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Camping: The Great Staycation

Are you looking for the perfect frugal vacation?  While vacations are fun for the whole family, they are not  fun for your bank account.  This past Labor Day weekend, our family took Friday off from work and enjoyed a 4-day weekend.  But instead of spending money on travel, hotel, and eating out, we took the best staycation we’ve ever taken – we camped in our backyard!

Frugally speaking, making an investment in camping gear is well worth the money because you pay for it once and use it over and over again.  Each year you can add to your equipment, and before you know it, you’ll have built up a collection!

We live on 6 acres so we have quite a bit of room for our campsite. If you don’t have room in your yard, don’t let that stop you.  I bet you can find a state park or KOA campground in your area where you can camp.

Setting up the Campsite:

First thing we did was clear the area where we planned to set up our tent.  I made sure to remove any sticks or rocks – not only are they uncomfortable to sleep on, but could damage the bottom of our tent!

Next, my son set up the tent.  We have a Coleman Sundome Tent that I LOVE!


Putting up the Tent

One thing that I love about our tent is the divider that attaches to the center.  It is great for changing clothes, or setting up separate rooms.  Here’s a picture of the divider.  How cool is that!
Tent with Divider in Place

Once the tent was set up, my 16-year-old got busy digging the fire pit.  He did a great job getting through the hard NC clay.  My boys also walked our property and collected rocks to go on the outside of the fire pit.
Building the Fire Pit

Our golden supervised all of the work.

One night for dinner we roasted hot dogs over the fire.
Cooking Hot Dogs

And a camp out wouldn’t be complete without smores!  For those of you who have not yet experienced the pure bliss of smores, roast a marshmallow over the fire until it is nicely browned.  If you are feeling really daring (and enjoy the taste of burnt marshmallow!), let your marshmallow catch on fire.  Then sandwich your marshmallow on a graham cracker with a piece of chocolate.  The heat from the marshmallow melts the chocolate.  Mmmmm!  Oh and don’t forget the wet wipes – these are messy!

For drinks I did 2 different things. I packed our Coleman 50 qt. cooler with caffeine free soda and bottled water.  Next time I will go sugar free as well as caffeine free because between the sugar from the smores and the soda, the kids were bouncing off the walls of the tent at bedtime.

I also filled our stackable Coleman coolers with pink lemonade.

Once it was dark, the whole family had such a nice time sitting around the campfire telling jokes, and even the occasional scary story.  It was wonderful to be removed from the busyness of our lives.  No computers, no video games, and no television – just family, and good old-fashioned conversation.

Our most-amazing-lantern-ever was a huge hit with the kids.  It is made by Coleman and is called the Quad Lantern.  It can be used as seen in this picture (sitting right next to my air mattress that I couldn’t camp without!) with all the sides attached, or each side can be removed and used individually as a flashlight.  It is so cool.

Coolest Lantern Ever!

Here’s a picture of the lantern in action:

We had such a wonderful frugal vacation and I hope it has inspired you to create your own camping staycation!  Have any camping staycation stories of your own?  I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Disclaimer:  Thank you to Coleman for sending the amazing products, free of charge, for our family to review.

Additional Information:

Camping Gear – For more information on Coleman products, please visit their website.

Camping Recipes – This website has all kinds of delicious recipes you can make while camping.

Outdoor Games – Fun games the whole family will enjoy can be found on this website.

More pictures – Visit my Flikr page for more pictures of our staycation!

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Category: Frugal Fun, Vacations & Travel

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