Solo (Plus) Camping

When the weather forecast called for unseasonably warm temperatures across the region, Tina and I made an impromptu decision to book a camping trip for the weekend. Unfortunately, Middle Bro got a fever the day before our departure so Tina decided to stay back with him and Baby Bro.

Thus, I went on a solo camping trip with Big Bro for the first time! I’m calling it solo (plus) since it’s basically as challenging as a solo trip plus the added fun and complexity for taking care of a child. Case in point, here’s a video of me setting up our tent solo, while Big Bro chilled out with a drink in hand.

Since it was a last minute decision, we were only able to book a walk-in site at Gold Creek Campground in Golden Ears.

The campground was very busy. The neighbors were close and there were lots of dogs around, so there were some barking noises and occasional cigarette and MJ smells. The walk-in sites were noticeably closer together than drive-in sites, and we paid the full price of $35. But all in all, everyone kept to themselves and respected each others’ privacy.

Big Bro checking out our site.

Being a walk-in site, we had to walk a few times back and forth to unload our gears. Big Bro helped out like a champ.

After the tent is done, I put up our hammock which kept Big Bro occupied for a long time. Solo camping with a kid is basically a race to get things done while they are distracted by an acceptably safe activity. Examples include climbing in and out of the hammock, digging up ditches in the campsite, and collecting kindling for the fire.

Dinner was noodles with minced pork. Super easy to prep and relatively easy to clean up.

Then the main entertainment for the night was the campfire. Unlike our last visit, where our embarrassingly feeble attempt at starting a fire utterly failed, we bought a bundle of firewood from a local guy on the side of the street and built a legit fire.

After putting out the fire, we had an uneventful night of sleep. Without the positive feedback loop between the boys, putting Big Bro to bed was a breeze.

We saved enough of the largest piece of the fire log that I could chop up and build a small fire for the next morning. Perfect for my morning coffee.

Big Bro was trying to sleep in, but as soon as he heard I started a campfire again, he popped out and joined me for breakfast.

Then, it’s back in the hammock until I finished packing up.

Camping solo with a kid is definitely not recommended for everyone. I had enough confidence for this trip because:

  • I’ve camped with Big Bro about 20 times in the last 3 years. I know how much he loves camping and how well he does in a tent, in a sleeping bag, eating camp food, etc.
  • Big Bro is smart, cautious, and cooperative. I could give him the option of either staying in the campsite or coming with me to the car, and he would ask ‘which is safer?’ I don’t have to worry about him running off and getting lost or hurt.
  • We chose a safe frontcountry campsite full of people, so in case of emergency, I can most likely get help easily.

This is both a milestone as well as a stepping stone to a bigger trip. I’m not sure which one I would do first, a backpacking trip with Big Bro or a paddle camping trip. But I’m super excited about both, and this successful Solo Plus camping trip is one important step in our preparation.

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