When I was approached by Coleman and NWF to host a camping contest, I was ecstatic! Sarah and I love camping more than anything, love getting the kids out and about in nature and just letting them do whatever they want.
Remember how, before all of this technology, we used to go out and enjoy being outside? Whether you played army men in the vacant lot three houses down, or went outside after a good rain and gathered up as many night crawlers as you could fit into your improvised shirt cradle, times have changed a lot in the last 10-20 years. It can be difficult to get kids outside in the sun, with all of the entertainment options so easily available now.
NWF and Coleman and the Great American Backyard Campout movement are trying to show people who may not be familiar with, or have never been camping before. This year was the inaugural year of their contest, which allowed winners to try out and take home just about everything you would need to go camping. Tent, sleeping bags, flashlights, coolers, air mattresses (Thank goodness for these little gems…) and a few other necessities.
Onto the experience! The winners picked, all anxiously awaiting the date to get here, then it arrived! June 23rd 20 families packed up and traveled to Bear Creek Lake Regional Park in Lakewood, CO- which is a suburb of Denver- a little gem of wildlife nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. We arrive at the park and see that the Coleman employees have been hard at work, since 9am the previous day, setting up and doling out everyone’s supplies. This was an incredibly monumental task, since Denver was in the midst of record breaking high temperatures, each day reaching 105 degrees(for those who are unfamiliar with Denver, this is the hottest it has ever been…. ever…).
We arrived and began setting up our tent- a Coleman 8 man Instant tent. The box boasts you can set it up in 1 minute. I am not sure what kind of supermen(or women) they have timing these things, but I am going to say it would take at least 5 minutes on a good day to set up, 105 degree weather permitting. Overall, it was actually a very easy tent to set up, especially since you do not have to wrestle with piecing together poles and feeding them through fish line size loops all the way across your tent… Once everything was set up, we headed over the main camp to see what else was going on. In an effort to allow us to have a full experience, Coleman provided blow up kayaks, fishing equipment, horseback riding, bean bag games, a celebrity chef to show us how to cook in the outdoors and astronomers to show us the stars.
Moose and Tater and Boo loved, I mean LOVED kayaking- so much so they have been begging me non-stop to buy one. I tell them we will see- I do have to admit it was a TON of fun. The horseback riding was amazing as well, Moose was too young to go on a big horse so I had the pleasure of leading him around on a pony- which excited him beyond belief.
The chef who agreed to show all of us how to cook is Hosea Rosenberg, winner of the TV show Top Chef. He runs Blackbelly Catering in Boulder, CO- and if this food is any testament to his ability, I know who will be catering my next party! Lemon trout with couscous, beef stir fry, BLAT Wraps, salads, and more were a part of this experience. Thank you Chef!
To say we had fun, would a gross understatement. Despite the overbearing heat, everyone there had a BLAST! Coleman and NWF really gave people a chance to see how easily accessible camping is, and how much fun you can have getting away from the TV and enjoying nature. Thank you!
Special thanks to Alex, Taylor and everyone else who worked so incredibly hard to make this an enjoyable experience!
Disclaimer: I was provided with some amazing camping gear in exchange for hosting this giveaway and the event mentioned above.