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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Great Family Camping Trips

by: Valerie Giles

A wonderful way to invest in your families’ treasure trove of
memories is by spending time in the great outdoors. Camping
trips can be an excellent tradition that your family will look
forward to and in time, look back upon with fond memories.

Whether you plan to camp at the same place every year or seek
out new places doesn’t matter as camping is always filled with
new adventures. Your family might have a favorite place you go
to every year mixed with a new spot you select together for
another weekend or extended holiday during the year. There are
so many national parks to explore; your options really are
quite limitless.

Camping doesn’t have to be an overly expensive expenditure.
Again this all depends on how you’ll be camping. Camping in a
tent carries a completely different dynamic than camping in a
fully equipped camper. Camping in a tent is also relatively
inexpensive. Perhaps the camper is something you’ll decide to
invest in after a few years of tent camping, then again there
are some who prefer to only go tent camping. There’s something
to be said about the rustic quality of sleeping in a tent, you
can hike to far off remote spots where you couldn’t get to with
a camper in tow.

Regardless of how you’ll be camping you’ll want to have the
proper camping gear and accessories. First off you want to have
the best tent and sleeping bags you can possibly afford. As your
tent will be your home away from home for your trip and your
sleeping bag will keep you warm and covered for those long
nights under the stars (there are tents available that have
mesh roofs for star gazing, of coarse if it starts to rain, you
can just cover it up with your tent fly), you’ll want to be sure
that both these items keep you appropriately covered so to speak.

Next you’ll want to have proper camp accessories; a trustworthy
camp stove, a lantern, flashlights, a first aid kit, tarp,
cooking and eating utensils, a little axe (for chopping
firewood, also doubles as a hammer for hammering in tent pegs),
some rope (for clothes lines and securing tarp), and cooler.
Along with your sleeping bag you’ll want to remember comfy
pillows (unless your backpacking then you might want a
convenient inflatable pillow) and very importantly a good sleep
pad. An uncomfortable sleep experience on hard ground may steer
you off tent camping altogether, so come prepared, a good
sleeping pad is worth its weight in gold. A good idea to help
you remember all these items is the camping check list.

It’s a good idea to store your camp gear in some plastic
containers. This way it’s all in one place (with your camp list
included), so when it’s time to pack up and go camping you can
go through the containers making any necessary additions needed.
It’s very important to check that all your equipment is properly
maintained and cared for; there is nothing worse than getting to
your destination and finding that your camp stove is not working.
You’ll also want to be sure that your camp fuel supply is
replenished and you have extra batteries (for flashlights,
lanterns or radios).

One of the best things about the whole camping experience is
the food. Now depending on where you’re camping and what time
of year it is, if you’re lucky you’ll be able to do some of your
cooking around the campfire. During dry seasons there may be
fire restrictions due to forest fire concerns, if that’s the
case you’ll do all your cooking atop your camping stove. Every
meal always seems to taste a bit better when you’re camping, it
might have something to do with all the fresh air, or maybe all
the fun activity builds up you’re appetite, either way you’ll
want to bring along some family favorites. For dinner maybe
some grilling of the families select choices, accompanied by
some corn on the cob and potatoes wrapped in tin foil cooked
on the coals with a nice salad and later for dessert smores
(marshmallow and a slice of chocolate sandwiched between two
graham wafers), add to that some hot chocolate before bed and
that’s a night of food to dream of.

The activities (or lack of activities) will also make your
camping trip one to remember. Hiking, kayaking, cycling and
sailing might be on your agenda. Most parks offer excellent
groomed hiking trails. Research in advance the area you will be
visiting to know what activities will be available, you may be
able to rent a kayak and take a lesson at the same time. Many
areas also offer great bike trails that the family can cycle on
together. A late night walk is among favorite suggestions; you
can check out the stars and just listen to the silence.

Bring along a book you’ve wanted to read or some magazines.
Games are another excellent pastime, a deck of cards or a board
game might be some fun. Of course you can always bring along
some baseball gloves and a ball for a game of catch. Soccer
balls, badminton rackets and a net or volleyball and net all
make for a fun day at the park.

If your family has little one’s you’ll be presented with a whole
new challenge. Depending on the ages of your babies or toddlers
you’ll want to pack some extra conveniences. There are excellent
baby back carriers available allowing you to hike all sorts of
terrain with baby in tow while keeping your back feeling
comfortable, as well there are a numerous variety of baby
strollers to select from which are great for using on trails.
For toddlers you may want to bring a playpen to keep baby safe.
You can never bring too many toys; the more your child has to
keep them entertained you can rest assure they will be more
content.

Be prepared for weather changes by bringing along extra clothing.
Most likely you will be camping in the warmer spring, summer and
fall months. It’s wise to remember however that the evenings can
often get quite cool. Bring along heavy sweaters or extra
jackets for added warmth, it can never hurt to bring along a
couple of extra blankets for comfort beside the fire (or for
use at a day picnic). Rainwear is another excellent addition
to your camping wardrobe. With good quality rain jackets, hats,
rain pants and boots you can take advantage of the rainy weather
and actually go out for a hike rather than staying inside the
tent or worse yet ending your camp trip all together.

Camping certainly has its challenges. Knowing what to bring and
having the proper equipment and accessories is the first hurtle.
Once you arrive at your destination and set up you want to keep
everyone as comfortable and happy as possible, whether it’s
keeping the kids occupied without the use of video games or
cooking a surefire dinner. Rest assured that after your first
couple of trips when you find out what everyone enjoys doing
and you realize all you like to include on your trip, you will
certainly add camping to your families list of favorite
excursions and traditions. The wonderful thing about camping
is its always different, perhaps the site is different or the
campground you selected is unique to the last you stayed at,
whatever the difference is it always seems to be an adventure
that the whole family can enjoy.


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Best Camping Supplies is a resources site owned and operated by
Valerie Giles. It features tents, campers, fishing gear, boats,
kayaks and outerwear, making your camping experience enjoyable.
Everything for camping enthusiasts at reasonable prices!
http://www.best-camping-supplies.com/

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