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My Re-Introduction to Camping

21 Jun

Ok, I haven’t been blogging much because I have been very busy. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to play catchup a bit over the next few days.

But, a few weekends ago, Z had his first camping excursion with the cub scouts scheduled. I had not been camping in 10+ years! But, I had always enjoyed it & have been thinking about taking the kids. (Cheap vacations!) So, this date on the calendar was the impetus I needed to start researching & acquiring camping/hiking gear. We took a trip to REI to check out what “good equipment” was and costs. I spent much time on REI.com, backcountry.com, and Amazon.com checking prices, reading reviews, and planning out what I needed.

All this research, has had me really bitten with the camping bug – and I hadn’t even made it out there yet. Not only the camping bug – but, the hiking bug. I have never really been on a multi-day hike where you get to camp along the trail. And, I have found myself really eager to try that… & soon. However, that requires even more specialized gear that I do not have. So, that is on the back burner… for now. The focus had to remain on “Car Camping.”

Red Canyon

Coleman Red Canyon 8 - The Family Tent. **I feel the need to clarify that this picture was taken when I set up the tent to make the footprint, and add additional waterproofing to it. The blue protruding was the first rough cut of the footprint before it is cut to size. (Proper footprints do not protrude past the tent's floor.)**

I made the decision to get a couple of tents. One for family camping. And, one for either camping with one or two of the kids, or couple camping (ooo-la-la-la). Thanks to Amazon, I found some great deals on a couple of Coleman tents. I recognize that they are probably starter tents, but given that I literally have NO gear, & the kids have never really gone. I figured I’d maximize my money with gear that was very favorably reviewed, a brand that has been around for ages, and was attractive price-wise. For example, after our first voyage into REI to check out tents, I thought I’d be in the $300 range for a single “family” tent. From Amazon, I was able to get TWO tents (& a warm weather sleeping bag) for $150!!!

The first tent that came in was the Coleman Sun Dome 3. My kids & I were able to set it up in the back yard and make sure all the pieces were there the weekend prior to Z’s campout. Then they slept in it while it was set-up in the basement of my parents house. (They didn’t have sleeping bags and what not. And, I wasn’t comfortable with letting them sleep in the backyard by the pool w/o an adult out there.) It was nice to be able to start teaching them how to assemble the tent so that they would be useful helpers in the future, as well.

Sun Dome in the Light

On to the actual use of the equipment for…. you know, camping!

So, the weekend of Z’s cub scout campout was finally upon us. He had a baseball game on Friday night, a Cub Scout Crossover Ceremony on Saturday morning, a baseball game in the afternoon, and then finally, the camp out Saturday night. As a result, the kids and I decided to try camping for the first time together on Friday night so we didn’t have to be running all over the place with such a tight schedule.

I had done some research (thank god, for google) and found the Cape Ann Camp Site. Thirty dollars per night is a bit steep for a campground, but it was better than driving the 180 mile round trip back to RI for the night. So, we paid the fee and found a suitable camp site and set-up our new 8-man Coleman Red Canyon tent. By this time, the sun was setting. And, because it was such a last minute camping trip, we were not prepared to be making meals. So, we did the next best logical thing… and went to Friendly’s. (That’s totally camping!) After a full dinner, and ice cream of course, we headed back to the tent for a good night’s sleep.

In the morning, we headed over to the Red Skiff for some breakfast before Z had his ceremony where he progressed from a Tiger Cub to a Wolf Cub. He had been wanting his Cub Scout camping trip to just be a Father-Son affair. And, so after the ceremony it was time to say “good bye” to Syd and Brady (whom had been slighted by their mother in an insanely selfish move), as Drea kindly picked them up in Rockport and brought them to RI for me.

Z is excited in his new Pack 55 shirt

Z & I went back to the Cape Ann Camp Site, broke down the large tent & hopped back in the car. Then, we went over to the other campsite and set up the Sun Dome. Zack was a great help with both the breakdown & set-up of the tents.

After his baseball game, it was time for the campout to finally begin.  We headed over to the site & he ran over to his friends.  I began the somewhat awkward process of introducing myself to all these Rockport-ites.

The boy scouts were taking care of making dinner, administrating the campfire, and making breakfast.  Which means that I was able to do my first weekend campout and not make a lick of food (save some marshmallow toasting).

The cub scouts ran amock leaving the dads to hang together by the fire… and attempt to listen to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  By 10:00pm, Zack was toast.  He was very cute as he came up to me and asked if we could go lie down in the tent.  Not because he was “tired,” just to talk.  Of course, I knew better.  He was done, but didn’t want to admit it.  He crashed soon after.  About 5am, I heard kids talking from the direction of the fire pit.  I then heard a conversation from the tent next door of a dad saying, “You know it’s 5am, right?”  To which the scout replied, “Yeah, I know Dad.  Just go to sleep.  I’m going to hang out by the fire!”  I laughed, and rolled over hoping for a few more winks before Z stirred.  Amazingly, he slept until 7:15 despite all the noise of the children playing.  (That’s my boy!)

All in all, it was a great time.  And a great re-introduction to camping…  And, really, an introduction to camping with kids.  We are really looking forward to doing much more.  And, we have plans to head out next week!

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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Camping

 

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