Monday, July 06, 2009

A camping we will go...

We've been watching weather forecasts all summer and conditions are finally perfect, so in the near future we'll be heading out on our first overnight family camping experience.

This is a pretty lightweight venture as far as camping goes. We're staying in a cabin which has a full sized bed and bunked twin beds, electric outlets, a porch and porch swing, and a fire ring. Restroom facilities are down the path and we provide all the bedding, cooking accessories, entertainment, etc. I'm rather overwhelmed at the packing list. It started small:

1. Obvious amount of clothes plus some extras and swimsuits and towels
2. Sunscreen and bug spray
3. Flashlights (& glow sticks) (oh, and spare batteries)
4. Sleeping bags and pillows (& bed rails??)
5. Bread, peanut butter, carrots, s'mores makings
6. Kids' water bottles that they carry everywhere anyhow
7. Diet coke that I carry everywhere anyhow
8. First aid kit

Then it got a bit bigger

9. Cooking accessories: marshmallow sticks, aluminum foil, crockpot? stuff to cook in crockpot? burgers? hotdogs? How to keep cold? breakfast options for two kids that insist the only breakfast options are cereal, pancakes, or oatmeal? instant oatmeal? Old bottle warmer to flash-heat water?
10. What is most important to have in the first aid kit?
11. Clothesline & pins? or just extra bathing suits?
12. camp chairs
13. firewood?
14. matches and or point-n-flame
15. lighter fluid vodka (multipurpose)
16. bathroom bag: toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.

And then it got out of hand
17. broom?
18. axe/saw?
19. dish washing tub & soap & towels?
20. pots, pans, turners, spoons, etc
21. plates, bowls, forks, spoons, etc.
22. table cover
23. citronella candles

and then it got desperate
24. Coffee...instant??!!

Suddenly this does not look like an easy-peasy overnight camping adventure. I'm thinking if I'm packing all this we better just stay for a week to make it worthwhile.

And as a side note I'm sitting in my kitchen and a huge fat fly is dive-bombing around me and I'm about to go completely insane and maybe throw a chair at it so this should go really really well.

(Camping with pre-k's advice or shared experiences welcome in comments!)


  1. Don't forget toilet paper, just in case.

    Instead of your Coke/diet coke, get the little individual powder packets of lemonade/tea/etc. takes much less room, and mixes easily with the water that you are packing in anyway.

    Not a camper, but the Vodka seems inspired...unless you are going to a government type campground that forbids alcoholic drinkable liquids.

    If camping is something that you are likely to do again, and again...I would suggest going ahead and investing in some "camelbacks" at the sporting good store. This is a water pouch that is worn like a vest, keeping the hands free (and with two under 5, you are going to need to keep the hands free. I don't know, but maybe they make kids size camelbacks, so the kids carry their own water rather than Mom/Dad at some point having to juggle water bottles for two or more people. The camelback vest often has lots of pockets for keys/id; bandaids, batteries for cameras; sunscreen, etc. (note: when the vest is used, the wearer may have to suck hard on the water tube to force the water to "move uphill", because the tube exits at the bottom of the pouch which lands about lower back when worn. This means that the tube is angled UP the back and over the shoulder to reach the mouth (therefore fighting gravity.)

    (Also, I know from experience that camelbacks are great for filling and hanging on a bedpost/nail in the wall so that water is readily avail when a kid is sick. This time, position the pouch so that the bottom is HIGHER than the head. the gravity will flow DOWN and allow the water to flow easily once the "clasp" is opened by putting between the teeth. and it is easier for them to suck on the camelback tube while laying down, rather than sitting up and drinking out of a cup or sucking out of a straw.)

    For first aid, pack the stretchy/sticky tape that labs put on your arm after taking blood; or maybe the stretchy bandages that are used for sprained arms/ankles (just in case an ankle is twisted while hiking).

    Plan your meals as much as possible to only use 1 good skillet, and maybe one good baking type pan. Planning your meals means you can also try and figure out what utensils are Musts, and what can be left at home. Pack a roll of freezer paper (butcher paper). It is more compact than paperplates. Tear off a piece to use to prepare the meat/meal and trash it once the food is cooking. tear off pieces to use as "plates" for hamburgers/chips, etc. (you might need some sort of weight to keep it from rolling up on the kids, but it still packs easier than packets of plates.

    Colored chalk for the kids to play with on the cabin porch (if there is one)

    Hiking sticks? I love mine. You could get 1 to 1 1/2 in round dowel rods from the home improvement store Granted Jorge and Katie might be just the right age to try and use them as swords, but depending on the terrain, if you are going to encourage them to walk as much as possible, then they could not only use these to steady themselves, but also to move plants/branches out of their way.

    This may be totally stupid, but maybe get the pouches of pizza crust mix where you just add water (probably needs to be warm water to make the yeast in the dough work). After it rises, just spread it in the pan, add tomato sauce and toppings. This means you need the envelope of pizza dough, tomato sauce (easy open can or don't forget the can opener), cheese, meat topping (pre-cooked); pan to cook in, measuring glass for the water; one fork/spoon to spread the dough; one knife to cut the cooked pizza. Hm. Maybe gallon ziplock baggie to mix the water and the dough?

    That is all the butinsky thoughts I can come up with.

    Oh Yeah, have lots of fun and take lots of pictures.

    GenE Shockley

  2. me again,

    Instead of bed rails, would the long heavy swim floaty things work if you placed them under the sheet between child and edge of bed? I see these all the time. They are usually at least 5 foot long. Tie 3-4 together in a triangle shape or a square shape so they hopefully have enough height to keep Jorge (I am guessing these aren't really for Katie) from legging over the hump and falling out of bed.

    They could also be used for water play. And since they are being placed UNDER the sheet, if you swim before bed, you could put plastic bags over the wet water toy so it doesn't get the bed/sheet wet, but the sheet then being over the top of the water toy in the plastic bag should eliminate the danger of the plastic bag. If you are unsure about this factor, then just keep these sans plastic bags for bed and don't use for water play at all.

    GenE Shockley

  3. Sorry, I am on a roll* (pun not intended).

    Re the butcher paper. The roll* in my kitchen is Reynolds Freezer paper; plastic coated (on one side) 150 square feet or 33 yds x 18 in.

    As state above, you could tear off pieces of the butcher paper to use to prep and/or serve food. You could also let the kids use the chalk on the paper side, or have other colored pencils (you know crayons would melt) to draw with.

    (Side hint. I think you sew a bit. I iron the paper pattens to the waxey side of the butcher paper and THEN cut out the pattern. It helps the pattern last longer if I want to use it again and again. Just be careful how you lay the pattern so it can be used correctly)

    Take extra plastic baggies on any hike, to hold the treasured rocks/leaves etc that the kids find. (Again, if it is a state/national park, there are / may be rules against picking up rocks/leaves for souvenires).

    Don't forget to checkout Parents for camping tips.

    over and out

    GenE Shockley

  4. Don't forget the Lysol !..

  5. This is why we don't camp.