Archive for First-time Camping

How to Keep Your Camping Trip Bug Free

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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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Tips For Spring Camping With Allergies

Camping With AllergiesSpring is one of the most beautiful times of the year to camp and hike, but we also know that where there are flowers blooming and birds chirping, there is also pollen, spores and microscopic seeds floating all around us. So, I bring you these allergy fighting tips to use on your next springtime camping trip.

Homeopathic Remedies

Camping out in the wilderness means that you must be alert and on your toes at all times. There are a great many things to discover, enjoy and be aware of. You don’t want to be drowsy on allergy medication while you’re trying to enjoy the great outdoors! So, before you head to the medicine cabinet for something, try out some of these natural ways to fight off allergies.

  1. Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids: Boosting your immune system is a great way to fight off allergies and the infections that can sometimes follow them.
  2. Vitamin A: Fight the inflammation caused by allergies with vitamin A, even after the onset of symptoms. Subtle but effective, Vitamin A calms allergies and boosts immunity.
  3. Vitamin B5: This vitamin will boost your adrenal function, which is a great defense against stress. You may not know it, but your body gets stressed out during an allergic reaction.
  4. CoQ10: A natural antihistamine and stress blocker, this is a great vitamin to add to C and B5.
  5. Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish and supplements, take this with A and CoQ10. Within an hour, you should expect relief from the symptoms of your allergies.
    Nelsons Homeopathic Medicine: These neat little pills come in a clikpak that you can carry around with you in a purse or pocket and are made by Nelsons, a homeopathic remedy company that’s been in business for over 100 years. Visit them at www.nelsonshomoeopathy.co.uk.
  6. Airborne: Created by a teacher, this supplement is packed with amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins. You can find it in just about any grocery store.
  7. Juices, fruit and vegetables: Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables along with drinking orange, grape and cranberry juice before, during and after a camping trip can make a huge difference in how energetic and healthy you feel.

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Quick Camping Meals In 5 Minutes

Easy Camping FoodThe Camping Guy brings you great recipes for your camping needs. From breakfast to dessert, these are quick and convenient ways to eat while camping out – for the non-cookers. For the quick and convenient crowd that don’t want to mess around, I suggest:

  • Breakfast - For a quick breakfast when you are unable to cook try granola and vanilla yogurt and with ripe pears and raisins is a great way to start your day. If you prefer something more traditional but still can’t cook, chop up some pearl onions, tomatoes, cooked chicken or turkey and toss them into a tortilla with some seasoning and pepper. Add other fresh vegetables, cheese or cream to suit your taste!
  • Lunch - is always a great meal for easy camping since it requires no cooking. Sandwiches are always the obvious choice but those sandwiches can be fresh and seasonal with these great topping ideas: hummus, sprouts, squash, avocado, tomato, basil, and carrot – for the vegans and cold cuts for the rest of us. If sandwiches aren’t appealing, salads are another great way to go. For a fun, seasonal salad topping, try almonds, cashews or pistachios. One of the Scout Masters would always make a “garbage salad” when we went camping. He’d cut up all the salad fixings and put them in a green garbage bag, add nuts and pour in half a bottle of salad dressing and shake. Tasted great!

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Have A Fall Campout You’ll Remember

Fall SunsetTo me, the most comfortable time of year is absolutely Autumn. It’s that time when the air goes through so many changes and does so much for us. It dances with leaves, contributes to beautiful sunsets and begins cooling things off for us in the States. All these memorable things are what makes fall an excellent time to camp.

Here’s some quick tips for camping in the cool, beautiful weather:

  • Firstly, pack layered clothing. Fall can be fickle, so starting off with a t-shirt and add from there is a great way to remain comfortable while camping. Don’t forget sweaters and light jackets or coats.
  • Be prepared for any type of terrain. Fall can be dry but is known also for a random shower. Pack both tennis shoes and boots so that your hiking experience is safe.
  • Take several thin blankets with you. You would be surprised at how warm most Autumn nights can be in a tent. This way you can lay on top of your sleeping bag if it’s too hot and get inside it if it gets cold.

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Secrets Of Camping For The Modern Woman

Woman CampingTaken from a woman’s point of view, my friend April, who camps a lot wrote this piece for you. Enjoy!

Women may be domestic goddesses and they are just as capable of roughing it in the wilderness as men, but who says they want to? There is absolutely no shame in the need for a clean, quiet retreat in the outdoors where there is a choice—fishing or a fish restaurant. Which is why I bring you information on the cleanest, most convenient camping in America.

The most obvious place to visit is Big Bear, California. In Big Bear, The Honey Bear Lodge has an excellent reputation for convenience offering in-room spas, kitchenettes, and every level of cabin comfort at reasonable prices. There are basic rooms, rooms for couples, individual cabins for families and parties and even cabin homes! Honey Bear Lodge is also less than a half mile away from the eclectic shopping that Big Bear is known for and less than 5 miles away from Baldwin Lake Stables where you can take guided tours on horse back.

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Get Rid Of Cold Camping For Good

Maple LeafWith Thanksgiving right around the corner and the holidays in sight, we know that cooler weather is creeping in. There are still some warm camping spots to enjoy this time of year, mainly on the west coast, but soon Father Winter will move in and change the atmosphere of camping for a season, with or without rain.

The well known ways to keep warm while enjoying your camping trip are: long johns, layered clothing, boots, coats, blankets, ponchos, a fire pit, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, chili and soup. In fact I wrote an article on Cold Weather Camping Tips, which goes into, shelter, bedding and some tricks I use to stay warm. However, this time I want to talk about a couple of gadgets that I found that will make your cold weather campout that much more enjoyable :-)

Vehicle A/C Converter Plug
This amazing, little device is plugged into your cigarette lighter outlet and runs off of your car battery, regardless of whether or not it is running. All standard, low watt electrical appliances can be plugged into the A/C Converter and will safely run for moderate periods of time. When practicing safe use of this device, heating blankets, portable DVD players, and any chargeable media can now be a part of your camping experience! Get one at most hardware or car parts stores.

The Coleman Outdoor Camp Oven
There is no better way to stay warm outside than with a portable oven that you can cook delicious dishes…and it’s all done outdoors! If you know me you know that I like to eat well on my campouts. With this little “beauty” you can bake brownies, chicken, casseroles or anything else you can dream up with this small, collapsible oven, which runs on propane.

So conquer the cold and enjoy the coming winter camping season. Be safe, pack well and get a few of these gadgets to make it fun. Happy Camping!

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The Secret of Camping in the Rain!

Camping in the RainI was in the checkout line at my local grocery store when I overhead the guy in front of me talking to the checkout gal about his wife and kids at the local campground and how they got rained on last night. They survived…but got a little soggy. Being “The Camping Guy”, I was about to give him some tips, but the line was growing behind me and I was getting “those stares” from other shoppers. So, instead I’ll give the tips here, so everyone can use them.

My all time favorite is Seam Sealer. I written about this a few times and even have a quiz on my blog around this idea. The bottom line is - always check your tent seams. It’s just a good habit to get into whenever you set up your tent. Sometimes it can crack or peel, exposing the stitches where water can get through. A $5 bottle of seam sealer can make the difference between a soggy campout and a dry one!

#2 Ground sheet. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen ground sheets under a tent floor that are sticking out past the tent. Imagine, as the water rolls off the tent roof and down the walls…it puddles on the ground sheet and rolls back under the floor of the tent! Yikes! So, please make sure you fold the edges of the ground sheet under the edges of the tent floor. This way, water will drain off the roof and tent walls and around the edges of the tent and soak into the surrounding ground, not roll back under the tent. (Note to self – make a video on how to properly position the ground sheet under the tent)

#3 Keep your gear away from the walls of the tent! Make sure your sleeping bags, packs, and other gear are not resting up against the walls of the tent. Remember, a tent is designed to deflect the water off the tent and onto the ground. A bump in the tent wall will cause the water to stop, pool and soak through.

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Number of People Camping is UP!

GraphIt always warms my heart to see great numbers of people using our local and state parks to get outdoors and go camping. According to Reserve USA an online service that reviews camping trends, facilities and takes reservations nationwide, they believe that the increased expense of long distance car travel is keeping families closer to home during the summer months, making outdoor activities like family picnics and camping trips the preferred choice. And I thought it was all the great tips, tricks and advice that I was giving on TheCampingGuy. ;-)

Regardless of the reason don’t hesitate to go camping. Here’s 5 good reasons:

1. The TV, video games and computer need to rest too. Leave them at home and enjoy the outdoors. I dare you!

2. It’s sooo affordable. The amount you would spend on a hotel for a couple of nights can get all the equipment you will need….and you get to reuse it. Don’t know what to bring, follow these links:

How to choose the right tent
How to choose the right sleeping bag
What stove to use

Checklist of things to bring
Want more?

3. When was the last time you were far enough away from the city lights to see the stars? I mean all the stars, like a dark sheet with millions of pinholes.

4. Your senses wake up. The smell of bacon frying and the wood burning in the campfire fill your nose with rich aromas. I even believe that food tastes better when you’re camping.

5. Capture some memories. Ones that will remain with your family forever. I can still fondly remember the campouts I went on when I was a boy. Why not give that to your kids too?

So what are you waiting for? Go Camping!

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Check for Ticks!

Picture of a TickI’m sure you’ve heard about Lyme disease and how it’s carried by some ticks so here’s a few tips on how to prevent getting ticks while camping and what to do if you get one.

First of all, let’s focus on protection. Here’s a couple of tips.

  • Wear light colored clothing so you can see the ticks on you.
  • Pull your socks up over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling in.
  • Wear a long sleeved shirt and a hat.
  • Wear insect repellant. I tend to spray an extra dose around my ankles when I’m hiking on trails.
  • Check yourself and others for ticks after a hike, especially around the head and ears.

If you happen to get one attached to you, here’s what to do.

  • Stay calm
  • Take some tweezers from your camp kit or first aid kit and grasp the tick close to the skin and gently pull until it comes out. You don’t want to rip it out, or you might leave the mouth parts in your skin.
  • Wash the wound with soap and water, put on antibiotic ointment.
  • After dealing with the tick make sure you wash your hands.

Watch for symptoms over the next 48 hours to week, which are:

  • A red ring-like rash may appear around the bite area
  • Flu-like symptoms like fatigue, muscle and join pain, headache, fever, swollen glands, sore throat and stiff neck.

If you experience these symptoms after tick remove, please see a physician.

Above all, check with the Park Ranger of the campground to see if ticks inhabit in your camping area. He/she will give you some advice on local conditions and possible areas to stay away from. Then you’re prepared to have a fun campout!

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Food Safety While Camping

Camping Food!The best part of camping is the food….right? I enjoy cooking some of my favorite dishes and especially trying a new recipe in my Dutch Oven. But, getting the food to camp and making sure it stays fresh without any hassles or ill affects can be a challenge that can easily be remedied if you keep a few things in mind.

While transporting the food consider this:

  • Keep cold food cold, at or below 40°F. Make up a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs, just for food and one just for drinks. This way every time you reach for a drink you aren’t going to affect the meat you have packed for dinner.
  • If possible, pack meat, poultry, and seafood while it’s still frozen so that it stays cold longer. Always keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separately wrapped (I prefer ziplock bags) so their juices don’t contaminate cooked foods or other foods in the cooler, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep the food cooler in the air conditioned passenger compartment of your car, not in the hot trunk. And try to reduce the number of times you open the cooler.

Once at the campsite and you’re getting ready to prepare one of your delicious meals…remember:

  • Wash your hands! Ya..I know, I sound like your Mom. But I know how difficult it can be to get some water, soap and wash your hands when your camping. Have someone pour the water jug over you hands, use some soap and towel off. If water is at a premium you can use anti-bacterial hand wipes. :-)
  • While “prepping” the food, keep all utensils and platters clean. All the things you would normally do at home…right? I know! I even forget sometimes in a camping setting.

If you’re grilling, here’s a few more things to consider:

  • I like to marinate and will put the meat in ziplock bags with the marinate right into the cooler. Any marinate I want to use as a sauce I put in another separate bag.
  • When grilling make sure everything is cooked. Sometimes when I grill over a fire, not a BBQ, I have to watch that some of the food doesn’t get under-cooked because the fire is not burning evenly.

Above all, enjoy your food. There’s something that happens to food when you cook it outdoors at a campout. It just seems to bring out all the natural flavors. I can taste them now, can you?

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