It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent. ~Dave Barry
June 8, 2010 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Camping for dummies: I want to go camping. But I've never been camping as an adult, much less camping with children. I need advice.

I have camped as a child - but like church camp and stuff like that where the adults did everything, planned meals, picked out the campsite, pitched tents for us.

But now I want to go camping for real. And I'm a little overwhelmed at how to go about it. Throw into the mix that I'll most likely be bringing my three children with me (ages 4-9) AND that my husband won't be accompanying us (he hates camping).

Here are my questions, concerns . . . please help me figure this out:

1. I worry about my husband not being there. Will I be raped and murdered in my sleep if he's not there? Seriously I worry about this. Am I putting myself and children in danger by not having a manly man there with us?

2. Besides setting up a tent, roasting marshmallows, what do we do? What do we do during the day? Hopefully we'll be near water for fishing and some trails for walks, but if we're not, then what? Do we just leave our stuff in our tent and walk away for our activities?

3. What can I be doing now to prepare for our first camping trip? I've practiced setting up the tent and working the Coleman camping gas stove thingy.

4. I'm pretty overwhelmed, but excited about this adventure! What have I overlooked? What do you wish you knew before your first camping trip?

I'm in AZ, if that matters. I think we'll be camping a bit toward Payson, the Mogollon Rim area.
posted by Sassyfras to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (38 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Go camping at a modern campground facility like the Payson Campground and you will get the fun of camping without the fear of wilderness. KOAs are great for that kind of thing too. You will not be raped and murdered. Your biggest risk at a place like that is being run over by a big RV. Have fun!
posted by headnsouth at 1:59 PM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: 1. No you won't likely get raped and murdered. Especially if you're in a state park with other campers around you. Start with that for your first excursion.

2. You plan to camp where there is fishing and swimming and some trails for walks. Yes, you can just leave your stuff and walk away for the day.

3. Sleep in our back yard for a night with the kids.

4. Just go for one overnight to start with. do not under eany circumstances bring food or drink of any sort into the tent. no snacks, no juice, nothing. Keep it all away from the tent. Brush teh little kiddies off before they go into the tent if they've been eating cheese doodles. You don't want animals smelling anything like food in there.

Have fun! Go Mom!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:59 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ha! I mean sleep in your back yard. Ours is too far away!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 2:00 PM on June 8, 2010 [8 favorites]

Are you going to a campground? I know things are a little different in the West but here in the East your options are generally:

a: Pay to camp in a campground, (private or in a park) drive to your campsite.
b: camp in the backcountry, walk to your campsite, carry all your stuff in backpacks.

If you're doing option A there will probably be park rangers there, who are cops, with guns, to protect you from bears and rapists and thugs and stuff. If you're doing option B the rapists and thugs probably won't be able to find you. Seriously though, other people are always the least of my worries when camping. Make sure you read up on the proper bear / wild animal precautions for your area though.

If you're at a campsite there's generally water or trails or both nearby. Lock your valuables in your car and go hike or fish or swim or whatever. If you're backpacking you spend all day hiking to your campsite.

To prepare, first figure out exactly where you are going. You made need to get a permit or reserve a campsite. Once you know, read up on the rules regarding fires and collecting firewood, required precautions for protecting food from bears, whether a fishing license is required, etc. Based on those rules make a plan of activities and meals, and then a list of items you'll need.

Some items you might overlook:

- Potholder
- something to sit on
- knife
- hatchet or camp saw (don't cut down standing trees, that's a no-no pretty much everywhere)
- more than one way to start a fire (ie matches and a lighter)
- tinder or fire starter
- first aid kit (with blister treatment stuff)
- sleeping pads
- camp shoes
- extra socks
- day pack
- extra drinking water
- sunblock
- bug spray

Have fun!
posted by ghharr at 2:03 PM on June 8, 2010

I would go car camping if I were you. Yes, there's always a danger, whether it be from other people or from wildlife. If you are overwhelmed at the thought of camping by yourself, adding kids is gonna be even WORSE, hence car camping.

Go to an area that has a campground and a nice day hike or 2. Get there fairly early and set up your tents, get everything ready for night and go on a hike/fishing. Make sure you get back to the camp site early in the day (before 5 or 6) so you have plenty of daylight left to finish up whatever you might have forgotten and cook.

If you are going car camping, don't forget to bring some nice comfy camp chairs like these.

Bring a little card table and some dice/a board game/cards so you have something to do at night.

Don't forget a cooler for food and a separate cooler for drinks.

I would also recommend pillows/good air mattresses to sleep on.

As for food, keep it pretty simple. Bring a coleman stove with a propane burner and a couple of pots/pans to cook with. Oatmeal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and mac and cheese for dinner.

I must say, you are very brave to take 3 kids on a camping trip not being an experienced camper yourself. I have trouble taking my wife (who is very competent), and I am VERY experienced.
posted by TheBones at 2:06 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would suggest camping at a destination that offers a lot of amenities and basic infrastructure (showers, stores, boat rentals, bathrooms etc) for your first camping trip with the kids.

When leaving your campsite for an extended period of time, put your food and gear away in your vehicle. Feel free to leave the tent and your sleeping gear, but make sure to secure your other items.

Daily activities could be hiking trails, fishing, canoeing, sitting on the beach, swimming, biking, etc. Keep the activities short and not too physically demanding since your younger kids will lack both the attention span and endurance to complete long hikes or canoe trips.

At night you can sit around the fire, roast mashmellows, eat smores, tells stories, and gaze at stars.

Keep the trip relatively short, stay two, maybe three nights at most. Find out what the kids liked and didn't and plan your next trip accordingly. As you get more experience camping you can travel away from the city-like camping areas into more remote destinations, if that interests you.

Camping offers a family the chance to spend time together without the distractions of life at home. I love camping.

I am a late 20-something father of two (girls), we go camping every year.
posted by axismundi at 2:09 PM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: You should also practice building a fire, if at all possible. I recently completed my first camping trip with my husband (I have camped a lot, and he has never). He insisted on being in charge of the fire, and his only experience was making a fire in a household fireplace... it's not the same, and it took him a little while to figure it out on his own (he wouldn't listen to me, but I digress).
posted by smalls at 2:11 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

1. It's unlikely that you will be raped and murdered. If you're really worried about safety, pick a campsite that's fairly busy and make friends with your neighbours.

2. This is what you do. Lock your valuables in your car first. Take a book or two if you're not inclined to spend all day helping your kids do those things.

3. Get a multitool with a knife and some pliers and a bottle opener on it. Don't take shitty sleeping bags, like those ones for kids that are sold for sleepovers. Consider what you will do if 4yo wees in his/her sleeping bag. Get a big space blanket or a tarp and some rope, and use it to shade the kids' tent, or they will wake up at dawn.

4. Take more warm bedding than you think you will need, you can always throw it off. Don't forget hats and sunscreen. Don't pitch your tent on a slope, and check the ground for pointy things that will stick in you.
posted by emilyw at 2:11 PM on June 8, 2010

Do you have a friend who camps? Or who doesn't but might like to? I travel alone with my three kids a lot and it's always easier if there's another adult or two, so pairing up with another mom and her kids can work out well. Also, summer before last, I camped with some friends who do it all the time, and boy the set-up they had! They had it down to a science with their kitchen gear and their pancakes for breakfast and their entertainment stuff. It really helped to piggy back on their experience and expertise.

Definitely start out with whatever is easiest. Here in Michigan, some of the state parks have little cabins you can rent. They don't have amenities (you still have to walk to the shower etc) but you don't have to pitch your tent, worry about raccoons getting in, etc., and you can go into your tiny cabin if it rains. That might be a good start if you're not totally committed to the tent idea--you get all the outdoorsy, didn't shower all weekend, hiking, swimming fun but it's just that little bit easier to deal with.

Bring books, dominoes, a frisbee, balls, and so on. Camping is a great opportunity to play cards or a board game at the picnic table when you're not hiking around.
posted by not that girl at 2:13 PM on June 8, 2010

If you are feeling overwhelmed I suggest leaving the fishing gear at home unless you're an experienced fisherperson. Dealing with bait and tackle for you and three kids simultaneously can be... frustrating.

Make sure you have enough flashlights for everyone to have his or her own lest ye mediate spats the whole trip.

A small radio is great to have around.

See that everyone brings their cameras. Disposable ones are nice if you're worried about kids smashin' up digitals.

I'd suggest steering clear of 'wilderness' camping. Try a state park with pull-up park and camp for your first trip out. When you check into the campsite the rangers can fill you in on all kinds of stuff to do. Don't leave anything of real value at your campsite when you're out adventuring. I you're at a site with communal bathrooms make sure you bring flipper flops for the showers.
posted by Gainesvillain at 2:13 PM on June 8, 2010

Arizona State Parks might be helpful.
posted by Gainesvillain at 2:16 PM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: Camping for Beginners is a five-lesson walkthrough that will help you get started. By the end you'll know what camping gear you'll need, how to find a campground, what to expect when you get to your destination, how to set up your campsite, and how to be a good camper.

Most everything above is good advice. I would suggest one additional thing. Avoid the temptation to bring everything from your home along with you. You're trying to get away from all that.
posted by netbros at 2:19 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

I went camping alone with my 3 kids when they were about the ages of your kids and thirty years later they still remember how much fun it was. We had almost no equipment beyond a borrowed tent and stove. We camped in a state park near a beach. It was wonderful.
posted by mareli at 2:29 PM on June 8, 2010

Response by poster: A little follow-up: we are planning on "car camping" - driving up to our spot and pitching our tent. I don't plan on doing any backpacking.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:30 PM on June 8, 2010

Do you have a backyard? If so, you should start by spending the night in a tent with your kids in your own back yard. It will give you a feel for sleeping "under the stars" and a better understanding of the discomforts and "strange" noises that you'll hear when you're sleeping outside.

I get the sense from your prior questions that you might be in Arizona. If you didn't totally hate your first overnight outside, find a KOA campground in your hometown (or very nearby) (here's a list for AZ) then book a weekend (Friday - Sunday) at a local campground. Be sure that campground takes tents and not just RVs. Arrive early enough that you can get set up on Friday before dark. Bring takeout picnic food for the first night.

What you'll need:
- Tent
- Sleeping bags for each person
- (optional) sleeping mat or cot for each person
- stove
- a flashlight for each child
- 1 cooler for food and a separate one for beverages
- a planned menu - breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- something to light a fire with (ie: matches, "clicker" fire starting device)
- check beforehand if your campground provides grills (many do). If so, then bring charcoal and "cookout" foods (hot dogs, etc.)
- have a set of clean, dry clothes for each person in the car, just in case
- shower stuff (virtually all campgrounds will have a shower house of some kind)
- a plan for what do to Saturday

Arrive Friday night, set up, eat, enjoy being outside, (attempt to) sleep
Get up Saturday (early), eat, then enjoy being outside or go do some planned activity
Come back to camp Saturday night, cook, have a sing-along or read aloud, roast marshmellows, (attempt to) sleep
Get up Sunday, pack up, take a shower after packing up, head home.

Best Campgrounds in Arizona

Don't worry about your personal safety. You'll be fine. Honest.
posted by anastasiav at 2:31 PM on June 8, 2010

A sleeping pad is NOT optional. You have no insulation if you are laying on the ground, not to mention it's, well, hard.
posted by TheBones at 2:41 PM on June 8, 2010

There's one thing that I didn't think of before going camping that ended up being stressful, the location of the bathroom. My daughter had just turned four, and my son was 6 1/2, and the bathroom was at a distance that was out of sight. I had to always take my daughter, and it was at least a day into the stay before I felt my son knew the way well enough to not get lost. But I still ended up having to go look for him once because he was gone too long.
posted by saffry at 2:44 PM on June 8, 2010

Other things you might want to take: a frisbee, a kite, some water pistols, an air bed and the repair kit for it. Lots of kid-appropriate snacks. Wet wipes. A potty if you are worried about your kids finding the bathroom. Anything necessary to replicate the bedtime routine, since they won't want to go to sleep.

I take lemons and a lemon zester, and use it to liven up otherwise dull camp food.

An Aeropress is fantastic for camping, if you're a caffeine junkie.

If your tent has a hanging point for a lantern, get some kind of LED lamp that will hang on it. Much easier than stumbling around with a torch. You can get lamps that double as a torch.
posted by emilyw at 2:53 PM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: previous question by a camping n00b
posted by desjardins at 3:05 PM on June 8, 2010

A sleeping pad is NOT optional. You have no insulation if you are laying on the ground, not to mention it's, well, hard.

If you have a good sleeping bag, the insulation issue is moot.

It is probably going to be optional for the kids. Adults probably would care more. Kids (in my experience) vary - for some its a big deal that the ground is hard, others not so much.
posted by anastasiav at 3:08 PM on June 8, 2010

If you are going to cook with charcoal then you definitely want a chimney starter.

I'm in the group that thinks that the ground is much harder now than it used to be.
posted by notned at 3:13 PM on June 8, 2010

Your question is all whacky - if you've never been camping as an adult and you don't know what to do, when you go camping, you're asking the wrong question,

What is it that you want to do? And then maybe, does it involve camping?

For example, is there a really really really.... really long trail you want to hike? Camping is in order.

Do you want to go fishing? Don't have to camp! Want to fish, for a few days, in the same spot? Well, camping could really be an option.

Camping, to me, is just sleeping in a tent, in a sleeping bag. Everything else is everything else.

Being inexperienced and bringing the kiddos is such a recipe for disaster. Camp in your backyard as a shake test. The kiddos will love it.

Think of it the other way, "we're hiking and the next day we want to fish, and the next day..." - every, "And" could mean camping in between.
posted by alex_skazat at 3:19 PM on June 8, 2010

Learn, and help your kids to learn, to recognize whatever the bad plants/critters are where you are - in the east that list would include poison ivy and deer ticks, out west maybe it would include snakes, spiders, scorpions?

Camping is great for learning to recognize the interesting/salient flora and fauna around you. Depending on your setting it might make sense to bring binoculars and field guides.

Bring your first aid kit.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:23 PM on June 8, 2010

Response by poster: What I want to do:

1. Get out of the valley of the horrible sun to where there is a lake hopefully with fishing (I love fishing), real trees and trails for walking/hiking

2. Sleep in a tent

3. Wake up in the morning and cook breakfast over a camping stove or fire

4. Take a walk/hike with the kids

5. Enjoy nature

6. Enjoy a campfire before bed

Kids and I camp in our backyard quite frequently - did two days last week. They do love it. But we'd like a little more scenery. a little more adventure. Sure, I could do all of that stuff an not involve camping. But we want to go camping!
posted by Sassyfras at 3:30 PM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: Also, don't be afraid to check out other camp sites when you first arrive and pick out which of the sites you'll be camping in. Find one NEAR the bathrooms and preferably next door to another family who also have kids. It's amazing how quickly kids befriend each other and knowing another family is next door will be helpful in case you have questions or need help with anything.

Anyway, just go and have fun - first camping trips are full of mistakes, but hopefully memorable ones that will create fantastic memories for you to laugh over with your kids a few years down the line.
posted by HeyAllie at 3:53 PM on June 8, 2010

Check availability and make a reservation now so you don't have to worry about finding a spot. Similarly, you should find out about fishing license laws now and get prepared for that.

In my experience, kids will self-entertain for hours on end if given a supply of rocks, sticks, dirt, water and bugs. You don't need to do much to keep them happy.

For your hike, you'll want to slow the older kids down with some botany or birding or geology. LobsterMitten's field guides or binoculars idea would help here.

When we drove & camped through northern AZ a few years back, my kids (roughly the same age at the time as yours are now) were fascinated by the question, "Imagine that there are no roads, no cities, no supermarkets or stores of any kind. How would you find food? How would you stay warm? How would you stay safe? Well, the native Americans who lived here managed somehow. Let's learn about what they used." By the end of the trip, they could recognize some of the more distinctive & useful plants, animal tracks, etc.

Do you play guitar or any other portable instrument? A family campfire/s'mores fest/storytime/singalong would sear the memory of this outing into their pleasure centers forever.

Oh, and keep the littlest one out of the cacti. That really sucked ;^)
posted by richyoung at 3:59 PM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: Lost of good advice above. To add on:

-Use this tool to find national forests in your area. You can then find a campground that suits you and your family.

-This is forest fire season in Arizona. Check for restrictions before you go. Some places may require a permit to have a fire. Some may even ban all fires depending on the conditions. Also, some campgrounds will be closed due to fire. Be responsible with your fire. Make sure you have plenty of water to dump on it when you are done and stir it around to get out all the embers. Do not leave a fire unattended.

-Someone above mentioned shower houses. I have never seen one at a public campground in AZ.

-If you are going to go fishing you will need a license. This can get expensive for four people (but there may be an exception for young children). If the lake you fish at has trout in it you will have to get a trout stamp which is $10 more. Last time I checked Wal-Mart sells the licenses.

-If you have a good sleeping bag, the insulation issue is moot.

It is probably going to be optional for the kids. Adults probably would care more. Kids (in my experience) vary - for some its a big deal that the ground is hard, others not so much.

Not true. The ground is cold and will suck heat from you. When you lay in a sleeping bag you compress it and it looses much of its insulation value. If you don't have a foam pad you can throw done a comforter or two to help get more insulation between you and the ground.

-Bug spray. Especially if you are going to be around water.
posted by nestor_makhno at 4:21 PM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: Have a game or activity ready for when you arrive that will keep the kids occupied among themselves for a while upon arrival. It will take so much more time to set up the tent if they are "helping." Earplugs may be useful if you have noisy neighbors or if the frogs/crickets/whatever might keep you awake. Everyone likes their own flashlight.
posted by Morrigan at 4:24 PM on June 8, 2010

DING DING DING- nestor has it!!!!!

-If you have a good sleeping bag, the insulation issue is moot.

It is probably going to be optional for the kids. Adults probably would care more. Kids (in my experience) vary - for some its a big deal that the ground is hard, others not so much.

Not true. The ground is cold and will suck heat from you. When you lay in a sleeping bag you compress it and it looses much of its insulation value. If you don't have a foam pad you can throw done a comforter or two to help get more insulation between you and the ground.

A sleeping pad is not an option!!!!!!!!!! A sleeping bag does not have enough insulation to act as a pad as well.
posted by TheBones at 4:36 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Consider a pre-fab bug house or bring a mayonnaise jar with holes punched in the lid for fireflies and other interesting specimens. If there's a possibility of rain, a battery operated DVD player can provide a few hours of in-tent entertainment.
posted by Morrigan at 4:42 PM on June 8, 2010

Within "camping," there is car camping and backpacking. But even within "car camping," there is "driving somewhere that has a convenience-type store with plenty of food, ice, cutesy keepsakes, etc and electricity available" and "driving to a patch of dirt that is marked with a number, so you know where to stop"

How social do you want to be? If you want other campers to be around for safety and socializing, go towards organized side of things. It can be enjoyable to be near people who can manage the fire (keeping the right size of fire is critical for a camp fire), telling stories, and and to provide pointers if you get flummoxed. If you camp in this situation, someone might well keep the fire going all night, or start it back up in the morning, so you don't have to worry (but you can get involved and not feel like it's all on your shoulders).

If you want to give it a go on your own, go for the wilder experience. You'll probably have a ranger in the area, but you won't have the din of other campers all around you, so you can get your little ones to sleep when you want, and there will be no worries about late-night carousing.

Of course, there's a whole range of options, as it seems like there are plenty of places to go in the Mogollon Rim area. I don't know the area at all, but this might be a good starting point.

Nthing trying to camp in your back yard first. You'll find out how you do with sleeping in a tent (or under the stars), what kind of sleeping back you might want (if you already have some), and if you want a pad (you probably do - the ground is rarely as comfortable as it seems). You could even try cooking on a camp stove.

Camping stove vs fire:
First, make sure you can have an open fire (stove or camp fire), as nestor_makhno pointed out that it's fire season.

Stoves are controllable, and can be similar to cooking at home (with extra wind) but you need a stable space. You can bring "normal" food, the type of stuff that will be fine with some chilling (eggs, milk) if you're only out for a few days. Word of warning: some camp sites have good areas for cooking, others are open for you to get creative.

Fire can be fun, and there are plenty of easy recipes, like corn on the cob in aluminum foil. But fire isn't reliable, so have really straight-forward items, but it doesn't have to be a bunch of dried things you dump into boiling water. As for safety, here are 7 good tips from Smokey Bear.

Speaking of water: bring plenty! You're car camping, so don't stress about bring too much. if you're camping away from amenities, bring enough to cook all your meals, wash your hands, wash dishes (or bring enough dishes that you can toss them in a bin and wash them at home), and plenty to drink. If you have a camp fire, you should save have enough water to douse the fire at night (maybe just save the dish water).

Hiking - have you done much yourself? Have your kids done much? If not, make sure you know what kind of trails there are, because getting tired of hiking three miles out on a there-and-back trail is no good. Do you have good shoes? This recent AskMe might be helpful if you're uncertain about shoes, and I'm currently an advocate for sneakers with a good toe (to prevent stubbing your toes). I'd say old tennis shoes should be fine.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:49 PM on June 8, 2010

Bring boardgames and a deck of cards. They are even more fun in the tent in the evenings. Bring a portable radio and tune to a local station to keep an ear on the weather. Cheat on the campfire. Buy a couple of those compressed wood fire logs and one each night as a fire starter. Instant roaring campfire without the hassle. A small portable propane powered hibachi makes grilling dinner quick and easy. Bring the single serving lemonade / kool-aid mixes to flavor your water if the kids might get bored with plain H2O. A KOA will have a camp store with all the necessities in case you forget something, as well as a pool, mini-golf course, game room, and often movies or live music on weekend nights during the summer. Personally, I'm not a fan of the cruise ship atmosphere when I'm camping, but my kids are teens. When they were younger all those distractions were a lot more appealing. Use the weekend to teach the kids the principals of leave no trace camping. Leave only footprints, take only pictures.

Oh, and tell your husband to man up and get his ass in the tent with the rest of you :)
posted by COD at 5:14 PM on June 8, 2010

Bring playing cards and some other kind of diversion just in case it rains. Even camping in Arizona we noticed that there would usually be at least one small shower in the afternoons. We usually used that time to take a nap, but we also had a few games that only came out when we were camping.

Don't forget the jackets. It will get chilly at night and in the mornings, especially if you're used to the heat of the valley.

Don't forget chairs for everybody. Your campsite will probably have a picnic table and a fire pit, but nothing to sit on around the fire. I set the chairs up and tell the kids that they can't get any closer to the fire than that.

If you can, try to camp during the week. Weekends can get crowded. Avoid holiday weekends.

If you are open to sites, you might want to consider the Showlow, Pinetop/Lakeside area. My family is from that area, and I've always loved it there.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:36 PM on June 8, 2010

Any chance you can bring along another adult/teen, perhaps a current babysitter? Safety-wise I'm sure you'll be fine on your own for car camping, but I think it'd be so much easier and relaxing with another adult around, at least the first few times.
posted by susanvance at 7:43 PM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: 3. What can I be doing now to prepare for our first camping trip? I've practiced setting up the tent and working the Coleman camping gas stove thingy.

Do the whole thing somewhere close to home (in your yard if you have a yard and can get away with it, or maybe in a friend's yard). Set up a tent, build a fire, cook your food, sleep in sleeping bags, etc. Note every complaint (too cold, too bumpy, too many bugs, batteries are dead, I'm bored, I'm scared, I hate ham sandwiches, this is stupid, I need to pee again, etc.) and note everything that has to be retrieved from the house. From this test, write a checklist and use it. Make sure it includes pills, contact lenses, etc.

Meanwhile, the kids will love the practice run. It might turn out to be more fun than the real trip you're planning.

my husband won't be accompanying us (he hates camping).

Are you sure he's not planning to leap out of the bushes and make you all scream and shit your pants? Does he own a hockey mask? Gorilla suit?
posted by pracowity at 2:16 AM on June 9, 2010

Response by poster: Are you sure he's not planning to leap out of the bushes and make you all scream and shit your pants? Does he own a hockey mask? Gorilla suit?

LMAO! Oh my gosh, he actually did this to a group of his friends that were camping when he was a youth - gorilla suit and all . . .
posted by Sassyfras at 7:42 AM on June 9, 2010

If you want to fish, check with the department of natural resources in your state to see if you need a fishing license or not. Don't want to get caught by the game warden!
posted by cass at 7:56 AM on June 9, 2010

Best answer: You are an awesome Mom.

Whenever we went camping we'd always bring a 12' tarp with polyropes to suspend it at the corners. It's nice to set lawn chairs up in a central shady spot (away from the bugs near the bushes) and it can save your weekend if you have intermittent showers.

Even if you have a fire, a campstove is a lot easier to cook on.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:30 AM on June 9, 2010

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