On any camping trip, there is one constant; your campsite is your safe-haven where you go to get out from inclement weather, store your gear and rest your head after a long day of hiking. But to really enjoy your outdoor experience, you not only have to pack lighter, but pack smarter as well. Otherwise you’re treading water in the backwoods before you take your first step into the wilderness.
The first rule of thumb for effective camping is to know the difference between essential camping gear and the unneeded luxuries. Although comfort should always be a top priority, this doesn’t mean large space full of creature comforts. You are camping, after all.
Huge tents with excessive over packing can not only weigh you down, but essentially take away from the experience. Smaller tents also provide more flexibility for placement on a specific campsite than larger ones.
When you get to your selected campsite, survey the area. Keep your eyes open for trees with drop potential, because nothing ruins a trip more than being crushed by an oak tree. Telltale signs include fallen branches at the base, creaking sounds from above and patches on the trunk free of bark.
Additionally, when scoping out the canopy, a thick cover is advantageous over a thinner one to protect from rain showers and the hot sun. Also upon your initial survey of the landscape, ensure your neighbors are tolerable for the duration of your stay. Are they messy, noisy and inconsiderate? Maybe they’re even aggressive? Or are they peaceful, quiet and considerate?
Finally, when assessing your prospective site, also determine general wind direction in relation to your surroundings. Make sure you’re upwind from all potential offenses, including your neighbor’s campfire. Implementing these few simple steps will make sure you have a fun and enjoyable weekend in the woods.
Obviously your tenting needs change with what kind of camping you intend on doing. If you plan to backpack and hike, a lighter and smaller tent is most recommended, while if hauling isn’t an issue, you may want a larger, roomier tent. Also comfort and protection from the elements is an imperative issue when considering a tent.
If you are camping in the desert or during cold season, you would want a cold weather tent. But if you and the family are just taking a trip up to the lake for Memorial Day, a three season tent is perfect. Three season tents with a removable raincoat are even recommended for use as much as possible. They often have net tops to keep the bugs out while letting you enjoy the dark country sky.
Size doesn’t necessarily translate to portability anymore. With today’s camping technology, a collapsible 8 man tent can be compressed to a size more portable than a 1-man bivy tent. But these tend to be a bit more expensive. This begs the question of how much you are willing to spend. Obviously there is more benefit to more expensive tents, such as capability to lead an exposition with lighter equipment.
In addition to these crucial components, you also want to consider the size of your tent. This obviously greatly depends on the number of campers in your party, but also in the kind of camping you’re planning to do. If you plan to bring a lot of supplies that you want protected from the elements, you may want a larger tent, regardless of the number of sleepers.
Everyone loves camping with their family… well unless you’re a teenager. Just taking a quick trip to the country on any given weekend to enjoy a little of what nature has to offer can do wonders for the mind and can really be an excellent time. But there are plenty of reasons to enjoy camping with your family well beyond just having a great time.
We have all heard the expression “quality time.” But what does that expression really mean? We all know it’s important to share with those important to you, because it perpetuates and encourages healthy relationships. You have the opportunity to learn more about each other on different levels and in different respects. And as much as you already may know each other- or think you know each other- you grow to understand each other as people even more.
Sustaining quality time is incredibly important for keeping a family healthy and happy. The cohesion reinforced with increased quality time and the subsequent emotional bonding. With this emotional bonding comes adaptability, allowing a family unit to better roll with the punches, so to speak. And when your family can better adapt to change (a big move, change in financial status, death in the family, etc) they are less likely to abandon the concepts of togetherness and ‘doing it together.’
Camping is almost beyond the ideal situation to encourage quality time. Camping encourages situations for problem solving, such as starting a fire or camping. And solving problems with others cannot be accomplished without communication. This is especially important if you have kids in your family. Why? Because children with better communication skills tend make for better students and successful adults.
There are plenty of advantages to camping with your children and all the quality time you get to share. Statistics also show children who spend more time with their family are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. Aside from all these benefits to family and life quality, the great outdoors are simply second to none!
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