Do and Don’ts of Car Camping: Bon Echo 2013

Hi Folks,


As promised, here is the post about our Bon Echo trip of 2013. This was P and I’s third year coming up to camp, and Max’s second time. You can read all about last year’s adventures here. You can also take a look at the 2012 version of Do’s and Don’ts.

This year we went up during the week – arrived on a Sunday, left on a Thursday. The crowd is a bit quieter, but it is still very busy at the camp. We stayed in the same section that we have always stayed at (Sawmill Bay), but on the other side, along the water. The location of this year’s campsite was much quieter and very beautiful, as you could see the lake and the rocks. However, our site was directly on a path going to one of the beaches, so it wasn’t very private during the day (it was at night). But our neighbours were all far away – so it was ok. I just checked the Bon Echo website, where they list soil and privacy conditions of all the sites. This site was labelled as ‘Good’ which I would kind of disagree, but whatever.  One night, the wind was rather strong so it was quite loud with waves crashing and the sound going through the lake area. The bees were a problem again this year – we killed at least 10. We bumped into my friends from school there – so it was nice to chat with them a bit!

Max enjoyed himself immensely. He got right to “work” as soon as he got there – explored, played in the water, and made sure to say “Hi” to every person walking by. Max figured out where the water was quite quickly, and there were several times Mom or Dad had to run after him. He spent quite a bit of time at the beach playing with his toys. Max has been a bit afraid of getting himself into water – and he was cautious this time as well. But eventually he walked in the water all the way up to his shoulders all by himself. He also liked to help himself to snacks in the cooler.

So – what are some tips for car camping?

What to do:

1) Bring toys for your kids that are easily washable. Toys at camp get dirty – very dirty. Bring toys that you can easily hose down. We only brought plastic toys and toys that were relatively inexpensive (like Happy Meal toys, plastic buckets, and a few balls)

2) You know those foam mats that are lying around your house, possibly collecting dust like ours? Bring them to camp! There are tons of ways to use the mats: mat at the front of the tent, something to sit on in a canoe, protector for the pack and play in the tent so it doesn’t scratch the floor.

3) Unless you have an RV/Trailer, you are using coolers for your food. If you have a food saver – use it to prep for meat for outdoor camping. Use the foodsaver to suck out the air, and then freeze your meats. Not only will your meat last longer, but you will have instant ice for the trip out to camp. When you are at camp, purchase ice blocks rather than cubes, it lasts longer!


What not to do:

1) Bring a flatscreen TV, and set it up in a dining tent. Yes – TV’s are in many RV’s, trailers and vans. That isn’t a problem in my opinion. But I did see a family that had a flatscreen TV hung up, in a tent outside. The tent was over the picnic table and had no window/screen – so if it was closed you couldn’t see out. One of the strangest things I’ve seen, but I’m not terribly surprised.

2) Bring expensive clothes to camp. Clothes get dirty, reallllly dirty. Clothes also get smelly from campfires and that sort of thing. I only bring my cheap, Costco-style clothes to camp. I leave my expensive LuLuLemon and other athletic wear at home.

3) Shoot off fireworks at 11:30pm at night off the boat dock. Seriously – two nights in a row, idiots were lighting off fireworks. One of those fireworks were those gun shot style ones, and the sound ricocheted off the rocks on the lake – great noise at 11:30 if you ask me! According to one of the Bon Echo cops we talked to the next day, they have a whole office full of contraband fireworks!


Finally – more pictures:















Do you have any camping tips?

Have you been camping before? Car camping? Canoe Camping?

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  1. Amy

    Well, if you happen to get a fancy Jet Boil water boiler (meant more for backpacking but good for car camping, too because it quickly boils water for coffee) do NOT put both the coffee grinds and the water in it, put the lid on and leave. I made that mistake this weekend and I literally made a coffee bomb that exploded all over the picnic table. Whoops. Lesson learned. I came home and read instructions which clearly state: do not put coffee grinds in before water boils and do not put lid on until the water boils. My bad.

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      oh my goodness!!

      We use a coffee press – but I’m interested in that Jet Boil as I love my coffee when camping and starting up the stove takes forever!

  2. Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom

    I have never been tent camping in my life and I’m really disappointed about that! I was hoping to do it in Costa Rica when we were there, but it turns out that we were “camping” in cabins. What a bummer!

    That’s awesome that Max is so cautious with water. When I was a baby, I would just hop right into the swimming pool in the backyard when my parents had their heads turned.

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      Never been tent camping?!?! You need to go some time! It is lots of fun!

  3. Brittany

    I LOVE camping, but haven’t been in a while!! Seriously though..a TV!?!?!?! I like the rugged style camping with NO technology!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      Me too! There is zero internet there and I like it that way!

  4. Amalia

    I have not camped as much as I would like to – I’m well traveled, but not well-camped. I’m glad to see that Max is getting a head start at loving the outdoors!! Looks like it was a great trip despite the fireworks (seriously, people).


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