Sunday, July 30, 2006

Starting to Camp

My husband and his family went on a lot of camping trips when my husband was growing up. They had a lot of fun on them, and my husband says that some of his best memories of childhood are from the camping trips they took. It is really important to him that our children have those same kinds of memories, so we have decided to start taking camping trips this summer.

We are starting by buying our gear at the beginning of next month. We will be getting only the basics at this point, but we will be adding to what we get throughout this summer and into the next one. We are getting a basic tent. I was really shocked to see what kind of choices you have in tents. There are some that have separate rooms, tunnels, and more. We are getting one that may have a little divider in the middle but otherwise is pretty basic.

Then we will be getting this interesting little shelter that I saw. It is only $20, so I figured that we might as well get it. The shelter basically has four poles to hold everything up and a blue tarp to go on top. It will let us get a little shelter from a shower if we need to, or we will be able to sit under it to eat.

We are getting two lanterns as well. My husband says that the propane lanterns are our best bet considering our budget, so that is what we will be getting. The electric ones do not put out much light, so we will go with propane. Those are pretty inexpensive. I think the models we picked out are $15.

Then we will go luxury. We are getting an air mattress. I was not so sure about that, but the idea of sleeping on the ground is not all that appealing either. We will have to get sleeping bags to go on the air mattresses. I am honestly thinking that the sleeping bags are one of the purchases that will wait until we are more into the whole camping scene. Right now I think that we can just stick with taking sheets with us for the air mattress. Then, of course, we will have to pick up some type of battery-powered pump for the air mattress.

Those supplies are the basics that we will need for camping. Anything else that we get will be extra. We already have a cooler, so that will not be a problem. I will probably pick up one plastic storage container that will become our camping container. When we are at home, it will store our gear, and it will go with us to hold plates, cups, and the like. We will be getting paper plates. I am not interested in trying to wash dishes while we are on a camping trip. After all, it is supposed to be a relaxing weekend for all of us!

My in-laws have a propane stove that they take with them. I am not sure if we will be getting one of those or not. The basic models are not too expensive, but I am not sure how much is too much at this point. We are not doing the whole living off the land camping experience, but I do not want to just drag everything from home either. Then there really is no point in going away from home for the weekend. The one thing that I did see that I thought would make it worth the propane stove was a coffee pot that is made to fit onto the stove. Now that would be a great addition.

We will be shopping during the first week of May for the basic camping stuff that we will need. Our first trip will not be an overnighter. We will be going to a park for a day of swimming and picnicking, but we will be able to take advantage of some of our gear. I am excited for this new hobby. It should prove to be a great adventure for our family. I hope that in the years to come, our children appreciate the trips we will take.

By Julia Mercer

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