The Free Professional REI Class was Informative and Energizing
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. Benjamin Franklin. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about free classes that teach you how to camp, fish, hike, backpack, anything that you could do outdoors. So when a free Beginner Camping class was offered at my local REI, I jumped at the chance to go. This was a very informative class, just remember it is for beginners.
REI Beginner Camping Class
It was super simple to sign up for this class. You just go online and choose your class and sign up. They send reminders out a few days before the class so you don't forget. If you have an account the class is also listed with your information. The class was held at the REI store in a comfortable area with a great instructor.
This class is the basics of camping for beginners. While there are many different types of camping this class focused on tent pad camping. State parks, private campgrounds, are the ideal places for beginner camping. The first thing you want to do is to decide where you want to camp and make your reservations. It never fails that I am all ready to go camping and the last minute trying to figure out where to go.
Just a quick sidebar note-
REI offers a lifetime REI Co-Op Membership for $20. If you haven't signed up for a membership you need to. Not only do you get 10% in dividends on many purchases, you get reduced pricing to classes, access to the REI Garage sales and you are investing in a company that invests nearly 70% of their profits back to the outdoors. This is a great investment that you will see a return on.
Your most important investment will be your tent. There are so many options that you really need to take your time and research the best tent for you. Things like how many it will sleep, how many seasons, and how easy it is are all things you really want to look at. One tent that our instructor showed and recommended to us was the REI Co-op Basecamp 4 tent. This is a great family 3 seasons all around tent. It comes with the rain fly but the footprint is sold separately. I love the fact that the carry bag comes as a backpack.
If you're not looking for something as large as the basecamp the Nemo Galaxi is a great smaller more cozy tent. This is a comfortable 3 person 3 season tent. This tent is one that would be a great investment and will be able to grow with you as you expand your adventures.
Sleeping Mats and Bags
Our class had a great time exploring the different mats that REI has to offer. You have many choices when it comes to an air mattress. Size. shape and weight are all factors when choosing the perfect mat. REI has them on display so take the time to test them out. The Big Agnes Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad is a great beginning sleeping pad perfect for warm weather camping. The other end would be the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad, a choice that will grow with you and your adventures.
Choosing a sleeping bag can get kind of confusing. The first thing to think about is down or synthetic. Your synthetic bags are more for summer camping. The REI Co-op Siesta 30 Sleeping Bag is a great choice for synthetic. If your looking for a down sleeping bag the Marmot Sawtooth down sleeping bag is one that you can invest in and will grow with your adventures.
There are a couple of different shapes that go along with a sleeping bag. You have your square, rectangle, and bell-shaped. When choosing a shape comfort and warmth is what you need to look for. While I like to be warm the mummy shape is too confining for me so I like the rectangle.
Just a Fun Gift Idea
The Pendelton Blanket is a great all around warm wool blanket. Pair it with your sleeping bag for a super warm night or get cozy when you wrap up in it next to the campfire.
COOLERS AND FOOD
There is nothing worse than bring on your third day of camping and you realize that the potato salad has gone bad and spilled out into your cooler. Keeping your food cold is most important. Our instructor was great in showing us the YETI cooler. Not only will keep that potato salad cool, the locking straps will keep the bears out.
Many people like to cook while camping. Hot dogs and S'Mores over an open fire...YUM But some folks like an easy meal. Mountain House is a freeze dried meal and has a huge selection, from breakfast to dinner and dessert.
Wrapping It Up
Like I said, at the start of this post, this is a basic beginners camping class. This class just touches on all the different things you can take with you camping. I really enjoyed this class and would encourage anyone who is thinking about or just starting camping to take it.
REI offers many classes. Some are free and some are discounted for members. I will definitely be looking out for more classes.
What Outdoor Class Would You Like to Take?