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Sometimes you need a getaway. But sometimes (or always) money is tight or you have a boatload of little people. Going away to stay in a hotel just doesn’t have any appeal. And sometimes, you agree to go camping because your husband wants go camping.

For Christmas, the kids and I gave their daddy a 10 man tent, and he has been itching to use it. They did set it up in the front yard one night, while I and my not-so-sure-about-camping kids opted to stay in our cozy beds. Other than the times I camped in the yard with friends as a kid, I only had “for real” camped once, and it was just ehhh. However, because I love my man, I agreed to do this thing…7 kids in tow.

I would not be exaggerating one bit if I said I had no idea how to pack for a camping trip. I knew we needed the tent (duh) and air mattresses, sleeping bags, camping chairs, food and picnic stuff, but beyond that? Thank you to my veteran camper friend and Google. I seriously searched for “what to pack for a camping trip.”

After my search, I made a list, being careful to include everything I could think of. Only, once you actually get to where you are going do you really know what you need. During that first night, we realized how ill-prepared we were. Because of high temperatures during the days, I assumed our tent would get hot and we wouldn’t need very warm pajamas. I thought wrong. Needless to say, that next day, we made a run to the store for extra clothes and a sleeping bag.

Camping with the Ill-Prepared

5 things we’ll consider next time:

  1. Be sure to check the weather, paying close attention to the highs and lows.
  2. Coffee. Do not forget that, and do not forget extra in case you have a mishap or two, which we did.
  3. Ziplock bags. Otherwise, your leftovers are going to get gross once your ice melts down.
  4. Pack more water than you think you need.
  5. Take extra clothes because some kid is going to forget you said to stay away from the water or mud as the case may be.

Thankfully, our friends camp pretty often, and they helped guide us in this unknown. When we realized we didn’t have something, they were quick to reassure us and encourage us that we’d get the hang of it. They helped chase our one year old and took our big kids, along with their four kids, for a hike.

5 reasons we’ll go camping again:

  1. The kids can play as hard and as loud as they want…until 10pm.
  2. Sipping coffee in the fresh morning air…yes!
  3. No need to fix hair or makeup, though teeth brushing is required!
  4. We enjoyed the great outdoors and the beauty of God’s creation.
  5. The company…camping with friends was so much fun! And you learn so much about them.  😉

We camped at a nearby state park. There was plenty for us to do yet not be overwhelmed with too much stuff. It offers a Heritage Farm that features a homestead with lots of animals. There are canoes and pedal boats, and plenty of nature trails and playgrounds.

We were definitely ill-prepared, but we enjoyed our camping trip. While I’m not ready to leave again tomorrow, I’m sure we will do it again soon. I wish we had done this years ago. It’s been a long time since our big ole family could afford a vacation, but this opens doors for us again.  We are excited about that!

Camping with the Ill-Prepared

Can I tell you–from a girl who likes to be in her cozy house at night–that it really wasn’t so bad?  Give it a try, even if just once. Just, if you do, be sure to be better prepared than we were.

Remember: warmth and coffee. I think all else falls in line if those two things are in check.

Happy Camping!

3 comments on “Can’t afford a vacation? Go Camping!”

  1. I love it! Camping is one of the best things our family ever started doing (although you get major props for really camping while I “glamp” in an RV). Way to go, Mom!


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