Kids and Camping v1.0
So, when I was young, my father's idea of "vacation" meant loading up an Army surplus tent and a cooler of bacon and heading to the great white north which, in this case, was always the same place, Port Austin, Michigan. Not that Port Austin wasn't nice. It was. It had trails, and trees, and a Great Lake. Pretty much an idea spot. For CAR CAMPING. Not really my thing. I'm more of a "middle of nowhere, leave me alone" kind of person.
Fast forward 30 (or so) years in the future. I have my own kids and I want to introduce them to the wonders of the outdoors. Still, it would be nice if they actually enjoyed themselves. I want them to appreciate the wilderness that doesn't include pump stations, electrical outlets and owl shaped string lights. I want them to know the pride of carrying their gear, food and water in and leaving to traces while they are there.
Fortunately, I had basic gear. I had a 10 year old Coleman tent; two Coleman sleeping bags (thanks to mom's additional gear requirements); and a basic camp stove. What else did we need? We loaded up and headed into the Hoosier National Forest. It's a beautiful drive followed by a long peaceful hike into one of the prettiest places in the Midwest. Trees, creeks, and no people (or bears). As we divided up the gear (my son and I) I quickly figured out that my son was overloaded. He is 7 years old, tall and very active. Still, the weight of his pack was too much for him. So, we shifted some things to my pack. Then we shifted others. Finally, we shifted the rest. At the end of the day, I had the tent, the bags, the cooking gear, the food, most of the water, and miscellaneous stuff I should have never packed. By the time we set up camp for the night, a few miles down the trail; I was beaten. I'm no piker, but I realized I had been carrying a forty or fifty pound pack all day.
My standard gear was well suited to car camping and had held up well over several trips, and probably not the ideal care. They were simply not cut out for toting around the woods all day and night. When we got back (and once I recuperated) I went to work researching new gear. After a year of reading Backpacker Magazine, and studying great gear sites, I retooled and was ready for more. Stay tuned for my 2011 gear picks.
Oliasports Stove Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Burner with Piezo Ignition 3.9oz
Manufacturer: Amazing Innovation
Part Number: Stove
Amazon Price: $6.37