We don't have much camping equipment – just two tents, an ice chest, and a bunch of flashlights which are always missing batteries. We've never gotten around to buying sleeping bags for everyone in the family: we take along sheets and blankets off our beds at home. We still have the camp stove we borrowed from my parents a few years ago and never returned, so I bring that along with six bowls, six spoons, and six cups from our kitchen cupboards. I always mean to be prepared and make a list and be organized, but it seems that we are always packing in some kind of heat wave, and I am too hot to be bothered, so we end up just tossing stuff into the car until it's full and then leaving.
We're usually the most ill-prepared family at any campgrounds. I'll walk by other sites and see families with ice chests full of food and drink, with niceties like tablecloths and citronella candles, with chairs and screen rooms, with elaborate meals they've made over the fire. Our site always looks a bit bare in comparison.
The one preparation we do usually make is a trip to the bookstore to make sure every family member has a few books to bring on the family vacation. When it comes to ensuring harmony, books are far more important than sleeping bags or bug spray. When we hit a rainy day, and we're crammed into a car or tent, and we start driving each other crazy, it's important for each person to be able retreat and find space between the pages of a good book.
My daughter reading on a cool, overcast day at the beach.