Camping Season!

Got kids? Bring lots of snacks. Lots.
We've been holding off a bit on account of the cold weather and not wanting to give little Mark O any hypothermia. Last year Laurel was 2 1/2 when we braved sub 30 temperatures to sleep outside. It was fun, but it was a little bit of work to keep her properly clothed, dry and fed.

Although we may do a few little backpacking trips on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, we are pretty much resigned to car camping these days. Not that there's anything wrong with car camping, it's just that we're used to getting by with what fits in our backpacks. Now there's all these kids, and all the crap we drag around with them. Last fall, while eating dinner under rainy skies at a state park in Florida, we realized that we might want to outfit ourselves a little better. My awesome parents bought us a dining canopy, and I'm working on organizing our camp kitchen.

The key to successful camping this summer will be to have everything packed up so that we can grab it and go for our weekend trips. (Have you ever tried getting ready for a trip while nursing a baby and entertaining a preschooler? Not enough hands.)

When I was a kid, my dad built a chux box, kind of like this. However, we drive a Honda Fit. The hatch is full even when I just go out for the day with the kids. With two car seats, there's no possibility of folding down the seats anymore. We're going to need to do an ultra light version of car camping, I think. When we backpack, we take a couple of sporks, a quart pot, and a stove made out of a beer can. For car camping, we like to carry a bit more - stove, frying pan, utensils, mugs, stuff to make coffee. On our last road trip, I put everything in a big plastic bin, but it soon became incredibly disorganized (especially since we were constantly throwing it all back in there when it started raining, which in Florida was every 12 minutes or so). I like the Grub Hub and this REI Pack-n-Prep, but I need to take some measurements to see what we have space for.

So, who camps with little kids? What are your must-haves for camping trips? Do you have any awesome camp meal ideas? What are your favorite campgrounds? What do you do with them when it rains?

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