. This summer we have a goal as a family to camp a 3-4 times. Last summer we went once during a major rainstorm for one night and it was a disaster. I was newly pregnant and feeling sick AND got food poisoning from a gas station treat on our way up to the campsite. Let’s just say anything this summer will be way better.
That night has me determined to be better prepared for the elements and better prepared to go camping regularly. After last year’s disaster I decided I have two steps to take. I’m sure more will come as we become better campers but this year I’m working on two things:
- Get the right equipment
- Having camping headquarters where all my stuff is easy to access and pack/li>
Here are some immediate things I’m looking to change and purchase.
Tent: I wish I can say I have this one solved. I have a tent that’s super heavy duty for long term and winter conditions, but I don’t have one that is good for recreational camping yet. I’ve just borrowed from my parents until now. Here are things I’m looking for in a tent.
- Without fail every time we camp in rains. Having a waterproof tent is really important to me. It seems as though every review I read on tents people complain of their tents leaking.
- Easy set-up is a big deal too. If it’s hard to set up I’m sure camping will lose it’s apeal really fast.
- I’m ok with a tent being heavy. I’m not a backpacker. Not yet at least? Who knows maybe this camping thing will turn out fun in the future, but for now I don’t need the material to be air thin and portable on my back.
- Reputable company. I’d like a tent with a decent warranty. One that protects against 4 crazy young boys would be nice but we’d put them out of business with replacements.
“Air Mattresses”: I always make sure to bring some form of air mattress because I’m a giant sissy. Last weekend my husband and sons went on a Father’s sons camp-out and they didn’t bring the mattresses. They actually ended up being cold. Somehow it never dawned on us that having air mattresses on the ground insulates you from the cold. I’m thinking a big regular air mattress is too bulky but I’m looking for ones that will wrap up and do the trick.
I know a lot of tents have built in tarps. I’m looking to have a tarp under our tent to keep it clean. Cleaning the tent after camping isn’t that fun at all. I’m thinking if we place the tent on a tarp we can pack away the tent and then clean the tarp easily after.
I’m pretty prepared in the outdoor cooking tools and fuels. These aren’t a problem for me. I did get an extra big cooler since my family has grown since the last time I bought one. I could do better with dishes though. We usually do a lot of disposable things and I’d like to get better at using more sustainable products.
My plan is to have all my stuff easy to pack in the car and go. Over the year’s I’ve realized I really like camping. I just don’t like preparing and packing for it. So far I’ve got the shelf put up and got some bins ready. I have a lot of gear scattered around and will be compiling it. Here are two great resources to help you put together your list. I’m looking at both and tailoring mine to our personal families needs.
1. Inspired by Misty’s post at Your Own Homestore I’m building a camping headquarters shelf. She explains her system in her post here. It’s amazing and right up my alley!
2. In addition to Misty’s list my dad is a big camper and sent me an excel spreadsheet of everything he packs for camping trips. Here is a link to the excel file. If you don’t have excel here is the list from his excel file. Like I said (this isn’t backpacking). Feel free to modify the list to fit your own preferences.
JACKETS AND/OR PONCHOS
CHARCOAL STARTING FLUID
COOLER – DRINKS
COOLER – FOOD
DUTCH OVEN LINERS
MARSH MELLOW STICKS
AX AND HATCHET
CAMERA – VIDEO AND SNAP SHOT
CELL PHONE & RECHARGER
CHAIRS (4 lawn chairs and 2 tri-pods)
FIRST AID KIT
HAMMER FOR TENT PEGS
INSECT REPELLENT AND CANDLES
LIGHT – BATTERY POWERED LANTERN
LIGHT – COLEMAN LANTERNS AND MANTLES
LIGHT – FLASH LIGHTS PLUS BATTERIES
LIGHT – TENT LIGHT – BATTERY
MATCHES & STARTER FLUID FOR FIRE
REGULAR GLOVES AND PLASTIC GLOVES
WALKIE – TALKIE
WOOD AND PAPER FOR FIRE
EYE GLASSES / SUN GLASSES
KEYS – 2ND SET
KOA CARD OR DISCOUNT COUPONS
AIR MATTRESSES & COT
PILLOWS AND SHEETS
BROOM/DUST PAN FOR TENT
CANOPY ROPE (8 YELLOW ROPES)
CARPET FOR IN FRONT OF TENT
ROPES FOR TYING CANOPY
TENT – SCREENED COOKING TENT
TENTS – LARGE AND/OR PUP TENTS
So my thought process helps you a little bit. I’ve still got some learning to do but this is where I’m starting. I’m kind of excited to see the adventures we have this summer!
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder