How to Pick Camping Gear
One thing to consider is your tent or camper size. I use tents all the time, even during the winter months. A tent is one of the easiest things to pick. When you consider tent size you need to consider a few things. One thing to consider is how much room do you want or need? I prefer to have a bigger tent so I have room for all my gear and space to change or move around. Some people, especially hikers, only want enough room to sleep and to store their gear. Long term camping is all about comfort and having fun, hiking is about your gear being light weight and portable. For camping you need to consider how many people you will have with you. The more people the bigger the tent or multiple tents. The good thing is most tents have a capacity ration on them and that helps with picking. I usually look at the capacity and divide by 2 so there is space for everyone to move around and store their gear. It also allows for extra space if it starts raining and you cannot keep all of you gear outside dry.
Another thing to consider is cooking at the camp site. There are a lot of options for cooking while camping. You can use the grill provided, cook over an open fire, or bring propane stove. All of these options will work for anyone while camping. I usually will have a 2 burner propane stove and a grate to put over the fire. This allows more options for cooking and more area to cook on. Using charcoal is good but you need to make sure you have enough for 3 meals a day and if you are camping for an extended period of time the charcoal takes up a lot of space. You also have to worry about keeping it dry. With propane you have small canisters that you can buy and you do not have to worry about keeping it dry. The propane stove provides a constant temperature cooking area. Propane stoves also come in a lot of different styles for your cooking convenience. You can also pack you home grill which allows you to have a big cooking area. I have seen cooking platforms for the propane stoves that allow you to cook away from the table and have space to put food and all your prep items. The metal fire grate is a very good way to cook and you can use wood from around the camp site to fuel it.
While cooking you still need to think about what type of pots and pans you will use. I prefer to use cast iron pans and steel pots. Everyone has their own preference on what they use. The cast iron is great if it seasoned properly. It allows for a great cooking area over a camp fire or propane stove. Regular pots and pans are just as good. Now you can get cheap sets or expensive sets to take but the best way to go is by taking old pots and pans form the house. That way you can throw them away if you ruin them and you are getting more for your money by reusing old items form the house. You can also purchase really good sets from second hand stores for really cheap.
Sleeping gear is another thing that any camper need to look at and figure out the best items for you to bring. Sleeping gear can be anything from sleeping bags to cots to an air mattress. What you need or want depends on the comfort level you want to have while camping. When picking a sleeping bag a few thing to think about are the weather where you are going. If you are camping in an extreme cold area you need the proper bag and if you are in a warmer area you need a lighter bag. If you plan on doing a lot of camping you need to consider a bag that can be an adjusted for the climate that you are in. Picking a cot or an air mattress is all about comfort level. I like air mattresses because it is like sleeping at home. I have used cots before but that was when I was in the military. They can be very comfortable if you use some type of foam pad. A cot keeps you off the ground and allows for air flow between you and the ground. A cot is also a good way to save space inside a tent. You can store you gear underneath and be able to keep your tent a little neater. They also allow for a personal sleeping area when you have a lot of people in the tent. An air mattress acts like an insulator form the ground and helps keep you warmer. They also take up more space but they allow for more sleeping area.
Your camp site is another thing to consider. Do you want a portable tent to cover the table, do you need camp chairs and do you need something to do while camping. Now a portable tent is awesome to have at any camp site or sporting event. They allow for a quick place to get out of the weather or sun. They also allow you to cover you gear while camping. Now with a portable tent you need to think about having one with a screen or without. If you choose with it is a great idea to keep all the mosquitos out while you eat or just hang out. Without one you take the risk of being bit by mosquitos. So this is not a really important issue but it does help having one at the camp site. IF you need to think about furniture there are a bunch of options. You can pick a regular chair or one that is like a recliner. Picking a chair is all about how much you want to spend and comfort. I usually pick the $5 dollar chair because if it breaks I will not get upset and it is cheap to replace. Now what to bring to pass the time. You can bring anything you really want but I do have a few ideas that I always bring. You can bring corn hole and ladder ball. These two games can keep everyone occupied for hours. Then you can bring a deck of cards, uno and some board games. You can also bring fishing poles and your bikes.
Camping is a great way to get in family time and be able to enjoy the outdoors. I try to go camping three to four times a year. When you chose gear make sure it is something that you want. Do not buy the stuff that a salesman tells you too. Do your own research and make it fun to get your gear. Let your kids help or just surprise them.