Any campers here? I need educating.

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Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#1  Postby clockworkjon » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:55 pm

I'd like to take the kids camping some day, maybe yet this year. However, I have never camped in all my 34 years, all of them in WI!

So, I have a general idea of the gear I need to start and keep it simple until we know if we like it. What I don't know is WHERE to camp. I live in Waukesha and would like to stay fairly close in case we have to bail. I don't need a lot of amenities either. Just a safe and inexpensive place to pitch a tent and start a fire. If I can fish nearby that's cool to.

Suggestions?
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Any campers here? I need educating.

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Re: Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#2  Postby sardog1 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:45 pm

It's great that you want to take the kids camping!

Gear:
Tent
Sleeping bags
Some type of cushion for under the sleeping bags
Cooler full of food/drinks
Flashlights (Have one for each kid)
Pudgie pie iron!
Bug spray
Patients and a sense of adventure

Don't get wrapped up in needing all of the latest gear (trust me, I'm a gear whore!) Craig's List and yard sales can provide everything you need for much less than a trip to REI. Especially if you are a newbie to camping and don't know how the kids will take to it.

Devil's Lake, Harrington Beach, Kohler Terry Andre, Pike Lake, Wildcat Mountain, Governor Dodge... Wisconsin has tons of campgrounds. Even Lapham Peak out by you has a walk in campsite.

Be sure you let us know how it goes!
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Re: Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#3  Postby JLDIII » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:46 pm

Ottawa Lake is nice. State camp grounds so cheaper just get there early no reservations. Pinewood in Kettle Moriane not far from Ottawa. No place to swim.
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Re: Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#4  Postby bsczar1 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:56 pm

Here's a good place to start looking for a place to camp:

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/
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Re: Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#5  Postby Marc-Wi » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:21 am

How old are the kids? You might want to find a place that has activities for them if they get bored.
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Re: Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#6  Postby JerTech » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:37 am

With little kids, make sure you bring extra blankets. Also, ensure the vents on your tent can be covered to keep too much heat from escaping. Depending on the weather around here, nights can get pretty cold and little ones wiggle out of their covers easily.

We started out doing just "day camping" where we got there in the morning, set up the tent for fun, had a campfire, did hiking, etc. Then we went home for the evening. It's a good "sanity test" to make sure you've got the basics covered without committing to a potentially rough night.

We're members of the Wisconsin Historical Society and have a state park pass. Both work well together, as we can go visit the various historical sites/events during the day and then retire to the campground in the evening.

I have a lot to learn about camping too, but these are my initial observations with young kids.
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Re: Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#7  Postby SidecarMike » Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:47 am

Saying you are 34 makes me think the kids are fairly young. Consider Yogi Bear Jellystone park. Lots of activities to keep the kids interested and usually located near a town for forgotten supplies. There are 5 in Wisconsin. Caledonia is near you. http://www.jellystone-caledonia.com/

Take Sardog's advice. We camp a lot. The only new items we have are sleeping bags. Everything else is second hand. Lots of people out there buy all the gear, have a bad experience, and then decide they don't like it. I bought some really high end stuff from a lady whose boyfriend got bit by a spider on their first trip. He not only refused to go again, but also gave her grief when she wanted to go with friends.
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Re: Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#8  Postby Dylanthecat » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:24 am

I will put in another plug for Harrington Beach in Belgium. New campground, not real big so it is pretty quiet. The have a small pond you can fish near the campground, or Quarry lake is a 3/4 mile hike on a solid trail, or you can drive and get within about 1/4 mile. I have caught some decent bass in there. Beautiful area. You are also right on Michigan with a nice beach. Dogs are even allowed on south beach. Lots of history in the park as it used to be a big quarry years ago. A lot of remnants of the old buildings.
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Post Number:#9  Postby oliverclotheshoff » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:22 pm

Im a fan of camping in county parks its cheap typically $5 to $7 bucks a night in sauk or juneau county. State parks are nice and fun especially if you go to one with great sights, trails like copper falls state park. BUT there is more cost involved in state parks. One thing we watch for is firewood with more and more of the state under firewood transport bans you will probably have to buy your firewood unless you camp really close to home then you might be able to bring your own. A word of advice drive around the park perimeter to find the best deal and DONT be afraid to haggle on price.
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Post Number:#10  Postby SidecarMike » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:45 pm

oliverclotheshoff wrote:<SNIP> One thing we watch for is firewood with more and more of the state under firewood transport bans you will probably have to buy your firewood unless you camp really close to home then you might be able to bring your own. A word of advice drive around the park perimeter to find the best deal and DONT be afraid to haggle on price.


What he said. I'll add that we will often just stop at a farmhouse with a pile of firewood and ask if they'll sell us some. It's not unusual to get a whole carload for $10 or $15 when the vendors want $7.50 for a bundle of 5 or 6 pieces.
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Re: Any campers here? I need educating.

Post Number:#11  Postby clockworkjon » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:00 pm

Marc-Wi wrote:How old are the kids? You might want to find a place that has activities for them if they get bored.

I'd start with the 6yo.
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Post Number:#12  Postby Marc-Wi » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:54 am

A friend of mine used to go to a "Yogi Bear" camp ground with his young kids. Family friendly. I'm not sure if that's the real name. It's like a chain of camp grounds. Not sure if that's what you're looking for. Good luck.
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Post Number:#13  Postby mimalmo » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:39 pm

We did tents with young kids for nearly 20 years before we finally bought an RV. It's nice to enjoy the outdoors for the day hiking, biking, etc and then come back to air conditioning, a comfortable bed and a hot shower. That's the kind of camping I enjoy now.
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Post Number:#14  Postby clockworkjon » Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:44 pm

I'm going to resurrect this thread. We have officially reserved sites for two trips for the family. Gear deals are being searched for, activities planned. Basic question for everyone though: cook on the fire or get a camp stove and save the fire for marshmallows? I want to think old school, but if the kids are hungry I don't want to make them wait while I try not to set myself on fire heating up spaghettios!
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Post Number:#15  Postby SidecarMike » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:32 pm

clockworkjon wrote:I'm going to resurrect this thread. We have officially reserved sites for two trips for the family. Gear deals are being searched for, activities planned. Basic question for everyone though: cook on the fire or get a camp stove and save the fire for marshmallows? I want to think old school, but if the kids are hungry I don't want to make them wait while I try not to set myself on fire heating up spaghettios!


We try to do hotdogs and such on a campfire, but use a camp stove for other stuff. It's also good to have the stove if weather doesn't cooperate or if you don't want to wait an hour or more for embers. Propane stoves are convenient and plentiful on Craigslist. Gas stoves burn hotter, but can be a chore for a novice.
Where are you? If you're near me, I have a couple extra single burner ones you could borrow.

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