Getting ready for spring camping

Last summer, we spent a few more nights camping than we had in previous years. We discovered a few problems with our setup that I’d like to correct this year.

The first was with our tent. We’ve been using a Woods many person tent that I’ve had for more than a few years. It’s okay, but lacks a full fly and, when we encountered rain this year, proved to be quite leaky. Not a great setup. So, we’re in the market for a new tent. I’ve pretty much decided on the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6. It has great reviews and the ability to create an extra room for our son to play in quietly while we sleep in in the morning (or we can zip him in there while we read at night – creating the opportunity for his to sleep). I would love any suggestions on other options – we need a full fly, space for stretching out and quality. I used to work as a canoe guide and am still an outdoor professional, so buying poor gear isn’t an option.

Speaking of poor gear, we’ve had a few air mattresses over the years and they all seem to leak – leaving us on the ground or with a poor waterbed like experience. I have some back issues and a decent night’s sleep is imperative, so we’re also in the market for a better base camp experience. Suggestions are welcome! Ideally, I would love something where I’m more than a few inches off the ground and that is at least as wide as a double bed.

Finally, hauling the gear is becoming an issue. We bought a wagon this fall that has a better gear hauling ability, but I’m also scouring craigslist for a set of yakima racks and either a roof box or basket to help get stuff to the campsite. Eventually, I’d like to get some sort of trailer, but that will be for another year – I’m struggling with picking up a used utility trailer or looking at something like a soft top tent trailer (I really like what livinlite has done with their Quicksilver. For right now, though, we’ll be sticking with what we can fit in to our vehicle.

Camping season is coming soon, in only a few short months I hope to be using this new gear that I will have bought. So exciting!

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