Though we have graduated to our 18’ camper, complete with actual mattresses and a stove, my husband and I spent many years tent camping with our three children. We cherish many fond memories of those times, from our son’s first camping experience at six months along side a quiet lake in northern Wisconsin, to the many wonderful times we had visiting beautiful national parks. With only a stretch of canvas between us and the great outdoors, we made many wonderful memories tent camping together.

Our tent camping set upThere is something special about tent camping. Just the idea of erecting your abode in a matter of minutes to create a substantial and comfortable home for a week or more is amazing. You can travel almost anywhere with a tent and the world is yours to explore.

I will always remember one of our last tent camping adventures. We headed from Wisconsin to Yellowstone, then moved on to Grand Teton National Park and ended up at Glacier. We had been on the road for nearly a week and a half as we raced cross-country, hoping to arrive and be able to set up before sunset. As we pulled into the park at exactly 9pm the sun was setting. We headed right to the campsite we had reserved. It was our favorite and we had stayed there several times so we located it easily.

During our late night set up

During our late night set up

As we pulled into the site, we pointed the headlights of the Durango at the camping pad, then unloaded the one lantern we had brought, setting it across the site on the picnic table to disperse the light. With quiet precision, Terry set about unloading the tent, ground cloth, poles and stakes from the car top carrier while the kids and I dutifully carried them over to the proper spot. Once unloaded, each of us took our place on one corner of the tent, efficiently erecting our dwelling.

Terry and I then carried pads, sleeping bags and pillows over from the car while the kids crawled inside the tent to set it up. Approximately five minutes after our arrival, we were fully set up and could move on to preparing the Mountain House meals we had stashed in the car for late and quick dinners.

As I was cooking by the light of the lantern, a camper from the next site, who happened to hail from Texas, wandered over to where I stood. He had apparently been watching our entire set up process. He stopped at the picnic table and drawled, “Clearly y’all have done that before!” After a week and half on the road, indeed we had! I remember that as one of the best night’s sleep I have ever had. Proof that family teamwork only enhances the joys of tent camping!

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