Thursday, April 30, 2009

Planning a Camping Trip

"Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong." -- George Carlin

Spring is in the air and school is about to end. My kids are anxious to go camping. We went last year to the Memphis State Recreational Area outside of Omaha.

You're going to want to plan well to make sure you have everything you need because it's a pain to go back out and buy something you forgot. Here's a list to get you started:

* Tent. Ours is a dome tent that's big enough to fit an air mattress.
* Air mattress. Queen sized works well. You can also bring a cot. You really want something that keeps you off the ground.
* Air pump. If you're bringing an air mattress, bring an air pump. Something that can plug into your car's cigarette lighter.
* Sheets and blankets. The air mattress will leave you cold if you don't have something between you and it.
* Fishing poles and tackle. Don't forget worms or shad if you're going to use them.
* Gas or charcoal grill. Don't forget extra propane or charcoal and lighter fluid. Either way, bring a fire source.
* Cooler with ice. Buy the ice right before you go or you'll have a cooler full of water.
* Food to cook and food for snacks.
* Drinks. This includes an extra gallon of fresh water. You might consider having a canteen handy so everyone can have some cool water through the day.
* Plastic cups, paper plates, napkins and plastic ware. Don't forget a trash bag or two. It will keep your campsite clean and makes it easy to throw away the trash when you leave the campground.
* First aid kit. Make sure it's stocked and handy.
* Sunscreen and insect repellent. Really.
* Extra money. You'll want cash on hand. If you go to a state park you'll need to buy a permit for the day(s) and usually they only take cash. Not to mention you might need some extra supplies. Don't expect a lot of these places to take debit or credit cards.
* An extra pair of clothes outside of what you plan to wear, in case you get wet or excessively dirty.
* Camera. Record all of the good times. You might consider buying your kids disposable cameras if they don't have cameras of their own.
* Binoculars. The kids can see a lot more of nature and get excited about being outdoors.
* Flashlight/lantern and extra batteries. Or make sure to put in fresh batteries before you leave.

I will post again about how well it went and if I think the list needs to be updated.

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