Woolrich Mountain Parka and Camping

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Woolrich Mountain ParkaThis time of the year is the wet time to camp and hike, but I enjoy it with the changing of the colors, the grey skies and showers – from time to time.  The folks at Woolrich asked me to checkout one of their Mountain Parkas.  Although it doesn’t rain much in Southern California this time of year, I did get a chance to check it out this week with the rain and colder weather.  I gotta say… it sure is warm and dry.  I think I can spray a hose on this Parka and stay completely dry.  I’m looking forward to taking it up the mountains this winter to see how it performs in the snow!

 

The materials the Parka is made of are obviously meant to last.  The two-way zipper system is great. Once the Parka is zipped up you can easily vent or get at stuff in your pants pocket easily, using the bottom zipper. The drawstrings are a nice addition and certainly come in handy to cinch in the hood and around your waist to hold in the heat.  My son, Wes, took the Parka on an overnight hike/camp trip and was pleased with how warm it is, with the wool liner.  Nice touch!  Even if you’re wet, this wool Parka will keep you toasty.

 

Inside the ParkaIt has 4 Velcro pockets, two breast pockets and two waist pockets. I really enjoyed the oversize waist pockets, which I was able to fit a lot of supplies in. One unique feature I found was the break in wool liner near the butt of the Parka (see picture). This provided a nice patch of material to sit on to keep my butt nice and dry when I would sit on the wet ground or soaked logs, and wouldn’t get the wool liner all dirty and wet.  All of the tightening cords make it easy to create a custom fit for this jacket.

 

One downside to the Parka was that the shoulders are a bit tight which makes layering a little difficult, and a removable hood would have been a good bonus.  But, overall I believe this is a great Parka, very waterproof and warm which is what you need when hiking and camping this time of year.

 

For more information on this great Woolrich Parka go to: Mountain Parka 

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Hot Springs Camping on the West Coast

Hot SpringsAs the desert areas dry up and cool down with the onset of winter, the best places to camp in California are at the hot springs. Gorgeous, breathtaking views, hot and therapeutic waters and beautiful open-air campsites keep people coming back to California’s best-kept secrets. Without sacrificing trails, activities and local atmosphere, a Hot Springs Camping Trip is something every camper should experience. Here are some camping tips for those planning a hot springs camping trip to California.

 

In Northern California is Sierra Hot Springs where you can follow signs to any one of many Hot Springs Parks and resorts. In Sierra you can find a variety of different hot springs near a wide selection of lodging and community activities. Campers have full use of Sierra Hot Springs facilities, including the trails, pools, showers, guest kitchen, guest refrigerators, etc. You may also attend any of the many free guest events, or take advantage of massages, meals or other services offered at additional cost.

 

In Central California, Wilbur Hot Springs has a reputation for its beauty and atmosphere. Wood built flumes or bathing houses are located all over the resort and lodging is luxurious and exquisite. The main hall has activities like an instrument playing area and a ping-pong table and there are pampering options like yoga classes and massage therapy. They offer camping sites and a bunkroom!

 

A trip to Southern California should land you in the wonderful Agua Caliente. Agua Caliente Park is a regional camping park located in the Anza Borrego Desert and is best known for its geothermal heated springs. Three naturally fed pools provide different ways of enjoying the park’s mineral water: There are two pools outdoors, and an indoor therapeutic spa is heated to 102 degrees and outfitted with Jacuzzi jets. The park is very popular during the winter and has numerous camping sites (full hook-ups, partial hook-ups, non hook-up and tent sites, and a caravan area for large groups) available. Hikers will enjoy miles of trails that meander through the park’s canyons and across its hillsides.

 

I hope you find these camping tips on great hot springs camping locations useful for your next camping adventure to somewhere warm this winter. If you’re planning a road trip, visiting all of these springs and the others located in California, would make a vivid and memorable adventure.

 

Be safe and Happy Camping!

 

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What the Heck is Polish Horseshoes?

Polish Horeshoes Ever been on a campout and you’re wondering what to do next?  The kids have been through all their games and are starting to get into mischief.  Now’s the time to bring out  Polish Horseshoes!  What? You say?  Well, this game started as an adult “drinking” game,  but is gaining popularity with all ages.  It involves driving 2 stakes in the ground 20 to 30  feet apart.  Balance a glass bottle on the top of each stake.  Get a Frisbee, form up teams and try to knock each other’s bottle off the stake, with the Frisbee.  Well, the game and the setup have come a long way since the first Polish Horseshoes game was played.  Now you can get a freestanding setup, no stakes, no glass bottles (a major no-no when camping!) and everyone can play!

 

The guys at www.mypole-ishhorseshoes.com have made it simple, compact and reusable.  Their kit is a bunch of pre-cut PVC pipe you can easily set up and take apart.  They added a wiffle ball and Frisbee, and you are all set.  It sets up in minutes and will keep the kids (and the adult “kids”) occupied for hours.  Give it a shot.  You may find it addictive! And will make those lulls in camp life pass very quickly.

 

 

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Got Camping Questions?

CampingGuy QuestionsAs we enter into a new camping season in North America I’m sure a lot campers and would-be campers and starting to think about the new camping season.  So, I wanted to offer The Camping Guy readers a little Q&A capability to answer any questions that you have as you embark on your next camping trip.

Questions like: what do I pack for a family of four? How do I get my kids involved in my love for camping?  Or, maybe some questions on camping gear, and of course my favorite…food!  The best part of camping is that the food tastes much better!! :-)

So go ahead…ask The Camping Guy a question by hitting the Comments button at the bottom of this article.  That way you can all share your questions and answers with each other.  Go ahead don’t be shy, I know you’ve got a question…….

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Itching To Go Camping?

Camping at SunsetAs spring is in the air and it starts to warm up, I start to think about camping.  How about you?  So, I went into the garage and opened the cabinets where I keep all my camping gear and started to go through it.  What do I need to replace?  What needs to be replenished?  Take out the sleeping bags and air them out.  You know….all that stuff you know you should do but never get around to it.  Well I had the “itch” so that’s what I do to scratch it.

I also start to think of where and when I’m going camping. In my mind, with the economy the way it is, camping is still the cheapest way to take your family on a vacation.  And with all the tips and tricks on TheCampingGuy website and blog to refer to, you will have a fun time without breaking the bank.

So I thought I would put together a small checklist of things you can do to prepare for the ’09 camping season!

1.    Check to make sure everything works - stove, lantern, fresh batteries in flashlights, refill propane tanks, buy more propane canisters, etc.

2.    Make sure you’ve got all your cooking gear in shape.  Is everything clean or did you forget to clean that pot of spaghetti before you put your cook kit into storage?  Check everything that’s in your cook kit or make one by going here.

3.    Check the tent for rips, check poles, pent pegs.  If you need to do some repairs, here’s a repair kit that I use.  If you’re ambitious, this is a good time to apply some seam sealer to the tent.  Check out how - right here.  This will also give you a chance to set up the tent, air it out, and sweep it out. Then you know you’re tent is ready.

4.    Replenish your basics like: matches, propane, soap, paper towels, aluminum foil, firewood, fire starters, water filters, paper cups, plates, etc.

After this you’ve got most of the preparation complete and you’re ready to start the season.  So go ahead, sit back and dream about the places you’re going to camping to this year.

Happy Camping!!

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“Be First In Line” Campout

Crowd WaitingYou’ve seen them…they’re lined up outside in long lines waiting for the new iPhone, or Xbox or even concert tickers.  They show up days in advance so they can be first in line.  The last time I saw that I said to myself, “what nuts!” they’re in lawn chairs and sleeping bags.  If you gonna do this, do it right, with comfort!  So, for all you fans that want to be first in line, here’s some Camping Guy tips on how to make it enjoyable.

Shelter
You need something that you can immediately fold up and stow away so that if you’re asked to leave the line or if it suddenly begins to move, you’re not left in the cold dragging your belongings.  :-( A small pop-up tent is the easy answer. They’re easy to fold and unfold and they’re very light. So if the line moves, your shelter can, too

Comfort
A pop-up tent is convenient and light but the sidewalk is very hard!  So get a camping pad or camping mattress, as they’re called, to keep your body comfortable, away from the cold ground and cramp free.  Also, take a sleeping bag, pillow, and comfortable chair so you can sleep a little….sit a little, and not get totally bored.

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See How Easily You Can Have A Father’s Day Campout

Fathers' Day CampoutFather’s Day is just around the corner so how about a surprise family camping trip! You’ll save time, money and have a wonderful experience that you and the kids will reflect on for years to come. But what about the details, the gift and how to keep everyone entertained? To get you going, I’ve compiled a list of tips and some new gadgets that Dads are going crazy for.

Location
As usual, your camping spot is on the top of your list of priorities. Since you have some time, finding reservations at a local campground should be easy and inexpensive. If you can’t find room at your local campground, try a county reserve or state park that isn’t too far. Whatever you do, be sure to find a place that won’t over crowd your family. Of course, if Dad has a favorite spot, hit that one first.

Amenities
Make sure that Dad has everything he needs; pack his clothes, socks, boxers, toilet kit as well as his boots, flash light, camping knife and fishing gear when fishing is possible. Surprise him by packing the car while he’s out mowing the lawn or running errands!

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How to Keep Your Camping Trip Bug Free

Mosquito BitingThe gorgeous green mountainsides and rushing spring water are great reasons to enjoy camping in springtime. Bugs, however, can dampen your camping spirit depending on where you plan to camp. To overcome these pesky critters, I have some great tips and ideas for keeping your camping trip bug free and it won’t require much time or effort.

Netting
Traditional easy-to-open canopy tents, which are great for shade while living in the outdoors, can double up as a great dining room. For about $100, you can find a great garden tent with convenient screen walls. These are easy to put up, take down and keep the bugs out.

Another way to net your campers is to be sure that the camping tents you choose have netted windows in them. Most tents like Greatland, Eddie Bauer and Coleman come with both netted windows and a zip up solid window.

Products
Spray on bug repellents and lotions are inexpensive, easy to find at your local drug store and work great. They often, however, contain Deet. Deet is a pesticide that has been known to irritate sensitive skin, absorb into the blood stream and its long-term affects are unknown, so be aware.

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A Mother’s Day Campout

Mother's Day CampoutTrees, streams and adventure make Mother’s Day camping a popular trend and can help your family save money also. She might even appreciate being whisked away to a private get-away in the woods. Keeping her weekend picture perfect, however, will require some dedication and maybe a few suggestions.

Location
Be sure to choose a campsite, marina or resort that doesn’t require reservations but also has plenty of wide-open space to sprawl around in. Perhaps even going into designated “back woods” areas outside your city would be best. Check your local state or county preserves to find safe, awesome areas and conduct a Google search for more info.

Packing the Goodies

Besides the usual emergency kit and other camping necessities, be sure to pack things that will make Mom’s weekend more pleasurable. Pack her some mosquito repellent, Calamine, pillows, treats, blankets, lotion, face cream, chocolate, books, gifts, nail care, tissues and whatever else your Mom likes.

Sneaky Sneak
Be sure that Mom is unaware of where she’s headed off to and pack the car while she’s distracted or away the day before. You already know she loves the great outdoors but a surprise will definitely liven the atmosphere! And since you are whisking her off in secrecy, be sure to pack her necessities: clothes, boots, tooth care, face cloths, socks, etc. Lastly, make her comfortable on the trip with magazines, water, snacks and her favorite tunes.

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10 Easy Camping Meals With Baked Potatoes

Baked Potato RecipesLet’s face it…camping meals need to be easy to make, easy to eat and easy to clean up. Did you know that potatoes just happen to be a great way to get all of those things and still have plenty of room for flavor? So here’s some great ideas on how to satisfy your whole family on your camping trip using many potatoes…and a few other things as well.

1. Po’ Boy Foil Bowl
Chop up 1 small potato per camper, depending on their appetite. Put the chopped potatoes in a clean, plastic bag, add a splash of olive oil, pepper, salt and whatever dried herbs you have. Add a couple of hand fulls of chopped vegetables like: carrots, celery, onion, tomato, broccoli, etc. and shake the bag. Dish out about a cup of the mixture onto sheets of aluminum foil. Wrap the ingredients tightly, leaving a small opening at top and grill over open flame or in the coals of a fire, for up to 30 minutes. Use tongs to check the packages regularly–if they steam when you open them, your po’ boy is ready! Serve straight from aluminum!

2. Baked Potato Burrito
One baked potato per camper. Leave the skin on and cut the potato in half, long ways. Scoop a chunk from each half and place scooped potato in plastic bag. Add lots of salt, pepper, seasonings and a can of drained, black beans. Mush the bag until thoroughly mixed. Place potato halves onto aluminum foil sheets, scoop potato/bean mixture onto the halves and top with other half of potato. Gently wrap in foil and, turning gently and regularly, cook the potatoes over open flame or in the coals of a fire. Be careful when opening and eat with a spoon!

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