All about that time we went camping in an RV this summer!
Alright guys. I feel like a total fraud writing a blog post about this topic ? But since the poll results on the gram clearly said the majority of you wanted to be able to find all of this info in one spot, I had to oblige, right?!
To give you a little backstory, I’ve never been camping before this trip. It’s never something my family did, and as I got older, I just didn’t really have much interest. I mean, there are plenty of beautiful places you can go to explore the outdoors – while still going back to an AirBNB or hotel to shower at the end of the day! But since the pandemic hit, Adam started talking about renting an RV and going camping… and I realized this is the perfect year to try it out.
I mean, it was pretty clear that we weren’t going to go on our Italian honeymoon this year, let alone any resort vacation. So, what were other ways that we could get away from the city, while still being responsible and taking COVID precautions? Luckily, our friends Andrew and Jess are experienced campers and loved this idea, which left me as the only hesitant rookie. And after 6 months at home, a double date weekend in the great outdoors sounded pretty awesome – shower or no shower 😉
What To Know About Camping in an RV
Where did we rent the RV from?
Adam was in charge of finding an RV, and goole led him to RVshare.com. You just enter your zip code, preferred dates, and how many people it needs to sleep. You can add some extra criteria after that, and then it matches you with RVs near you. Super simple!
Where did we go?
We went to Starved Rock State Park here in Illinois (pictured below) and Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. We got a late start on Friday, so we spent more time at Starved Rock than we did at Devil’s Lake, but both were beautiful! Starved Rock was definitely starting to get crowded as we were leaving, so if you’re going hiking on a weekend, make sure you go early so you can social distance. As for Devil’s Lake, we barely scratched the surface, but it’s gorgeous. I can’t wait to go back and explore more!
Do you have to register/reserve a place to camp?
While I have no idea how this works if you’re just setting up a tent, the answer is YES if you have an RV! There are multiple camp sites near each state park, the majority of which have an electric and water hookup for your RV so you don’t have to run your generator for power/water, along with a fire pit.
We stayed at Pleasant Creek Campground first, which is only about 10 minutes away from Starved Rock State Park. We loooved this camp site. Everyone was really spread out, the porta-potty was really clean, and there weren’t any other dogs there for Luna to bark at. WIN!
For our second night, we stayed at Fox Hill RV Park and Campground near Devil’s Lake. To be totally honest, we didn’t love the spot. Despite the fact that there’s a global pandemic going on, it was FULLY booked. Granted, it’s an RV campsite, so even when it’s full, you can 100% maintain 6ft+ distance from other people… but still! The fact that it felt crowded kind of dulled the magic of spending time outdoors and being out of the city, you know? Since we all agreed that we want to go back to Devil’s Lake again, we’ll just find a different camp site next time. Or rent a house… 😉
What did you do for food?
You better believe we stocked up that RV! First of all, you can’t go camping without lots of snacks, s’mores ingredients, alcohol, and water. Those are definitely a given. Beyond that, here’s an idea of what we packed!
Breakfasts: Granola bars and a jug of iced coffee. We kept this really simple!
Lunches: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, baby! Can’t go wrong with a classic.
Dinner #1: I prepped a corn, tomato, and mozzarella salad before we left and we put that plus chicken sausages and brats in the cooler with lots of ice. At the campsite, we grilled the sausages/brats and ate those on hotdog buns with the cold salad on the side. So easy.
Dinner #2: Before we left, Adam and I chopped peppers and onions and added them to a plastic container with olive oil, salt, and Trader Joe’s Everything But The Elote seasoning. We also bought chicken tenderloins and put those in a bag with olive oil, salt, and more of that TJ’s Elote seasoning. Both of those things hung out in the cooler until it was time to grill. We grilled the chicken right on the grill, but I created a little foil packet for the peppers and onions so they wouldn’t fall through the grates. Once those are done, create an assembly line with tortillas, cheese, and guac or salsa.
What did you pack for Luna?
We mostly packed Luna’s essentials – food, bowls, harness, leash, poop bags, treats, etc. The extras for camping were water jugs in case she was thirsty and we weren’t near running water, a stake/tether, and wash wipes. At each camp site, we secured the stake into the ground and then switched her leash for the tether. That way, she had a little bit of freedom, but also couldn’t run away from us! As for the wash wipes, I HIGHLY recommend getting these! We did a check for ticks/bugs and a wipe down after each hike. That kept her pretty clean until we could get her back home for a proper bath!
What did you pack?
This is a big perk of camping – packing is EASY. All you need are some leggings, sports bras, comfortable lightweight pants, sneakers for hikes, and shoes for just hanging out. I also brought a light jacket and sweatshirt for when the temperatures dipped at night/in the morning, along with my trusty fanny pack. Beyond that, you really just need basic makeup/facial SPF like Glow Screen, additional SPF for your body, deodorant, and face wipes. This was a chance to be really minimalist, so I embraced it!
What did you learn?
I learned that I’m not opposed to camping in an RV! It was SO fun to spend a weekend away with another couple after months of seeing very few people and doing pretty much nothing outside of our apartment. ? That being said, it was definitely tight in the RV since we both brought our dogs. We could leave the dogs home next time… or we could just rent a house near Devil’s Lake that has a firepit in the backyard and pretend we went camping? Haha I’m the worst, I know.
In all seriousness, the other big lesson we learned is that we didn’t need to go to both places. We spent a lot of time driving, and it would have been just as fun if we stayed in one spot the whole weekend. Definitely a lesson learned there!