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a camping we will go

A friend of mine is celebrating her 30th birthday with a camping trip, and invited us. I was stoked right away, but a bit nervous as to what Noah’s reaction would be. He’s, uh, not really the outdoorsy type. But! He said he was in, without hesitation. Well, the hesitation came afterward in kind of a what the heck did I sign myself up for? kind of way.

We have a tent, it might fit five people. We have a few sleeping bags, but will need to grab a few more, unless we just go the blanket route, which might work better for the younger two. But … that’s it. I camped with my family all the time when I was growing up, but I never once did any of the packing. The last time I camped with kids, Kaylie looked like this:

a long, long time ago

She was 11 days old. And I was with my mom and again did pretty much none of the packing. So, basically, we’re camping exactly 12 years after that photo was taken. Less 11 days, as we’re camping over her birthday.

Noah and I have never done anything like this before. When I traveled with my family as a kid, we camped along the way. When Noah and I travel now, we stay in hotels along the way. My parents were way more hardcore, obviously.

I’ve taken the kids to the lake for a week every summer for the last two years (our third annual trip is next week), but we stay at my friend Lisa‘s cabin, which is less of a cabin and more of a house with running water and toilets and beds and a kitchen. Maybe we’ll try spending a night in the tent in her yard just to test it out.

We’re not going hardcore camping, we’re staying at a campground. I’ve gone real camping a few times, and it was totally awesome, but since I’ll have three kids with me, I’m not quite ready to dive all the way in. Although I guess tenting is more hardcore than staying in an RV? Though if I had an RV, I’d most likely take that route.

Anyway, the point of this whole post is, do you camp? Do you camp with kids? If you’re a seasoned camper (with or without kids), I’d love any advice you can throw my way.

Categories: traveling

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  • Ara Monday, July 8, 2013, 9:36 am

    Menu plan so you don’t over pack food!! And with the menu write down all you will need to cook/prepare that item ie forks, knives, pans, salt & pepper etc. That’s the best tip I can think of. Have fun! We love camping, started with a tent, then upgrade to a tent trailer & now have a travel trailer!! Your kids will love it, so don’t stress too much!

    • jen Monday, July 8, 2013, 9:45 am

      Brilliant. Thank you!

  • Juanita Monday, July 8, 2013, 9:45 am

    We’re going to take the kids this summer too. We haven’t camped since Kaleb was 18 mos. We’re going to take a few tarps to make our spot shady and covered for two reasons. 1. Rain. 2. The dang sun up at 4am! Also, lots of rope for hanging up swim wear and towels. That seems to be the one thing I always forget.

    Ditto to the meal plan comment. I also make up as much as I can ahead of time. ie: making my own pancake mix and mixing the liquids in as needed when camping.

    • jen Monday, July 8, 2013, 9:48 am

      I was thinking of the pancake thing, too. Seems like an easy campfire breakfast thing, and something all the kids will eat!

  • Angella Monday, July 8, 2013, 9:59 am

    I grew up camping, too (at Lakelse! And at Kitwanga Lake!), but I prefer to cabin in my old age.

    The kids want to go camping this summer, though, so I may have to rough it for a weekend.

    • jen Monday, July 8, 2013, 10:04 am

      I wonder if we ever crossed paths at Lakelse?!

      And yea, Kaylie has been begging to camp for YEARS, but I’ve always been working. I have this summer off! (From 2/3 of my jobs.) So we’re making it happen. On her birthday, no less, though that’s just a coincidence. :)

  • Ashley S Monday, July 8, 2013, 8:00 pm

    I don’t do the camping. I will RV, I have tented (but I was trying to impress a boy – I’m married now, he’s past being impressed) but I really don’t like to. My husband and children love it and thankfully for me his boss takes them camping every year as a father/kids thing…so I’m off the hook!

    • jen Monday, July 8, 2013, 11:13 pm

      That’s perfect! I used to love camping. I hope my kids love it, too. :)

  • mamalang Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 7:49 am

    We just went camping for a week with the kids for our vacation. This time we rented a small Aline RV because it was supposed to rain/storm every single day of the week and wet sucks. But we have tent camped a bunch the last few years. I will say blankets actually work better for bigger people, and sleeping bags for littles, because sleeping bags help contain them. They can’t climb all over people in their sleep so much. (we actually used to put our daughters in sleeping bags in the bed when they stayed with my SIL back when they were toddlers. Kept them contained then as well.)

    Menu plan, but also be flexible. Foil packet meals are awesome but take time. We have totes that we store everything in, and we try to keep them organized by what they contain so we can just grab them. It’s taken time to build up the inventory, but we have cookware and sheets and such that are just for camping (thrift stores come in handy here.)

    Bring some card/small board games, my kids can spend hours playing card games while we’re camping.

    Have fun!

    • jen Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 6:10 pm

      Cards! That is what is missing from my list!