If there’s a Guide to Summer out there, my dad read it annually. When I was a kid, my family went on a lot of summer vacations from Cape Cod to Disney World. While we did fly occasionally, we mostly went on big road trips. And of course, that meant we were always in for an adventure!
While we didn’t go camping too often, I clearly remember this one time quite vividly. I’m not sure how old I was, maybe seven or eight. We drove to some campsite and my dad actually pitched the tent for us and we all squeezed in with our sleeping bags. We were completely roughing it and while it was a bit scary and I didn’t have the comforts of a TV, I still really enjoyed the hiking, the campfires, the s’mores and everything else that went along with it.
Thing is, when night came, the sky got dark. Like real dark. And before you could blink, the entire night lit up bright as can be and a torrential rain dropped straight down on us. There was zero build-up. Instead, Mother Nature’s wrath went from 0 to 60 in an instant. We were in a canvas tent that was anything but waterproof. So the floor quickly started flooding and we were all soaked to the bone.
We managed to make it into the car, where we must’ve spent a few hours (or at least as a kid, it seemed like hours) just waiting for the rain to die down. It eventually did and the next day we continued on our adventure.
Now that I’m a dad, I can’t wait to make my kids get soaked on a camping trip! No, no. I’m kidding. But I really do want to take the whole family camping or at least on a variety of road trip adventures, just like my dad did!
And with the right gadgets and gizmos in hand, this dad will be fully equipped for a care-free family adventure. No matter how big or small your family is (or how young or old your kids are), these modern products can make a world of difference. To test them all out, I decided to take my kids camping! Rather than actually leaving the house, however, we had a staycation and just camped out in the living room.
Hey, nothing, but nothing can beat a couch cushion tent! Anyways, we brought all our gear inside the makeshift tent and took them all for a test drive. So consider this post your very own Dad’s Guide to Summer!
Let There Be Light With Coleman
When you think “camping” or really anything outdoors in the summer, the most important thing you can bring with you is light. No, not sunlight, although as I learned when I was a kid, that’s far preferable to rain! But no, what I’m talking about are flashlights and lanterns and such. And when it comes to shining a light on your adventure, the first name that usually comes to mind is Coleman.
I remember my dad had an old Coleman lantern we’d use on our trips. The kind you’d need to actually light. It worked great, but fire’s always a tad bit scary isn’t it? These days you can get much more light in a much safer manner. I’ve got two fabulous Coleman products to share.
Coleman IL+250 LED Flashlight
This bad boy is a toughie, made of aluminum with durable rubber accents. The Coleman IL+250 LED Flashlight offers 200 hours of Emergency Mode light, a BatteryLock to stop battery drain and both a low and high intensity lighting mode.
What I really like about this flashlight is that it’s super comfortable in my hand. It actually feels rugged and knowing how everyone in my family always seems to have the “dropsies,” I’m not worried this one will break. It’s also pretty light considering how powerful it can be. And besides all the great features I’ve mentioned already, it’s built so the batteries won’t just last, they also won’t corrode inside. Nothing’s worse than going to change the batteries in something and finding them covered in gross, white battery acid residue.
That’s all well and good, but how much light does it actually give off? After all, a flashlight’s only as good as the areas you can see around you! I had Jason turn off all the lights and then put the Flashlight to the test by pointing it at our Dad’s Guide to Summer bag.
Even the low gave up some serious light. Keep in mind that the room was quite dark to begin with and this bag was underneath a blanket/tent. So the left picture shows that you can easily make things out. The right pic, however, is crazy! On a high setting, you’d almost think it was daytime!
Coleman QuadPro Lantern
If it were legal for a man to marry a machine, I think the Coleman QuadPro Lantern and I would be hitched. Seriously, I am in LOVE with this thing!
I feel like I can set up my own outdoor sports court and light it completely with this one lantern! What’s so special about it? It’s a total party of lights in one conveniently fun package. Yeah, this is definitely the brightest item in my Dad’s Guide to Summer. But besides light panels on the base’s corners, the QuadPro Lantern features four removable panels! Each panel has its own lights on it, as well as a magnet and a stand. So you can pull them off and use them anywhere you want, either on the floor, a table, stuck on a car hood, etc.
But there’s more! When the panels are attached back on the base (magnets rule!) the batteries automatically recharge. There are also multiple lighting modes, so you can really see what you’re doing. At maximum light, the entire lantern can shine up to 800 lumens on high for up to 20 hours. Or if you’re real conservative, drop it down to 100 lumens on low for a good 400 hours. That’s a lot of reading to get caught up on by lantern light.
Here’s Ryan in our living room tent. It was pretty dark in there, until I turned on the QuadPro Lantern! Pretty darn good lighting, wouldn’t you say? Besides being powered by four or eight D batteries, the final secret surprise to this incredible Dad’s Guide to Summer gadget it that on the top there’s even a USB port so you can charge your cell phone. That alone is worth the price of admission, I’d say.
If only the color was green, though. Then I could truly act out my comic book dreams and recite the Green Lantern Oath!
Go Spill Proof with Contigo
If your family is anything like mine, you’ll always have a roll of paper towels in reach. Fine, so maybe I’m the #1 suspect when it comes to spilling drinks, but my kids are a close second. That’s why I’m floored by this pair of magical cups from Contigo.
Contigo Spill Proof Kids Tumbler
First up is this amazing Contigo Spill Proof Kids Tumbler. If you have little ones, you know that liquids spend more time on the counters and floors than they do in the actual cup. Not with this bad boy! Perfect for children ages 3 and older, this cup is 100% BPA free and most importantly, top rack dishwasher safe! The only thing you need to clean by hand is the straw, which easily comes apart.
With some incredibly spiffy engineering, you’ll be really hard pressed to spill anything with this cup. I didn’t just knock the cup over to see if it’d spill, I gave it the ultimate test. Hey, I don’t fool around when I put together a Dad’s Guide to Summer.
I turned it upside down and even gave it a few shakes, and still not a drop came out. These cups really mean you’ll never cry over spilled milk again! Even Jason was impressed.
Contigo AUTOSPOUT Chug Water Bottle
For the older kids in your family (i.e. dads like me!), there’s this real impressive Contigo AUTOSPOUT Chug Water Bottle. Like its younger counterpart, this water bottle is leak and spill proof. It also sports a Thermalock vacuum of insulated stainless steel to keep your beverages cold for up to 24 solid hours.
There’s also a protective spout shield to keep those nasty dirt and germs out of your way! Toss in a sturdy handle with a carabineer clip, and dad is so ready to head to the great outdoors.
And if dad’s bringing his little munchkins with him, chances are he’ll need that extra free hand to keep up with them. Also 100% BPA free, the lid is top-rack dishwasher safe for easy clean-up.
Prep Your Guide to Summer with Rubbermaid Balance
Rounding out Dad’s Guide to Summer is this really nifty Rubbermaid Balance Meal Kit. The puzzle lover in me just enjoys placing the different containers in the right spots. The healthy eater in me absolutely loves how incredibly easy Rubbermaid makes it for you to pack a balanced meal for yourself.
Broken out by Protein, Fruits, Grains and Vegetables, each color coded container features a small icon to remind you exactly what type of food group you should be putting in it. For camping, I couldn’t think of anything more perfect them some homemade turkey chili! And instead of rice to go with that protein, I tossed in some tortilla chips for the grains. Some leafy greens for veggies and purple grapes for fruits rounded out this dad’s dinner to go. Best of all, I didn’t need a single measuring cup.
The Rubbermaid Balance Meal Kit also comes with a neat book that really helps hammer home the importance of serving sizes, as well as loads of ideas for measuring portion sizes when you’re out and about. There are also plenty of snack tips and some delicious sounding recipes like the Herbed Hummus Dipping Box and the Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs with Brown Rice and Pineapple.
And that’s how we roll in this house when it comes to camping. Or maybe it’s called glamping, since we have electricity? Either way, all of these great Dad’s Guide to Summer products are a perfect addition to bring with you on your next family adventure this summer.
From flashlights to water bottles to perfectly balanced meals, you can not only keep yourself safe, but well fed (and fed well!). After all, nothing ruins a good camping trip like being hangry, am I right?
What are your favorite camping tips?
Talk about Summer Loving… Not only did I get the pleasure of testing out all these Dad’s Guide to Summer products, but one of my lucky readers is going to win a set of all these products. That’s over $150 worth of items!
Dad’s Guide to Summer Giveaway
Win over $150 Worth of Products!
Prize Package Includes:
Coleman IL+250 LED Flashlight (MSRP: $14.99)
Coleman QuadPro Lantern (MSRP: $109.99)
Contigo Spill Proof Kids Tumbler (MSRP: $9.99)
Contigo AUTOSPOUT Chug Water Bottle (MSRP: $19.99)
Rubbermaid Balance (MSRP: $19.99)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway ends on July 10, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 1 winner will be chosen at random and announced on this site. Giveaway is open only to legal residents of the United States (including District of Columbia), who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. The 1 Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
More Contests & Giveaways
DISCLAIMER: This was a paid partnership with Newell Brands. All opinions stated in this post are my own.