Every couple of years I end up going through the same thing and post something similar...and then make some asinine statement about how "I'm gonna get in better shape and <fill in the blank with some bs>". This weekend I went camping with my two youngest (16 and 12). For all you "Too Long...Didn't Read" folks - I ain't bugging out on foot...not gonna happen. Lessons learned: I'm 6' 6.5" tall and have a bad lower back and bad hips (bursitis and sciatica) A ThermaRest RidgeRest is a piece of $#!t My fat @$$ (236 lbs last I checked) is worn the hell out by what would have normally been a "moderate" hike without the pack I will eat but don't necessarily enjoy Mountain House food My kids really aren't fans of Mountain House Scrambled Eggs and Bacon I need to work on my fire starting skills (thank God for "cheats" like fatwood and cut up DuraFlame logs) 5mg of melatonin really does help you fall asleep when you'd probably otherwise not A "4 Person Tent"...isn't Sleeping bag temperature ratings are survival ratings, NOT comfort ratings Kids with zero body fat freeze their tookus' off when it gets into the 40's My "equipment" isn't: All season Meant for backpacking My kids are awesome and didn't complain, although they were honest when I pushed them to be honest So, what happened? Well, in no particular order, here goes. Sleeping Bags We have one (1...yes single) decent sleeping back in the family. It's a North Face Cat's Meow mummy back good to 20F (again, for survival). It was purchased for my son while he was in Boy Scouts during the REI Garage Sale probably 4 years ago. It's actually a REALLY good sleeping bag for us and I wish I had 4 more (or the women's equiv for my wife and daughters) along with silk liners which add anywhere from 10-25 degrees of warmth. My son and I agreed that the youngest would get that bag, because "manly macho bull$hit...must protect women" and all that crap. Turns out it was a good call. My youngest has no body fat, like NONE, and she was "warm enough" in the bag, but just didn't generate that much heat to begin with. She would have been in real trouble with either of the 40 degree bags. As it was, I was fine in mine, but the boy was "cool" all night. Overall, need better bags. Additionally, if you really go crazy, the Cat's Meow bag compresses to smaller than a socker ball and weighs just under 2.5 lbs. It's small, it's lightweight, and...being small, doesn't take up a huge amount of room. This is a picture of the Cat's Meow: The other two bags we took...don't compress. Like, they really don't compress at all. Once is a Coleman something or other (too lazy and back hurts too bad to go look) that literally took up the entire internal compartment of my son's backpack. Now, you may not think that's much, until I tell you he has a Kelty Redcloud 90. That 90...is liters. It is a bag with a main compartment that can literally hold a small child. The sleeping bag he used couldn't get any smaller than almost 20" tall by about 16" in diameter. So he didn't add much to that bag other than clothes (I'll rant about that later on down). Apparently it's a Coleman Redstone Super Sleeping King bag (the boy checked...ah the resiliency of youth). Can't find a picture of what ours looks like. All the ones online are 30 degree bags...his was not, it's a 40 degree so...moving on. It's likely a 4 lb bag. My backpack is an REI 85 liter that was actually more full than my son's. My sleeping bag was a Wenger Ruess Sleeping Bag (thank you google) that compressed enough to fit into the sleeping bag portion of the bag...with effort. And it weighs in at a colossal 6 lbs 6 oz! The only pictures I can find are huge with a lot of white space and frankly, I'm telling you NOT to buy this bag, so no link, no picture. End result, I was fine in that bag but not great. Sleeping Pads This, this right here? This is a piece of crap and I wouldn't use it OVER A MATTRESS! It isn't wide enough, it isn't long enough and it isn't thick enough. There weren't too many rocks under it, so I didn't get poked, but it was negligibly better than sleeping on the ground. It rolls, and the smallest you can get it is about 8" in diameter. At that point the laws of physics kick in and you can't get it any smaller. It takes up the hanging portion under your pack and it's...it just sucks. Nobody slept well on it really. Cost is $20-30. There are FAR better pads out there, but you're going to pay for them (which is why we have these). On recommendation from a number of people, I'm looking at a Big Agnes Insulated Double Z but it's gonna cost me $90. It's 4" thick, weighs 1 lb 5 oz and gets down to 5x8". Clothing Long story short, we used regular clothes. Jeans, long-sleeve shirts, Land's End fleeces, etc. Nothing special and it added a ton of weight to the packs. If I'm going to be backpacking (and I'm not convinced it's going to happen much anymore unless something changes in my life), I need clothes that are more suited to the purpose. Technical fabrics that wick moisture and trap heat and don't weigh several pounds to start. I did have my SmartWool sock...which I love and simply cannot rave enough about. They are awesome and amazing and fabulous and I need to buy more. They are...okay, I'll stop. But really, buy some, they rock. Everything else just added weight and realistically we could have worn the same clothes a second day. Yes, it's good to have a backup, but my backup alone probably weighed 3-4 lbs. That's a LOT when you are backpacking. I did have a really good pair of hiking shoes (Oboz...love em). Food We did a combination of Mountain House food and makings for smore's. I didn't really mind the Beef Stroganoff or the Chicken Teriyaki that I swapped my son for, but neither was stellar and they gave everyone gas. Not like "we're all gonna die in this tent" gas, but...more than usual. They are also LOADED with sodium. Neither of them really liked the scrambled eggs with bacon and I had the granola with blueberries. It was fine, but not great. Again, this is compromise food though, you compromise a little bit of taste for convenience and weight. Smore's are smore's...they were awesome even with marshmallows that briefly knew the tender touch of flame. From a weight standpoint, it wasn't too bad for the amount of food we had. Just be used to it and I'd say try some ahead of time. We also had hot apple cider (from powder...Alpine brand I think) in the morning. That tasted normal because we have it in the winter at home. Also small, packed in with other things, didn't add much weight. Fire I took a handfull of fatwood and a 1.5" section from a Duraflame log. I cut these YEARS ago when the boy was in Cub Scouts as a backup to getting a fire going. Taught the youngest about how to build different fires and we had flame fairly quickly. When I go, I take one of those long bic BBQ/Candle lighters, which worked well. I also had matches and a second lighter. Chose not to bring the flint and steel this trip. The Duraflame (basically paraffin and sawdust) lit fairly quickly and that slice burned for about 40 minutes...more than long enough to light the fatwood and then the larger wood above. The park we went to doesn't allow outside wood and doesn't want you moving logs on the ground. It's a bit of a racket to pay $5/locker of wood, but we got 2-2.5x what one of those bundles outside the grocery store holds for the same price so it wasn't too bad. It was dry and caught fairly quickly and made nice coals. Tent Coleman 4 person tent. No...not really. 3 with gear was a stretch, it's also a warm weather tent with a mesh top and rain fly. The "Taj Mahal Tent" that we use for family (car) camping is much warmer even though it's frakin yuuuuuge! It was also heavy for what it provided. Not entirely sure how I would change that because a tent that's big enough is going to be kinda heavy, no matter what. Sundries I packed a couple of cups from when the boy was in scouts. Used them for a two pot cleaning of the sporks (buy them, they are awesome: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0024M52LO/?tag=survivalmonke-20). Used biodegradable camp soap (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003NMH2NU/?tag=survivalmonke-20) and paper towels (find your own link for paper towels!). They packed together into a single gallon zipper bag with things like the sporks, cider and soap inside the cups. Took some biodegradable wipes (basically baby wipes) for cleaning up hands after eating smores. All in all, worth the extra weight and size, but I'd get collapsing cups for future use. Each of us also had a 1L Nalgene for water as well as a 2L water bladder in my pack. There was water on site but we had enough for the short time we were there. Included a trash bag to hike out our trash. I also have a CCW so am permitted to carry in the park...and did. Small of the back carry with an 85L bag is a bad idea. Overall The bags were too heavy and "full" of the wrong type of gear. We got WAY too used to car camping with the Cub Scouts and I never went with the Boy Scouts except for one hike on the Appalachian Trail. I need to rethink my load out in a BIG way. With what I have, I couldn't go far or survive long in all honesty and with that bag, I was blowing hard after the mile hike to the campground, which is distressing and painful to admit. I told my wife "If we have to bug out, it better be by car". Truthfully, if push came to shove, I know I would push myself until and beyond hurting myself if the safety of my family was in question, but for something like this, I gotta rethink things and get different/better/appropriate gear.