Let the Camping Season Begin!

I know, guys, I know. I promised less fluff and more substance. Weeeeeeellllllll, there’s not been a terrible ton of substance lately. I actually feel like I’m in a pretty good place, which means there’s less to write about. Or at least, less substancy stuff to write about.

All in all, things are good. Busy, but good.

That’s a win, right?

And in exciting news, it’s finally warm enough to go camping!!!!!

So you may remember that last year we camped several times, with our adorable orange tent.

Coleman Evanston TentIt’s a Coleman Evanston 4-person tent, complete with a little porch, and it’s awesome. It’s also close quarters with an air mattress, two humans, and two dogs. I love it, but I’d been bugging Jimmie for a while that we needed something bigger….i.e., taller. Mostly so I could A) get up in the middle of the night without having to roll over Jimmie on the air mattress, and B) stand up to put my clothes on.

You know, important reasons.

I consider us fortunate in that there’s a Coleman outlet store about an hour and a half from us. I’m on the mailing list, and every so often they have a pretty good sale. We get all our gear from them – the prices are good, the quality is great for what we need, and they’ve got a pretty decent warranty. I’d love to buy gear from REI, but I also like to eat, so….Coleman it is.

Anyway, a couple months ago they had a sale, so we headed over. And they had this most amazing tent on sale for $100. It’s 16×10 feet, and sleeps 10 people. It’s way more tent than we’d ever possibly need, but at that price, we couldn’t pass it up. Ever since, I’d been dying to use it, so last weekend when the sun finally came out we loaded up the tent and the pups and headed to Bandy Creek.

Coleman Weatheredge TentIsn’t she beautiful?! Seriously, more tent than we ever need. But amazing.

We actually took all four pupkins this time….we’d been wanting to try it with all of them for a while, and figured the tent was enormous enough that worst case scenario we’d just put them all in there and let them sleep all day. They were actually really great!! Zoe barked a little, and tried to escape once (twice), but we both agreed it was nice having them all there with us. And much easier than getting a dog sitter. We still need to figure out the tie-out situation, since they kept getting tangled up, but that was our fault, not theirs. The worst part honestly was squeezing them all into the truck.

Waiting on Jimmie - Luka and Katie were already napping in the back, while Zoe and Lucy took photos with me.

Waiting on Jimmie – Luka and Katie were already napping in the back, while Zoe and Lucy took photos with me.

So here’s where I should fess up….guys, I hate being cold. Despise it. And since it’s March, even though it was sunny during the day, it was like….45 degrees at night. I made Jimmie take a heater. AND IT WAS WORTH IT. Sure, he made fun of me endlessly. And I looked ridiculous. But I stayed warm. Well, mostly.

CampingThe weekend was fun, but actually kind of exhausting. We didn’t eat very well….partly because we were lazy, and partly because I forgot to pack the spatula for burgers, eggs, quesadillas….basically everything we’d brought with us. The park ranger came to my rescue though, and let me borrow one, so we at least could eat the burgers. Yum.

Camping DinnerI’d gotten a battery-operated lantern from Intervine Technologies through Tomoson, and was stoked to try it out during our trip. We’d been on the hunt for one for a while – we have a nice propane lantern, but that gets a little expensive and you can’t take it in the tent. We did pick one up at the same time as the new tent, but it’s a little big, so when I got the Supernova 3o0 I was pretty excited.

Intervine’s Supernova 300 Camping Lantern (click on image to go to the product on Amazon)

This guy is fairly small – about the size of my Nalgene water bottle. It’s got a handle on top and a hook on the base, so there are lots of options for hanging it from things. Sadly, the one they sent me didn’t work. When I reached out, they were super friendly, and sent me not only a brand new lantern, but a new base to try with the original lantern, and one of their other products, the Halo lantern.

So their customer service is awesome. What about the products?

Well, the Halo is super cute, and super tiny – about the size of a hamburger bun. I love the clip on the top. It’s got a soft green glow light, which is nice, and then a couple of mega-bright LED settings. For something so small, it’s amazing how bright the thing is. It’s also rechargeable, so you never need batteries. If I’d known it existed, I’d probably have bought one, even though it’s like $25 on Amazon.

The Supernova? Wellllll….that one’s not so easy. It’s also superbright. 300 Lumens, to be exact. Like, blindingly bright. Since the one we took camping didn’t work, I can’t tell you how bright it is outside…but in my house, it’s like the Batman beacon. So there’s that.

Unfortunately, it’s such a royal pain in the ass to use that I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it. Intervine claims the design uses a special seal to prevent moisture from getting into the battery compartment. That may be true, but what it means is that 5 out of 6 times when you put the base on, the lantern doesn’t work. Basically, the prongs on the inside of the base that touch the batteries get moved around, and if you don’t get the damn thing perfectly right, nothing happens.

I consider myself of above-average intelligence, and Jimmie is even smarter than I am. If the two of us had this much trouble with it, there’s clearly a design flaw. (And yes, we followed the directions EXACTLY….all 6 times. And it worked once.) The thing is $35….which is way too much for a finicky lantern, in my opinion. If Intervine can solve that issue, I think they’ve got a great product.

But anyway, back to the camping.

Luka Glow LightLuka had a wonderful time, though we both decided he’s kind of a baby. Well. Ok. Not kind of. He is a baby. But check out his glow stick. Pretty sweet, huh?

We didn’t do much – I took like a 4 hour nap one day. I colored. I read. We played board games…..especially Takenoko, which is the most adorable fun little game ever. Basically, there’s a panda that eats bamboo shoots. It’s awesome. Just trust me.

TakenokoAnd then we came home and I took another 4 hour nap. Camping is tiring, friends. I had all these grand plans to take a walk with the dogs…..that didn’t happen. I was going to read a lot. That also didn’t happen. We’ve already talked about how our grand meals didn’t happen.

But, it was nice to get away and relax and be outside. And to just spend time together. And to not have to worry about anything or do anything or be anywhere.

We’ve got several things coming up in April and May, so it’ll probably be Memorial Day before we can get back out there, and I’m ready.

Does your spring and summer include camping plans?