Camping with Kids: Part 4 - General Preparation and Favorite Products

Friday, June 28, 2013

As with my post of Favorite Baby Items all the the products I mention are helpful but not necessary. You can camp with very little. Before kids RJ and I backpacked quite often, and we could get away with bringing very limited gear. (When you have to haul it it on your back you really debate the necessity of the insulated french press - sometimes Via instant coffee will suffice.) However, since transitioning to car camping with kids we've added quite a few things that really do make camping easier (and a bit more luxurious.) 

Also, don't forget the beauty of lending and borrowing. Many of our friends love camping too and so we often lend each other gear. This past trip we borrowed a baby carrier, bike trailer, Keen shoes for Landon, and bike tow. Over the years we've lent out our tent trailer, sleeping bags, tent, kids jacket, sleeping pads, and much, much more. Borrowing gear is a great way to outfit your next camping trip.

Most of our camping gear is kept in our garage or our tent trailer in plastic storage bins (Sterilite 66-Quart See-Through Storage Box with Latching Lid, Set of 4). There are various sized bins. 

I use large bigs for:

- Food. This bin is usually empty until a few days before we leave, however, I do leave a few basic spices in there all the time

- Kitchen Supplies. Such as flying pans, pots, french press, cups, plates, tin foil,etc.

- General Gear. Lantern, tablecloth, decks of cards, flashlights, garbage bags, etc. 

I have small bins with the following:

- Utensils: forks, knives,  (sometimes I stuff this bin into the large Kitchen bin)

- Toiletries: toothbrushes, floss, hair ties, lotion, etc., 

- Misc. Small Items such as bug spray and sunscreen

- Medications: tylenol, a first-aid kit, thermometer, etc. 

It was a bit of a financial commitment to set these bins up they have been worth it. They make packing SO easy. (And you really will be surprised how much of this stuff you already have in your house. If you look around I bet you find you already have 3 sunscreens, two bottles of Tylenol, 4 spatulas, etc. You might not really need to buy much at all.) 

Since most of the general organization is done beforehand I've actually been able to roll out of our house for a last minute camping trip (for a weekend) in less than an hour. However, for those bigger trips RJ and I typically start the packing process about a week ahead of time. We make a list of all the "extra" things we will be bring: Will we be fishing? Swimming? Biking?, etc. And then we start slowing gathering and piling everything into the garage. 

Included in that pile are some of our favorite products. The below lists are absolutely not all-inclusive. They're just a few things I think are really nice to have:

- For cooking I love our Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart 2-Burner Stove. It's easy to use and gets water boiling fast.

- Here it is again Chicco Caddy Hook On Chair, Red A must for camping with a baby.

- I love our classic red tablecloth (not pictures). It washes up well and makes the table feel more homey. Tavern Check Classic Restaurant Quality Flannel Back Vinyl Tablecloth, 52X70 Oblong (Rectangle), Red & White

- Our dishes are all mismatched kitchen cast-offs but I would love to have a the full Coleman Speckled Enamelware Dining Kit (Red) set. 

- Camping or not we always start our day with java. Thermos Nissan 34-Ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless-Steel Gourmet Coffee Press

- For Christmas I was given a Lodge cast iron skillet and dutch oven. I haven't used the Lodge Logic L12DCO3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Camp Dutch Oven, for camping yet but I'm looking forward to learning how. And the Lodge Logic L10SK3 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet is awesome. 

- I really believe a good ice chest is worth the investment. My parents had a green Coleman they used my entire life. RJ and I purchased a similar Chest Cooler last year and we really like it.

- Another new purchase, we love this Skip Hop Central Park Outdoor Blanket, Metro Stripe. It's great for the beach or the campsite

- As I mentioned in my previous post, don't forget the polarized kids sunglasses for fishing. Protect those eyes from UV rays and flying fish hooks! (Fluke Jr. Angler Polarized Sunglasses (Shiny Black Frame, Smoke/Blue Mirror Lenses)

= Landon loves having his own camp chair. He's got a generic Target brand one but I love the one by Kelty:  Kelty Kids Chair, Green

- We've borrowed out friends Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Child Carrier (Legion Blue) and it's the best

- Headlamps looks dorky but they're the best! Black Diamond Spot Headlamp (Matte Black)

- When camping with kids you should always have plenty of paper towels and Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack, Fresh Scent and Citrus Blend on hand. 

- A good lantern will last for years. Black Diamond Equipment Titan Lantern (Dark Chocolate)

- Get yourself some rubber bins for packing. And bring medium sized one along with you for bathing the kids! 

- Finally, the best all-around product. Dr. Bronner's soap can be used to wash dishes, clothes, hair, teeth, and pretty much anything else. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint, 32-Ounce Bottle

My last bit of advice: Get out there and GO! You're kids will love it, and so will you. 


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