Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gearing up the Gear

This weekend we're headed out camping again, this time to First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. Though we've already been camping a few times this year and I just keep the gear packed and ready to go, I am in the process of REpacking all of it from one gigantic plastic bin that was getting too heavy for one person to lift into two smaller, more manageable ones. It remains to be seen if this is even possible, and if it will help or hinder packing stuff in the car.

Because somehow I believe that car camping means you have to FILL the car. Usually I am shoving things into small crevasses and under the kids feet, and even my feet, to accomodate all the stuff we bring. Now rest assured, I CAN rough it and have done so many times in the past, but I've learned that living in the woods for even a couple days with small children means having to think of anything and everything that might be needed, go wrong, or keep them from whining and fighting the whole time. And you don't want and frantic trip to find a WalMart to ruin your camping experience. As an added problem, when you go camping at the beach as we are this weekend, you not only have to pack the camping gear, but the beach gear too! Beach umbrella, sand toys, beach blankets, etc. Talk about space issues, we'll be lucky to fit the dog in the truck by the time we're ready to go, much less the kids!

Speaking of space, I'm bummed that we don't have a bike rack for our vehicle yet. The beach is a pretty flat place, and I'm sure the trails would be perfect for a family bike hike. We've started to really love biking, but our family skill and strength levels are still pretty low, espeically for my OS who is still somewhat new to life without training wheels. The level trails sound perfect for us, but strapping three bikes to the roof of our car with bungee cords for 90 miles just doesn't seem very feasible. Well, I guess that just means we'll have to make another trip there next year. Maybe Santa, who brought us the bikes this past Christmas, will bring me a bike rack in December. Along, of course, with the GPS unit for geocaching and a dutch oven that are already on my Christmas list! Ummm, are you listening Santa???

Repacking and sorting of gear aside, I'm excited because we now have a happy family of four daypacks to bring with us on our weekend excursions. On our last few hikes I've noticed that the little mini backpack we got for OS many years ago is getting kind of small for him, and his little brother has expressed interest in carrying it himself. So after some searching I found a really nice junior daypack at the new REI here in Richmond. I had also picked up DH a daypack a little while ago, so now he doesn't always have to carry my pretty purple one when we go out. Now we each have our own perfectly sized packs, and all lined up they look like they could be in a "The 3 Bears" type story. "There once was a great big Papa pack, a medium sized Mama pack, a smallish Kid pack, and an itsy-bitsy Baby pack that lived in the woods in a quaint little cottage..."

REI was great fun to wander around, even if it is a little pricey for me right now. I got some really cute little "Adventure Journals" for free that I handed out to all my Cubs at graduation too. Its a little book where they can record a few thoughts about trips they take and things they see. Nice program. I think it would be even better if the kids could get something special for filling it up and turning it in, like a pin or patch or stuffed toy. Maybe I'll bring that up to the company... Still, its a nice thought to help get the kids excited about their adventures, and to remember them down the road.

Ah well, more sorting and repacking awaits so we can hit the interstate tomorrow! Happy camping!

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