Born to Camp – Grab Your Tent!

Camping is in the blood. As a child, I went camping to Scotland. Dad dug trenches around the ridge tent, adjusted guy ropes day and night to avoid flooding, tricks learned as a boy scout in the 1930’s. DDT was used to kill the bugs. Cooking was on a one- ring burner. Milk came in cartons from a machine on the main street of Fort William. The equipment we needed fitted neatly into a Ford Prefect. Every year the same ritual: set off at 5 a.m. to avoid the non-existent traffic, breakfast at Lauder consisting of traditional Scottish mutton pies and onwards to Pitlochery, singing, ‘Over the Sea to Skye’. This was in the days before the Forth Road Bridge, reliant on the ferry from Queensferry.

When my children were young we decided to take them camping – experience the good life. We paid a mere £100 for a second-hand frame tent and all of the equipment. Yes, a frame tent! We could only dream of one of these luxury items when I was a child. Yet again, setting off at 5 in the morning, breakfast at Lauder (although husband refused the mutton pies), disappointment at having to buy milk in a shop, equipment fitting neatly into a Renault 11. But this time, as a parent, immense satisfaction at introducing the offspring to the wonders of nature, instilling in them a passion for the outdoors.

Oh Diane! What have you started. One simple statement,

“Guess what, we’ve bought – a tent and we’re going to start camping.”

“Aaarh!”

A few months earlier it was a Harley Davison. This is Diane who only ever travels 5 star. This is the Diane who has weekly facials and manicures. How could Diane possibly be going camping? Diane does not camp! We camp… well, used to camp. Let’s face it. Lots of people used to camp. Say what you like about the outdoors and getting back to nature, when you can afford to give up camping, you give up camping. I like my 5 star luxury hotels, with waiter service, en-suite complete with toiletries, maid service, mints on the pillow and complimentary champagne and fruit.

Imagine then the panic! Camping! Diane had invited us to a camping exhibition. There should have been a warning sign – no males over 50!! I saw the gleam in his eye, the excitement as he prowled from tent to tent. And there it was… it lured us in – ‘The Bear Lake 4′. The Rolls Royce of tents. No simple, lightweight, cheap, ‘don’t mind if you’re never used ‘ tent. This tent begins at £500. It has breathable fabric with holes that close when it rains! It has windows with curtains and tie backs and mosquito nets, its own doormat and matching windbreak. Irresistable to any man over 50. I could sense his return to youth, the excitement, the outdoors, back to nature, shed the trappings of modern day life. The money was handed over so quickly. The return to camping had begun. But, we have no equipment!

Oh, how times have moved on. We are now the proud owners of an electric hook-up, an electrically inflated air-bed (double height), high tech cooking facilities, a camp kitchen, matching crockery complete with tray stored on shelving unit, an electric cool-box, electric kettle – no more whistle – I miss the whistling kettle. All of this for a mere £500.

And now, the latest addition – a new car to put it in! Not any car but a carefully structured piece of engineering that was longing for owners to take it camping. This is the Rav4. The cheap holidays that we can have as we move into retirement….has now cost us a further £24,000! Not quite the £100 of days gone by. At these costs we will have to use it!

Scotland, mutton pies at Lauder are beckoning… can’t wait.

Hope there’s a hotel nearby in case it rains. I’m sure I can fit the hair straighteners in….television……en suite bathroom……..
http://helloecoliving.com/2010/04/born-to-camp/

Family Tent Store: Equipment Necessary for a Successful Family Camping Trip

We found, through experience, that the first accessory we needed was a fold-up camp wagon. This enables us to transport the camping equipment from the car to the campsite without having to make as many trips to the vehicle. There are many manufacturers of this vehicle readily available, but we found that the “Coleman” foldable camp wagon served us better than some of the other types.

Next in line would be “Safety Matches”. If you are camping in an area that allows for open fires, this is a must have item. We always brought two boxes of the safety matches and put them in zip lock bags to prevent them from getting wet and stored it with our “dry goods” supplies. A necessary accompaniment to the matches is some kind of tinder to start the kindling, before adding larger pieces of wood. Many people have their own ways of appropriating this. Many use the lint from dryers while others use “steel wool”. Kindling, such as dry grass, leaves or twigs may be found at the campsite, but it is suggested that you have a back-up.

The next item we will have to have, if we will be having a campfire is a “camp ax or hatchet”. If the camping area allows us to use local resources, this a must have item. We will need this to cut our firewood and also to drive in tent stakes. They are readily available at local camping/sporting goods stores. They can also be purchased online, ranging in prices from $18 to $70.

There are general rules in having a campfire, that should be stringently observed. It goes without saying, that children and animals should be observed to ensure that they do not go too near the campfire. I have included in the next part, a link to an article that is put out by the US Park Services that should be read, in regards to campfires.

If your Family Camping Trip will be to a US Parks, Campground, you should go to http://www.nps.gov/articles/campfires.htm and see their recommendations. These guidelines should also apply, even if your camping trip is not a national camping ground.

Proper sleeping bags from time of year, plentiful drinking water (two liters per day per person) and please don’t forget the toilet paper and other items needed to make your Family Camping Trip enjoyable.

This article was written to try, and assist in making the Family Camping Trip as enjoyable as possible and the start of building “Family Memories”. We hope this article has offered suggestions that you may find useful. Enjoy yourselves and “Happy Trails”.

4 Easy Ways To Extend The Life Of Your Camping Tent

Your camping tent is not only the place you will sleep in when you’re outdoors, but it also protects you and keeps you safe from outside elements. Having said this, your tent deserves care and attention to help it extend its life.

Here are some ways on how you can care for your camping tent:

Protect the floor of your tent

The key here is the spot where you’ll be setting up camp. An ideal area would be a spot that is smooth and level. Clear the area of small debris like rocks, twigs, pine cones and the like as these might cause cuts to your tent’s floor. To further protect the floor, use a footprint, a ground cloth that will provide the floor of your tent an even smoother surface to be set up in. Lastly, don’t bring any foot wear inside!

Keep away from the sun

Not only are the sun’s UV rays harmful to your skin but to your tent’s surface, too. The UV rays would do damage to both the fabric and the nylon fibers. Your best bet is to set up camp at a shady area, but if you can’t find one, use a tarp to shade your tent. If you’re going to be out for a while (hiking, fishing or backpacking), remove your tent from direct sunlight.

Keep the food outside

Don’t bring food and eat inside of your tent. There are a multitude of insects out in the woods and food attracts many of them. You don’t want insects to be crawling all over your tent and trying to chew their way in through the fabric just to get to the food. And besides, camp food should always be placed in tightly sealed containers to avoid attracting bears and other wildlife to the campsite.

Keep your tent clean

While packing up, give your tent a good shake to get rid of any dust and dirt that may have accumulated both inside and outside. It’s ideal to wash it every after use to ensure that there’s no mildew on any surface and also to remove dirt in the zipper which will help prevent it from malfunctioning in the future. Don’t forget to dry your tent completely before storing it loosely in a bag at a cool, dry place.

Follow these easy tips to extend the life of your camping tent and you’re sure to enjoy its service for many years to come!