We have decided to go way outside of our comfort zone for our vacation this summer, and go CAMPING!
You know we are not an outdoorsy kind of family. We love road trips and are good for day hikes but then generally end up back in a comfortable hotel. It’s the sleeping outside part and sharing a public bath house that I find difficult.
You’ll remember our first and only camping trip with the Cub Scouts to Stone Mountain where we slept on granite and had to have help to get our tent up. We were very happy to be home 20 hours later so I am definitely concerned about how we are going to do roughing it for close to a week. (I’m going to go back and read the advice from that entry.)
However, we are very excited to experience the grandeur of these national parks and to be off the grid — internet and cell phones generally don’t work in the parks.
We will hit Sequoia first and will be staying in a cabin. It’s a bare-bones cabin — no bathroom or kitchen. It’s essentially just a room with beds in it. The meals are provided at the lodge as are snacks and drinks throughout the day. So my only worry there is making sure the cabin, beds and communal bathroom are clean. This is a link to where we are staying in Sequoia.
In Yosemite we are staying in a big tent that they provide. They provide beds and linens. (I am afraid of their linens.) You are not allowed to cook by campfire in Yosemite because of the bears. There is a cafeteria close by that I think we will use for most meals. I am sure I will want to have drinks and snacks on hand and in the bear locker!
Things I am concerned about:
1. Bathroom and the provided tent/cabin not being clean, carrying shower stuff in and out for the kids, towels and clean clothes not hitting the floor. We will bring some sheets, sleeping bags and pillows but I am also wondering about bringing some down comforters just in case it’s chilly to us. We’re used to pretty hot weather.
2. Temperature swings from day to night – being cold at night in the tent. (The highs will be in the 70s and the lows in the low 40s/high 30s. So it is quite a swing.)
3. Bears!! (Both park websites keep talking about bear danger. They have very specific instructions about using bear storage boxes to keep them out of your stuff (anything that smells, not just food). If a box is not available you are supposed to hide your cooler in the car because the bears know that a cooler means food! Bears!!!
4. Keeping food cold for the beginning and end of our trip. We won’t need food in Sequoia but will for Yosemite so I guess I bring a little for the drive and then we stop at a grocery store between the two parks to re-stock?
So overall I am feeling overwhelmed about packing what we need and not bringing too much but not forgetting essential things. I found these lists online of things to bring but I definitely want your advice.
What are essentials for camping and hiking? What do I need in my first-aid kit? What kind of foods are great for the trail? What do I do to keep it cold? (Keep buying ice?) What do I do to keep that crazy bears away? What do you pack to stay warm at night?