Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Luxury" items for camping (or how to enjoy the wilderness with arthritis and teenagers!)

Do you remember camping back when there were pup tents? How about sleeping an rocks in a sleeping bag that was either too hot or not warm enough? Well, truth is, technology has made camping a lot more fun and more comfortable for families whether you are taking babies in backpacks or teens with I-pods for a chance to enjoy the great outdoors.

With the economy so tight and gas so high, camping is a great way to vacation with your family no matter the age of your children. When all our children were young we could not afford a "real" vacation because we couldn't fit in one hotel room (fire codes). That was when we first decided to try camping. We hit the camping aisle at Costco and bought a tent, camp stove, lantern and sleeping bags. We had all the best intentions to hit the road with our kids in the minivan, but the camping gear then sat in our garage in the boxes... for three years! But once we got started, we were hooked. There is nothing like being in nature where you have no distractions and can focus totally on each other. Camping builds independence and self-confidence... like Survivor without the million dollars and with better food!

So you won't have to spend 10 years like we have learning what really helps when you go camping, here is a list of things to add to your gear before you go!

Air mattresses-Why sleep on the hard ground and wake up stiff and sore?Air mattresses are easy to pack and make for much more comfort (especially as you get older). I have to say that we even have a queen-sized air bed that makes for a great night's sleep. You can even buy air mattresses that are self inflating.

Portable DVD/video- An essential, especially for long car trips to eliminate the "Are we there yet?" and "Stop touching me!"

First Aid kit-This is more than just band-aids and aspirin. Make your own medicine kit with bandages, elastic wraps, antacids, antihistimine, and anti-diarrheal (changes of food and water can have that effect).

Good(heavyweight) plastic tablecloth - This makes eating and cleaning up so much easier I have a Coleman one made for camping and metal clips to hold it on the table no matter the wind.

Antibacterial kitchen wipes- These make keeping your cooking and eating area clean to keep away bugs and bees.

Zip-Loc bags- I take different sizes- good for marinating,mixing pancakes and storing leftovers.

Frozen bottled water- We keep about 20 bottles of water frozen starting at the beginning of hurricane season and use these in our cooler when we go camping. Then when we go camping, we have cold bottled water while we are hiking. On our latest trip,after 3 days we had some water at the bottom of the cooler that was still frozen!

Playing cards - We play Speed and Spoons while the coffee is perking or after dinner dishes are done, and these are critical if you get a rain shower. Other games that are easy to pack like Left, Right, Center are also a lot of fun around a picnic table.

Extra trash bags- Besides holding your trash, extra bags can carry your wet shoes or clothes back home or cover rain-dampened wood picnic benches, or cover your gear in case of a shower.


veron said...

Though I do not go camping...all these tips are so useful especially the freezing of bottled water. And with an air-mattress I might change my mind about camping after all :)

Kristen said...

I'm going to have to check out Left, Right, Center. I've never heard of that game.

Camping sure has changed, hasn't it?

Robin Sue said...

We love LCR in our house. We also love Pass the Pigs, and Wig Out. I found your blog from Take the Cannoli. Neat camping tips you have here!

michelle @ TNS said...

the air mattress has been the single product that has managed to change my mind about camping.

well, mostly.

Deborah Dowd said...

Veron- Get yourself an air mattress and meet us in the mountains!

Kristen- Itis really fund,and we play with small change instead of chips. My Molly is amassing a fortune in change!

Robin Sue- I have seen pass the pigs and will have to get that for our next trip!

Michelle- It sure makes it a lot easier to get a good night's sleep (without the aches and pains)!

Wasabi Bratwurst said...

Our camping luxury item is usually an expensive bottle that we treat our self's too :)

We recently started freezing the water bottles too. It keeps the cooler clean, and is nice to deal with non-water logged food. Best camping idea yet!

Dominos and mancala are our two favorite games that we take along.

Chicken Fried Gourmet said...

what about heavy duty aluminum foil for hobo packs in the fire?

Kim said...

Arthritis or not, I love camping especially when it includes cold weather. You mean I don't have to sleep on the ground anymore?