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Run_DMC1991

First Timers - Help!

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Hello, all! We are planning a trip for our family of 5 - me, boyfriend, 2 sons (8 and 2.5 at time of trip), and daughter (6 at time of trip) - in September 2018. We just recently purchased an Ozark 12 person Instant Cabin but won't use it until next year. I plan to do a practice run in our backyard and then a couple weekend trips at a local campground before going to FW. The issue is I have little to no experience camping. Last time I went was years ago and I was a tag-a-long, meaning the person I went with prepared everything and I just brought myself.

Does anyone have a list of absolute minimum gear to bring? I plan on air mattresses and sleeping bags but beyond that I feel at a loss. 

Most likely we will eat at the parks and not at the campground so I don't think any cooking gear would be required. 

TIA!

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I just wanted to say welcome!!!! 

 

Haven't tent camped in years so can't really be of much help.  But here are some things right off my head I would bring or consider.

Extension cord and power strip, for charging phones, fans, maybe a radio.

Fan or fans to circulate air in the tent. 

Some sort of canopy or screen room to keep things cover that aren't in the tent and a place to get some shade that not in the tent. 

Games or something the kids can do if it's raining and you're stuck inside. 

A mat to put in front of door to keep from tracking stuff in. 

Lights, lanterns, flashlights for use around the campsite and for trips to the comfort stations. (Led Christmas lights or rope lights can be hung or laid around the campsite for some extra light)

A clothes line for hanging towels, bathing suits, ECT. 

A Rubbermaid box or something that closes securely for any snacks or food items you do bring, the squirrels and other wildlife have no problems helping themselves to things. 

These are all optional and depends on what you think your family will need and what you have room to bring. Most important part is to have fun! 

 

 

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Small shovel.  Not the folding ones, but a miniature spade type for digging trenches if it rains. Got mine at a Harbor Freight.

Broom/dustpan for getting all of the sand/rock mixture out of the tent.

Decent ice chest, I recommend a Coleman Extreme.  Even though you are planning on meals at the parks, you will still want drinks and snacks.  You will be surprised how hungry you will be at night after a full day at the parks.

Chairs, refillable water bottles, suntan lotion, first aid kit, cooling towels, hats, sheets or light blankets (it's still going to be hot in September) to supplement sleeping bags.

Something to carry comfort station items in, shampoos, soaps tooth brush, etc.

When we started back tenting, I thought we took a lot.  Shortly after we got a small PUP, but kept bringing the tent for my daughters.  Our truck quickly started looking like the Beverly Hillbillies coming down I-4!

Best bet is to see what you use/don't use on your trial runs.

Some of the items will depend on how your family holds up in the sun. humidity, and heat.

 

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I'd second a screen room and get one with rain flaps. It will still be fairly warm in September and the biting bugs are still out so being able to sit at the picnic table in peace is well worth it. A couple of fans would also be a good idea.

Don't know your length of stay but you might find you want to have some means of preparing morning coffee, breakfast or other meals at the campsite. I would suggest getting a small propane camp/hiking stove. The size would need to be big enough to hold a coffee pot and a frying pan. Between these you could throw together a decent breakfast or grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Also if you are thinking of foods that need refrigeration ice chests can go through ice pretty quickly. It is not uncommon that folks will buy a small dorm fridge to use at the campsite for food. 

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I forgot to add a tarp large enough to go under the tent as a footprint. This helps keep the tent floor in better shape and isolate it from ground moisture. Just be sure none of the tarp sticks out from under the tent bottom or it will result in water pooling underneath.

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All very helpful! Love the camping list, Diane. 

Any specific fans that people like to use? Just regular box fans? 

I'm glad I asked. Some of these things I knew, like the tarp for under the tent.  But others I hadn't even thought of. I've been to Disney twice in the last few years and never would have dreamed (even outside of Disney) that we'd camp there, but the more research I do the more fun it sounds. Since my boyfriend insists on driving down from Indiana (deathly afraid of flying), might as well pack up the car and camp it. 

We're looking at staying a week, if that helps. 

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Any fans work, with an extension cord and power strip you'll be able to plug in multiple things. Fans are just nice to circulate the air, September can be hot and muggy.  

I don't know if you are a garage saler or not but a lot of times at least around here you can find good deals on slightly used camping stuff at garage sales, things like propane stoves, screens and such. Also Craig's list is good if you don't want to sink a bunch of money on new stuff you're not sure if you'll use or not.

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14 hours ago, Cortezcapt (Derek) said:

Any fans work, with an extension cord and power strip you'll be able to plug in multiple things. Fans are just nice to circulate the air, September can be hot and muggy.  

I don't know if you are a garage saler or not but a lot of times at least around here you can find good deals on slightly used camping stuff at garage sales, things like propane stoves, screens and such. Also Craig's list is good if you don't want to sink a bunch of money on new stuff you're not sure if you'll use or not.

driving down from Indiana 

This time of year in your area most of the big box stores are clearing out outdoor/camping items.

Also Goodwills/thrift stores will be getting a lot of donated camper gear around this time.

You might want to opt out for a couple of smaller fans than 1 big one.  We have a small box fan and small round fan for inside our PUP.  Also take a larger powerful one for outside/screen room, and daughters bring one of those rotating tower fans for the tent.  Again thrift stores/garage sales are great for those.

Wish.com sometimes has a lot of camping items on their site.  Just read the descriptions, some of the items like clips are smaller than pictured.  Some of the merchandise is a little on the cheezy side, but for an occasional use it'll work for you.

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Are you sure that you want to tent camp in Florida in September?

The weather can be brutal in September.  I think we set a record this year with days over 90 degrees:

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/orlando-fl/32801/september-weather/328169

Having just survived a week with no electricity courtesy of Hurricane Irma, I can tell you that a fan (we have some battery operated ones) helps, but it is still uncomfortably hot and humid at night time in central Florida in September. 

I'd try and switch my dates to somewhere in the November to March time frame, or figure out a way to hook an air conditioner up to the tent.

TCD

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2 minutes ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

Are you sure that you want to tent camp in Florida in September?

The weather can be brutal in September.  I think we set a record this year with days over 90 degrees:

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/orlando-fl/32801/september-weather/328169

Having just survived a week with no electricity courtesy of Hurricane Irma, I can tell you that a fan (we have some battery operated ones) helps, but it is still uncomfortably hot and humid at night time in central Florida in September. 

I'd try and switch my dates to somewhere in the November to March time frame, or figure out a way to hook an air conditioner up to the tent.

TCD

I guess it depends on your tolerance.

You might be better off with hooking up a small window unit to the tent if you can't handle the heat.  There are plenty of you tube, pinterest, instuctable links on how to do it.  Some of the newer tents have a portal for an A/C.

And don't get taken in by those A/C in a 5 gallon bucket contraptions utilizing ice, or wet clothes.  The humidity is too high for any sort of evaporation system in FL. and the ice will melt too fast to be worth the trouble.

But that being said, my crazy clan has tented and used a PUP for week long stays over the 4th of July at the Fort utilizing only fans. 

But then again we've lived here since 78 so we are slightly more acclimated to the heat. 

The biggest thing is air flow.  If you can open the windows and have fans blowing across you,  more than likely you will be comfortable sleeping.

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10 minutes ago, Travisma said:

But that being said, my crazy clan has tented and used a PUP for week long stays over the 4th of July at the Fort utilizing only fans. 

I know that you did, and there are plenty of tent campers at the Fort all summer long.

But, you have to admit that 90 degree humid days and nights are not pleasant camping weather.

Can it be done?  Of course.

But why do that to yourself?

I notice you didn't go back this year.

TCD

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3 minutes ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

I know that you did, and there are plenty of tent campers at the Fort all summer long.

But, you have to admit that 90 degree humid days and nights are not pleasant camping weather.

Can it be done?  Of course.

But why do that to yourself?

I notice you didn't go back this year.

TCD

We do the 4th when the relatives from NC and NY come down for the week every other year.

We camp and relax, they stay at resorts and hit the parks hard.

In fact, I haven't even opened the camper up this year.

I scrubbed and resealed the roof, and rolled it down the driveway when I was trimming trees pre Irma.

Between the crappy weather and our schedules, we didn't have any free time.

And trying to just get a Friday/Saturday stay at the Fort is next to impossible.

But we did Hotwire The Yacht Club and POFQ!!

 

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11 minutes ago, Travisma said:

I guess it depends on your tolerance.

You might be better off with hooking up a small window unit to the tent if you can't handle the heat.  There are plenty of you tube, pinterest, instuctable links on how to do it.  Some of the newer tents have a portal for an A/C.

And don't get taken in by those A/C in a 5 gallon bucket contraptions utilizing ice, or wet clothes.  The humidity is too high for any sort of evaporation system in FL. and the ice will melt too fast to be worth the trouble.

But that being said, my crazy clan has tented and used a PUP for week long stays over the 4th of July at the Fort utilizing only fans. 

But then again we've lived here since 78 so we are slightly more acclimated to the heat. 

The biggest thing is air flow.  If you can open the windows and have fans blowing across you,  more than likely you will be comfortable sleeping.

It's no secret that I have zero heat tolerance (see "Melty Mo").  2 years ago Wild Womenz Weekend was end of April/start of May.  And it was a hot one. 90-ish hot. 

Long story short, but SIL and I ended up sleeping in Carol's big screen room (without the sides down) with 4 big fans pointed at us on high all night.  That was actually fairly comfortable. We made a point of taking a cool shower just before bed - that helped too. One night I had to get up and shut off one of the fans.  LOL

I can't imagine having been in an actual tent.

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Just now, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

It's no secret that I have zero heat tolerance (see "Melty Mo").  2 years ago Wild Womenz Weekend was end of April/start of May.  And it was a hot one. 90-ish hot. 

Long story short, but SIL and I ended up sleeping in Carol's big screen room (without the sides down) with 4 big fans pointed at us on high all night.  That was actually fairly comfortable. We made a point of taking a cool shower just before bed - that helped too. One night I had to get up and shut off one of the fans.  LOL

I can't imagine having been in an actual tent.

Our Coleman Easy Up has big windows!  And of course so does the PUP.

But like I said everyone tolerates the heat differently.

A quick swim or shower before turning in does help a lot.

And being a manly man, I have the advantage of sleeping without a top, but I guess if you ladies were daring you all could also! :bananas:

 

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9 minutes ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

One thing to remember for those of you who say you sleep great in screen rooms or tents with big windows is that your flaps are going to have to be down when it rains.  And, it rains a lot in September.  Sometimes sideways.

TCD

Indoor plumbing!:lol:

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1 hour ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

One thing to remember for those of you who say you sleep great in screen rooms or tents with big windows is that your flaps are going to have to be down when it rains.  And, it rains a lot in September.  Sometimes sideways.

TCD

Good point!  There was one night when the weather threatened, but we lucked out.  If we'd have had to put the sides down it would not have been as comfortable... but then we were sleeping in a 20x20 screen room.  LOL!

 

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I really want to do September for lower crowd levels. We went in November in 2014 and it was freezing (even for us Indiana folk) and the crowds were higher than I'd like. I always go back to the September we did in 2013 where most of the big rides were walk on to 10 minute waits. 

I am worried about the heat because I remember it was hot and humid. Since we're still a year out, I'm only looking into camping as an option. Keeping renting an off site condo (more in line with our budget than anything on site) as an option as well. 

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1 hour ago, Run_DMC1991 said:

I really want to do September for lower crowd levels. We went in November in 2014 and it was freezing (even for us Indiana folk) and the crowds were higher than I'd like. I always go back to the September we did in 2013 where most of the big rides were walk on to 10 minute waits. 

I am worried about the heat because I remember it was hot and humid. Since we're still a year out, I'm only looking into camping as an option. Keeping renting an off site condo (more in line with our budget than anything on site) as an option as well. 

Welcome!

If it was freezing in November, it was likely a fluke. FL weather is unpredictable, but we go every other Christmas, and it's mostly been in the 80s when we're there. I've gone in February and worn coats and also gone and been able to swim. You just never know. 

Also, the low crowds of September are gone... It's still a lower season, but the Halloween party, Food & Wine, free dining, and lots of schools with "Fall" breaks have increased crowds during that time. In fact, I had more clients travel in September than any month this year. 

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I've been to the Fort several times in November.  Always take my winter coat and always have to wear it part of the trip.  One trip was 30 degrees at night ... another was in the low 40s with a stiff wind ... be prepared for any weather!

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18 hours ago, GaDawgFan.....Kelly said:

Welcome!

If it was freezing in November, it was likely a fluke. FL weather is unpredictable, but we go every other Christmas, and it's mostly been in the 80s when we're there. I've gone in February and worn coats and also gone and been able to swim. You just never know. 

Also, the low crowds of September are gone... It's still a lower season, but the Halloween party, Food & Wine, free dining, and lots of schools with "Fall" breaks have increased crowds during that time. In fact, I had more clients travel in September than any month this year. 

What about October? Maybe a good compromise? My oldest sons birthday is in October so that might be a nice time to go 

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Oct-Nov has been our annual Fort trip for ages now. We've had a couple of random Octobers that were really hot, but even then hot in October without the humidity is a far cry from Aug-Sep.

Occasionally November has been chilly, every once in a while it's downright cold at night (and we're from NH) but the cold doesn't usually last long and more often than not it's pretty nice (70s-low 80s), and relatively dry.

We're prepping for a Nov trip now and I'm planning to pack layers, and hats/mittens/socks... just in case.

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