We just got back from spending two days camping at Polihale State Beach on the west side of Kauai. Kauai has its fair share of amazing beaches but Polihale has by far been my favorite since moving here… a long stretch of white sandy beach, the bluest blue water and breathtaking cliffs make for my idea of perfection. Typically in the summer time, the water is calm enough for paddle boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking.
We have never been the camping type, even before kids. Since we got married in 2010, we have camped a total of four times (twice in Colorado and twice in Kauai including this past weekend). It’s not like we are anti-nature by any means, we are just really busy people and sometimes the idea of packing up a bunch of food and supplies and roughing it for a day or two isn’t our idea of a relaxing getaway. However, having kids changes you. When your kids are having fun, it makes all the hard work worth it.
This trip kind of marked the end of a chapter. Jude will be in school next week. Routines will be essential to our survival as we come into this new point in our lives and the days of picking up and taking off for long beach days during the week are over until the weekend or next summer so we thought it fitting to take a quick camp trip together to celebrate, or in my case mourn, the end of an era with my firstborn. I’m super emotional about it, can you tell?
Anyways, moving on…
Why is it that when you camp, you end up spending way more than if you booked a room at a nice hotel and feel more tired than before you left? I made sure this trip to be aware of things I couldn’t live without and things that I could. We packed in too much food, too many drinks, not enough blankets and too small of a tent. That being said, we still had an amazing time. We only had a two person tent so Jude, Isla and I slept together inside it while Luke and Everly slept on a twin size air mattress under the canopy. Nobody got injured, wet the bed, or got sick on this trip which is always a win when adventuring with little ones. Luke downloaded an app for Jude on his phone that helped us locate different planets and constellations in the sky. We got to see the moon set (Not rise, but set over the western horizon. Incredible.) and we got to fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.
There was one point in the middle of the night when a big gust of wind blew our canopy away but we were able to locate it and break it down without any problems and from that point on, Luke and Ev slept under the stars, literally.
We could have brought one less cooler and instead taken along a small play pen for Isla. This would have given our arms a break while keeping her from eating sand. We used a small charcoal grill to cook lunch and dinner on the first day and on the second morning, just breakfast. Next time, i would make sure to premake foods like pasta, chicken or tuna salad for lunch and invest in a propane grill to save on cook time.
The following are camping items that are on my wish list that I think are pretty essential to a successful future camping trip:
-Large Tent (for at least 4 people)
-Queen Size Air Mattress
-2 Camping Lanterns
-Coffee Percolator and Reusable Coffee Mugs
-Canopy (we purchased ours from Wal-Mart in the outdoor/camping section)
-Large, Thick Blankets
-Card Table (for food prep)
I didn’t include food or food prep items in this list. We used plastic cups and paper plates, brought along a tea kettle, one medium sized cooking pan, knife, tongs, bottle opener.
Things I forgot and wish I brought along: cutting board and card table.
Something I brought that I’m so grateful I remembered to bring: aluminum foil!
Obviously, a list of “essentials” will vary from family to family. Since these items can get quite expensive we will slowly be adding items from our wish list to our collection of camp gear.
Camping with three kids can be a challenge but so, so fun too. And the memories we make will far outweigh the work. What would you add to your camping wishlist? What have you found to be some of your camping essentials? We could use the tips!!