Brandon and I just got back from Colorado Bend State Park, where we spent the weekend camping next to the Colorado River and hiking through the hills with Trooper. It was a little Valentine’s day getaway and the park was beautiful. Rustic, but beautiful.
In case you find yourself planning for a trip to Colorado Bend, or any state park this year, below is a list of what I cooked and packed. Enjoy!
Dutch oven cinnamon rolls (heavenly…and easy)
Strawberry and Nutella S’mores (again, heavenly)
Foil dinners (the way to Brandon and Trooper’s hearts is meat and potatoes)
Grilled venison sausage wrapped in a crescent roll and cooked over a fire (yum)
Fresh fruit, sandwiches, and yogurt/granola for lunch and snacks
Paper towel roll
Plastic plates and silverware
Trashbags (some for recycling and some for trash, you will have to haul out your recycling)
Dutch oven for above recipes
Tongs (long handled is better)
Dutch oven lid lifter
Spatula (long handled is better – preferably one from a grill tool set)
or you could just bring a fire tool set, that would include the above
Extension cord and multiplug – for your string lights, cell phone charger, Nespresso machine (What?) etc — NOTE: Colorado Bend does not have electricity at its campsites, so I ended up not needing this, however I would call your state park ahead of time and check.
Flashlight and lantern – Coleman popup lantern available at Target – stands up on picnic table, letting you be handsfree for s’more making and whatnot (Because what is a camping trip without a perfect s’more making experience?)
Camera and charger
Mini daypack for carrying water and other necessities on dayhikes
String lights (again, not necessary if you have no electrical outlets on site)
cell phone charger
Bucket for hand washing – water spicket on site at Colorado Bend
Large jug – fill with drinking water via spicket provided at Colorado Bend and use at campsite for washing face, brushing teeth, etc.
Leash and harness/collar
Towel (even in a drought, Trooper somehow manages to get covered in mud)
Tie out – stake and cable
Rawhide and treat for being so cute
Linens & Bedding Situation
Air Mattress (this is the way to go, I’m telling you!)
Down comforter or quilts
NOTE: As we found out the hard way, air mattresses wick away body heat like it’s their job. While this can be a great thing during the summer, it is terrible during 35 degree weather. Yes 35 degrees in our tent. I almost turned into a popsicle. Our solution was to unzip Brandon’s sleeping bag all the way and lay on top of it, with the more quilts and blankets on top of us. This kept the heat in and fortunately, last night, we slept like babies. I would definitely plan for this when camping in the winter.
Hiking shoes (Merrell Siren Sport is what I have)
Shorts – Columbia is making some cute ones these days for hiking
Good pair of hiking pants (Prana Halle is what I swear by)
Cotton tees or fishing shirts – wick away moisture best!
Hand soap – not always provided in restrooms
Moccasins or flip flops – for hanging around campsite
Jacket – I just got the North Face apex bionic soft shell and loooove it.
Vest – I go for layering whenever outside in a Texas winter. I just got the Barbour Cavalry Quilted vest from Nordstrom and love everything about it.
My favorite time of day on camping trips is the late afternoon, when you’ve returned from a grueling hike, changed into your flip flops, and are sitting down, reflecting on the day.
This is a great time to get out games!
Horseshoes and corn hole are excellent options.
Cards are always fun too.
They help distract hungry campers while you make dinner… #protip