It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of August! It feels like Summer just flew by! Soon the kids will be in school again and we’ll be feeling the cool Fall air on our skin. It’ll be time for warm sweaters and scarves, and lots of soup-for-dinner nights! Until then, we’re hanging onto Summer with one last family camping trip!
The Set Up
A well-planned set up is really important to ensure comfort and ease while camping. Be like a Girl Guide and always be prepared! Here are a few tips to follow when it comes to setting up your tent.
- When I was a kid, we’d always set up our tent in our backyard a few days prior to going on a camping trip. I used to think it was so we could air out the tent after it spent a Winter of slumber in our garage, but I think my Dad was smart in that by setting up our tent, he also reminded himself of all the steps required to set up the tent. It’s a good idea to practice setting up your tent BEFORE you go camping. Try to set up your camping tent at least a couple times, with directions, before twilight on the evening of your camping trip. It’s much easier to set up your tent before dark! Even though many camping tents have simple designs, other tents have complex designs may not be easy to assemble when it’s dark and you’re in the woods with little to no light!
- Survey your campsite PRIOR to setting up your tent. Make sure to find an area that is flat and free of sharp objects and debris (like branches, tree roots, rocks, etc). Clear the area of any large sticks, rocks or other debris which could cause a rip or puncture in your tent or that would be uncomfortable to sleep on.
Unpack the tent and all of its parts. Sure, taking short cuts seem like you’ll be saving time, but it’s really important to make sure you are organized, have all your tent parts, and know what you’re doing. Sort the parts of your camping tent into groups, making sure all pieces are together (tent stakes, tent poles, rain fly, etc). This way, you will not be hunting for them as you set up the tent.
When you’ve found your ideal spot to set up tent, unfold the tent and lay it in the area you have selected. We actually put down a tarp underneath our tent, but this is optional. Also, make sure to make your tent face the direction you desire. If you want to open up your tent so that you step out facing the fire pit, make sure the tent entrance is not facing the woods. You get the picture, right?
Stake down the corners of your tent. Make sure you pull the floor of the tent so that it is taut. Even if you have a free-standing tent, staking it down gives more security so that the tent won’t blow away in event of a high winds.
Connect your tent poles. Tent poles usually come in sections that you put together. I know many people would rather bypass the instructions, but read the directions for your tent to find out how to tell the difference between different poles before you go on your camping trip. Trust me! It will save you a lot of headache and quarreling with whomever you’re setting up your tent with.
Assemble the frame of the tent. Tents come in many different designs and each work differently. Having said this, actually erecting the frame of the tent will involve sliding the tent poles through sleeves on the outside of the tent or securing the ends of the poles in grommets at the base of the tent, and then attaching the body of the tent to the poles via clips. This part is pretty much standard with most tents now.
Last but not least, secure the rain-fly of the tent. Most tents come with a waterproof cover called a rain-fly that secures over the top of the tent to protect it from the rain. If your tent has a rain-fly, secure it over the top of the tent. This usually involves fastening the corners of the rain-fly to cords that attach to the base of the tent.
I really like the Woods™ Big Cedar Tent because of its features. The swift release buckles on the fly for secure coverage in windy conditions and the fast foot connector holds the frame in place to make setting up faster and easier. The trong, lightweight aluminum frame provides excellent stability and lighter packing and the large rain fly with taped seams and 2,000 mm PU coating provides great weather protection. This is a great tent in event that you end up getting stuck in the rain on your camping trip!
Bring ample supplies for all your meals while you’re away. Make sure to pack staple food items (bread, fruit, veggies, and if there are no nut allergies, PB & J sandwiches are a quick and easy Go-To in between swimming in the lake and fishing or hiking). Some kids like to have their cereal and milk for breakfast. Others like oatmeal. Whatever your family prefers, make sure to keep dry food dry and food that needs to be cool in your cooler. Always store food in your cooler IN your vehicle when not at your campsite and when you are sleeping. You don’t want raccoons or bears (or other wild animals) eating your food! We’ve been witness to that once or twice before! This may not completely deter animals from trying to get at your food, but it makes it harder for them.
I remember when I was a kid, my Dad would always cook our food over the campfire. He’d also bring a camping stove to cook some of our meals as well. Bacon and eggs for breakfast was always easier to do on the camp stove than over the campfire!
We have the Woods Quick Fire Propane Stove. What I love about the Woods™ Quick Fire Propane Stove is that it’s pressure regulated for consistent cooking performance. When you’re a foodie (even in the outdoors), you want to make sure that you have consistent cooking performance! My husband likes that the ightweight wind deflectors help protect the flame from burn-outs. One more feature we both like? The Stainless steel drip tray for easy clean-up! The Woods Quick Fire Propane Stove uses a 16.4 oz (465 g) disposable propane cylinder (sold separately).
Some other items I find helpful for ultimate comfort on camping trips are:
- The Woods™ High-Back Muskoka Chair and Woods™ High-back Kid’s Muskoka Chair. Perfect for sitting around the campfire in. Both the Woods™ High-back Chair and High-back Kid’s Muskoka Chair are folding quad chairs for easy portability. The chairs have rust-resistant and powder-coated metal frame with durable polyester fabric and relaxed seating position for added comfort. I also like that the chairs have sliding suspension for added stability and include a carry bag.
- I wish we had gotten our Woods™ Easy Up™ Screen House (17 x 15-ft) ages ago! We got it after our big camping trip with my brothers, cousins, friends and kids early this Summer. It would have come in handy with all the flies and mosquitoes that were bugging us on that particular camping trip! We have enjoyed using it on our last few camping excursions. Set up is super easy and quick. Little One and Hubby set it up within minutes! The Woods™ Easy Up™ Screen House features large mesh panels that provide excellent protection from bugs, instant steel frame system for fast, easy set-up, and it’s large enough to cover a standard picnic table with ample space to move around in. The durable polyester fabric and steel frame uprights add stability in windy conditions. I’m laughing now because this would have been ideal when we were camping with my relatives. The bugs were so bad when we were camping that weekend!
Sleep like a bear
I was going to say here are some items to help you “sleep like a baby”, but where did that expression come from in the first place? Every parent of an infant knows that “sleep like a baby” is the silliest expression ever. “Sleep like a bear” is more like it! I think the bears have it right going into deep slumber and hibernating during the Winter.
- Woods™ Heritage Sleeping Bag, -10°C features a large 4″ (10.2 cm) draft tube that helps prevent warmth from escaping from the zipper coils and heavy-duty two-way zipper with anti-snag webbing for easy opening and closing. Super warm, lightweight, easy to carry and warm, this makes the ideal sleeping bag. The temperature rating of -10°C/14°F (very cold) us great for cold nights!
- Okay, I’m like the Princess and the Pea. I’ll admit it. Now that I’m older, my back doesn’t take the punishment it once did when I was younger. Never fail, I wake up with a kinked neck and a sore back after sleeping on the ground in our tent on camping trips. Hubby surprised me this year and got me the Woods™ Double Airbed with 2-in-1 Pump! It’s like sleeping on a cloud. The only problem is that on our family camping trip, my nephew, nieces and Little One wanted to all sleep in our tent. Hubby and I somehow ended up getting kicked off our airbed and the kids took possession of the our comfy airbed!
There you have it! Tent set-up, cooking, and sleeping: All you need for a fun family camping trip!
Have you checked out the latest Woods Canada contest?
The contest prize includes 1 back pack, 1 tent and 2 sleeping bags (prize value of $750). Contest runs from Sunday August 23 – Friday September 4, 2015 to Canadians excluding the province of Quebec. Enter the contest here!
You might also like:
- Camping Food: What Are Your Family’s Favourites?
- Creating Family Memories Through Camping
- Hiking Trails on Manitoulin Island
Disclosure – I am participating in the #WoodsExplorer campaign. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.