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9/17/2020 5:59:48 PM
Posted: 4/23/2013 3:10:18 PM EDT
In late July, my two boys and I will head north from AZ to Yellowstone.  It is our first such outing!  I haven't camped for several decades.

They are 11.  We're in a 4runner.  Plan to do the Grand Canyon, then some cool stuff, before we get to a few days in yellowstone.

This is a camping trip, with a bit of "dry run" and experience building for future contingencies.

We will have the luxury of a night in a motel every so often.  total 9 to 11 days on the road heading north.

First things first:  Tent or pop up camper?

Then assemble other equipment; priorities?

And if you have any sources for campground planning I'd be grateful.  Thanks.
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 4:10:21 PM EDT
pick high ground in case it rains, plus it will be warmer come night.  not too high, of course.  do not store ANY food in car; bears WILL destroy it to get it.  and I mean destroy ALL of it.  store food up between trees with rope.  go to bathroom away from campsite.  dont camp too close to water because of mosquitos and flash flooding.

I am sure others will have tons more advice..

have fun!!
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 4:22:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/23/2013 4:23:51 PM EDT by PA22-400]
Whatever equipment you get .. set it up and operate it at home first.

Say you get a tent and sleeping bags.  It would be REALLY smart for everyone that is going on the July trip to spend a night in camping in the back yard first.  This will give you a chance to find things the you may need to adjust to meet the needs of your group.

Some more things to consider:  A Coleman camp stove does not cook like the microwave that you have in the house.  Using an ice chest is simple, but not the same as a refrigerator.  

I hope this helps


36
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 4:32:33 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 4:44:31 PM EDT
I agree with operating everything at home first.  You'll know how it works, then.  

And, if it's been decades, you might discover that a 4 person tent doesn't actually sleep 4 people.

Bring something to patch tents.  A roll of Duct tape is fine. Setting up and tearing down that many times gives you a decent chance of tearing something. Also, fellow Arizonan, some parts of this country get this thing called 'rain'.  It's like water, but it falls from the sky.  Not all tents are very waterproof.  A can of Coleman Camp-dry might be in order.

Multiple days, when you aren't used to it, comfort will be a factor.  Some people can sleep on the ground, or with nothing more than a pad, and be fine. Some will find that airbeds or cots make the fam much happier.

Look at your equipment, and figure what spares you might need. Lantern mantles are a big one.  The newer ones don't handle being knocked around as well as the old ones.  They're small, they're cheap, bring a bunch.  Are you using propane? Bring more than you need. (Coleman fuel or Kerosene, though, one of the big jugs lasts a long time)

How many ways to start a fire do you have?  Don't be going out there with 1 Zippo.

You get the idea.  Practice in the yard, and you should be fine. But think of contingencies.
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 5:32:32 PM EDT
go with a tents and teach them how to be self reliant in the outdoors... do you really want to be a pop-up camper guy?

get good self inflating ground pads which will make your experience very pleasant.    I would recommend the ones at the link below.   get the regular ones for the kids and get the 3 or 4" thick  XL or XXL ones for you and the wife.    I have an XXL and average 30 nights a year camping with the scouts.  you can throw this on a gravel road and be comfortable.    Camp pads

YOu can also check out their Taurus 3 man tents... i would recommend 2 smaller tents than a large cabin tent.   You can set these up in 5 minutes or less and they will survive any weather you throw at them.   ALPs is great stuff.


Link Posted: 4/23/2013 5:38:32 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 7:08:55 PM EDT
When my family went to the GC we had a stupid tent that HAD to be staked down to stand up.  Well, the area is just one big fucking rock so we couldn't get the stakes in.  

We later bought a large (8 man I think) coleman dome tent and love it.  We have a queen and twin air mattress and the both fit in.  One for adults, one for the kids.

Glow sticks and LED headlamps keep the kids happy.

Remember that Yellowstone has grizzlies.  I kept a .44 magnum revolver handy (but hidden) just in case.

When we hiked to the edge of the GC at first we were amazed, after about 2 hours we were like "eh, it's a big hole in the ground"

Bring stuff to keep yourself occupied, books/magazines for adults, games for the kids.

My family likes modules, rubber maid bins for organization.  One bin has the tent (screw the too small bags), hammer, rainfly, and one has the food, one has the cooking stuff, etc.
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 7:20:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By readyornot:
When my family went to the GC we had a stupid tent that HAD to be staked down to stand up.  Well, the area is just one big fucking rock so we couldn't get the stakes in.  



As a long-time Az Camper, this kinda happens.  You get something heavy (coolers, plastic tubs with your stuff, Cots with stuff on them) and put them at the corners.  

It'll stay put.
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 10:27:23 PM EDT
Get a good first aid kit. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Link Posted: 4/23/2013 10:41:06 PM EDT



Originally Posted By PA22-400:


Whatever equipment you get .. set it up and operate it at home first.



Say you get a tent and sleeping bags.  It would be REALLY smart for everyone that is going on the July trip to spend a night in camping in the back yard first.  This will give you a chance to find things the you may need to adjust to meet the needs of your group.



Some more things to consider:  A Coleman camp stove does not cook like the microwave that you have in the house.  Using an ice chest is simple, but not the same as a refrigerator.  



I hope this helps





36



+36



 
Link Posted: 4/24/2013 12:57:41 AM EDT
Well my suggestions are more like "When in Yellowstone": I worked a few summers there as a kid.
Go to the north gate on the way out of of the park are the hot pots, natural hot springs mixing in cold water stream. good place to spend a couple hours.
Whitewater rafting through Yankee Jim Canyon North of the park out of Gardiner with teenage boys would be an adventure of a lifetime.
Trout fishing on the Madison river is as good as it gets.
Bears and Bison, respect 'em, the term "things went south in a hurry" comes to mind.  
Plan extra time for everything at Yellowstone. travel is slow in the park and wildlife can cause huge traffic holdups during peak season.
Link Posted: 4/24/2013 1:58:26 AM EDT
tent check,sleep bags check,, sleep pads check.

cooler,food,fak,stove fuel, beer,,steaks,,board games or kids electronics..cameras for all.

basic kit....maps..kids....



and wing it.





sides that set up all new gear and test prior..even your meal choices.
Link Posted: 4/24/2013 3:22:07 AM EDT
U can ALWAYS use a couple of buckets around a camp. Believe me if U have them U will use them!

Link Posted: 4/24/2013 5:42:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2013 6:04:35 AM EDT by SteelonSteel]
Originally Posted By protus:
tent check,sleep bags check,, sleep pads check.
cooler,food,fak,stove fuel, beer,,steaks,,board games or kids electronics..cameras for all.
basic kit....maps..kids....

and wing it.


sides that set up all new gear and test prior..even your meal choices.


I was going to suggest cooking a few meals at home on your camp cooking gear to see what you need and practice.  Don't forget salt and pepper.  I did that once on a short notice trip my buddy called me to make, I assumed my buddy would bring some on a backpacking trip where we planned to eat the local perch.  We got plenty of perch and I love perch but it's lacking something w/o seasoning.  

I sometimes like to prepack some meal foods with prep done at home.  You can buy store box goods like pancake and muffin mix or simply mix all your dry ingredients at home.  9 days and I'd probably go with a fair amount of store bought just add water things, lipton noodles or rice packets are great for camping and are light. Refresh your meats and perishables along with ice between camps in your case.  I wouldn't haul the whole 9 days larder from home.  Your truck ain't that big.  If you borrow or rent a pop up camper then you can haul more.  Think your meals through and what kinds of pans you may need, or do it all on a grate or in aluminum foil.   Scrambled eggs and bacon need a pan if wanted in quantity, toast is easy over a fire and the boys can do their own toast on a forked stick or one of those metal tennis racket things.  

A 5 gallon pail or a metal bucket from the tractor supply store is handy for grabbing wash water from a stream.  I like the stainless horse watering buckets at the tractor supply store.  You can haul water and heat it over a fire or on your stove.

A rainfly (blue tarp 12x12 or so) and a few hanks of 1/4 inch nylon cord are damn handy if it's raining a lot, and do double duty for use a clothes line.   Assuming you have some trees to tie off to.

dishware,  paper plates are easiest but sometimes suck for a wet dinner, some reusable melmac plates can be a godsend, or I used to use a couple old aluminum pie plates when backpacking as a yoot.   Pick one way or the other, one is more stuff to haul and one is more rubbish generated which is a pain around camp.  In bear country car camping I'd be tempted on the melmac plates, hard silverware and a washpan or even the aforementioned bucket.  Mostly I wash my dishes in a 12" stainless cookpot (double duty)  Burning garbage and food waste just calls bears from farther away,.
Link Posted: 4/24/2013 8:37:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PA22-400:
Whatever equipment you get .. set it up and operate it at home first.



solid advice.  learn how your tent/pop up camper sets up so it doesn't take you half an hour reading the directions and getting frustrated.

Shelter: I would suggest simple, two pole tents.  The more poles, the longer it takes to set up (and more difficult).  I wouldn't spend the money on a pop up camper unless you are planning on using the crap out of it for the next few years - most of the time it is a waste of money.
Sleeping bags: consider the temperature in the forecast for your camping area.  No need to pack a 0 degree bag if it's going to be 50 at night, and same goes for the opposite - no need freezing your balls off

Food: Keep it fun and simple.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, etc are good.  Get some Mountain House packets and a way to boil water easily (single burner camp stove).  Bring a small propane grill so you can grill hot dogs or burgers if there is a fire ban.

Water: bring at least a 5 gallon water jug with you, and refill often (may want to bring a filter/method of purification)

Clothing: keep in mind you won't be able to wash your clothes unless the hotel has a laundry room

Sanitation:  bring a bucket to poop in, unless you know you'll be near a bathroom

Fire starting: redundancy is king.  fire striker, lighter, matches, etc.  don't forget to bring your own kindling and wood if the park doesn't allow gathering

Games:  young kids may get bored just hanging around the campfire, so plan to go on walks at night, or having fishing poles, or any other number of ways to keep their minds occupied.

Lighting: Get a good quality lantern - colemans are extremely good.  Also, have a good flashlight for you, and decent ones for the kids.  You'll definitely want a headlamp - you can some for $5 each at walmart and they are very handy.
Link Posted: 4/24/2013 1:35:22 PM EDT
I love my pop up camper. With 3 kids it makes it so much easier to get out. Just bought a used one all fully equipped and ready to go for $950 from craigslist.  Cost me about $60 at the dollar store for minor crap like eating stuff and trash bags. If you go the camper route just pack it up and head out. I put all the old sheets and blankets in it and a few outfits for the kids. Anytime we go for a week or weekend I just load the food and go.....

Now for the tent advice: get cots. So much better then air matresses. Also organize your gear then cut it in half. You won't use half the junk you think. I do one plastic tote for cooking kitchen gear. One for camping gear. Each kid gets a duffel bag for clothes and toys. Each a lawn chair, cot, sleeping bag and pillow.

A cooler and tote for food. More then that and it gets to be such a pain to deal with.

And don't sweat the kids. They will do fine. The best is when it is all over and they start telling all the stories from the trip.
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