Monday, June 22, 2015

Large Family Camping (2014) - It's Very Do-Able!

  • Basic tent camping - large family style
  • Our packing list & meal planning
  • Unpacking and laundry strategies

Camping season is here once again! *cheer!* And we're all over it with our large group! Have you desired to camp with young children, or with a larger group but just haven't quite taken the plunge yet? *chuckle* *smile* I invite you to catch a vision for how it can be done, nicely we think, through our photo tour and by hearing how we camp as a team for five days with 11 people... *smile*   This post might seem a little "scrapbooky", which is not what we strive for here on our blog; however the point is to give a visual into the fact that camping with lots of people or with young children is very do-able and can be enjoyable. Just takes a good plan.


Basic tent camping - large family style

This is a photo tour of our church's annual family camp together! The church reserves a section of the camp ground for about 350 people, and every family has it's own camp site. For our family, basically we just work and play as a team, large family style. *smile* We prepared together, packed, supervised, served, cleaned up, spread out with friends, traveled, played, tented, washed up, and loved most every minute of it...

Driving north in the afternoon we stopped for a Costco pizza dinner on the lawn at church. 

And...we're off!  (two vehicles carried all our stuff and us)

Daddy drove the minivan with Melanie, and I drove the full-size van.

I purchased these trucks for the kids from Value Village and Good Will prior to leaving. (Yes, all matching; what a God-send! *laugh*) Which they drove everywhere all week. It was a great and simple occupation for them. Such diverse terrain! *laugh*

The boys unloaded our fire wood and stacked it near the fire pit.

Setting up camp: a 10-man tent, and a 4-man tent is all we use. The 4-man is used to hold luggage and as an additional location to change clothes in.

This 12x6 foot indoor/outdoor carpet that Bob thought to buy for outside the tent was wonderful to have! Kids had a soft, clean place to do shoes and such upon entering or leaving the tent.

 Lacey & Lilly (age 3 1/2) helped position the inflatable mattresses, and put sleeping bags on each one where I directed them to.

Our camp site

Part of our camp ground - it was so beautiful!

Lunch time at our own site.

So excited to sleep!  *laugh* The first night took 90 minutes from getting ready to actually falling asleep. But after that they were tired enough to crash every night. *wink*

Good morning!

The boy's end of the 10-man tent, supervised by Daddy. *wink*

Cozy morning campfire enjoyment before everyone else is up...

Morning camp fire. Mmm... I love waking up to this already going for us thanks to Bob.

Brushing hair and teeth in the mornings

Preparing morning instant oatmeal and hot cocoa.

And Bob loves to cook bacon or sausage in the morning. *beam* A little protein to have with our instant oatmeal. *laugh* Warm and yummy.

(Warm cocoa is a nice thing during the cool Northwest mornings, too.)

Playing and visiting with friends at the back of our camp site.

Going for walks with friends

Bathroom (port-a-potty) trip with dad *chuckle*

Sister friends

Church family water balloon fight!

Drying out the bathing suits (and bath towels, and hand towels, hand-washed laundry, etc.) on a rope strung between two trees.

Hand washing some pj's after pull-ups leaked during the night (a little dish soap in one of our storage tubs).

Another nice morning campfire

Mmm...the love of my life.

Taking each other for rides in the wagon

Beautiful paths between camp sites

Playing games with friends

Visiting some horses other people brought

Karen had her 16th birthday while we were camping and we brought saltwater taffy for her to share with friends (traveled well, couldn't get squished, or need refrigeration before her actual birthday). 
We also brought a set of 4 walkie talkies to help keep track of our group as we spread out to play and visit around the camp ground. I had one and so did Bob, then also our two oldest teens who had some younger siblings with them as we each did. *smile* Worked beautifully!

Some afternoons we had the family re-gather and have some time to slow down and play some games together at our own site; other than that they spent much of their time around our church family's campsites visiting and playing. This is the game Battleship...

...Coloring books...

...Playing Uno...

Finding tiny tree frogs! *laugh* Much entertainment there.

Church family gathering for evening campfire games and sharing.

Hamburger dinner one night, a shared meal with friends.

Anna Marie & Riley practicing their "secret handshake".

 Precious kids...

A friend brought their latte machine camping (there were power hook ups for campers, so people brought extension cords and took advantage of that)! And so thoughtfully delivered me a nice, much-missed latte. Mmm...

Quality time.

 We took a drive to a beautiful look out and a family walk to Artist Point on Mt. Baker.

Whole church family garbage pick up of the entire camp site area we reserved! Everyone pitched in and picked up every piece of trash, especially water balloon pieces...

Our packing list & meal planning

Here is our packing list for camping. This includes food and meal plans and supplies that we will need. The categories in my list are: Supplies, Clothing, Miscellaneous, Meals, and notes to myself with things I desire to remember for future camping. I also put a star beside some items we would like to purchase for next time. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about what we bring, or not, and why! And of course I would love it if you would share your additional tent-camping ideas!

(Click to enlarge once or twice)

Unpacking and laundry strategies

If you think this part has to be a nightmare, I encourage you to reconsider. *smile* It can go very smoothly if you have a plan in advance - unpacking and laundry on purpose! *cheer!* If you go to our other Large Family Camping post (2012) you can see photos of and read in detail our plan for this part of the camping experience. 

So the team plan is a great adventure for our family! *beam* And we're really looking forward to camping this summer as well. Not that it's all peaches and cream. We're a real family with normal, rambunctious kids; and our own character grows in patience and creativity every day. But I'm so grateful to have a husband who was willing years ago to encourage me to take the plunge for family camping and to not lose any minutes of family memories and experiences due to being intimidated with the process. *smile*

This year we also are planning to rent a trailer for our full-size van to take bicycles with us as well! And it will carry the rest of our stuff as well, rather than driving too vehicles. We also have a few more ideas to try out this year for our camping experience. Looking forward to the new adventures.

Blessings on your summer fun!

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