Over the years, we have gotten lots of questions about how we camp as a family, and what we bring etc.. so I decided it was high time to show you. For one, we aren’t really camping, we’re glamping. Car camping is a different beast than proper backwoods camping, so I would like to get that clarification out of the way.
We bring too much stuff.
We have a great time.
It takes a lot of planning.
This is how the dining room looks before every trip.
As you can see…a lot of gear. Some campsites have great spots at the bath houses for washing dishes, others, notsomuch, so we usually take biodegradable plates and utensils so we only have to wash up the cutting board and cutlery. More and more campsites are offering recycling now, so call ahead and ask.
I also enjoy using baskets and liners since it creates less waste, and things like hot dogs won’t roll off the plate into the dirt.
We pack a battery powered air pump (shown in the 3rd photo) which not only gets the mattresses filled, but is the PERFECT campfire ember resurrection tool. No more sticking your face in the smoke to blow the embers!! You just point your pump, turn it on for a few seconds and your flames will be back without self asphyxiation – everyone wins!
The blue tent below is our 15+ year old tent we replaced this year since it was threadbare, but it was the BEST. I called it the McMansion tent, since it was a little OTT and large, but again, this is glamping, so go big, or go home.
Our new tent had a smaller footprint, which we wanted in order to be more accommodating to the different sized pads at various campsites. Turns out, if it leaks, it’s not worth it. The McMansion had seen plenty of wet action over the years and never leaked, so we’ll be looking for another tent this fall.
The other FAQ we get is WHAT DO WE EAT? The answer is a lot of things, as long as you plan it out ahead of time. Simple steps, like making the pancake batter and packing it ready to squirt in an industrial squeeze bottle, will make meal prep easier.
Most campsites come with an adjustable grate over the fire ring, so we just bring the giant cast iron skillet and some foil, and cook pretty much everything in them. We cook a big breakfast, but lunch is on the go since we are usually out exploring, hiking, biking, fishing, whatever, so we just snack on granola bars or something to hold us over until dinner.
We have a BIG cooler, with wheels, and it’s always heaving when we leave.
I should also note that I like to pack smushables, like tomatoes and grapes, in hard sided containers. They are great to use for leftovers later and they keep everything round and plump.
Depending on where you camp, you have to be really careful about food.
This means packing up the box of food and your cooler and putting it back in the car after meals. Even if you are not in bear territory, squirrels and raccoons can eat through a plastic trug in a very short period of time.
We also take a tarp and extra tent stakes in case it rains while we are making a meal.
Our list of items varies depending on where we camp, but this is pretty much what we take most trips:
plates, cups, bowls, baskets/liners
antibacterial counter wipes
tray (round metal)
coffee + coffee pot
salt and pepper
cast iron skillet
washing up tub/brush/bowls/dishwashing soap
first aid kit
sleeping bags/air mattresses/pump
handshadows book/constellations book
swiss army knives
Yeah, I KNOW. It’s ridiculous, but there it is.
All this camping talk is making me want to start researching parks for our next trip….