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DIY Reflectix Window Covers for Car Camping

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One of the first things I recommend getting if you want to camp out of your SUV, hatchback, or Minivan is some window covers, and I thought I would share how easy it is to make your own Reflectix window covers.  I have been using "window socks" for my last few years of car camping, even back when I was camping in my Prius . They work great when you want some air flow, and they can be used on different makes of vehicles. However, they are not insulative and are transparent; sometimes you want a little extra privacy. Furthermore, you have to get out of the car to put window socks up, which isn't ideal when you are stealth camping. After a few failed experiments with fabric curtains, I decided it was time to upgrade.  Benefits of Reflectix  -Materials for homemade Reflectix are easy to get. I got mine in the home insulation department of Menards.  -Reflectix helps insulate your car in the winter, keeping your body heat inside the vehicle and extending the range of temperatu

Dehydrating Food for Car Camping: a Camping Pantry Update

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When I first started solo car camping, I was determined to use only shelf-stable, store-bought foods. It made sense at the time - cheap and easy to supply. My thoughts about how I prepare food while camping have changed a bit over time, especially now that I am preparing for my first multi-week trip. My sister, who started car camping around the same time that I did, and my dad, both have an interest in dehydrated foods, so I thought I would give it a go.  Reasons for adding dehydrated foods to my camping pantry Cook and prep time at camp I push myself very hard while traveling. I want to get the maximum fun out of my precious weekends and PTO. unfortunately, sometimes this means that I'm just an exhausted, sweaty mess when I get to camp. Nothing is left in the tank for cooking.  Dehydrating foods means a quicker cooking time, depending on the food. Some foods, like rice, won't need to be cooked at all and become a viable addition to cold-soaked  recipes.   (for non-dehydrated

How to Build a Foldable Sleeping Platform for a 2018 RAV4 for Camping

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This spring I built a foldable sleeping platform for my Hybrid 2018 Rav4. I had outgrown my Prius set up , plus my boyfriend wasn't a fan of the tight quarters. I used just some basic pieces of hardware (which cost less than $20) and some wood that my dad had leftover from his own campaign project. (about a sheet of 1 inch Baltic birch that costs less than $80, and 100 inches of 2x4s which cost about $5.) In addition to raw materials, you will also need tools for cutting wood, measuring, and some sand paper. Here is a breakdown of how it works and the measurements, so you can recreate it.  Why I Designed a Foldable Sleeping Platform for my RAV4 I am a weekend only camper. As much as I would love to do the full time van life thing, It won't be in the cards for a while. I wanted something that would allow me to make use of all space, without requiring the back seats to be taken out. Seats in 2028 hybrid RAV4s do not fold flat, so not using a platform was never an option. I’m also

I Ate At Every Restaurant At Lost Island Theme Park. Here Are My Recommendations

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The Thirsty Voyager in Awa at Lost Island, home of cocktails and noodles bowls I love Lost Island, and I also love food. Every time I have visited Lost Island this season (2023) , I have made sure to try new unique food item. We have found the food to be better than at other small themeparks. I made sure to focus on menu items that were invented for the park, or are made scratch in the park. Thus, anything pre-packaged, like pickle bites, Thelma's ice cream sandwiches, and Uncrustables won’t be discussed here. (You can get these, and many other kid favorites, at most dining locations in Lost Island.) It is important to note that I haven’t eaten everything yet. If I try something new before the end of the season that is so good (or bad) that it warrants adding to this post, I will be sure to add a note.  Lost Island Dining Locations and Menus  Eating in Mura Kotaki Treats Let's do dessert first! Mura has only one dining location, in a very convenient location on the way towards

Visiting Meow Wolf Denver - It’s Not Your Average Art Museum

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  The Cathedral at Meow Wolf - Convergence Station Back in May I had the opportunity to visit Meow Wolf Denver - Convergence Station. This turned out to be a highlight of our trip, and I can not recommend it enough. That being said, the experience itself is a little hard to explain, and I thought it would be worth going into detail about what to expect at this artsy, kaleidoscopic experience. What Is Meow Wolf?  As an organization, Meow Wolf is very similar to an art museum or artists collective. It operates several locations around the US, including Convergence Station in Denver.  Each location is filled to the brim with installation art that can be described as trippy, nostalgic and whimsical. Each Meow wolf location has a separate theme or storyline which connects each room or art piece.  However, most guests moving through a Meow Wolf exhibit won’t feel like they are in a modern art museum at all. I think it feels more like an escape room, minus the time limit and clear end goal. P

Using iOverlander To Find Free And Unique Camping In Iowa

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IOverlander is a free, crowd-sourced app designed for roadtrippers, RVers and Car campers. I have recently started to use it to plan out my weekend adventures in Iowa, and find free places to stay overnight. Lately I have been camping solo almost every weekend. While campgrounds are much cheaper than hotels, I have been starting to wonder if I can illuminate the cost and hassle of staying at the more popular campgrounds. (If you want to learn more about ultra low budget travel, read this !) Plus, in the busy summer season, sometimes the popular campgrounds, like Makokita cave and Backbone State Parks are completely booked. iOverlander helps provide some great options to explore a little differently.  How the iOverlander app works  iOverlander is a crowd-sourced app. That means that anybody can log a pin in the app and leave notes on the quality and type of location. People who visit a place later can also add check-ins with pictures and notes to help future travelers. If you are follow

Lazy Camping Food From Aldi, For When You Have No Energy or Money

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Aldi is my absolute favorite grocery store, especially for cheap and lazy camping food. It’s easy to put together shelf stable meals that are actually pretty healthy and require almost no prep work. As an added bonus, Aldi also has decent outdoors equipment in the “Aldi Finds” aisle, but we will save that for a different post. For this post I will be assuming you have a camp stove , such as a jet boil, available.  Lazy Camping Food #1: Favorite Cheese, Fruit, and Crackers No cooking necessary, yet somehow super luxurious. I like to get a wheel of Cammebert or Brie, which I slice up and eat cold with strawberries, peaches or apples, and a sleeve of crackers. It's perfect for a mid hike meal or snack. It's the ultimate lazy food, but also kind of feels luxurious. Plus, rich cheeses are a great food for when you are are on longer, active trips. This is because cheese contains calorie-dense fats.  Camembert cheese, 7 oz: $4.19 Strawberries, 1 lb: $2.19 Crackers, 7 oz: $2.55 (larger

Yellow River State Forest: The Perfect Park if You Wish Iowa Had a National Park

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 I recently visited Yellow River State Forest and stayed at Little Paint Campground. This park is expansive, more so than any Iowa State Park or forest I have visited so far. Let's talk about what activities are available here, and who should pay Yellow River State Forest a visit.  The view from the lookout point near the fire tower The Layout of Yellow River State Forest By Iowa standards, Yellow River State Forest is a massive park. It is north of Marquette and south of Harper’s Ferry. Combined with neighboring Effigy Mounds National Monument, Pikes Peak State Park, and Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the area is an unofficial national park (in my opinion).  Yellow River State Forest is not one contiguous park. It is made of several smaller units. The largest one is called the Paint Creek Unit, which has multiple campgrounds.  The main road of Paint Creek is State Forest Road. It offers some fantastic views as you drive through the park. It is also the

Can’t Afford the Cheapest Disney Resort Vacation? Try these Alternative Family Vacation Spots.

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Due to price hikes the last few years, even the cheapest Disney resort vacation is now out of reach for a lot of households. Depending on what kind of deals and hotel you get, a family of 4 could fly to Europe for the same price as staying at an on property Disney world resort. Disney has also removed discounts in the last 3 years. As a theme park lover myself, I understand why people go anyway. Disney provides a special, uncompilable experience. However, it isn’t really a realistic destination for me to plan for anymore. Let's take a serious look at what makes Disney so appealing, so that few can find the best alternatives at an even better price. For the purposes of this article, I will specifically be using Disney World, Florida to give examples of prices and amenities.  Why Does Even the Cheapest Disney Resort Vacation Have “Disney Magic”?  Attention to Detail and Exceptional service It seems that no matter how expensive hotels and tickets get, some people are still willing to

My First Visit to Lost Island Theme Park in 2023: What's changed?

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During the winter, I wrote down my predictions on what might change at Lost Island Theme Park , as they aim to make a more competitive experience. A lot of my predictions came true, such as character interactions and improved foliage. In this article, I break down some of the biggest changes in 2023.  Background on Lost Island Theme Park Lost Island Theme Park is a project run by the Bertch family, who also own Lost island Waterpark in Waterloo, Iowa. The park opened in 2022, and while offering some great rides and experiences, hasn’t had great crowds yet. The Park is themed around the balance of the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, as well as the fifth element of spirit. Each element has its own “land” with a unique story related to keeping the balance.  New Rides At Lost Island Theme Park Two new rides have opened up! Honestly, I think these might be my favorite. New Launch Coaster First we have Matugani, a short but very fast launch coaster. This thing gets some speed!