Thursday, January 12, 2017

My First Solo Camping Trip

Over New Year's Weekend I took my first ever solo camping trip to do three bucket list items.  I had just bought my first tent and thought it would be a breeze.  Well, it was and it wasn't.

Yes, I went by myself.  Why?  Well, I couldn't find anyone else to go with and I decided that I am not going to wait on other people to do stuff with me to have fun.  People are always invited of course, but I didn't

The Tent
I got my tent at Wal-Mart for $30.  Yes, it was the cheapest tent but I figured it was just me and I didn't need a fancy one for my first trip.  I figured I could get a bigger/fancier one if I needed to one day.  I know it's Wal-Mart but I figured I would give it a try (plus, I had a gift card).  I really liked it. It was roomy enough for one person, but the package said 3 people.  I think two (plus your stuff) would be the max I would want to be in there with.  Maybe if it was really cold and you needed body warmth, but two would be the max.
I spy flamingos!!!!!!

My Gear
I thought that an egg crate mattress, a wool moving blanket (that my dad insisted I bring), pillow and my quilt would be plenty for me to sleep on, but nope!!  I was SO COLD the first night.  I mean shivering cold where I got under my wool blanket and quilt but was still cold.

The 2nd night I wised up and went to Wal-Mart (after my Dino Dive) and bought a sleeping bag and a set of those hand warmer things that you shake to activate and last 18 hours.  I am so glad I bought those things because I was toasty warm in my sleeping bag.  I added a hand warmer packet to my feet area plus one by my knees to keep warm.  It kept me warm until the storm woke me up.

The Weather
I picked a random spot close to a picnic table and an electricity box.  I almost picked another spot but it was too far away from where I needed to plug my phone in.  Luckily, I chose my spot because the 2nd night the other spot flooded in the storm.

Yes, the 2nd night was one heck of a storm. I was woken up about 3 am to a storm raging around me.  It was loud at first and didn't bother me since I was being kept dry (go tent!) but then the walls started caving in on me.  Yes, the wind was blowing so hard that the wall started to bend in.  I just put my hand up to steady it so the rods wouldn't snap (I don't think they would have but I didn't want to chance it).

After a few minutes of sort of laughing at myself for being in a monsoon on my first solo camping trip, I realized that I had put my tent right under a tree and next to an electric box.  Duh, Stephanie!  Lightening!  A while ago I heard about this girl who was killed while camping because a tree branch had fallen on top of her (not sure where I heard that) so I decided to spend the rest of the night in my car.

I wasn't sure if my stuff would get wet (especially if my tent collapsed) so I gathered my overnight bag my wool blanket and my pillow to bring to the car with me when the rain settled down a bit.  I also stuffed everything else in my sleeping bag, hoping that that would keep it dry if the inside of the tent got wet.

The tent held up great though!  The next morning the polls were still up right and the pegs were still in the ground.

The  Food
I packed some snacks and bought a bagged salad mix, but I thought I would just eat the rest as I went along because I didn't have a camp stove to use.  Before I go camping again I will buy one!  I looked at Cabela's and also Academy and I found one for $40ish.

I need to find some camping food that I can make on site that is plant based.  I don't have to worry about keeping the veggies cold during the night like I would with me or cheese.  I need to create a recipe book to have on hand.

The Campground
I stayed at a RV park that had electricity and a bathroom so I wouldn't have to go in the woods.  I wanted to camp but I didn't want to get too crazy!  The campgrounds (Oakdale Park)were nice and quiet since it was the winter, but I can still see it being a great site.  There was a security guard who went around at night (and probably during the day too) to check on things.  Everything had to be quiet between 10 pm-7 am.  For $20 a night, I liked it.  My only complaint was that the shower water was so cold! I tried to let the water get hot, but it never did.  Maybe I missed a button to turn on our something but I just don't think the water heater is working.

What I Would Do Different
-I would come prepared for whatever weather and have more blankets.  I should be OK now since I have my sleeping bag but never underestimate the cold.

I would check the weather to make sure there wasn't a huge storm coming.  I would have probably gone anyway but you never want to put yourself in a situation where you are in harms way.  And I wouldn't put my tent underneath a tree either!  What was I thinking?!

-I would  bring flip flops for the shower-ewwww gross!  I just stood on a towel, not sure if that helped or not. LOL.

-I would bring a camp stove to make meals.  It really sucked when I needed to get food but all the restaurants are closed do to a holiday.   That probably won't happen too much since there are a lot less holidays during the year, but you never know.  Come prepared!

-I would buy this single person tent instead because it is off the ground and one person can put it together.  My current tent takes at least two people and if I go again I might not have anyone around to help me.  It is the Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot that even folds into a lounger chair!  Kamp-Rite tent company, please send me a free tent!  We can partner together! :)  Your tent can come with me on bucket list adventures and be featured each time! :) Hint, Hint, Hint!!
All and all it was a fantastic trip and I can't wait to go again.  I am planning a backyard camping excursion with my niece and nephews soon!  I have also purchased a big, oversized tub to keep all of my camping gear in so I won't have to round it all up again the next time I go camping.

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