It’s taken two years of baby stepping into camping but we are finally ready to go tent camping this year and set it all up ourselves.
If you remember last summer we camped in Yosemite National Park but in the Curry Village, they set the tent up for you and you had a bed. The campground was also just a short walk away from a cafeteria and restaurants. This was a safe way for us try sleeping in a tent, using a communal bathroom and showers and having some meals outside.
So this summer we are planning about three nights of camping in Yellowstone and then maybe two in the Grand Tetons. (You don’t make reservations for the campgrounds in the Grand Tetons so we could stay longer.) We may also camp in Zion National Park in Utah either driving up or down.
In Yellowstone we will be on a campground with bathrooms and showers and will be about a mile from food services if we need them. We are planning to set up our own tents, sleep on air mattresses and make at least two of the three meals at the campsite.
So now we really need all your best camping advice about buying equipment:
We want a pop-up tent to make it easier. I think one that sleeps at least 8?? Do you have recommendations on brands, types, features, things to look out for?
Do we need that rain fly built in or should you just hang some kind of tarp on top?
Air mattresses – brand, type, with the pump or use a separate pump?
Cooking equipment – what are absolute musts? What are the simplest things? Do we just want a grate to put over a campfire to put a fry pan on? Do we need to buy a gas cook top? What do you try to cook at the campsite?
How do you keep ice, meats, yogurt, eggs cold enough over more than a day or two? Are you just buying new ice every day and really packing it? What am I missing? (The tip from last year to freeze the giant water bottles was really helpful. It really kept the coolers cold for 24 to 48 hours but we will be gone for longer than that.)
So what are must-haves for real tent camping?