Family Tent Camping | Suttle Lake, Oregon | June 2018 – Part 1 with camping tips

Here’s part 1 of our family tent camping adventures this Summer. This blog post focuses on the time we spent at the campground/Suttle Lake before venturing off to the Metolius River before heading home. We chose Suttle Lake near Central Oregon based on great reviews from friends who visit the same campsite annually. It did not disappoint.  We camped for 5 days, which initially seemed like we were crazy to do that with 2 small kids (one still nursing + sleeping in a crib) and our big golden retriever. But, like I imagined, it took us a couple days to get into a good groove, especially sleeping/napping. We like to refer to the first two nights at the “Tent of Torture”, because poor Noah had a rough time, which means we all did, especially me – the one who had to attempt to warm him and soothe him, while my 5 year old invaded (rolled onto me) my tiny sleeping  area mashed up against the pack’n’play each night. Fun times!  We’re not normally a co-sleeping family (past the first 6 months of Noah sleeping in the Dock-a-tot in our King bed) so, it was interesting lol. I do always appreciate the morning snuggles, though. 🙂

Next year we’ll be more prepared for the mosquitos when they descend upon us at 5 pm each evening. We are blessed to avoid the mosquitos where we live in Portland for some reason – it was like moving to Heaven coming from hot humid mosquito-ridden Texas a few summers ago. We were like “UM, we can sit outside without getting eaten alive during the Summer?!! What is this place?!”.  Except not in Central Oregon – hah! They’re of a different breed. So, between that and the cold nights, we’ll be more prepared next time!   We’ve only been family tent camping once before and it was rainy and cold the entire time and we ended up at a different location than the pictures I was looking at – oops!

We mostly took it easy and hung out near our camp site, which was pretty private considering we didn’t have neighbors until the last night (but they were super nice and had a sweet giant RV that they lived in!). The boys went fishing in the lake and Brady caught & reeled in his own fish for the first time! I’d stay back at the campsite and read or rest in the hammock while Noah napped and it was glorious! One day I even did Yoga under the trees!  We cooked each meal over the fire, which actually turned out pretty good.

Oh, and we’ll also have some sort of float or boat to get into the water next year. It was too difficult with baby Noah so we didn’t make it a priority.  A couple times the boys headed over to the Suttle Lodge to hang out (read: bribe Brady with ice cream to go #2 on the “real” toilet) and we all went as a family one evening to enjoy a hot meal I didn’t have to prepare, some yard games, great views, and running water in the bathroom! We even played on their little beach one afternoon, but it got a little chilly and it was too windy to rent any SUPs or kayaks- which I was bummed about, but just something to look forward to next time!


I tried to be as prepared with allll the camping tips as I could, and some of them truly did help! I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but here’s a start:

  • Marinate + freeze your meat in ziploc bags. They’ll thaw by the time you’re ready to cook (lay them out a couple hours prior if needed).
  • Used my cast iron skillet for nearly everything
  • Packed misc oils, seasonings, milk, etc… in mason jars of various sizes with labels
  • Pre-mixed my eggs + seasoning + milk in a giant tea jug (from the Dollar Tree) with markings for daily portions (scrambled eggs)
  • Pre-mixed pancake mix (see above)
  • Kept all dried goods in a big tub with a locking lid
  • Threw the baby in a blow up baby pool with toys to keep him (mostly) clean and off the dirt ground
  • Get a solar powered “camp shower”  (you fill up a 4 gallon) bag with a hose attached to it, set it in the sun and it’s warm within a few hours for a manual hose shower. Costs approx $20. We were lucky to have a giant low hanging tree where Brian assisted in rigging up the shower to hang, along with a small tarp for some privacy. This was nice to use a couple times in our 5 day adventure. Even washed the baby!
  • Baby wipes for everything!
  • Use a stadium chair (folds up small) if you’re nursing inside a tent- helps support your back since there’s nothing to lean against.
  • Heavy blankets to go under sleeping pads, especially under pack’n’plays to keep baby warmer.  We also clothes-pinned a muslin blanket over the top of his pack’n’play to keep some warmth in and bugs out, especially during nap time.
  • Glow sticks for kids at night
  • Clothes line to hang dry towels, etc…
  • Keep expectations REALLY low and it can only turn out better than you think, right?!


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