CAMPING AT OSH: A woman’s perspective and some tips:

Just a few words for those of you who have never camped at OSH, or never camp at all and feel the way I do. Roughing it is having to walk outside from the hotel to the restaurant. 

All I can say is at OSH for some reason it is different for me. If you want to get the whole OSH experience, you MUST camp. Oshkosh is one of the few places you can camp next to airplanes. I know, the port o potties are the pits, but really, isn’t any public restroom an adventure? EAA does do a wonderful job of keeping them clean and allowing for privacy issues. Furthermore, if an airplane is flying, or the airshow is going on, you can not even hear yourself think, much less anything else going on inside the Porta-potty. They have put in many flush toilets and the ones by the exhibit buildings are even air-conditioned. With running water, soap paper towels. EAA is trying. The flush toilets are fantastic!!!! Talk about the little things in life, eh?

The showers are another adventure. They are stalls with two curtains and a bench, however, the showerhead is something else. You know that sprayer at the kitchen sink? Yes, this is the shower, but by some miracle, and I don’t know how they do it, the water temperature is always perfect. You just wet down, soap up, and rinse. I suggest you bring minimal items with you. There is a chance of things getting wet. But, when you are hot, dusty, and sticky they are wonderful. Sometimes twice a day wonderful. As for mirrors and plug-ins for hairdryers etc, there are plenty of them outside of the shower buildings. And inside also. You will see cell phones sitting there plugged in charging with no one around. Everyone is so honest at Oshkosh, your belongings are there when you come back for them. Or as one of our members found out when she left her wallet in the shower house. The wallet was turned in intact to lost and found. I usually shower at the end of the day. I have yet to wait for a shower since EAA built the new shower house in 2010. Yes, you will get dirty and sweaty on the flight line, but the shower feels wonderful, and they are usually quieter at night. I also carry plenty of wet naps for those sticky situations. Some sinks with soap and water are outside the rows of toilets, but they do run out occasionally.

Do not pack to make a fashion statement. You will need clothes for hot, cold, rain. Haven’t seen snow there yet, but this is WI. Just kidding! Walking shoes are a necessity, you will walk and walk and walk, you get the picture. You will sit in the grass, dirt, and sometimes unknowingly foodstuff. Bring comfortable clothes. This is outdoor living.

Speaking of food, there is plenty to choose from. They have stores on site that carry or try to carry everything you can think of. The food vendors do a wonderful job and there is variety. Rumor has it there will be a food tent in the North 40 this year that will be serving breakfast and supper.

I am not a pilot, but my husband is passionate about flying, so I am too by association. I love that OSH immerses you in flying. This is why you camp. You go to sleep with people who are as excited as you are, you wake up to airplane noise, coffee and food cooking smells, and people as excited about planes as you are. You hear engine noise and smell Corvus oil and meet even more people who are as passionate and excited as you are.

It is not the camping on the hard ground with the airplane or the toilets, or the heat, rain, or cold I embrace and enjoy. It is the feeling of being with total strangers and feeling like a family for a week. There really are no strangers at OSH. When you get there and smell, hear, and feel OSH you will truly understand what I am trying to say here. So if we are a little dirty, tired, sore, it is all good. OSH is a community unto itself that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime, and hopefully, it will call you to come back year after year as it does for so many of us.

I hope you will try it with us this year, and remember the four greatest word in the English language are “See you at Oshkosh”

Cherokees to OSH Packing List by Shane Watts

  1. Tent
  2. Tarp - rain cover and underneath tent - We put one below the tent floor always to keep out of the mud and
    bugs & stuff.
  3. Air mattress - saves on the back big time!
  4. Bed sheets or sleeping bags - We have a queen size air mattress and usually make the bed using normal
    sheets & covers.
  5. Pillows
  6. Battery Operated Lantern - We have a remote control on/off activated. Makes it very convenient.
  7. Glow Sticks - nice to put on corners and lines to highlight tripping hazards. (Some people use small solor powered lights.)
  8. Flashlights
  9. Bug spray/Citronella candles
  10. Very comfortable shoes - 2 pairs and flip flops for the showers
  11. Hat
  12. Backpack
  13. Toilet paper - they'll have it there, but it'll be like sandpaper!
  14. Cooler - Ice is readily available
  15. Chairs
  16. Towels
  17. Clothespins - hang damp towel off the prop
  18. Radio
  19. Phone and other chargers – outlets located at showers
  20. Bike or scooter - we don't, but many people have them
  21. Hand sanitizer
  22. Sweatshirts/jacket-can get chilly at night or after rain
  23. Fold-out table
  24. Cards/games-for downtimes (if any)
  25. Plastic utensils/snacks - we suggest only bringing a few to avoid the extra weight. There are grocery
    stores and Target just outside the airport that has bus service to it from inside tent city.
  26. Tie Down Lines, anchors, chocks - also normally available at Oshkosh if you forget them.
  27. Three square plywood pieces to put under tires in case of rain and mud.
  28. We have rectangular storage bins that we use to load all this up and it fits nicely in the Cherokee and is
    easily secured. As an option, you can buy much of what’s on this list after you get to Oshkosh at Target and the adjacent grocery store so please don't feel that if you've forgotten the kitchen sink you'll be without all week.

© Cherokees to Oshkosh, LLC


What to Bring to OshkoshDownload this What to Bring to Oshkosh article.