A night sky so full of brilliant stars that you can actually point out the constellations to your kids. Marshmallows stuck on sticks, bubbling over a campfire. The chocolaty, gooey-goodness of a real s'more. It's easy to envision the ideal camping experience-but not everyone has actually experienced it. If your best recollection of camping is frozen toes, a deflating mattress and a large rock in the middle of your back, take heart! Camping has changed, and there's something for everyone.
From RVs to Tents in the Wilderness… Whether your idea of camping out is a tent under the stars, your own RV, a three bedroom, two-bath cabin with satellite TV or something in between, today your options for the perfect camping and RVing adventure are practically limitless. Add to that the wide variety of activities available-from hiking to kayaking, horseback riding, water parks, fishing or even snowboarding, plus specialized programs for all ages, and it's easy to see why camping continues to be the new world summer favorite pastime.
The following tips include some helpful advice, ideas, and guidance to guide you in your future camping excursions... try some of these for extra percs and little widgets to make the trip a bit more travel friendly on a shoestring.
Take a 5 gallon white plastic bucket. Take the housing off of a droplight. Cut a hole in the bucket lid and secure the light into it and put the lid back on. Then just hang from the bucket's handle. Lots of light and hardly any bugs.
When you go to the shower and you prefer to use a bar of soap, just take a extra knee-hi panty hose with you and it will be just like having a soap-on-a-rope. Also make sure to take a clothes hanger and plastic bag with you to the shower, as most shower stalls have no place to hang your clothes. Just put the hanger on the shower bar and put your old clothes in the plastic bag while showering. A fresh & clean camper is a happy camper when CLEAN & wet can often be a welcome respite from the heat ~ smiles ~!
When camping with a toddler, Try using a booster seat that has a snap on tray. Some have even been able to then strap it to a good solid folding lawn chair. This way the little one has thier own table that is just his/her size.
I always prepare the menu ahead of time. That way I can prepare extra meals (spaghetti, chili, beef stews, etc.) and freeze them in vaccum sealed or freezer lock bags ahead of time so they are ready for the trip. Individual servings or family size the extra time will be savored later. Smaller size packages takes less room in the freezer or cooler and stay cold longer as well.
Being in the bush doesnt mean you cant eat well if you plan well ahead of the trip. A pan with water and a fire make prefrozen vaccum sealed bag meals heaven after a long day hiking or sight seeing.
Use bungee cords for a quick clothesline at the campsite. Just find 2 fairly close trees and loop a couple of cords around the trunks and hook together. Voila! Instant drying spot for wet swimsuits, towels, etc with no damage to the trees.
I also use bungees to strap down the cooler to the picnic table. This became part of my routine after some night visitors managed to pry open a cooler and make off with bacon, a london broil and potato salad!
Deep (about 15") tubs with snap-on lids make wonderful storage for just about anything: food, clothes, kitchen stuff, etc. These are waterproof, stackable and even seem to foil the critters!
I get mine at a local grocery store, Walmart or 5 and dime, but I've seen similar ones at all the big discount stores.
To stay in touch with family consider the purchase of a pocketmail. Most have computers now a days and email or cell phone email. This unti is a battery powered, portable email system. It can be used on any phone. From any local with a signal. It will also receive messages, and is user friendly. http://www.pocketmail.com/
An inexpensive pair of two-way walkie-talkies can be invaluable when you camp; wonderful for guiding the driver of a 5th wheel back into a tight spot without shouting loud enough for the whole campground to hear, or for keeping in touch while backpacking and out of sight of each other. Anywhere you may get temporarily separated!
2 Great unusual but very handy tips for moms and dads:
First: to save space in the cooler, If I make KoolAid, instead of using jugs, I put it into Zip-Loc bags and freeze it flat. Then it fits nicely into the cooler and helps with the cooling.
Second: Those expensive fire starters ... Dont bother! "I recycle and so should you when you can.
Take a carboard egg crates you have saved and put it on your dryer as the lint comes out, lay it in the egg crate. After the crate is full, find some old candles and melt wax all over the crate. The small forms once popped out in the camping zone make a great fire starter and doesn't cost a dime. Store easily and help give back to nature with no noxious fumes or chemicals.
Anyone have Asthma or allergies to pesticides?!
If so you know you cant use ant granulars around the hitch, leveling jacks, or anywhere the critters might get in. So try this trick from the doctor for a natural ant repellent that won't affect her condition; cayenne (ground red) pepper around the tires, hitch, etc. really works
*Please if you rememeber nothing else I offer DO REMEMBER THIS ONE in case of the unforeseen emergency:
Photocopy ALL your travel arrangements and leave them with a friend or relative so that they can reach you at any point along your journey in case of an emergency.
And that folks is the next installment .. I hope you enjoyed it and will look for you in the great outdoors. email me of you have any questions and thank you for reading "Surviving the Outdoors with Elsi"