Monday, June 4, 2007

My Camping List

This morning I went through my computer files and found the list I made to pack for camping. Now, as I already mentioned, we haven't camped since October 2003--so we didn't have Emma at all, and Ben was a toddler. So adjustments had to be made for that. Under "Ben" I had diapers, wipes, the sling, baby blankets, snowsuit, etc. Kind of tugged at the heartstrings to delete that. Even Emma now is too big to take over that list. I just made a new heading-- "Kids".

I figured the list would be much shorter because we're only going for 3 days. So I renamed the file "weekend camping" and prepared for the big adjustment. (Previously our other trips have been for 7-10 days, so we should have that much less stuff, right? Right?) WRONG! The food category went down a bit, because I figure we can forget pancakes and maple syrup if we'll only be there for two breakfasts. We'll have cereal one day and eggs the other. We can forget about pasta, canned tomatoes, tuna, chips & salsa and canned beans, rice, and bring less meat, fruit and veggies. A lot less variety is needed for three days than ten. However--we still need coffee, milk and juice, bread, pb&j, meat, fruit and veggies, snacks, s'more ingredients, eggs, spices, sugar, potatoes, etc. etc. It's still food for 6 people, after all--six meals and daily snacks. That's still a fair bit of food.

The clothes category went down a lot, too. Because I rarely do laundry when camping (except for the wonderful time that it poured and one tarp over the tent wasn't quite enough for the slope we were on and everything got wet) I admit I overpack with clothes. I make sure we have clothes for every activity, every weather and temperature. I hate being cold and so do the kids, so we bring layers--summer clothes, long sleeve Ts, light jackets and even winter coats. We bring sun hats and cold weather hats--when we camped in Maine in AUGUST, we wore long underwear, double socks, pjs, a sweatshirt, winter coats, hats and gloves to sleep--and still knew it was cold! Then there's shoes--swimming shoes, sandals, sneakers and hiking boots. Maybe an extra pair in case of mud or rain. I can scale down because it's a weekend, but we still have to make sure we're warm enough. Long Island in June can still be pretty nippy at night.

However, the equipment list hardly budged. (And because we have a 4th child now, has grown in some cases!) The tent, air mattress and pump, mats for the kids, sleeping bags, pillows, extra blankets, folding chairs, dishes, cooking pots, cups, water bottles, coffee pot, dish pan, soap, towel, sponge, etc, paper towels, napkins, tissues, a tablecloth, fly swatter, bath rugs in and out of the tent to catch dirt, dustpan and brush, lanterns, stove and propane, matches (keep them dry!), charcoal and fluid, the cooler for food, storage buckets to keep animals out of food--it's literally endless. Bathing suits, bike helmets, bikes/scooters, beach towels and regular shower towels--a clothesline and pins to dry everything, tools to set everything up....then there's the bag of bathroom stuff with shampoo, toothbrushes, contact cleaners, sunscreen and bug spray, brush and comb, Tylenol, lotion, etc. etc.

So in short, I will still be running around like a woman possessed in order to get us packed. Matt is taking Friday off, but because we had wanted to camp 2 weeks ago but couldn't get a reservation so we chose this weekend instead, the kids and I have plans on Friday already. We're seeing a play in the morning, and then our homeschooling group's history club has an end of the year costume party in the early afternoon. So although I will be doing most of the packing, Matt (the lucky man!) will be packing his van (seats taken out, which will be much easier) with all the camping gear and the dog and checking in at the campground--hopefully getting the entire thing set up before we even get there around 4 pm....I'll have to get back to you on how that actually works!!

I have to plan menus so I can get groceries. Right now all I know I need to get is s'mores.......more to come.


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