The most important thing to remember, IMO, is that in the beginning there will be some discomfort as you gain experience on what works and what doesn't. If it isn't 'perfect', or everything you hoped and dreamed, ust don't get discouraged and hang in there. The more you do it, the better it will get. Set-up and tear down get easier as you develop a repeatable system and things start becoming second nature. Then you'll start to see what gear works and what doesn't, what items you just don't need and ideas of things that will make life easier. As for spouses and kids that may not be as gung-ho on the whole thing, take a little extra time to make things easier and more comfortable to them until they catch the bug and really start enjoying it. That often means that in the beginning it may even seem to you to be more work than it's worth, but pretty soon everyone will know their tasks and what to do when, and your burden will start to lessen. Before you know it, you won't even have to really think about it as much, you will knwo what you need to take, where it is, where it goes while driving, and how it's set up at camp.Hey guys, so this will be the first time tent camping with my family...I think I’ve spent far too much time thinking / preparing, but want it to go well so they will want to do it more. The weather doesn’t look promising, so could be interesting. Looking forward to meeting people, though! This is my first rally.
When I started taking my wife she had never tent camped (only huge travel trailers), and never outside of developed campgrounds. We started with some easy weekend trips to local state parks, which went well. We always brought two cars, mainly because she felt better having an 'out' if it got too cold for her, and once or twice she hung out until bedtime and drove home to sleep. I was initially bothered / worried, but didn't want to risk totally turning her off to it altogether, so I fully encouraged her to do what made her most confirmatable.
Our first big trip without an easy escape was to the Alpine Loop area, in CO. We were still using crappy walmart gear, and did not have adequate clothing or bedding for the weather. The first night it got down into the low 40's and she wanted to leave, go get a motel room, and drive home the next day. At the time I had a crew cab F350 and got it warmed up, blasted the heat, and sat with her until she stopped shivering. I then offered a compromise.. The next day we woudl drive out to Gunnison, get her some appropriate gear, and give it one more shot. If she still hated it the second night, we would leave.
I'm normally pretty frugal, but at that point I said screw it and we got her high end boots (she had been wearing running shoes), wool socks (she had then cotton athletic ankel socks), synthetic base layers (she had old school thremals), Ski gloves (she didnt bring any) , wool beenie (she had a ball cap), and a decent jacket (she only brought hoodies). If I recall I spent well over $500 that day (luckily it was summer so some sales were going), but that night she was WAY more comfortable and by the next day, she expressed what a difference it made, and that was it.
From then on one thing I never cheap out on is her comfort, especially when it comes to clothes and sleep gear. As a result, she is a different woman when it comes to camping, and is always up for it. I still make sure she has the best gear, but we save a lot of money by picking items up when we see really good deals, rather than waiting until we need them and paying full price. I have even converted her to hammock camping, which she swore she would never do, and she's even spent a number of nights in below freezing weather!
Now we have at least 2-3 options with us every time we camp. Hammocks are usually the priority, but we always bring backup options now. We were taking way too much time finding spots with perfect trees, so the EZUp and Camp Cube is great, not only for longer duration base camping, but also when there are not good hammock trees. We always take it for shade and shelter when hammock camping out of the Jeep anyhow, since we camp in all types of weather. We also keep a decent 2+ person backpacking tent with us, for those times or places when the big tent is too much.. Honestly, I am the only one that has used that, because I was solo (with friends) and didn't need a 10x10. And of course, we havea number of variations we can set up, depending on the circumstances. The nice thing is that we now look for sites more based on their location, views, etc, and less based on our own limitations due to our gear. For example, sometimes we would absolutely love a spot we came across, but it wouldn't have usable hammock trees. In the past we would have to keep looking. Now we just set up the tent! I even like just cowboy camping, right out under the stars.. She's not quite there yet, so even when it's not going to rain, must have her rain-fly over her hammock. :p
Wow, that ended up longer than I intended! Haha.. Oh well, I often see the topic of getting disinteretsed spouses involved, so now I can just copy and paste. :p
Anyhow, see you out there!