Camping Tips –
It is not our intention to teach you everything about camping but merely to offer a few camping tips that you may find helpful. Our focus here will be on “car camping” where you have the ability to bring lots of gear and drive to (or very close to) your campsite.
Pre trip preparation and camping box care – It is always a good idea to spend time before your camping trip to check and make sure that all of your camping gear is in working order and all the necessary supplies are available. Take a note pad and make a list. Set up categorizes (shelter, cooking, clothing, etc). This planning will help the trip go smoothly. The last thing you want is to be miles from no where and to realize you forgot something vital. So be sure you plan what you need!
The Art of Tarpology or How to Stay Dry even if you are in a Hurricane! – When setting up camp the use of a tarp can be extremely useful. One great set up is to have a large area covered by a tarp. Tent can be set up under this tart so that even if it rains very harp the tents won’t be touched by a drop of water. Two trees, one on each side of the site can be used for this. Run a long, strong rope across the area about 8 feet off the ground. Secure your tarp over this. Using the outside grommets and smaller guide ropes (clothesline rope works well) then stake out the corners in the position you desire. Be sure you are not to close to your campfire area. This worked very well several years ago while camping in New England during Hurricane Floyd. Despite the driving wind and pelting rain we stayed dry. At one point we were contemplate aborting the trip but we ending up with some spectacular trout fishing in the upper Connecticut River!
Tents of course should be pitch on a smooth, flat area. Remember drainage is important because rain water will form puddles and small flowing streams so study the layout of the ground to determine what will happen if it does rain.
Campfire Camping Tips
Airflow is Key! Or how to build a great campfire! – This is one of the most important camping tips we can offer. Both the teepee style and log cabin style of fire building will work well. Using dry split fire wood will work best. Down wood that you may find near your site may work well but watch for damp and rotten wood as this will not burn well. The KEY point to keep in mind is that oxygen is part of the burning process . This means that AIRFLOW IS KEY to a good campfire. Wood should be placed on the fire is such a way that it nominally touch other logs and it allows for as much space (airflow) between burning logs as possible. Wood should be haphazardly thrown on a fire. Strategic placement will yield much better results. The video below is both fun and informative.
Ice in your cooler, this is a really cool thing!
Proper care of your sleeping bag! When not in use your sleeping bag should not be rolled tightly or compressed in its stuff sack. This will keep the insulation (down, thinsulate, etc) compress and decrease the effective warmth and the life of the sleeping bag. Keep it stored in a loose, fluffed up condition. When you are packing most bags should be “stuffed” into the sack. Hence the name stuff sack! Some type of bags do need to be rolled however. When setting up camp it is always a good idea to set up you tent and sleeping quarters early when it is still light out. Later when it is dark and you are tired you may not be as enthusiastic to do this task. When the bag is in place. Preferably with a comfortable sleeping pad, it should be fluffed to obtain maximum loft but if it is not being used for any length of time you should double it over itself so the open end is not exposed to open air. Even in good weather moisture from the air can get into the bag and you won’t be as happy come bed time. One last tip is to store a pair of clean wool socks in the bottom of the bag. After a long day of fishing or hiking your feet will be very glad you did this and you will get a good nights sleep!
Knife and Ax sharpening – Be sure and all knifes and axes are sharp and clean. You can do this prior to the trip and make it one of your campsite activities. Either well your tools will work better is they are sharp.
Lighting, just in case it gets dark at night! – Whatever type of lighting you plan to use make sure it is ready before dark. Propane and fuel lanterns often require mantels that need to be put in place and burned before they can be used. Take care of this and make sure your camping box has extra mantels. If you do not own a camping headlamp do yourself a huge favor and get one before your next trip. Headlamps keep both hands free and this of course is a super convenience.
Propane versus fuel – any easy choice! Small propane canister can be used for lanterns, stoves and grills. They are readily available and you can not spill them. They are definitely the way to go! If you are still using the old fashioned fuel you will be much happier when you upgrade to propane. The only acceptable fuel stoves are some of the lightweight one used in backpacking.
First Aid – Accidents do happen and you should be prepared for minor meical emergencies. Always have a first aid kit on your camping trip. Band aids, disinfectant, pain killer (apirin or ibuprophin). It is better to bring items that you don’t need then to need something that you did not bring. You can simply use the “raid the medicine cabinet” method.
Hiking boots – If your feet aren’t happy you won’t be happy either! Proper foot care is essential. After a long day of fishing or hiking your feet have probably taken a beating and could go for some TLC. Keeping them clean and dry will help. Foot powder may become a regular part of your first aid kit. Preventing blisters is important and this starts by making sure your footwear fits properly and is broken in. Never go for a long hike with new hiking boots. I once watched a documentary about Appalachian Trail thru hikers. It showed a hiker starting out in Georgia with new gear, including new hiking boots. Despite having lots of ambition he never reached the Georgia border, much less the state of Maine. His feet were not happy!