General chatter - Tell me about camping!

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06-29-2011, 08:40 AM
Thinking of getting a tent. We already have sleeping bags... a cheap way to travel? Way too much work to be worth it? Thoughts on food prep? Before my youngest was born we bought a tent, but we sold it when I found out I was pregnant because it wouldn't fit all of us. We love doing outdoorsy walks/hikes/photo taking. But, we could hit cities during the day too on travels.

I would love to be able to cook while we are traveling, but would that be difficult to accomplish? I can get some things used (I hope). A camper is not an option and neither is a cabin really because we would want to be hopping around to see different things every day or every couple days.

Crazy to think about it? Or family fun?

06-29-2011, 08:47 AM
I enjoy camping, we go a few times per year. I take some canned beans, pre-cook some stuff and freeze it and try to take some fresh vegetables for grilling. The vegetables tend to go bad fast in heat and humidity so those are generally eaten first.

06-29-2011, 08:54 AM
Family fun, I say, though I am definitely a person that LOVES camping. It will be a bit of trouble, and I am sure that if you get a small grill or even make your own fire, cooking won't be a huge issue. Definitely map out your camp sites before you travel so you have a clear destination for each night. I would wait to actually buy food for the day/few days until you get to your camp site area-then of course, fill up a cooler with ice, drop your perishables in and refresh the ice as needed. I know a lot of people will tell you you're crazy, but I think it's worth the trouble and I loved camping as a kid and now as an adult.

06-29-2011, 09:25 AM
It's definitely work, but I think it's a lot of fun. Most campgrounds have a fire pit or grill at each camp site. I have a little backpackable cook stove too, that's good for boiling. Honestly, we don't go very often, and usually only cook hot dogs and tea, but you could do anything you'd normally grill, or anything that's not sensitive to the temperature it's cooked at. We usually have a cooler and a box for non-perishables, and tend to eat simply for the most part, with a few meals out. PB&J, fruit, trail mix. We get buy.

I think it's fun, but like I say, it is work. A good amount of the time is taken up by chores: cooking, campsite dishes, repacking, frequent grocery store trips. It's a bit like playing house. If you'll have fun doing that, it's for you but if it all just sounds like a nuisance, then, well, it is.

06-29-2011, 09:29 AM
If you like sleeping on the ground, using an outdoor toilet and carrying water, then camping is for you. On the other hand nothing smells better than coffee perking and bacon frying in the outdoors.

06-29-2011, 09:37 AM
We wouldn't be camping and staying on site all day. But, camping, seeing the area for a day or two, and then moving on. I don't think we would be hauling a lot of water except from our car to the tent, and even then, we would have a trolley or something to make it easier (I have something like that). Sleeping on the ground with padding doesn't bug me. What will bug me though is mosquitos. Pretty easy to ward them off with deet?

06-29-2011, 09:50 AM
I love to camp! It can be lots of fun, but also lots of work! I usually try to plan what meals we will eat before we go and I get everything ready at home and keep on ice. Patty out the hamburgers, chop veggies. We do alot of foil packets on the grill w/ chicken and veggies. Breakfast is usually something that doesnt involve cooking (pop tarts,granola bars) and lunch is usually sandwiches. As long as you are prepared you will enjoy it. As a matter of fact my family is going camping this weekend. We do have a camper so that makes it a little easier, but still takes a bit of getting ready for it. I have been making lists and getting all our clothes ready all week. We go with a couple other families, so we share the dinner responsibilities. A different family cooks dinner each night. This definitely makes it better. Then I only have to worry about one meal really. Keeping a list of all the things I will need helps me to not forget anything! Hope you have lots of fun!

06-29-2011, 10:01 AM
DEET and campfires do a pretty good job of scaring the bugs away, but I do remember the last time we car camped looking enviously at a neighbors net canopy over their picnic table. That seemed pretty sweet. My husband and I have both done some backpacking and pretty bare-bones campers, so it was a bit of a guilty confession when we admitted to each other how nice it would be to have one of those net canopies.

Almost all of my childhood vacations were about like what you have planned, and how I felt about them changed with age. I liked it when I was little, but as I got older the charm wore off. Setting up a campsite is work. If you have do to it every night in a different place, it's obviously more work than doing it once and staying put. Well, the stuff staying put. We always go off and do stuff during the day. My least favorite vacation was when I was 16 and it seemed like we spent nearly all our time, it seemed to me, working around camp, or driving to the next thing, and very little time doing whatever the thing was. Of course, being 16 may have had something to do with why I didn't like it.

06-29-2011, 10:11 AM
See if yo can borrow a tent and try a one or two night local trip first. We go once a year with a big group, and even with all those people to share the work, one night is all I can handle. But I'm not generally an outdoorsy person anyway :)

06-29-2011, 10:20 AM
If you are going to be moving every few days, the tents being sold now are getting easier and easier to put up and take down.

06-29-2011, 10:31 AM
My mom and I love to go camping, but we do comfortable camping: we always go to a state park with good restroom and shower facilities. Our favorite place has a nice pond, a great shower house, and every site has its own fire place. It's about $10 a night per site for in state residents and if we go with a large group and stay there more than 3 nights, we get 2 sites next to each other. One site is for sleeping and we set up our 2 or 3 tents, and the other is for cooking and hanging out. We put up a screen tent over the picnic table so that if we want to play cards at night or get away from bugs we have a little refuge. I also recommend highly buying a little propane camping stove. I find it really difficult to get a fire going at 7 am to make breakfast over, so we cheat and use it for breakfast and for when my mom wants some tea.

Man, I really gotta go out and get camping :)

06-29-2011, 10:37 AM
Thinking of getting a tent. We already have sleeping bags... a cheap way to travel? Way too much work to be worth it? Thoughts on food prep? Before my youngest was born we bought a tent, but we sold it when I found out I was pregnant because it wouldn't fit all of us. We love doing outdoorsy walks/hikes/photo taking. But, we could hit cities during the day too on travels.

I would love to be able to cook while we are traveling, but would that be difficult to accomplish? I can get some things used (I hope). A camper is not an option and neither is a cabin really because we would want to be hopping around to see different things every day or every couple days.

Crazy to think about it? Or family fun?
if you are moving around a camper is far far easier to move than a tent.

Other than that start with the basics. A small gas barbeque is cheap and you can cook almost anything on it. A couple of coolers and air mattresses will really be the only other necessary equipment. Get a big tent. They are pretty cheap these days and if you can stand up to get dressed the experience is so much better. Go somewhere close for a weekend before you head out for a long trip. That will tell you what else you need and what you are in for.

06-29-2011, 10:54 AM
this is pretty much how our vacations are (with small kids) -- road trip and camping, with a few hotel nights in between. We mostly camp 1 night in a place, occasionally 2. We usually camp in national or state parks, and although we drive some miles, we do also hike and visit places each day. We love it (but both my husband and I are really bad at staying in one place for long!), and the kids enjoy it, at least at this age (until their friends tell them what a "resort" is - ha!). The tent up/down and repacking the car thing is a hassle, but we have it down after so many trips. If you find its too much hassle, you could stay a little longer at each site and move on less often, but for us we are always excited to get to the next place, so its worth the bother. We have a great tent, and I would advise buying the best you can afford, it does make a difference in terms of ease of set up, and also in a storm (one night our neighbor's tent blew over in a big storm, while ours was fine) - check out sales at REI.

For food, we usually buy each evening before arriving at a campsite so we don't have to worry about cold storage - we grill on the firepit - most state/national park sites have a firepit with a grill rack over it. We often do fresh corn, sausages (veggie burger for me) - or steak or fish if we are at a good grocery store, potatoes in a foil packet, and then we have whatever fresh raw veggies/fruit we can find (sometimes none!), cheese and bread. We usually eat bread or a bagel for breakfast, or sometimes we wait until we find a bakery/cafe. Lunch we get somewhere along the way. So when we leave home we just take a box with plates, utensils, herbs/salt/pepper/BBq sauce and foil. We carry various dry foods for snacks, and in case we cant find anywhere decent for lunch! And loads of water.
I hope you go and enjoy it!

06-29-2011, 01:57 PM
The more I read and think, the more appealing it sounds. We have camp chairs and yes, I would get a good tent from REI and yes, we would camp in nicer sites that have showers and real toilets.

06-29-2011, 02:06 PM
My boyfriend and I camp ALMOST EVERY joke. I don't know about everyone else, but when I'm outdoors/hiking/camping/whatever I don't even worry about what I'm eating, because it's usually not a big meal (too much hassle) and I'm constantly doing something. Two weekends ago we went camping for 1 night -- due to unexpected rain/snow -- and I still lost 2 pounds just for being out there.

I also suggest getting a really good skillet...if you're not backpacking...a skillet will get you far. We throw in the eggs, bacon, hashbrowns all into it and make a killer breakfast scramble. Camping is all about exploring and having fun in the wilderness, so you really aren't going to fill up on food, or even have time/patience to cook an extravagant meal. Don't worry about it and just have fun. My .02.

06-29-2011, 02:20 PM
i've never traveled and camped but each summer we go out camping on the coast around here...the only road "out" of town dead-ends about 30 miles out of town and, at that point, you're driving through mostly coastal rainforest wilderness anyhow...we dont use campgrounds or campsites, we just make our own...usually we go with BIL and his wife and little kids, usually other relatives show up along the way too...we are always out there for at least a few days...

we always take lots of bug spray, sunscreen, tent, chairs, cooler full of food, toys for our son, Raid so you dont have to find and kill the bugs that get into your tent before nighttime, first aid, toilet paper, garbage bags so you dont leave trash behind, etc

BIL always takes his skiff...we always camp directly at the shoreline, right up from high tideline, in the rainforest and we always motor out the skiff to drop crab pots into the ocean...if you're doing any of that, make sure you take the crab bait and stuff (frozen herring bait etc) morning i went out with BIL on his skiff to pull up the crab pots and we saw a whale surfacing pretty close to us, the whale's tail was making waves for our skiff, was very cool!

last time we all took the skiff and camped out on a little island all by ourselves (well, us and the group we were with)...spent several days out there sitting in the sun, camping on the beach, fishing on the skiff and crap potting...nothing like freshly caught crab over the campfire!

06-30-2011, 03:39 AM
We just went camping this weekend at Mt Rainier! OMG It was SO much fun! We didn't have a tent so my friend who we went with let us borrow theirs. She had just bought a new one for them and it is SO nice! Its the Weathermaster 10 by Coleman I think. It has enough room to fit 3 queen size blow up mattresses! It has a flap door that is really nice and can separate into 3 rooms! :D Once I can afford it we will be getting one ourselves. We already have plans to go back in August! :carrot: The whole family had SO much fun! Even though my teenager was unable to get cell service & had to do without texting for the weekend! LMAO ;)

My friend had frozen just about all the food that was coming with so she didn't even need ICE! :dizzy: I got a ton of ice in my cooler though! She also has a little propane tank grill and then a propane run burner with 2 burners on it. We ate SO good and it was pretty easy! Ribs one night & spaghetti! Between all the kids & men we had to help with clean up it was a breeze! :D

I hope you guys have fun!

06-30-2011, 12:46 PM
We love to camp and fish. I have simplified camping by creating a couple of totes that are stocked and ready to go. One is the campsite tote. It contains first aid kit, extra rain ponchos, sunscreen, clothes line, matches, and other things that I find useful while camping. The other tote is the "camp kitchen" it has basic tools like the little propane stove, utensils and food prep items like peeler, knife spatula. It also has a good skillet and a couple of small pots, spices, foil, etc. Using the totes makes it easier to prepare to go and easier to set up and break camp.

We generally only eat two meals per day. A hearty breakfast before we head out and then supper back at the camp. Enjoy!