Last night the younger kids wanted to test the tents, air mattresses and sleeping bags out. We had a lot of rain and we don’t own the footprints for our tents yet, so the living room is where it had to take place. It is a controlled environment and we know it is not the real deal but it was the only option we had!
It was great to watch the family pitch the tents together. They had a great time. More than once I heard Nate tell his dad that this must be what the 3 Stooges look like setting up a tent. The REI tents are easy to set up but when working with young children you get discombobulated easily. Even though we had the kids helping they had the tents completely set up in about 15/20 min.
We only have 2 air mattresses purchased so dad and one other child got to use those. They blew up quickly and easily (REI STRATTUS). The 2 sleeping bags (Eddie Bauer Assent) we’ve purchased are amazing. As I was drifting off to sleep I heard Matt say, “Can we turn the furnace down to 40 degrees please!” I think he was sweating to death!
We found one issue that we need to fix before we head out and that is the sound of the air mattress as you move or roll on it. Little people move, they move a lot, and it is annoying and LOUD. We will need to reconcile that. I will google for answers and solutions, but if you have anything that works for you please let me know in the comments. I will want to sleep while we are hiking and not be laying there listening to my kids moving around!
Clean up took less than 30 min. Abbie, my 9 year old, did most of the tent tear down. I was pleasantly surprised how efficient she was able to do it. She said, “A baby could do this!” I thank REI for an amazing design that is light and simple.
As Matt left for work this morning he commented that we will need to do this a few more times to work out the kinks. We really want this experience to be one that sets the kids up for a lifetime of loving the outdoors, hiking and camping. The world has so much to offer and this little trip is a doorway to learning to love adventure. I do not want to ruin this love by being unprepared.