Every family should camp at least one time. It is a great way to spend time alone with your kids without the phone, TV, or video games. You want it to be a good memory, and one they will talk about with their kids. Preparing is important to make sure your family memory is one you will always remember.
Many people feel they are not outdoor people. You don't have to be a mountain man/woman to enjoy camping. Just getting outside and getting that fresh air is good. With proper equipment and food you will be all set. People also are concerned about the expense. Everything does cost money, but once you get the initial equipment it is extremely inexpensive to camp. If your kids feel it may be boring, get them involved. Planning meals, looking at the equipment you will need is a perfect way to get kids involved and excited. Bring a camera for them to take pictures of what they do, or draw pictures of what they see. Always have a board game or book for evening events.
Where should you go? In New York State we are fortunate to have so many state parks loaded with a large amount of activity at our disposal. They are all close by. Please visit www.parks.ny.gov and take the virtual tour to see what park is best for you and your family.
Depending on the size of your family and your vehicle, here are a few essentials your need.
Tents: There are so many to pick from, so you need to talk with someone about the size of your family and what you are looking for. A family of four might be interested in the Bass Pro Shop 5 Person Speed Frame Tent. Quick and easy to set up, this tent is a nice size and will fit 2 queen size air beds. It comes with tent stakes, guy out ropes and a heavy duty zip carry bag. Sleeping Bags: Now you may some already, but if you don't the Bass Pro Shop Rectangular Oversized 50 degree sleeping bag will give you the warmth and space you need to move.
On to cooking. A camping stove is a good investment. The Coleman Perfect Flow Insta Start Even Temp 3 Burner Propane Stove is perfect. Lightweight, easy, and well made this stove will keep you going. What to bring for food? Have fun with it and have the kids participate. Pie Irons are great. You can use them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At Bass Pro Shops we have a few you may want to consider. The Rome Round & Pudgy Pie Iron which is 28"'s long and made of cast iron. Also the Bass Pro Shops Double Camp Fire Iron will do double duty to get their food to them quick. Here are a few quick fun recipes that you can use your pie iron.
Ham & Cheese Sandwiches: Butter 2 pieces of bread and put them on the pie iron butter side down. Add ham & cheese and put in the fire for approx. 5 minutes rotating.
Bring a Tube of Refrigerated Biscuits, pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella. Spray or grease your pie iron well and flatten your biscuits so they cover each side. Add everything and pop into the fire. 5-7 min. Rotating. Pizza !
Breakfast? Get that pie iron out again. Butter your bread (buttered side down) and place on pie iron. Scramble a egg. Push down in the middle of each piece of bread so the eggs don't run all over. Add a Brown and Serve sausage patty (I break it up) and a slice of cheese and pop into the fire! 5-8 minutes.
Last but not least try pie filling of your choice and a marshmallow on buttered bread. 5-7 minutes rotating in the fire. What a mouthwatering treat for after dinner.
Don't forget to bring snacks for in between meals. Long day you say no time to stoke that fire. Prepare this ahead and I know this will be a hit. Brown 1 pound of ground beef before you leave and mix in a package of taco seasoning, refrigerate and put in a zip lock bag. Chop up lettuce, tomato, cheddar, salsa and put in zip lock bags. At the store get the Doritos or Fritos that you would put in a child's lunch (snack size). Now here is dinner. Open Doritos or Fritos have the kids spoon meat and their favorite toppings into their bags. Drizzle with a little Italian dressing and crunch everything on outside of bag and shake to blend. Plastic fork and dinner is done and fun!
Night has come your stomach is full, time to tell ghost stories or play a board game. The Coleman LED Quad Lantern has 4 removable sections to use individually or as one. Total run time is 75 hours. Don't forget, insects come out at night. Look in to the Therma Cell Mosquito Repellent. Its silent, hands free, odorless and portable. It will cover a 15' diameter. This baby doesn't stop at mosquitos, but sand flies, black flies, and no-se-ums.
Here are a few additional things important to camping.
Air Mattress - Pillow - Personal Kit (soap, toothbrush etc.) - stove fuel - Cook kit- Mess kit or paper plates and Plastic utensils - clean up kit - cooler - charcoal and starter fluid - drinking water - first aid kit - Firewood or fire starting materials like matches, newspaper - sunscreen - small shovel and ax.
Always remember you are not the only ones on vacation, it is good camping etiquette to remember to be courteous to other campers around you with noise or garbage. If you are camping where the bears are, try to put food in tight rubber containers, and always take out what you brought in.
Most important is to have fun and if you need more visit www.basspro.com