fall camping essentials + a few tips

6:03 PM

Let's talk a little bit about what went into the camping trip. I'm going to break the post up into three sections: sleeping, eating and what to bring. But before I delve into that I wanted to share one important lesson that we learned, the hard way. 
So we were very passionate about wanting a campsite that was secluded. After exploring all the different options that the park had we decided to go with the "back country" campsites. We figured it couldn't be that much walking right? WRONG. Very, very, terribly wrong. The sites were approximately a mile from where we would have to leave our car. Having gotten to the park later than we planned we were left scrambling to find another site. Thankfully the process of transferring our reservation to  a "walk up" campsite was fairly smooth but we still ended up having to rush dinner and setting up the tent in order to get it all done before dark. Lesson learned - always go with the "walk up" campsite. Always. 

Sleeping: Here was our setup - we had a five person dome tent. We brought our queen size inflatable mattress and the battery operated pump we bought. Once inflated we still had plenty of room to walk around in and store our bags that had our clothes and diapers and such. We had two blankets on top of the mattress and then used a down blanket and Birdie's sleeping bag (unzipped and folded out) to cover ourselves. We all slept fully clothed in warm socks and hats. Now for the actual sleeping part... We alternated nights with who had which kid but whoever had Teddy did not get much sleep. Let's just say he is a very, very active sleeper. But to be honest with you we're still not getting amazing sleep at home so to us it was a lateral disturbance. Birdie on the other hand was fantastic! 

Eating: I knew from experience that when camping it is best to have your most "serious" meal in the morning, something fairly easy and quick for lunch and something very, very simple and mess-free for dinner. Nobody wants to be doing dishes and cleaning up in the dark. My friend recommended that I make chili ahead of time and bring it with us. Genius trick! We had that for dinner both nights in our mugs and after we just rinsed them out with hot water and we were good to go! For breakfast I admittedly pulled out all the stops but it was so fun! We did pancakes and eggs and bacon and coffee (the instant variety). For lunch I brought lots of fresh, washed veggies and hummus. One day we made sandwiches and we also did hot dogs and baked beans. I also had tons of snacks for us all - yogurt, cookies, applesauce, chips and granola bars. As far as beverages it was just tea or water. We were never hungry and other than breakfast cleanup was pretty much a breeze!

What to bring: As far as living quarters - a tent and don't forget the tarp to put under the tent! We agonized for hours over a tent but ended up going with this one and we are so happy we did! Next I can't possibly emphasize this enough but bring more blankets than you think you will need and at least one down blanket because that actually retains heat better than anything. Also, along the same note - socks, warm, wooly socks for everyone! And several pairs because you never know! Especially with kids. Right now h &m has these fantastic and incredibly warm wool socks for kids. Speaking of warmth Kevin swore by these fire starters to get our fires going every day. That and kindling, lots an lots of it but make sure it's dry! Also, one of the best purchases we made for the entire trip was our little butane stove. It got so hot so fast and was a lifesaver! It allowed me to cook everything incredibly quickly even though it's just one burner ( we would keep things warm on the fire by covering it with some foil until everything else was ready). Here is the one we liked (it also happens to be the cheapest one so yay!). Alright I think that about covers it!

This list is of course specific to the time of year we went since if you go in the summer it would look quite different but personally summer camping makes me want to jump off a cliff (the bugs, the heat, the bugs and did I mention THE BUGS???). 

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