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Best Camping Tips
Although timing your visit, booking your visit, and gathering information from the state travel bureau can greatly enhance your camping experience when interacting with nature, it's always an unknown adventure.
So many factors collide - from weather conditions to wildlife in the area. You just never know for certain whether your adventure will be Oz-like or Ozzie-like.
Camping, Tenting & Hiking are great ways to get back in touch with nature and your inner self...
The smell of seasoned firewood spitting embers towards a clear Milky Way, the soft grumbling of a nearby brook straining to outcry the small herd of jug-jugs knitted through the woods of the campgrounds, a magnificent buck sprinting through the dell and into the edge of the campground - all memorable and practically free life events that both the novice and avid camper can enjoy in The Great Outdoors.
Get kissed by the sun, roped by the wind, and be-dazzled by what Mother Nature delivers. Whether you're curious about a camping area, or if you just want to experience the journey through the eyes of Lipstick 'n Boots, we welcome you to enter our rain flap freely. We'll even furnish the imaginary hot chocolate, smores and battered umbrella - so sit a spell, wrap yourself into a down-filled blanket as we journey into the womb of Mother Nature.....
CAMPING - CHOOSING A TENT
The right tent is imperative for the avid camper. Some things to consider include: price, room in the tent, privacy in the tent, color of tent, ease of setup, durability and intended use. If you camp frequently, investing in a quality tent pays off tenfold in the long run.
As for the color of the tent, a darker tent may draw the sun's rays, but at night, it helps block out unwanted light from neighboring campers, a full moon, lights in the park and your brother-in-law's flashlight.
Here are some other things to keep in mind while tent hunting:
- Is the tent waterproof?
- Ample room to suit use?
- Craftmanship, warranty & guarantee?
- Flame retardant?
- Rain Fly?
- Easy disassemble for storage?
CAMPING - CHOOSING THE CAMPGROUND
That sleeping bag will feel every pebble on the ground, so choose your sleeping quarters and tent placement using a foxy eye. The flatter the ground, the better. Level is lovely where tenting is involved.
Also consider the direction of the morning sun. When it wakes to peep up over the horizon, will it also wake you before you'd like? If it's summertime, the tent could heat up faster than a roman candle, even in the early morning hours.
If you are camping close to the water's edge, keep in mind that snakes, raccoons, badgers, deer and rhinos may invade your campground.
If you are camping in the Louisiana Bayous, Texas Gulf or Florida shores, alligators love human bait. Exercise great caution for middle-of-the-night powder room visits. Also be on the lookout for prominent PBS Cajun cooks. You just never know what's going to pop in.
Have fun by being prepared for your adventure...
* It's best to camp where someone has camped before. Why? When you use 'new land' it eats into the habitat's environment. Your ideal spot is away from the trail, away from foot traffic.
* If you have a dog, keep it on the leash. This is as much for the dog's benefit as for fellow campers and wayward animals that may wonder into your campground. There's nothing like worrying about your precious dog contracting rabies after he ran to the skunk that instantly bit him. Personally speaking, I was attacked by a bat in mid-day on my front porch and had to have the series of rabies shots. The first set was pretty significant as they had to divide the shots due to my smaller size. I was so sore, but not as sore as my pocketbook. Almost $5,000 out of pocket which equaled beans and cornbread for my meals going forward. So be on the lookout and exercise caution to prevent disaster when you might least expect it - even when taking a simple walk on your front porch.
* Bring along your own firewood. By using the deadwood around your campground, you are affecting the balance of nature. What may look like nothing more than a dead log may be a home to a family of raccoons.
* Some other gear that you'll need for your night of camping include: flashlight, maps, field guides, whistle, mirror, fishing hook on a string, suntan lotion, bug spray, insect repellent, compass, water, food, sunshades, matches, a lightweight rain outfit, portable stove, firewood, tent, first-aid kit, heavy sleeping bag.
* Tie nothing to trees because you will cause damage to the bark.
* If you're camping in the woods, make sure you bring along a portable potty. If you don't have a potty, do your business at least 100 feet away from natural waters. Bury waste at least 6 inches.
* The same applies to leftover grease and soap. You can do your part by washing 100 feet minimum away from the natural waters.
* Before starting a cozy campfire, look for a fire ring and if one is unavailable, make one using large rocks in the parameter of your campground.
* Seal all leftovers.
* Before heading out into the sunset the following morning, grab those trash bags that you brought along and make a sweep of your area. Make it a point to leave the campgrounds in better condition that when you arrived.
* If you hike, leave the flowers and the greenery as you found it so that others can enjoy.
* Don't drink the water unless you want to chance contracting Giardiasis. This intestinal disorder can cause severe discomfort.
HOW TO BUILD A CAMPFIRE
You will need to begin with small sticks or twigs. Sometimes dry leaves work very well. The dryer your material, the better. Light the fire carefully, especially if you found a need to add a starter to the wood.
When your fire burns bright yellow, add the larger pieces of wood - a few a time - by placing them OUTSIDE of your fire ring, then slowly pushing them into the hot fire with a long green stick. Take special care if you are wearing long-sleeved attire. Flames have a way of licking out of their realm and into yours. A candle makes a superb lighter.
How to kill your fire.
Douse your fire with water until it is totally saturated with water. If water is unavailable, use dirt or sand.
When you feel your fire is out, stir it around with your stick, then add more water.
By following the above guidelines, your camping trip will be as stress-free as possible. After all, that's the main point, getting away and back to nature to enjoy God's great gifts.
CAMPING - RESERVATIONS FOR TWO
It's always wise to make your campsite reservations in advance. Many times, the camping facility will charge a small cancellation fee, but even at that, it's better than arriving with no room in the inn.
This holds significant importance during special times of the year when 'camping is in'. Examples include: Wildflower viewing, fall foliage months, summer vacation months - particularly June, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and the Christmas holidays.
The first few warm days of spring are also HUGE with campers crawling out of their winter dens.
This pretty much blots out a big area of the Camping Calendar and makes some avid campers sore at novice campers. It's sort of like never going to church, then popping in for Christmas, Weddings and Funerals.
But in the Camping World, first come...first serve, and those without reservations may be left out in the wild blue yonder, smoreless, campless and tentless....
CAMPING & BEARS - How to keep safe.
Bears like to eat. Bears like to eat a lot. Odds are, if a bear knocks at your campground door, he or she is forging for food.
And if a camper is visible, the camper is what is standing between the bear and the food - and the bear may attack, particularly so if the bear is out forging with its cub.
Banging on pots and pans appears to be a good deterrent and may send a curious bear away. However, the obvious solution is to do everything in your power to keep the bear out of your campgrounds. This means sealing and locking up food-stuff.
Bears have a powerful sniffer. Throwing your chips and jerky into a knapsack and hanging it on a tree limb isn't enough to keep bears out of the campground. The key is sealing foods, thus sealing off the scent of food for that powerful sniffer.
CAMPING - CAMPFIRE SERENADE
Twangy guitars blend beautifully with the drones of Mother Nature humming in the background.
If you've got a picker or a chorder in your grasp, invite them along on your next planned camping trip. Music around a campfire, a high moon glowing in the night sky, and the smell of wood filtering through the air creates unforgettable memories.
If you don't know a player, consider taking along an electronic one with your favorite CD's. If you're in a big group, host a karaoke event. It will be music to your ears....
CAMPGROUNDS: DEVELOPED OR PRIMITIVE?
There are several options available for the camper once they reach their destination. Generally, there is group camping, primitive camping and camping in developed areas.
Group camping is reserved well in advance and is intended to host large groups or events.
Developed camping offers a few amenities, such as a tent pad, electricity, water, picnic table and a grill or makeshift fire ring. Be sure to check with the camp host as burn bans are often in place during dry, summer months.
Restrooms are generally close by.
Primitive camping is raw nature at its best! No restrooms, no fire rings, no tent pads - no nuthin! In addition, gathering firewood may be restricted.
HOWEVER, the secluded haven embedded in natural surroundings brings much peace to a weekend warrior - making primitive camping very desirable.
WHAT TO TAKE
Be sure to take water, bio-degradable bathroom tissue, a small shovel (I wonder what this will be used for?), matches, a first aid kit and a compass at minimum. A topo map and a general map of the area should also be requested from the camp host.
Fun Outdoor Gear that can enhance your tenting adventure includes: A loop for magnifying things up close, a telescope for night sky viewing, walkie-talkie, rain pauncho, animal sound mimickers, neon necklaces and bracelets that light in the dark, florescent body paint that also lights up in the dark.