If you’ve never been to the Fields of New Market Campground, you are missing out. The Texas Renaissance Festival is one of the few faires that allow guests to camp overnight, which means even after cannon, the revelry continues. The first time I went to camp at faire I was nervous. I am a city girl through and through and the last time I had been camping before was with Girl Scouts, and back then that was more than enough camping for me. But I got a tent and the rest of my supplies and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve upgraded to the world’s tiniest camper by now (dubbed the Cube of Cute), but we still occasionally need to bring along a tent for camp. Below is my guide on camp essentials you will need for camping at TRF. Some of the links in my articles are affiliate links, which means I may make a commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you, and it helps me keep this site running. Thank you for your support.
I was really intimidated by putting up a tent at TRF, but I shouldn’t have been. There are plenty of chivalrous gentleman and capable, strong women around to help put up a tent. In fact, I can’t think of a time when putting up a tent that somebody hasn’t offered help, even if I didn’t need any. My favorite kind of tent has been the instant pop up tents. They make setting up so much easier because there is less threading the poles through the canvas. The one in the link is very similar to the best tent I ever had. http://amzn.to/2xhWIlq
A tent doesn’t do much good without a comfy place to rest your head at the end of an amazing faire day. I love falling asleep to the sound of friends laughing outside my tent with drums rolling in the background. Most campers use air mattresses, but I am not a fan of them for camping. They lose air in the middle of the night, are prone to leaks, and they require power to inflate them. What a pain! Instead, I bought a cot for camping. I personally find them more comfortable than an air mattress as well, but that’s a personal preference. Mine is a single, and I have had my cot for eight or nine years. It’s been used for sleepovers and unexpected guests at home often, not just for camping. Mine folds up well and is simple to store. It’s great just folding it up instead of trying to squeeze air out of an air mattress and roll it back up. I like this double cot for couples.
Portable Phone Charger
Portable phone chargers are a lifesaver out at camp. Charge it up before you leave and you will be able to use the charger overnight to repower your phone. We have several that we keep at our house for travel, and there are a ton of great ones out there. I like this little red one because the color stands out and might be a little easier to find in a dark tent. It’s also slim enough to fit in many pouches. A portable charger like this one beats running your car and wasting gas for a long time just to charge your phone. These portable chargers are also important to have around your house in case of a hurricane or other emergency. Just remember to keep them charged so you will have it when you need it.
After a long day walking around faire, you’re going to want a relaxing chair to sit around the campfire in. I love these kinds of camp chairs. I find the straight across folding design works better for me and is less aggravating for my sciatica. The attached fold out table with cupholder is ideal for having a place to put your drink and dinner without needing a separate table. They are pretty rugged, and I have found they have lasted longer than other styles of camp chairs I’ve used.
After the fires hit Magnolia and the burn ban was still in place during the 2011 season, I really learned how much I yearn for sitting around the camp fire at TRF. The ban was needed, don’t get me wrong, but something is just missing from the faire camping experience without camp fires. While many of the neighboring camps will welcome polite strangers, and there is always the big bonfire, it’s nice to have your own fire pit. I like this one because the stars and moon motif remind me of faire and the depth allows more firewood to go in the bowl. Don’t forget an ABC fire extinguisher that is suitable for most types of fires. Last year, I put out a small fire that had started at a neighbor’s camp when embers fell out of their fire pit. If you already have a fire extinguisher, make sure it is up to date, it might be expired and then it might not work when you need it.
When you get to the camp grounds, you’re going to be greeted by a sea of campers, tents, and EZ Ups. EZ Ups give a great outdoor gathering space to shield you and your group from the Texas sun or a fall storm. Campers like to set up their camp kitchens underneath for shade and protection.
In the mornings at camp, we usually have scrambled eggs and bell peppers, and for dinner we sometimes reheat leftovers or we make sausages. Our camp stove is very similar to this one, if not the exact same model. The design is perfect with the burner and separate grill area. It makes it easy to have separate dishes going at the same time. Don’t forget the propane!
Staying hydrated and fed at camp is important, and keeping your refrigerated foods cool enough to stay unspoiled is crucial. We keep two coolers, one for drinks and one for food. We like to have a soft sided cooler with wheels because it makes transporting the cooler around the campground much easier, especially with the weight of food and drink plus ice and cold water.
Nobody likes fire ants. We already found mounds near our campsite opening weekend, and we were grateful we thought ahead to bring ant killer. We bring the container, but also put it in a gallon size plastic bag for transport just to keep it tidy in the car since we use this ant poison at home too. Don’t let ants ruin your time, plan ahead for them.
Last but not least, listen to Baz Luhrmann and wear your sunscreen. I’m extremely pale, so I’d be a mess of a peeling tomato person if I didn’t bring it, but everybody should wear sunscreen at faire, even if you aren’t prone to burning. Skin cancer is deadly and I want all of my readers to be back at faire healthy year after year.
What are your favorite camp essentials? Let us know in the comments!