Posts Tagged ‘camping

REI recently announced that their 100% satisfaction guarantee only lasts for one year, whereas their guarantee used to be time unlimited.

Sure, with REI’s transition to a clothing store, you don’t really need a¬†full year to decide if you are satisfied with a pair of socks.

But when it comes to camping and other outdoor equipment, its not like I use my gear day in and day out. In fact, I only go camping about three times a year. If I were to buy a tent (the cheapest tents that REI sells are about $100), I would expect it to last more than three camping trips.

Paying a premium price for outdoor equipment, I expect it to last for more than just a handful of adventures. Under the old REI return policy, if I found on my fifth camping trip that the tent really didn’t stand up to the wind like I expected it to, I could return it. Under the new policy, I better go camping many times in many conditions in the first year to make sure I bought a satisfactory tent.

In fact, it was only under the really exceptional old return policy that I even considered buying expensive camping equipment at REI, because I knew that REI guaranteed my investment.

Last Friday, Sandy and I went camping at State Forest Park, which is Northwest of Rocky Mountain National Park. Rather than writing another nice story about our adventure, I though I would list some of the things we learned. Some things we learned through successes, and other we learned through failures.

It is nice to have a waterproofed tent. (Success)

One camping chair doesn’t get you any place to sit unless you want to sit alone. Bring another chair! (Failure)

Pancakes don’t work so well on an un-greased pan. Bring butter! (Failure)

Cheap frying pans don’t cook pancakes evenly. (Failure)

Bring a good camping cup (mixed)

Precook the vegetables in a tin-foil meal if you want them to be soft. (mixed)

Wrap the tin-foil meal in multiple layers of foil. (mixed)

Multiple smaller foil meals cook faster than one large one. (half-way)

Include enough meat in the foil meal. (Failure)


Campfire smoke is smelly. Don’t bring anything you don’t want to have to wash upon returning home. (mixed)

Attempts to use many blankets instead of a sleeping pad may be ok for sleeping on, but if they all smell like smoke when you are done, then you have a lot to wash! (Successful sleep, failure with washing)

Camping a week after labor day is less crowded. (Success)

Camping a week after labor day is colder than camping in the middle of the summer.

Camping at about 10,000 feet is cold. (mixed)

Bring at least one large container of water beyond drinking water. (Success)

Keep your water bottle inside the tent in case you get thirsty in the middle of the night. (Failure)

Although it sounds like it rained off and on all night long, it doesn’t mean that the ground will be wet when you wake up.

An axe or hatchet may help in finding free firewood. (Failure)

Firewood is cheaper at the Fort Collins grocery store than it is if you buy it from the park visitors center. (Success)

The park visitors center closes at 5pm. (Failure)

If you arrive after 5pm, you can still put money in the slot to pay for your camping spot. (Success)

Reservations can be made online for the same price, but not the night before. (Failure)

Arriving at a campground without a reservation lets you pick your favorite available site. (Success)

Be sure you know how to get to the right campground. (Failure)

The State Forest campground called “The Crags” is actually a nice tent-only campground. (Success)

Bring extra batteries for the camera. (Failure)

Bring an extra camera. (Success)

Bring warm pajamas. (Failure)

Bring pajamas. (Failure)

Don’t leave the lights, dome light, or radio on in your car. (Neighbor’s failure)

Slow roasted marshmallows are delicious. (Success)

Bring enough marshmallows. (Failure)