A Midsummer Night’s Camping Gear Review

It’s hard to believe that July is nearing an end and Labor Day is just around the corner, but this is a great time to take a look at how your existing gear is performing – and think about what you might want to pick up, for this fall’s camping trips.

Dog Kennel

Our new dog exercise pen is great for family camping trips

A dog exercise pen works great for taking pets camping

Camping with pets always adds an extra twist to the experience, like what to do with them when you are at the campsite. We stumbled across this exercise pen at Petco® and it’s proven to be a great place to stash Oreo, while we are eating or just hanging out around the campfire. We don’t have to constantly untangle her leash and there is still enough room for her to move around.

Sleeping Bags for the Girls

It’s time to buy the kids new school clothes, but this summer we also figured out that it’s time for some new sleeping bags, too. Our 5-year old son will get a hand-me-down (hey Ryan, what do you think about hot pink?), but the girls are outgrowing their bags and it’s time for some larger ones. I’m torn between getting new tween-sized bags, or just getting them adult-sized bags. Hey, they’re growing like weeds!

Rebuild the Ice Chest

Igloo Ice Chest service parts list

Service parts available for our Igloo MaxCold

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know you could get repair parts for ice chests! At least for Igloo® models you can, and our 10-year old MaxCold® is calling out for some new hinges and other small parts. That’s great news, because the cooler still works great, so I’m happy to save some money by refurbishing this one. This is certainly something to think about, if you are shopping for a new ice chest.

Plates and Bowls

Inexpensive polypropylene dinnerwear works great for camping

Inexpensive polypropylene dinnerwear works great for camping

Honestly, I don’t even remember where we picked up this polypropylene dinner set of plates and bowls, but they’ve really outperformed any expectations that we had, for such an inexpensive set. They pack easily and they are indestructible. Best of all, we’re not burning through (literally) paper plates, anymore.

What have you discovered (good and bad) about your camping gear, so far this summer?

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15 thoughts on “A Midsummer Night’s Camping Gear Review

    • I’m pretty sure that’s where we got them, but they don’t carry the same set we have (or don’t carry it, anymore). Anyway, the round ones they have now are probably better than our funky square ones 🙂

  1. I just started inventorying my equipment for a late August camping trip in Michigan.
    Still looking for a sleeping bag and my grilling gear. GRRRR.

  2. I realized that I really dislike my the pots and pan set I have. I really need to have more than one handle to use across my pans. I’ll likely be in the market for a new set. Not sure how much I want to spend…

  3. I’ve not used my Trek Light GTX boots (the North Face) for quite a while but the last time I checked the sole “crumbled”. Pretty weird. I’m still looking for an explanation.

  4. For me, I’ve found out that I might have to invest in some new camp pots and pans. The cheap stuff I bought earlier this year wasn’t a good investment. I should have just spent a little extra money and purchased a good set from the get-go.

    All well, you’ll never know when you find a perfect, inexpensive camping product until you buy it, right?



  5. Agree w/the thrift store idea for the camp items. It’s the BEST! I also watch garage sales for board games and those crazy people who have given up camping or bought all kinds of stuff and didn’t like it. I got a new 5 person Coleman tent last week for $5!!! I also watch the stores for bargains after the “back to school” rush. Dorm stuff is great (mesh laundry bags to use for doing dishes, a bag w/drain holes for my toiletries, etc).

    A lot of stores are coming out with collapsable items now too. I bought a collander w/legs at Target and 3 awesome lidded bowls from The Pampered Chef and they all collapse for easy storage and transport.

  6. Our kitchen crate is filled with pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, silverware etc from the thrift store. Nothing matches, obviously, but we don’t care. It’s nice to have a second set of dishes already packed up and ready to go. And if they get trashed (we have little boys) it doesn’t really matter.

    • I take my dog on camping trips and am always untangling her from the leash and the the long rope. To keep her in a roomy dog kennel is a great idea. I’ll have to invest in one for our next camping trip. Thanks

      • Thanks, Sandy – it really is nice to be able to “park” the dog somewhere safe, while you are doing things around the campsite. The only downside is that the exercise pen is heavy, but it is very stable when setup, so I think it is worth it.