Tent camping is an activity my family has been involved in for many years. Our camping trips combine fishing, hiking, and swimming to the regular camp site life of cutting wood, starting a fire, food preparation, cooking, eating, games, and just relaxing. We’ve made a lot of good memories from our camping trips. We’ve always gone up in the mountains and found great camping hiking spots either at designated campgrounds that offer water for washing, and some type of restroom (out house or rest-stop type), and garbage cans, or places where there were no creature comforts at all. We always camped by streams, lakes, or rivers during the summer months.
If you intend to have a successful camping experience, planning is important. As a retired Army Airborne Ranger, who has had to live out of a ruck (back pack) for many days, having the right camping gear when you’re camping will make the experience that much more enjoyable.
The best camping tents for families are tents that have separate rooms. Since we have two children our tent has three rooms — my wife and I sleep in a room, the kids sleep in a room, and the entrance room is for dressing and storage. We use a combination of foam and inflatable mattresses. We use rectangular sleeping bags that you can zip together for the wife and I, and the kids have their own individual bags. Bring extra blankets for chilly nights. We also use poncho liners for the kids to use inside their sleeping bags . We’ve had our tent for over 15 years and average 2-3 camping trips each summer.
We also take a couple of tarps. We use one tarp on the ground under the tent and make it long enough to have about 8 feet in front of the tent door. We take our shoes/boots off outside to keep the inside of the tent as clean as possible. We bring a small folding stool to place outside the tent door to help with putting shoes on. The second tarp is used to cover our kitchen/cooking gear if it rains.
We use two camping stoves – one uses propane (which we mainly use for heating water for hot drinks and washing) and the other is a 2 burner stove and uses fuel, which does not burn as hot. We use this one for cooking bacon, pancakes, eggs, etc. Bring a couple of frying pans, and camping pots/pans – remember to bring a spatula if you’re going to cook pancakes or eggs.
We always start a fire in the morning(for warmth) and in the evening, for cooking. Bring a collapsible grate to put over the fire if you plan on laying anything on it to cook or heat up. We make pointed sticks by cutting small branches from nearby trees for the polish dogs or bratwurst – so bring a couple of knives. We cut our own wood from the dead branches and logs you find near the campground. We bring an axe and small saw with a folding blade to get the wood the right size to fit in the fire pit.
Here are the basics of camping gear to bring:
Tent with rain fly, tarp, tent stakes, and hammer
Sleeping gear to include mattresses – inflatable or foam, blankets (poncho liners), and pillows
Cooking/kitchen equipment – camping stoves, folding camping table, frying pans, pots to heat water and cook in, paper plates, bowls, and utensils, napkins, paper towels, wash rags, towels, cutlery, large spoons, tongs, can opener, lighters, tin foil, plastic wash basin, scouring pads, disposable wipes, detergent, plastic storage bags, and trash bags. We pack this in see-though plastic tubs with folding lids. We pack most of our non-cooler food in these types of containers, too.
Fire pit necessities – if you plan on scrounging your own wood from the forest floor – axe, folding saw, gloves, newspaper for fire starting, lighter, a folding grate (campfire tripod), and a folding shovel.
Personal hygiene – soap, wash cloths, towels (dark in color), shampoo and shower shoes (if your campground has a shower), toothpaste, and toilet paper.
Safety equipment – flashlights, lantern, spare batteries, cell phone with car charger, map of the area, first aid kit, compass or GPS, and plenty of drinking water.
These are some of the items you’ll need to have an enjoyable camping trip. After your first trip, you’ll be able to fine-tune your list. Tent camping takes a lot of prep work, but it is so worth it for the memories you’ll always have.
I’ve been tent camping for over 30 years and as a retired Airborne Ranger, have experience in wilderness survival. For more information on camping tents and camping hiking gear, please visit us at http://mycampingtentsandmore.com
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