Camping Newbie
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Thread: Camping Newbie

  1. #1
    Registered User LynnLC's Avatar
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    Default Camping Newbie

    Ok folks...thinking about taking the kids overnite camping for a trial run...Lol. I found a site not far from home for $25. Where do I even begin? I guess I would start with a tent, right?

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    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    FUN!!! How big is your car? We've camped in the back of a mini-van on an air mattress before, so didn't have a tent.

    Tent, sleeping bags, cooler, bug spray, sunscreen, food, water.

    Clothes that can get destroyed (its more fun, heehee)

    MARSHMALLOWS!

    Find out if any campfire restrictions going on so you know if you can build a fire to cook with or if you will need a camping stove.

    Oooh I'm so excited for you, I love camping!

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    Registered User frugal is fun's Avatar
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    I'm very excited for you too! And not that $25 is expensive but State Parks are usually cheaper than privately owned campgrounds. I just booked two nights camping at a state park for $17 a night.

    anyway, back to your question...yes a tent would be a good start as well as a sleeping bag or blankets if you don't own sleeping bags. Blankets work just fine if this is your first time and you're not sure you want to spend the money on sleeping bags. A ground pad or air mattress or some type of padding underneath you is a necessity if you actually want to sleep.

    And if you don't want to invest in a camp stove or grill, most campgrounds provide a fire pit..hot dogs on a stick are about as primitive as you can get. But you can pack sandwiches and other types of foods that don't need to be cooked.

    Don't forget a table cloth to go over the table. Chairs to sit around the camp fire, some type of candle or lantern so you have some light at night time...flash light for the tent and a roll of TP in case you have to get up to pee in the middle of the night. you don't really need alot to get started. think of the basics and then go from there.

    O and do you have bikes? I have found that having our bikes makes camping so much more fun. Lots of exploring to do and puddles to ride through. and yes, wear your oldest clothes you have as you and your kids will get dirty. And bring a couple of changes of clothes in case you get wet.

    My son drove his bike directly into the brook the last time we went camping. We were there two hours. LOL!

    Have fun!

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    My suggestion is go to the Camping forum, here on FV, & read all the information. Lots of pages & ideas!
    Have fun!

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Basic first aid kit, and lessons for the kids.

    Don't take anything that can't be washed in the machine afterward or hosed down.

    Set some basic grounds rules about wandering off, swimming, etc.

    Plan simple, basic food. Hot dogs, chips, cereal (make sure you have a GOOD cooler if you take milk), nothing more complicated than a sandwich. Something you might think is quick to throw together at home becomes a hassle at a camp site if there are too many ingredients.

    A separate cooler for drinks during the day is not a bad idea, to keep the one with the meat and milk cold.

    Depending on the site, you might need flashlights to get to the bathroom facilities at night. You may also want flip flops for the showers, if they have them.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

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    Registered User Josephhgoins's Avatar
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    Just a suggestion, but have you thought of camping in your back yard first? Keeps everything else you would need handy and allows you to work the kinks out.

    I did that whenI first started and found out that I couldn't bring my dog camping, but could easily bring my sister's. We also discovered, that cheap inflatable mattresses were cheap for a reason and that biscuits and gravy over a camp fire are awesome!

    You may also want to check out a boyscout or cubscout book to get some ideas of things/ways to do.

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    Nothing will ruin a camping trip like whining teens or spouse, I would suggest borrowing everything first.

    Put the word out on facebook that you would like to borrow some camping gear. You can get by with bedrolls instead of sleeping bags, especially when the weather is hot. You already have the blankets, pillows and sheets. Don't try the bedroll thing if rain is expected.
    You really just need the tent, lantern or flashlight, bug spray and a cooler + cooking equipment + water jug. Bring tin foil as the grills are usually disgusting.

    If the trip is a hit with the family, try finding a Coleman outlet store near home or another place you will be visiting. They have a lot of coupons out there too. The tent is where you need to spend the money and get a good brand. Coleman is reliable and not that expensive. The rest of the stuff is not as important and could be purchased at Walmart.

    You can also check out the garage sale ads in the paper over the summer and look specifically for camping gear. Again, only buy Coleman or more expensive tents. An old tent will only make your family miserable and whiny on a rainy trip.

    **I second the idea of a back yard campout if the kids are little. Inadequate supervision of children while camping can lead to drownings, abductions and wandering kids.

    **You may not know but you need to put a tarp down under the tent. The tent also needs to be totally dry of dew or rain when you put it back into the bag. Wet tents let in the bag will mildew. If you have to leave a campsite with a wet tent, you set up the tent in your backyard to dry as soon as you get home. Dog's claws will go thru the floor of a tent and puncture air mattresses.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    You could check out the tenting forum at RV Itch - Index . While it's an RVing forum, many of us started with tent camping and some are still active tent campers. Some things are universal regardless of what your camping style is, like camp food, campground info, etc.

    I was going to suggest a weekend in Camp Backyard too, just as a trial run.

    Read through campground rules on your campground's website so you understand what's expected of campers at that campground.

    If you have a screen tent or other tent-type item already, hang some tarps or sheets and try using that before investing in a tent. Or borrow a tent if you can, or check Craig's List for a good buy on one. Don't get one that's too small. Tents are rated based on how many adults can lay down on the floor, but keep in mind you will also end up with clothing, duffels, and other gear inside the tent, so you will need room for that.

    Don't forget to hydrate. Drink plenty of water, not just carbonated beverages which tend to dehydrate a person, not good especially if it's hot out. Besides, water is cheap, or free if you don't buy bottled water, plus it does not require space in a cooler.

    Be sure to have warm enough blankets. If you're sleeping on the ground outside, it's going to be colder than sleeping in your bed at home even with the window open. It's miserable trying to sleep cold. Also bring clothing so you can dress in layers. We ALWAYS keep two sweatshirts for each of us in our camper, first because we tend to forget jackets, second because we often need both layers.

    A tarp can be very handy for many things. Bring a spare and some clothesline from the dollar store, in case you need to tie the tarp over the picnic table or something. Also put a tarp under the tent as a ground cloth. That helps protect the floor of the tent, and also helps keep ground moisture from seeping up into your bedding and making you cold. The ground cloth should be slightly smaller than the tent floor. If it extends beyond the tent floor and it rains, it can channel water underneath the tent which is exactly what you don't want.

    Pack one outfit per day per person, plus one extra. You never know when someone might get wet or dirty. Allow one duffel or backpack per child. If they can't wear it or pack it in their bag, it can't come.

    Try to minimize what you bring just to keep things simple. Cover the basics of food and shelter. Bring a pen and paper, and as you camp, write down what you forgot or things you think you'd like to add to your gear to suit your family's particular camping style.

    Organize gear in totes, grouped together by category, such as cooking gear in one, lighting in another, dry food in another, etc. If you don't have room for totes or don't have totes, use something else. We use cat litter pails for a variety of things with our camping gear. Using good containers makes packing and unpacking at home easier and more organized, too.

    If you decide to keep camping, start picking up secondhand gear at garage sales, so you don't have to gather everything from the house each time. Having separate dishes, cookware, and bedding all packed and ready to go would save a lot of time and hassle each trip, as all you'd have to do is grab your containers and go. At the least, develop a comprehensive checklist you can print each time you need it, so you can check off items as you pack them.

    Don't forget the basics, can opener, foil, matches or lighter, etc.

    Don't be afraid of the wildlife, but respect it. Keep a clean camp so you don't attract raccoons, chipmunks, etc. Don't feed the critters. If you're going to camp in bear country, read up on food safety rules for bear country camping. Again, nothing to be afraid of, just be aware and act responsibly. Check with the rangers where you plan to camp, and get their advice for how to deal with the local wildlife. Plan to keep your coolers either in the car or in the tent, as raccoons are notorious camp robbers, as a friend of ours once found out when his peanut butter cups were stolen from his cooler while at a rally in Missouri. Critters learn to recognize coolers as food sources and will raid them. Don't worry, again, just be aware and take the proper precautions.

    Most of all, have fun! Don't sweat the small stuff.
    Last edited by Spirit Deer; 06-15-2011 at 02:05 PM.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Unsupervised kids and barking dogs are probably the two biggest complaints about obnoxious camping neighbors. Be sure you know where your kids are at all times, and if you take a dog, keep it quiet, leashed, and pick up after it, no exceptions, no excuses. Bring doggy bags for picking up. We got ours at the dollar store.

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    Great advice from everyone. I second the 'camp in the back yard' as a trial, if possible.

    Make a list and make sure everyone's on board. SO and I are experienced campers but yet, there was the time that we took the camping stove AND the propane but failed to bring the connection hose. SO went camping and brought EVERYTHING . . . except the freakin' tent . . I'm not blaming him but PUT IT ON the LIST and check it off when it's actually IN the vehicle and not just by the door. A list at camp will remind you what to bring next time (garbage bags? Paper towels or wash cloths? Toilet paper? Drinking water vs washing water? - we camp pretty remote so if we don't have a shovel for a toilet basin, we must have the luggagle loo, etc. There's rarely restroom facilities or running water)

    Have fun - it is so good to be out and about.

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    Registered User Dancing Lotus's Avatar
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    I agree with borrowing what you can first. It takes a few trips before you will have it all worked out. Half of what we thought we wouldn't need we did and the other half that we brought we didn't need, LOL
    Some people like to bring everything but the kitchen sink, I find that makes for a messy camp sight and a lot of work when you get home. Things you can't live without include a first aid kit and bug spray. I always bring two sets of towels, one for bath and the other for play. Those play towels will get very dirty and you don't want to have to use that to dry off with after a shower.

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    Registered User momof42003's Avatar
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    Personally I hate camping and never go, but here is my advise---if you want it...

    Don't OVERPACK, or get TOO MUCH FOOD.. My sister and brother in law would take the kids and buy about $500 in food alone. They would always have way too much, because they would be very stingey(?) with the food, and then towards the last day (5-6 days of camping) they would complain about buying TOO much food. So pack appropiately, and bring food you know you and the kids will eat. Try out some of the "new" foods or recipes you want to use at home first to make sure it something you all would eat.

    Backyard camping is great, we even invite the neighbor kids.

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    Registered User mh3rdwheel's Avatar
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    First you will need a tent to fit all of you, plus coolers to put the food in, if you have a charcoal grill bring that along with charcoal, lighter fluid, if ou want eggs in the morning (at home crack all the eggs in a baggie, or a jug and keep cool in the cooler with ice.

    We use an air matttress, blankets and pillows. Also we have a duffle bag (an army type one) we got from a pawn shop called the Outdoor Store, you can put alot of stuff in it (buy the largest one), we put pillows, blankets, and clothes.

    We invested in a coleman cookstove, plus if you have to have coffee like me in the morning, colemans has a coffe pot just like you plug in the morning but it sits on the cookstove.

    Make sure you get insect repelent, first aide kit, hand sanitizer, wipes (such as baby wipes) a flashlight, and a battery operated lantern for light. You can be as comfortable as if you were at home without electricity. Also make sure to bring lots of water for cooking, drinking, etc.

    The picture of my husband on our trike, we pack it full of stuff and go camping, we ahave a charcoal grill made out of an outdated 20lb propane tank, it can be attached by screws to the back of the rack.

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    Registered User mh3rdwheel's Avatar
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    Also put a tarp or two on top of the tent incase if it rains. Also when we go camping we take steaks, ham steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers, we will get like frozen cut geen peppers and onions to make with the steaks, etc.

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    Registered User mh3rdwheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mh3rdwheel View Post
    First you will need a tent to fit all of you, plus coolers to put the food in, if you have a charcoal grill bring that along with charcoal, lighter fluid, if ou want eggs in the morning (at home crack all the eggs in a baggie, or a jug and keep cool in the cooler with ice.

    We use an air matttress, blankets and pillows. Also we have a duffle bag (an army type one) we got from a pawn shop called the Outdoor Store, you can put alot of stuff in it (buy the largest one), we put pillows, blankets, and clothes.

    We invested in a coleman cookstove, plus if you have to have coffee like me in the morning, colemans has a coffe pot just like you plug in the morning but it sits on the cookstove.

    Make sure you get insect repelent, first aide kit, hand sanitizer, wipes (such as baby wipes) a flashlight, and a battery operated lantern for light. You can be as comfortable as if you were at home without electricity. Also make sure to bring lots of water for cooking, drinking, etc.

    The picture of my husband on our trike, we pack it full of stuff and go camping, we ahave a charcoal grill made out of an outdated 20lb propane tank, it can be attached by screws to the back of the rack.
    Also after you buy a tent make sure you know how to put it together before going camping. It makes for better camping if you get one that takes less time to put together.

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