anastasia state park
St Augustine, FL
Story by Noelle McKay
Photography/Vidography by Cantwell Creative Media
unless otherwise noted
Families can share many things – stories, traditions, support, love – but they don’t always share the same mind. Take the Krafts, Andrew and Colleen have three sons Aidan, Caleb, and Hudson ages 14, 12, and 10 respectively. And then there’s, Jip, the yellow Labrador Retriever. Each Kraft shares an affection for nature, but arrived at their appreciation of the outdoors in their own way and on their own time.
If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles.
– Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Andrew grew up with tents and campfires – his parents were school teachers who spent summers with the family outdoors camping and traveling to national parks. Colleen, however, wasn’t raised camping and was slower to come around to fully enjoying the outdoors overnight. Once the Krafts began taking boating trips throughout Georgia, Colleen developed a love for paddling that made the camping portion of the trips much more comfortable and agreeable.
The boys’ interest in nature runs the gamut. One is an active Scout, another is more pro-camping when it becomes a social affair with friends, and yet another relishes outdoor adventures. For Jip, an ideal camping and hiking dog, he just needs to be with his people.
“That’s where the GO tent camper comes in,” Andrew said. “Because our family spans a spectrum of camping interests, the GO allows those of us who are more comfortable roughing it to camp alongside those who are more interested in glamping it.”
The choice to purchase a GO was not one that Andrew rushed into. He compared motor homes, and hard-side trailers, pop-ups, and teardrops. He spent years researching camping options and reconciling those options with how they camped.
“We chose the GO, because the SylvanSport product line allows us to camp in a flexible way,” Andrew said. “Depending on how many of us are camping or what we are doing, we can bring more or less of the GO gear.” As an example, if just a couple of Krafts are camping, they keep it simple and tow only the GO. But if all five are adventuring together they also bring the GOzeebo, which allows them to bunk the boys’ cots for sleeping.
Other factors were involved in the decision-making process. Andrew was only interested in purchasing a high-quality product that would stand-up to years of use, especially with the boys. He wanted to avoid the need to purchase a new vehicle for towing (they use their Honda Odyssey) and he wanted something sized for compact storage (the GO slips easily into their garage). Colleen wanted something that was manageable. Her goal was to have something she and the boys could use one their own.
The Krafts have paddled rivers in Georgia including the Flint, Withlacoochee, Satilla, and South Rivers. They have wound their way through the cypress trees and Spanish moss of the Jurassic-like world of the Okeefenokee Swamp. They have snow skied and hiked and mountain biked together. Colleen and Andrew’s plans are to continue traveling throughout North America with the boys during their teen years.
The more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.
– Henry David Thoreau