Posted by: Anna | August 18, 2010

What I’ve Learned about Camping

As someone who has never been camping before, I didn’t know much about the skills necessary to camp and have fun at the same time. We have been on the road now since July 24th, which is 23 days. We have spent a few nights in hotels, and a few at my grandparents’ house, but for the majority of that time, we have been tent camping.

Tent camping is fun; I wasn’t even sure I would feel that way before we left. And I have certainly had moments where it wasn’t fun – the 3rd day in a row of rain, cooking in the dark, eating a burned dinner, sleeping in the cold….well, I could go on, but I won’t. However, we have been blessed to be in absolutely beautiful settings each day, surrounded by nice people, for the most part, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation every day in a way that is not possible in our Dallas condo.

If I could go back to July 23rd, the day before departure, here are my tips:

  1. Keep it simple. It’s totally okay to eat PB&J for four days in a row for lunch. This isn’t a culinary excursion, and spending too much time on food preparation limits the time and energy left to enjoy the parks.
  2. Bring two pairs of pants. In following my plan for the big trip, I only brought one pair of pants. I think that will be fine for the trip around the world, but hiking every day, I want pants!
  3. Bring a watch. It’s really frustrating not to know what time it is, especially when there is something at a particular time you want to do, like a Ranger talk. We stressed out on Sunday because we were hiking but we had to catch a boat at 8 PM to get back to our campsite, and we had no way to know what time it was.
  4. Bring big plastic bins for keeping food. It would be much easier. Our car is a mess of bags of food!
  5. Buy a laptop. Okay, we did. We broke down in Bozeman, Montana and bought a netbook. Trying to use internet cafes and libraries to upload pictures was enough to make us go crazy. So we bought a little bitty laptop, and it’s wonderful. 🙂
  6. Plan to take time to relax and get organized. We’ve been on the road for a while, and with that, we have to do laundry, reorganize the car, go to the grocery store, repack the cooler, etc. It all takes time, so every day isn’t spent sightseeing. Some days or parts of days are spent doing laundry, uploading pictures, and writing blog posts.
  7. Feel blessed. I am so blessed to be able to take this trip, to live in a country that preserves nature in such wonderful ways in our national parks, to have a sweet and caring husband who also loves to travel, to have a great brother and have time to spend with him, to have parents who are helping us stay on top of things at home…I can go on and on.


  1. Anna you write with such insight (as does Tommy). I feel like I have lived a little part of it with you. I have always loved camping — did a lot of it growing up “camping” at our farm in Oklahoma. My Dad made us learn to identify animals including snakes, shoot a gun, build a fire and cook over it, and love and observe nature. I was lucky to work in a girls camp in Minnesota two summers where we camped even on our days off. Jerry’s thing is not camping — not a criticism just a fact. So Anna didn’t grow up doing it. So glad she now has had the experience and learned to love camping.

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