Nature is the best healer sometimes. It just feels good to get outside and breathe in fresh air (and pine). Oh my goodness, the air smelled so good!
In typical Mary Lauren fashion, this camping trip was kind of spontaneous. (The best and only way I know how to do things! ????) We JUST found out that the offer we put in for the house in South Carolina was accepted (ALSO crazy spontaneous), so we jumped on the chance to spend a little more time with my sister and her family that lives in LA! I called her on a Tuesday to see if she wanted to jump on this camping bandwagon to Big Bear and on Thursday we went! Cheers to spontaneity and getting a little dirty! Also cheers to firsts… first of many camping with the family. Woohoo!
So to be completely honest, we aren’t much of a camping family as of yet. I used to go as a kid to our special place in Utah and it’s something we have been looking forward to doing with our kids. We finally felt they were not only old enough to go, but to enjoy it! (Ezra is 5 and Curren is 2). Ezra has been asking to go camping for about a year. To me, it always seemed like such a crazy ordeal… I totally put it off. Curren was also just a baby so it felt overwhelming. But now that they’re older and we’ve done it… we’re addicted! Taking allll the camping stuff with us to South Carolina, I hear Tennessee is close and has quite the camping scene. ????
There we go, off into the wild blue yonder… (as my dad would say ????) BUT FIRST, I was introduced to the Ozark Trail line at Walmart. Another big hurdle of camping was the cost and the amount of equipment we felt we needed to take. Overwhelming! We are novices and didn’t have hardly ANY gear… so we wanted to invest in good quality, but we didn’t want it to break the bank. ???? The price of everything is pretty crazy!!! I was shocked. For example: their little matching camp chairs were EIGHT DOLLARS EACH! Ezra’s sleeping bag was only 14! I was so excited about these price points because I could get what I actually wanted and didn’t have to feel guilty about it.
Walmart has everything you would need for your nights under the stars. From camping chairs (obvious) to a portable kitchen (not so obvious)!! Ozark Trail is an awesome line within Walmart… the quality of the gear is amazing, it rivals other more expensive outdoor brands completely.
For example: I have been wanting to splurge on a nice cooler to take to the beach or lake. I had my eyes on one for a while, but it was so expensive, just could never make the purchase. When I saw this one at Walmart, we jumped on it. It is such great quality and looks great too!
But if I am being honest, the thing that got me the most excited about this little mountain excursion was our Ozark tent. It looks like a little A frame/Swiss Chalet ???? and it was HUGE!!! It is a 12 person tent… (which we had 4 of us in there, plenty of space for others) but it was great to have some space for our air mattress, Ezra’s air mattress and a pack n play. ALL inside the tent. We are kind of cushy campers. ????????
I also found these two tents that were contenders… this one is awesome because it has a separate room and can fit two queen sized mattresses. (Awesome for us in this case because Curren would have been able to have his own little space and would have fallen asleep easier.) And THIS 14 person tent has FOUR entrances… put the little ones on one side so when you come in late at night you are on the other side. GENIUS.
No camping trip is ever complete without camp shirts! We just brought along a few low priced t-shirts and fabric paints and let the kids have at it! I missed the boat and was so focused on painting my own shirt, I forgot to get photos of the kids painting ???? (also busy trying to not let Curren eat the paints/paint everything else in sight.) Ezra’s says “camp” with a ghost. Apparently because he thought camping was scary. “But not anymore.” ???? We named our camp Troop 130 because that was our campground number. ????
I brought my Ozark tumbler on our walk down to the lake, we played frisbee, tag, sat around the fire, roasted marshmallows, told “scary stories”… it was one for the books.
I’ll link all my camp favorites and EVERYTHING we used below! Swipe through to see photos/links. It was our first time camping in the wilderness, and it definitely won’t be our last!
Thank you so much to RewardStyle and Walmart for partnering with us on this post!