On our recent camping adventure we were really impressed with how well we adapted and with some of the things we thought to bring with us to make the experience more pleasant.
We brought an extra tarp with us and used it as we traveled around to hide all the supplies in the back of our SUV. This tarp proved to be really handy. When we arrived at our destination each day we would take the tarp out and lay it on the ground. Then as we unloaded the vehicle we would place things on the tarp until we got the tent set up. This kept the leaves and sand to a minimum on all our supplies. We used it the same way each day as we packed up the car.
Another item we brought with us, and this one we purchased just before we left home, was a tent protector. It is just a thin piece of plastic that goes on the ground before you set up the tent. It protects the floor of the tent from rock holes and also keeps the sand and dirt off the tent.
Because neither of the previous 2 items is foolproof we were also glad to have brought a little whisk broom and dust pan. Everyday we would sweep up the floor inside the tent before we packed it up for the day. This helped to keep our floor fairly clean.
As we were sorting through all of our supplies and deciding what we should bring and what we could leave home, we decided to bring our little Sterno Stove. We do not have a camp stove because for 2 people the Sterno Stove is large enough to get us through.
The Sterno Stove is just a little metal box (that folds up for easy storage) and holds a can of Sterno (which is the fuel used to heat the food). It is very inexpensive, works great and we have had ours for years.
We were so glad to have brought this little treasure because all of the wood on the top of the mountain stays wet. We saw people selling firewood when we entered the park and could not figure out why, but once we started searching for dry wood we realized. So our little Sterno Stove provided a hot meal for us.
Another item my husband had read about, that was highly recommended, was a Shamwow. We were told these make great towels for camping. Well, we were not sure about this one but Shamwows are a lot smaller than bath towels so we decided to give them a try. They work great. You can use them for washing, wring them out and then use them for drying. Another great idea!
This little bag was an impulse purchase and it proved to be so very handy. It is a water bag. We used it to hold water for washing our hands, rinsing dishes and providing a wet cloth when needed. Then we carried the dirty water to the sinks to dispose of. The bag was also handy for carrying dirty dishes to the sink provided for washing up. I was very glad to have this little bag with us.
I mentioned in the stories about our vacation about the cots we used for sleeping. Our son says we were not really camping since we slept on cots but since we have 20 years on him, I think it is allowed. My husband has been trying to talk me into these cots for awhile but until we planned this trip I did not want to have the hassle of storing them. However, now that I have slept on them I am so glad we bought them, they made the trip so much more comfortable for our old bodies.
I saved the best for last. Another item my husband has been trying to sell me on for quite awhile is the Luggable Loo. It is a portable potty. It gets really dark in the woods at night and having to walk to the public potty in the dark did not sound like fun. So I finally broke down and we bought one. I am so glad I married such a brilliant man! This was the best $20 we spent getting ready for our trip.
The only major item that we decided we needed for our next trip would be sleeping bag liners. Our sleeping bags are made of some type of nylon and they are not comfortable on your skin. We checked into buying these on our way home but the quality is lacking in the ones we saw so I will be making a couple of these in the near future.
It cost quite a bit to get ready for our vacation but all of these supplies can be used over and over. We are already planning our next camping adventure.