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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Evolution of a Camping Family

I just have to laugh at us.  If you've read here before, you might remember that Dr. SmartyPants and I don't do anything slowly or halfway.  We met, married, got pregnant, moved to a new city, started a job and had the baby all before our first anniversary.  We have a tendency to move every couple of years.  SO.  It should come as no surprise that we've done the same kinds of things with our camping gear.

About 3 years ago, we decided to try camping with the boys who were 4 and 5 years old.  We borrowed a tent and all the gear from friends and headed out.  Dr. SP and I had camped individually before we were married, but had never been camping together.  We both had fond memories of it and wanted to share it with our boys.  That first trip was a resounding success.  Everyone had a ball - we loved it so much we went out and bought our own little tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc.  We used it exactly 2 times.

Campsite

Now, it wasn't that we didn't like our little tent.  Quite the contrary - it was just big enough for the 4 of us and I LOVE tent camping - hearing all the sounds and feeling the breeze through the open windows...heaven.  However - on the trip shown above we were encountered with one of the unfortunate realities of tent camping - 4 days of solid rain.  We were SOAKED.  Everything was soaked.  Those poor boys were sleeping in puddles (without a single complaint.  I kid you not.)  And it was cold.  In the mornings, I would turn on the van and the heaters and let them dry out and warm up and change clothes.  Just miserable.  On our way home from that trip we decided to stop in at one of the RV dealerships...just to look...

A month or so later, we had this...

P9013663

A perfect little pop up camper.  All the benefits of sleeping in a tent (open, airy, breezes) combined with a little comfort (heater, stove, benches and table).  Brilliant!  We camped everywhere and it still fit into our garage.  We spent 10 days at the beach in it, and it was my favorite beach trip EVER.

Camping Area

But...there was just one little thing...storage.  You see - when you go somewhere for 10 days, you have to carry a lot of stuff with you, so - while you are up and moving around you put it in the bunks, and when you want to go to bed you have to put it on the benches and pile it up on top of the sink and you still have to store some things in the car because they just won't fit.  And - the fact that I have to bring along every book and art supply I can squeeze into a gigantic bag, it was just too small...(you see where this is going, right?)

So - the last time we camped in the pop up, we saw a camper on the other side of the campground that looked interesting.  It had a hard sided middle section, like a typical travel trailer, but the ends folded out into beds, like a pop up.  WAIT.  Really?  So - I could store things in cabinets and closets and still get to sleep in a tent?  Are you kidding me?

Antigua 195CK

Yep.  You guessed it.  Meet our new tent on wheels.  It's fabulous.  We've already taken it out twice since we got it a month ago, and we're going again at the end of the month.  It's got everything we could ever want.  Storage...tented beds...heat...a toilet (yippee)...a fantastic awning that is a miracle of usage - so so so so easy to put up.  I'm in heaven.  And I'm not even kidding.  We are not getting anything else until this one falls apart.  It's too big to fit in the garage, so we've had to rent a space at a storage facility, but that's okay - we can both park in the garage now!

Someone mentioned getting a canoe the other day and I said absolutely not.  If we got a canoe today, we'd have a cabin cruiser in 3 years and I just don't think I can take it.