Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is more complicated than I thought…

Today I decided to start planning our camping trip.

Fifteen minutes and a few state park websites later, I suddenly realized I didn't have a clue what I was doing.

You see, despite the fact that when I was a kid I used to go camping a couple of times a month, it's been over ten years since I last went on a camping trip. Also, as I was a kid, I was camping with my parents which meant that just a few feet from my tent was a camper with every amenity you could ever need. (I don't like Camper or RV camping…if you're going to go camping and take a full fridge, oven, double-bed and a color TV with you, why not just book a hotel room?)

My biggest stumbling block is trying to figure out what we need to take with us.

You see, it's only going to be a two-night trip so we don't want to spend a fortune and fill the back of the car with a bunch of junk we're not going to use…but we don't want to get there and realize we've not brought something we'll actually need. (I keep having flashbacks of the time one of my friends came on his first camping trip with a brand-new, top of the line tent but no bedroll or sleeping bag.) The other thing is that every time I think of something to take, it suddenly necessitates buying or bringing something else along

For example, Sunny suggested just taking some stuff to make sandwiches and a few bags of chips, which is definitely doable, except for when I think of eating nothing but ham sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days.

So I suggested getting some simple stuff to cook, like a package of hotdogs…but then bringing hotdogs requires a cooler to store them in so they don't spoil, cookware to cook them in, plates to eat them off and some kind of utensils to eat them with…which then leads to the question of whether the campsite allows you to build a cooking fire in the first place.

On that topic, I'm considering buying another portable charcoal grill, one of those tiny $25 jobs, because I think that would be really easy to cook on whether we're cooking hotdogs, a fish we caught or bacon and eggs in a skillet…and could double as a fire-pit at night.

So, to all the experienced campers out there, what would you consider to be absolute necessities? If you were going on a camping trip for a couple of days, what would you take?

Bear in mind that we're going to be going to a state-run campsite with the basics like fresh water and toilet facilities…we're not going out on our own into the wilderness.



Evan 08 said...

Before I make any recommendations on what you'll need, let me suggest you tailor your trip around your inexperience. Start by taking a trip that's close to home... or at least close to town. This way if you forget something that you absolutely must have, you have the option of running out to get it, instead of suffering or going home early.

That said, here's what I'd say you need...
-Sleeping bag or blankets
-Bug Spray
-Raincoat or poncho

I recommend the following:
-Cot or Matress Pad
-Cooler and ice
-Caffeinated beverages if you so choose
-Matches or a lighter if you intend to cook and/or have a fire
-Firestarters if you plan to have a fire. (Many places prohibit the gathering of any firewood, so you will need to purchase it. Plan for $8 to $10 per day of firewood.)
-A camp chair. You can sit on the cooler or picnic tables, but it gets old after a while.
-Paper plates and plastic utensils/cups. You can burn them when you're done using them.
-Trash bag for your garbage.
-Since you're in a state park, toothbrush, towel, soap, etc. for showering.
-Book or magazine?

Paulius said...

Thanks Evan,

Your list matched mine almost exactly...but highlighted a few things I wouldn't have thought of until I was there.

Anyway, we're lucky enough to live within a couple hour's drive of a ton of different campsites, so if worst comes to the worst it's not like we're going to be stranded.