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Archive for the ‘Camping’ Category

I feel somewhat ashamed that it has taken us two years to take Alex on his first camping trip but I’m sure we will make up for it with many starry nights down the road. Especially with how much he enjoyed it! Yesterday we visited with my grandparents at their summer “camp” at the scenic Homestead By The River Family Campground in Biddeford, Maine. Only an hour and a half drive from home we figured this one night stay would be a good test run. After stopping by the North Conway EMS to rent a family sized tent and some extra sleeping pads we were off.

Subaru loaded

Subaru loaded

This campground is primarily an RV campground with a few tent sites down by the Saco River. We got a nice site next to my visiting cousin and his girlfriend, who were the only other tenters at the campground. A fire ring, picnic table, plenty of privacy, and bathrooms with free showers made this a pretty good deal for $25 plus tax. I had rented the EMS Big Easy 6 tent from the North Conway EMS store. While this tent comes in a 4 person version as well I figured the 6 person version would give us plenty of elbow room for sleeping with a 2 year old who loves to roll in his sleep and kick you in the lower back.

Our accommodation, the EMS Big Easy 6

Our accommodation, the EMS Big Easy 6

Set up was very straight forward, but like all EMS tents the instructions are sewn onto the pole sleeve just in case. Michelle entertained Alex while I spent about 10 minutes putting the tent up. With over ninety square feet of storage and height to stand up straight we were pretty happy with our choice.

Ready for the small chance of rain in the forecast

Ready for the small chance of rain in the forecast

After tossing in some EMS Trail Crash Pads I was testing and our sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets we walked up the small hill to my grandparents site, which is conveniently right next to the sheep/llama pen. This campground is a full working farm with quite a bit of livestock, horses, geese, etc. and Alex, though timid at first, quickly made best friends with the black llama and the white goat.

Checking out the Lhama

Checking out the Lhama

Alex's new friend

Alex’s new friend

Farmboy

Farmboy

Visit from the sheep

Visit from the goat

After dinner with the grandparents we returned to our site for some campfire time. With temps forecast down to the mid-forties we wanted to be sure Alex slept warm so taking a tip from the adventure blogger CragMama we brought along his North Face Infant Snuggler Suit. We picked this up last winter and I wrote a brief review of it here.

Comfy cozy around the fire

Comfy cozy around the fire

Zipped up in this down suit he was snug as a bug as we chatted around the fire late until the night. He dozed off around 9:30 and we laid him on of sleeping pad and blanket while we continued a bit more late night revelry. When we turned in at 11 he was still sound asleep, and would sleep like an angel until morning (better than at home I must say)! This is an excellent way to keep an infant/toddler warm and comfortable when camping in cooler temps, thanks for the great tip CragMama!

The EMS Trail Crash Pads we were using worked great. They inflated quickly and provided good cushion and insulation from the chilly October ground. While I love my more expensive Thermarest model these are a great value in a self-inflating pads. BTW, not many people know this, but “self-inflating” means YOU inflate it manually… your-“self”. Took me 10 years of working in outdoor retail to figure that one out.

The next morning we spent more time with the animals. Alex was confident feeding grass to both the llama and the goat.

Feeding time

Feeding time

After breakfast we stole one more quiet moment before saying our goodbyes and heading home.

Quiet moment with daddy before leaving

Quiet moment with daddy before leaving

First camping trip in the bag, and we are so stoked that Alex loved it. I’m not sure if we’ll squeeze another in before winter, but we are planning on heading to one of our favorite outdoor playgrounds, Acadia National Park, next Spring. Hopefully by then the government shutdown is over and the park will be open!

What was the youngest you or your kids ever camped? Any tips to share on how to help it go smoothly?

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