As much fun as we have once we get there and get all settled, it takes a lot of work to make it to that point.
Once I became familiar with how things go on a camping trip and when I discovered all that was required, I began the process of making lists days in advance.
We always have our meals planned and usually they are simple. Hot dogs and hobo packets are usually what we eat. One time I made a giant pot of taco soup and we took that frozen. It served as our ice pack in the cooler too, but it was so cold out on that trip that it took it two full days to thaw. That was the year we literally froze in our tents. It was thirty-two degrees at night and we couldn't hardly eat in the morning, we were shaking so bad!
I start a packing list for our boys and I figure out all the food from the pantry we'll need. On another list will be all the cold food we need out of the fridge.
We have things that we take on every camping trip~tent (duh), lanterns, a camping table, extra propane, camp stoves (two), a coffee pot that brews on the camp stove, surge protectors (in case we have electric), a rake and shovel, our camping chairs, and a tarp. In our camp "kitchen" (a big Rubber Maid container with a lid) is our cooking utensils, eating utensils, pans, oven mits, matches, table cloth, coffee filters, coffee scoop and coffee fixings, roasting sticks and any spices we need for cooking.
I keep loose things in an old laundry basket, and all of our pantry food is stored in laundry baskets. (Right now, they're in boxes we just brought home from Costco.)
This is why I have all my lists.
This particular camping trip is a little different~we are going with a large group of people and all the meals are planned. I was assigned certain items to bring for each meal, which is why my Costco list was so long. And the boys have to have every little item listed, or it will not be packed. I remembered that I left towels off the list, so we added that this morning.
All of our camping gear stays in the garage, in one area. The foam sheets we sleep on stay inside and were pulled out yesterday. We cleaned the garage this morning after breakfast and got all our gear dusted off and pulled into the slot where I park. My car will stay outside tonight.
Also on our list is every sleeping bag and blanket we own. It will be cold at night, and we know what it's like to not have enough covers for warmth. The boys each sleep in sleeping bags, but Todd and I just use blankets. We put blankets on top of the foam that lines our tent then use all the blankets we own. ;)
Crash is on the list, too. He is a great camping dog. We take a stake for him to be hooked up to, so he can wander around a little. We also take his kennel, but we don't really use it unless we go somewhere without him. He might get left Friday while we do some hiking.
Well, that's about it, at least that I can think of. I plan in advance to make the day of pulling together and packing easier. Call me obsessive compulsive or whatever, but I have learned that being so organized helps! Very rarely is anything forgotten.
Tomorrow, Graham, Drew and I are going to our homeschool group for the first two hours then are leaving early. While we're there, Jonah, Noah and Todd will stay home and pack the cooler food and load everything into his truck. We will join them back at home for lunch, then hopefully right after that, we'll leave.
Now that we're all ready, I'm ready to go! I so look forward to the time when we are unloaded and have everything set up, and we can just sit back and relax by the fire. We make so many memories on these trips~and there have been some doozies! We've had people get sick, Crash once broke off of his stake to chase a goose into a lake, people have fallen down hills, there are usually freaky people nearby that scare the kids, and we have laughed until we have cried. We always have so much fun, and it's amazing being out in God's creation with no electronics and nothing else to do except talk to the ones around you.
That being said, I also look forward to meeting a bunch of people that I don't know on this trip! The group we're going with are friends of our neighbors that they've known for twenty something years. Also going with us are our youth pastor, his wife and their six kids. The boys are so excited that they're going, and I look forward to spending time with them over the next few days too.
Well...thanks for reading all this! Love to all.