Camping for Dummies
I have told you before in other posts, I grew up on a farm. I had the privilege of going to West Point for a bit and we did some outdoor overnight activities that I don’t think you could consider camping. We did sleep outside in shelter-halves in the rain and froze but I don’t think it’s camping. I had grown up hunting and fishing and had done things like that also but I really had no idea how to go camping.
A few years ago, the boys were pretty young and my daughter was what I would consider to be still a toddler. I had a friend ask me if I wanted to go camping with them. I actually owned a tent at the time I had bought at a good price a couple of years back with the intention of starting to camp with the boys but didn’t really know where to start. So, I agreed to go with them. The location we went to, and still go to every year, is at the top part of Lake Marion in South Carolina. I had no idea people were allowed to camp alongside the banks of the river out there but they do. The tradition also started that the camping weekend was the weekend after Thanksgiving. So, we loaded up the truck that Friday morning and headed to the swamp. When we got down there, we got on our friend’s boat (we had to make a couple of trips) and went over to our camping spot. We got the tents and the “kitchen” all set up and then a friend went and cut some firewood. We don’t cut live trees but find dead wood from trees that have fallen in the past. We take a chainsaw to cut it up but, could likely find enough small stuff if we just wanted to feed the fire more often. So, our time there is spent doing a little fishing, letting the kids shoot BB guns at targets they hang in trees (supervised of course) and just watching the fire burn. It is a good time to turn off my mind and just relax for awhile.
It was actually pretty easy. After that trip, I decided we were going to make that our family tradition and the kids loved it. I invested in a coleman stove and some little propane tanks (which are useful if we ever lose power), a gas lantern, a little table and some odds and ends.
Camping for Dummies – Just do it!!
A few years ago, I saw a friend post on Facebook about camping. I told him I would love to learn how to camp. He laughed and told me, all you have to do is go set up a tent, build a fire, and you’re camping. I thought to myself, he may be right. It probably is just that easy.
Here is what I’d recommend if you’ve never been camping. Go with someone who has equipment and has gone before. They will be able to show you the ropes. There is nothing better than going camping with friends and just hanging out in the woods and enjoying life. Just to relax and watch a fire burn does something to recharge my batteries that nothing else can. The kids also look forward to it. My now 18 yr old son said it’s one of his favorite times of the year. We all look forward to it so much and my 6 yr old loves it too.
Camping for Dummies – Starting alone
If you have never been camping and have no idea where to start, my suggestion is to get a tent and a sleeping bag, flashlights and some fold out chairs. Really and truly, that is all you need. You can take food with you to eat that you don’t have to cook or eat and you don’t have to build a fire. Start in your backyard and go from there. For us, we have a “kitchen” area with a gas stove where we cook eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. for breakfast, chicken and rice for supper and my buddy cooks grits, chili, hot dogs, etc. on a fire grate from the fire we build. I also have a gas lantern for light. We cut firewood from dead trees in the woods. I don’t take heaters for the tent or cots or cushions. We just sleep on the tent floor in sleeping bags. You can go as rough or as convenient as you like.
Camping for Dummies – Just Do It!
The main thing is to just do it. Every time we go I think of something else we can get that helps us out. For instance, this past trip, I bought plastic egg carriers and put 2 dozen eggs in it so they wouldn’t get broken. My buddy also has a carrier for bread to keep it from getting smooshed. You can learn as you go and upgrade to make it what you want, but getting out in the woods and unplugging from society and our high tech devices for just a little while is so good for us. Our kids are not learning the art of communication, unless it is followed by an emoticon so, it is necessary to get them out away from things and let them open up and talk. Camping with your kids, while you can still influence them? Priceless.