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View Full Version : Taking the family camping this weekend... any tips?


Rezarf
07-07-2011, 09:45 AM
I have camped all my life, my family... not so much.

We are going to car camp at RMNP for a few days this weekend. Tent camp. I have the meals covered, but I was wondering what you guys might suggest to keep the little guy and my bride entertained and having a good time?

Dax is a little over 2 and is stoked about going.

We plan on hiking (him in a backpack carrier), throwing rocks into the lake (on of Dax's favorites) and lounging around.

I would like the first trip to be a hit so that it might encourage the :Princess: to get out into the woods a little more.

Thanks!

Rezarf
07-07-2011, 09:51 AM
Maybe I should clarify, any specific trails to hike that are family friendly? We may go out to eat one night in Estes, and we will spend time at bear lake. We will try to track down some elk for the boy to see, and I plan on brining ice cream for both of them! :D

MDH33
07-07-2011, 10:21 AM
Sounds like you have a great plan already. :thumb: I have nothing to add other than making sure to have some hot dogs and smores to roast over the campfire if there's no fire restrictions.

CBone
07-07-2011, 10:26 AM
I've never camped up in RMNP, so I can't make any suggestions there, but I started tent camping with Madeline at 2. It's a lot of fun. An air mattress for the little one, or a lot of blankets and padding underneath helps 'em sleep--which as you know is key to everyone's enjoyment, a tarp laid out on the ground with toys is good, cause they get really really dirty and I found that while we can sit in a camp chair and eat our dinner out of the plate, that is extremely difficult for a little one--so a table is good. Have fun and take lots of pics for the memories

Beater
07-07-2011, 11:16 AM
bug juice, lots of it.

diaper/handy wipes - indespensible

let them climb every rock they see and pick every flower

rain gear - good luck getting them to stay in it. problem is they aren't developed (brains) and they get cold/wet - if it gets constant wet, bug out.

oh - and bring tons of patience and dilligence.

AHorseThief
07-07-2011, 11:34 AM
cause they get really really dirty

Isn't that what camping with little ones is all about? :D

With that in mind, extra clothes and shoes are a very good thing to have. We usually pack 3 pairs of shoes and twice the clothes we think we'll need for each boy.

Jacket
07-07-2011, 01:26 PM
Pack n play? Sometimes it's nice to put toddlers in a clean, safe place where they can be preoccupied while the parents are making dinner or trying to relax in their chairs and take a moment with each other.

x2 on bug juice, and rain/wet weather gear. And lots of extra clothes and warm clothes (for both Dax and Stacey).

Hulk
07-07-2011, 03:16 PM
We have a huge tent that we bought just so we could haul a pack n play for our little ones. Now they have camped so much that they have no memories of their first time sleeping in a sleeping bag.

Bring some toys and some books to read to them. Also, give her her own flashlight. Kids love flashlights.

Caribou Sandstorm
07-07-2011, 03:52 PM
A PET toilet and private potty location was a big hit with my wife.

Also a blow up mattress, regular sheets and a down comforter...big enough for all to lay down together and look up at the stars...

Phrog
07-07-2011, 04:06 PM
Partial hijack! Any suggestions for good car/family camping spots
within an hour or 2 drive from Boulder? RMNP is great but often
booked way in advance. I've yet to find a great car-accessible site
in the Indian Peaks - but I know there are some there somewhere.

Rezarf: thanks again for dropping off the bench seat. As others have
said: lots of hand wipes, more warm clothes than you think you'll need,
try to get everyone to treat it as an adventure rather than just like
home...

-Phrog

nattybumppo
07-07-2011, 04:45 PM
bring Some Toys And Some Books To Read To Them. Also, Give Her Her Own Flashlight. Kids Love Flashlights.

X2x2x2!

Hulk
07-07-2011, 05:40 PM
Oops. Him. Give him his own flashlight. :doh:

60wag
07-07-2011, 08:26 PM
Bug box - the plastic box with a magnifying lens on the lid. He'll find something with legs that has to be caught. Maybe not on this trip but soon.

bh4rnnr
07-07-2011, 10:27 PM
24276

From Gavin to Drew: Dont be mean like Nathaniel....

Actualy I have no advice for you Drew. Sorry. Just enjoy seeing them all grow up.

Nathaniel to emily: "Dont go in the mud". Emily: Heads straight for the mud:hill:

Have a great weekend camping with the fam!

:beer:

Corbet
07-08-2011, 09:11 AM
I got Bridger a couple of new toys, a truck and bucket, for playing in the dirt for his first camping trip. Flashlight was also a hit. The new stuff was good for keeping his attention for times when I had to cook or set up the tent.

Biggest thing is not to over plan your activities. Everything is going to move slow will the little one.

We just spent 4 days camping over the 4th. Most of the time we just hung out in camp. Bridger made new friends with other kids. And it was nice to just lounge around and take it easy.

Rezarf
07-08-2011, 10:49 AM
Wow! This is great, thanks so much everyone!

Sounds like you have a great plan already. :thumb: I have nothing to add other than making sure to have some hot dogs and smores to roast over the campfire if there's no fire restrictions.

My boy loves fire... he's a boy isn't he!? We are planning s'mores for sure. And the ARB keeps ice cream cold for the family... mainly my :Princess:

Isn't that what camping with little ones is all about? :D

With that in mind, extra clothes and shoes are a very good thing to have. We usually pack 3 pairs of shoes and twice the clothes we think we'll need for each boy.

This was excellent, had thought of that thanks!

Pack n play? Sometimes it's nice to put toddlers in a clean, safe place where they can be preoccupied while the parents are making dinner or trying to relax in their chairs and take a moment with each other.

x2 on bug juice, and rain/wet weather gear. And lots of extra clothes and warm clothes (for both Dax and Stacey).

We are planning on a pack and play and air matress for us since we have a HUGE family tent. We will make one side (screen porch thingy) the dining/play room.

We have a huge tent that we bought just so we could haul a pack n play for our little ones. Now they have camped so much that they have no memories of their first time sleeping in a sleeping bag.

Bring some toys and some books to read to them. Also, give her her own flashlight. Kids love flashlights.

Good call, Dax loves all things that glow or light up, I gave him a glow stick for the 4th and he was still carrying it around this morning (its been dead for two days!) :thumb:

Partial hijack! Any suggestions for good car/family camping spots
within an hour or 2 drive from Boulder? RMNP is great but often
booked way in advance. I've yet to find a great car-accessible site
in the Indian Peaks - but I know there are some there somewhere.

Rezarf: thanks again for dropping off the bench seat. As others have
said: lots of hand wipes, more warm clothes than you think you'll need,
try to get everyone to treat it as an adventure rather than just like
home...

-Phrog

Paul, great to see you yesterday bud! Look up on the peak to peak at the Pleasent Valley/Camp Dick campgound area. There are a few park and camps along some of the roads in that area. If you are taking your 100 then Rollins Pass is nice with lot of pull off spots. However, there is a bit of OHV traffic with quads and bikes, but nothing that would discourage me from going there. Its just outside Nederland.

Bug box - the plastic box with a magnifying lens on the lid. He'll find something with legs that has to be caught. Maybe not on this trip but soon.

Awesome idea. He might be a little young but thats on my to do list in the future for sure now, thanks!

24276

From Gavin to Drew: Dont be mean like Nathaniel....

:beer:

Thanks Gavin, you're a sage!

Biggest thing is not to over plan your activities. Everything is going to move slow will the little one.

We just spent 4 days camping over the 4th. Most of the time we just hung out in camp. Bridger made new friends with other kids. And it was nice to just lounge around and take it easy.

This is the goal of our adventure, have fun, hang as a family. :thumb:

subzali
07-08-2011, 11:18 AM
Cub Lake is a great hike, a favority with my :Princess: We also did a Bear Lake hike with snowshoes, the first lake is really close to the parking lot so you don't have to walk far with the little guy.

Corbet
07-08-2011, 11:42 AM
I'd stay away from Bear Lake in the park. Its a circus. have to ride a bus to get there. Tons of people. Having a spot where you can bail out if need be without relaying on a park service shuttle will be better with the kid. There are endless options as far as hiking on the east side. Pick something out of the way and don't focus on a destination. Just hike until you think you should turn back to keep everyone happy.

Rezarf
07-09-2011, 12:01 AM
I took Dax on his first hike last weekend, and he did great. He is just over 2... but he hiked the 1/2 mile trail on his own power. We climbed rocks, looked for bears, and chased a squirrel. I whittled a walking stick for him which seemed to be his highlight.

FWIW, it took an hour! Followed by a trip to the playground. :D

pmccumber
07-09-2011, 12:15 AM
Hikes where there is lots of water. Wild Basin is good. Actually Middle St Vrain is really good because it is pretty flat and shaded. My kids always like Ceran St Vrain too.

The time thing is funny. If you're watching the clock with a kid at a creek, you're gonna be stressed. I remember when mine were little we stopped at the first spot near a creek and threw enough rocks to change the flow of the river. Never got out of sight of the car (like Texans) and were "hiking" for two hours.

Rezarf
07-10-2011, 09:59 PM
HA! A little rain and we bailed... first time for my family + downpour/lightning= not my best shot at impressing either to do it more.

We may head up tomorrow still but these storms have been pretty rocking and WET!

Jacket
07-11-2011, 09:46 AM
Yea - all this rain is pretty unusual. What a difference a week makes! We were up for 4 days over the 4th weekend and had some showers the first day, but it was sunny and warm the rest of the time. This past weekend would have been brutal with all the rain and lightning.

farnhamstj
07-11-2011, 10:00 AM
Are you ready for a pop up trailer? I never was but my wife loves it. We camped all weekend. Went inside and drank hot chocolate while it rained. Rent one for the weekend next time you bring the family. My wife went from not liking camping to suggesting we go almost every weekend all summer once we got the camper. You can rent them for about $100 per night. We've had ours for almost 3 years and it's averaged out to about that amount. But, priceless in my mind for the family time spent together.

nakman
07-11-2011, 10:08 AM
Agreed there... the worse the weather is, the better the popup is.

Rezarf
07-11-2011, 11:38 AM
Yeah, sadly I spent a year of my life building my "camper."

I keep trying to stay in my FJ40 & Trailer lifestyle when our circumstances scream for a 100 Series and a Popup/travel trailer.

Time will tell.

AxleIke
07-11-2011, 12:54 PM
100 series? You have the sequoia. Same thing.

In fact, the sequoia is likely better because it has more room in side.

Bill burke has wheeled one.

Buy some more agressive tires for it, and get rid of the running boards. That baby will take you anywhere you want to go, and you'll be comfy doing it.

Rezarf
07-11-2011, 05:42 PM
100 series? You have the sequoia. Same thing.

In fact, the sequoia is likely better because it has more room in side.

Bill burke has wheeled one.

Buy some more agressive tires for it, and get rid of the running boards. That baby will take you anywhere you want to go, and you'll be comfy doing it.

Right now we have a wheelin' rig and a station wagon ;) :thumb:

Cheeseman
07-11-2011, 05:55 PM
Getting to this one late. Ironically I was at Scout camp for a week. Probably my last one. But a couple of things.

Get him a small but pack and make him outfit it himself. a bright color if possible.
Items are:
small water bottle (8 oz. or so) and make him fill it.
a couple of granola bars or whatever works.
a couple of Band Aids
a Flash light
and a whistle

Both my sons were required to pack this by themselves for all outings. It started them on the right track for thinking about equipment.

Another thing, when they get cold tell them to run over to that puddle or tree or whatever and see how deep it is and then run back to tell you what the depth is. Do understand why this works?

And as soon as you can have them walk a little ways besides you in the woods instead of right behind you. Gets them to gain a little confidence in themselves. And they start looking for themselves at nature. But get ready to answer all questions.

Hope you had a good time and many more to come. When you get to backpacking I have some more lessons to pass on about youngins.

Rezarf
07-11-2011, 07:35 PM
Plan B was initiated today... camping in the living room! We played in the sleeping bags, had burgers, and s'mores in the oven ;)

Game on. Family is dry and happy :camping:

wesintl
07-11-2011, 07:45 PM
Do you have an easy up for shelter? Nice in rain and in sun. That's one of the nice thing about the popups vs a tent. You can go in and relax and sit at a table and play some games etc.

1997Runner
07-11-2011, 08:41 PM
Partial hijack! Any suggestions for good car/family camping spots
within an hour or 2 drive from Boulder? RMNP is great but often
booked way in advance. I've yet to find a great car-accessible site
in the Indian Peaks - but I know there are some there somewhere.

-Phrog

...A little further than 2 hours, but...
In Colorado State Park State Forest (not far south of Walden) there are several yurts for rent - Google Never Summer Nordic. You are still roughing it in the yurt, sort of. Most are car accessible, but the whole park ranges from dirt roads to logging trail. One of the best things is each yurt sits on it's own "property" within the park, so you won't have to worry about getting late day neighbors. I'm sure you can tent camp as well. There is a reservoir, hiking, etc.

AxleIke
07-11-2011, 10:10 PM
Right now we have a wheelin' rig and a station wagon ;) :thumb:

Hey now, the 40 doesn't really qualify as a station wagon, thats pretty low man... :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:lmao::lmao::lmao:

AxleIke
07-11-2011, 10:55 PM
Are you ready for a pop up trailer? I never was but my wife loves it. We camped all weekend. Went inside and drank hot chocolate while it rained. Rent one for the weekend next time you bring the family. My wife went from not liking camping to suggesting we go almost every weekend all summer once we got the camper. You can rent them for about $100 per night. We've had ours for almost 3 years and it's averaged out to about that amount. But, priceless in my mind for the family time spent together.

On a more serious note, I'm mildly curious about this.

For those who have stayed in both a pop up and a tent, what are the differences? I mean, yes, you can stand up in a pop up, but you can also get a large tent, and stand up in there. Most pop ups I've seen, excepting chalet, and that other brand, have tent sides. Are they truly that much more comfy?

I'd like my dad to get a pop up (Chalet) most likely, for hunting, because sleeping on the ground in -10 to -20 F is miserable as is cooking in the dark, and cold.

But, for summer time camping, I'd be curious if one is more comfy than the other.

In addition, how robust are those pop ups Farnham? Something you could haul over webster or mosquito pass?

Thankfully, my :Princess: will have to deal with tent camping as I doubt we'll ever be able to afford one of those trailers. But, I'm always curious.

AxleIke
07-11-2011, 11:09 PM
Drew, this is all you:

http://forum.ih8mud.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=523767&stc=1&d=1306181391

Here's a bit more mild with a 3" lift.

http://www.supermotors.net/getfile/642000/fullsize/p1010012.jpg

Guys apparently put these on 305's pretty regularly. You can get a 305/70 17 in the kevlars, they list em at 34.1... Gear that beast down, electric locker in the rear, and that puppy will wheel, and tow the trailer, while looking pretty mean.

Only crappy part, it'll run you about 60 to 70 bucks more a tire for the 305's than for your 35's on the 40. Coming in on Tire rack at 311 per.

nakman
07-12-2011, 05:36 PM
Isaac for just me camping, I'd rather deal with a tent. But add on the wife and/or kids and it's popup all the way. Very comfortable, also nice you can leave most of your stuff packed all the time, so don't need to fill the back of the truck so much. The heat is nice, a door that opens normally rather than zipping something, not having to crouch down ever.. being able to sit inside, cook inside, if you're so inclined listen to music, watch movies.. mine's got a microwave that will run off my inverter, multiple 12v outlets, everything we need.

OTOH, the adventure style trailers don't do much for our situation- life is still outside, you're cooking, cleaning, sitting, doing everything outside.. if the weather's bad it's more work to zip on more walls. Again if it were just the 2 of us I'd probably change my tune, as they have some other cool benefits. But IMO being able to set it up, then get inside and shut the door is ideal for the family with little ones. At CM10 was a great success story- all the kids camping in popups at BFE, low 20's every night... best vacation ever for them. Our daughter was 15 mos. old, she slept all night every night, heck I was scraping the windshield in the morning. Meanwhile other families in tents were bailing for town to find a hotel.

corsair23
07-12-2011, 06:49 PM
I'll second everything Nakman says :thumb:

IMO the biggest negative about a popup camper is getting into back areas (I damaged mine a bit getting out of Area BFE at CM10) and the weight. Our rule is if the trip is less than a few days we leave the camper at home. If the LX was turbo or supercharged I'd probably feel different about the rule though :hill:

Sure, it may not be "real" camping but when it comes to making the family comfy so they enjoy the trip if is great :)

Rezarf
07-12-2011, 10:09 PM
Hey now, the 40 doesn't really qualify as a station wagon, thats pretty low man... :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:lmao::lmao::lmao:

You got me fired up for a second, until I realized you were yankin' my chain.

:thumb:

Anymore info on that big Sequoia?

AxleIke
07-12-2011, 10:57 PM
Great info on the pop ups!

Now I just need my old man to get one, then I can "borrow" it:D:D:D

Of course I'm yanking your chain Drew! Although, on the other hand, how sick would that be?

That sequoia is over on mud, in the newer toyota trucks section.

farnhamstj
07-13-2011, 08:58 AM
Best part about the Pop up is, the worse the weather the better the experience. No wet sleeping bag, no deflated air mattress, no rolling up a tent covered in mud and pine needles. My wife and I both agree we sleep better in the camper than at home. As far as where you can take them, you can drag them into a lot more than you might think. Fast washboard driving takes the greatest toll on the camper. I've replaced a good amount of staples with screws. Our "expeditions" generally are experiences like BFE. Mostly we find a spot in the NF set up camp, then go explore for the day. Would I drive though the African outback with a pop up? no, but I can get to most places in CO without an issue. I'll loan out my Pop-up, no Dogs allowed, PM me.

84cruzer
07-13-2011, 08:40 PM
Adams Falls .5 mile hike lots of wild life. East inlet.
Fall river road if it is open.