Tag Archives: camping

family campsites

Camping with Tentrr

Are you camping-curious, but not sure you want to deal with all the tent and sleeping bag related hassle? Have a hesitant spouse? Or perhaps you love camping, as we do, but are ready to try something new and different with your friends and family this fall. We recently headed out with Tentrr, a new company that gives you the camping experience you are after, from the most basic and remote locations to the “glamping” end of things as you desire. The best part? No set up or breaking down, you just go. When you arrive, everything is ready for you, just like a hotel (but way cooler, since you are outdoors and get to spend some time in nature).

easy camping

There is no end to the benefits of spending time in nature, from *physical health benefits like improving your immune system as well as mental and emotional health and well being (boosting you mood and giving you a creativity boost for examples), your whole self will benefit from your time camping. It doesn’t matter if you choose to really “rough it” or not, just being outside with your family will give you a wonderful bonding experience and memories that you can keep forever.

(*These and other health benefits of spending time outdoors can be found at  https://www.health.harvard.edu)

camping with kids

In a similar manner to Airnbn, Tentrr works with private landowners to cater to the camping community. These landowners install a “fully-equipped campsite on their property. Each campsite comes with a canvas wall tent on an elevated platform, bed, wood stove, Adirondack chairs, fire pit, grill, picnic table, sun shower, and camp toilet. Tentrr is perfect for families who love the outdoors but don’t love all the work associated with camping like packing a car full of stuff or pitching a tent.” (Via Tentrr)

family campsites

There are no crowded campgrounds, no tents or campers parked just feet away from your site, so you and your family can truly enjoy the solitude and quiet of nature.  We camped in Tivoli Trails in Tivoli, NY. It was our first experience with Tentrr, and I have to say it was so much easier and thus more relaxing for me (the main packer and set up person) and gave me more time to enjoy rather then rush about that first and last day. It’s really an ideal situation for those looking for a quick weekend trip as well, since it removes the time it takes for setup and breakdown, which can be substantial.

best camping

Also similar to Airbnb, there is an App you can install that lets you keep in touch with your campkeeper, for any questions or last minute issues that might arise. Forget something, get lost, confused about anything? That’s cool, you can message anytime. The messages also come to your email inbox and you are able to reply and talk that way, which for me was helpful since I’m less on my phone then I am on my computer. I know, I’m old.

great family camping

You can opt in for “extras” as well, such as towels, sleeping bags, pillows, etc. You will have all sorts of options when you make your reservation. There is also the ever-useful “camp kitchen” that is already there, and has everything you need to cook and clean up. This was my personal favorite, since bringing your own takes up a lot of space. If yours is not pre-packed, it also takes a lot of time to pack up (and if you are like me, you always forget something).

At this time, Tentrr has nearly 700 fully-equipped campsites in the USA and they are always adding more. Visit https://www.tentrr.com to choose your next getaway.

camping with kids

Get Camping

We love camping, and this is a great time of year to head out to your favorite campsite (or find a new one to explore).  What to pack, besides your tent and sleeping bags? We have a few suggestions.

best flashlights

One of the most important things to bring with you is lighting. You don’t want to wonder what you are about to run into on a middle of the night bathroom run. Recently, VSSL Outdoor Utility Tools and Mountain Khakis came together to bring out a very cool camping torch that is also a survival tool kit. A powerful light when you need it, you can also unscrew the cap to find mini disks that have different tools one might find useful inside. Lightweight at only one pound and impact resistant, it comes with 12 tins inside, including the flashlight disk itself, instructions, a compass, water purification tablets, first aid supplies, and more. The flashlight has four modes of LED light on it as well- medium, high, red, and SOS.  Available for $130 at https://www.mountainkhakis.com

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like to mess about with my hair when I’m camping or otherwise outdoors. Basically, I just want it kept out of the way. I really like Seirus, they offer a variety of options to keep you protected from the sun and as dry from sweat as can be in a no fuss manner. They have these multi-functional what they call “neck tubes” on the site, and that’s a pretty accurate description since that’s exactly what they look like. They can be worn around your neck to protect from the sun, around your head as a stay put headband that keeps the hair out of your face and sweat out of your eyes, a balaclava, and quite a few other ways to wear it- super versatile. They are quick drying, very breathable, and have a UPF of 25 built in. The site posts videos on the many ways to wear them- check it out. $19.99 at https://www.seirus.com

Looking for something a little more straightforward? They also offer a UPF50 Hinged Headliner as extra protection from the sun as well as a liner and extra warmth under helmets and on bitterly cold days. There are multiple headliners and balaclavas to choose from, prices vary from $16-$35 at https://www.seirus.com


Mountain Khakis are one of our favorites to wear camping, or really just great for being outside in general. These clothes are durable, breathable, soft, and great for layering in weather that can’t make up it’s mind. Nothing trendy, these will keep their appeal year after year, and they will be wearable for years as well. If you are new to the brand, you might want to start at the beginning. The Men’s Original Mountain Pants are, as you may have guessed, the ones that started it all. Organic, reinforced 2 play cotton and canvas, multiple reinforced pockets, reinforced heel cuffs, and more- you can probably tell these pants are built to last. They come in relaxed and slim fit, with 6 colors available at $84. 95 each at https://www.mountainkhakis.com

mountain khakis

If you want to top them off, we really love the new Pearl Street Collection flannel shirts. Soft, wicking fabric that stretches to give you that perfect feel, it still has a classic fit and look. The material keeps you warm and dry without overheating you. Since it has stretch to it, you can go rock climbing, chop wood for your campfire, go ziplining- whatever- and the shirt moves with you.  These are available for both men and women, with three color choices for men and two for women. They are $89.95 each at https://www.mountainkhakis.com



Camping with Kids, Part 2

Last week, we talked about some tents and sleeping bags so you don’t need me to remind you about the stuff that we spoke about. What I will say is that it’s important for you to do your research and find the best backpacking tent that you can find so that you can enjoy your trip as much as possible. But if you’re really going to go camping, you’ll need more than that to make a successful adventure. Whether it’s a tonne of fun games or a device to give you better cell reception, you need to be ready. We all know that a kid’s favourite phrase is ‘I’m hungry’ so I would highly recommend reading up on some quick camping meal ideas from somewhere like campingfunzone.com, so you’re always prepared for this eventuality. It might even be an idea to take some recipe books along with you. Here are a few more of our favorite take-alongs.

Since camping typically involves an overnight, it’s important to think about how you’re going to get around in the dark (say, to and from the bathroom, from the campfire back to the tent, or even just getting undressed and finding your sleeping bag). While some kids may love feeling their way around by starlight, many will need the comfort of a lantern or flashlight.

HABA Terra Kids Lantern (HABA USA)
HABA kids lantern parents@playOne of the problems with battery-operated lighting is that kids never remember to turn them off, which leaves you literally in the dark. The HABA Terra Kids lantern solves that by using an easy-to-turn crank to charge the bright, easy-to-see-by LED lights. So your little ones can keep their light shining all night long-or at least until they fall asleep. This well-built, sturdy lantern comes with a padded handle and a neoprene cover. It also sports a built-in compass (perfect for little explorers), a detachable karabiner, and
an alarm whistle so the kids can alert you if they aren’t able to find their way home with the compass. $39.99. http://www.afterschool.com

Bibi Bee Kids’ Flashlight (Melissa and Doug)
bibi bee flashlight parents@playFor the little ones, Melissa and Doug’s Bibi Bee Kid’s Flashlight will be an instant hit and may give them a little more confidence to explore. The bright bee stripes and happy face are great for scaring away nighttime monsters. This lantern takes AA batteries, which are well hidden by a childproof panel that keeps kids from removing them. However, you’ll need to bring a small Phillips screwdriver, otherwise you won’t be able to get to the batteries either. $12.99. http://www.melissaanddoug.com

ThermaCELLOutdoor Lantern (ThermaCell)
thermacell lantern parents@playLanterns are great for lighting, but they also tend to attract mosquitos and other bugs. This lantern manages to combine a good quality, fully functional LED light source with insect repellant. This lantern is non-toxic, silent, odor-free, and instead of DEET, keeps bugs away with allethrin (a version of a natural insecticide found in chrysanthemum flowers). The ThermaCELL weighs only 13 ounces, and 4 AA batteries provide up to 12 hours of power. $29.99. http://www.thermacell.com/

Let’s Go Fishing
fishing gear parents@playCamping trips are a great time introduce the kids to fishing-and to the time-honored practice of telling stories about “the one that got away.” The Zebco 33 Spincast Combo ($29.99) is an excellent option for both newbies and more experienced anglers. It also comes pre-spooled, which is nice for everyone. We also liked using the Rapala Original Floating Lure ($8-$13) as twitch bait. Both are available. At Afterschool.com. They also carry everything from rods, reels, poles, and tackle for dad, to character poles for the kids (even pink ones for those little princesses who still want to play in the mud and water). http://www.afterschool.com

Quit Bugging Me
bekool itch patch parents@playWhether or not you’re near the water, don’t forget the bug spray. Natrapel Bug Spray (available at drugstores everywhere) is not only effective, but is DEET-free and safer for everyone in the family. Unfortunately, even the best insect repellant doesn’t get 100 percent of the bugs. And even if it could, there’s always poison ivy and poison oak. The Itch Relief Patches from BeKool ($4.99 for a package of 18, http://www.bekoool.com/) not only relive the pain and itching, but also provide a physical barrier to prevent scratching.

Camping with Kids

With summer winding down and fall nipping at our heels, now’s the perfect time to look at great camping gear. There are loads of different types of camping gear that you can get, some people like to get something like a family sized SUV from sites such as https://www.hyundaiofanderson.com/used-inventory/index.htm or some may even opt for a
fancy camper van that they use around twice a year.

Additionally, RV battery are a necessity to some, but others just like to make sure that have the right tent. Usually, in the summer, we send the kids to somewhere like Camp North Star which they absolutely love as they get to play with people their age and go on adventures, but we also like to go camping with them ourselves every year. Our favourite times to camp are fall and spring: great weather, smaller crowds, and still plenty of fun to be had. So what to pack? Here are some fun and easy ideas for a perfect family camping trip.

Carbon River 3 Person Tent (Eddie Bauer)

eddie bauer carbon river tentFor a small family, Eddie Bauer’s Carbon River 3 Person Tent is the perfect choice. While some 3-person tents barely fit two, this one actually does accommodate three (Including a couple of large adults) quite comfortably, in part thanks to the generous 55-inch ceiling height. The rain fly gives plenty of weather protection and the interior storage pockets and vestibules mean lots of room to store your gear-and less to trip over inside the tent. Color-coded poles make this oversized tent easy to pitch, even when it’s getting dark and you’re already half asleep. A glow-in-the-dark zipper makes it easy to find your way back at night. And bright yellow stakes keep the tent planted in the ground and easy to see (no one needs to be tripping over stakes or stubbing your toes on them when you venture outside to use the bathroom). $249. http://www.eddiebauer.com

Snowline Sleeping Bag (Eddie Bauer)

eddie bauer snowline sleeping bagWhile it’s possible to get by without a tent, you’ll definitely need a sleeping bag. The Snowline is an honest-to-goodness three-season performer (which will save you some money in the long run), this bag comes in regular (for those under 6 ft. 3) or a long option (for taller campers or anyone who just wants some extra room). Goose Down insulation inside a ripstop nylon shell, this mummy style bag is tough and will keep you warm on cool nights and won’t bake you on warmer ones. The Snowline is machine washable (but you’ll probably want to hang it out to dry). And weighing in at only three pounds, it’s a great bag for long hiking trips or shorter, glamping trips where you still want to be comfortable. $250 for down, $129 for synthetic insulation. http://www.eddiebauer.com

Lucky Bums Sleeping Bag (Lucky Bums)

lucky bums sleeping bagFor little campers, the Lucky Bums Sleeping Bag is a great fun, functional option. Whimsical and eye catching for the kids, this mummy bag still offers the warmth (it’s rated to 10 degrees) and durability that you’ll need for camping in different seasons. There’s a full-length right-side zipper and a Velcro enclosure at the top, an ergonomic hood with drawstring, an internal drawstring to keep campers extra toasty, and it comes with a stuff bag. At less than three pounds, even the youngest campers can schlepp this one all by themselves. $50. http://www.afterschool.com

Coleman NXT Grills (Coleman)

coleman nxt grillLooking to do a little cooking while you’re out on the trail but don’t want to mess around with collecting kindling and starting a fire? Coleman’s NXT Grills are easy to use if you’re not going to too far into the wilderness (even though they’re small enough to fit in your trunk, they’re still too big to carry for very long). The NXT (which is also perfect for tailgating, beach BBQs, or even your own back yard), has 321 square inches of cooking surface and 20,000 BTUs, which give it the power to sear in flavor. The NXT comes with a porcelain-coated, cast iron grill. Griddle and stove top are sold separately. $219. http://www.coleman.com