Itching To Go Camping?

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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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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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How To Rejuvenate With A One-Day Camping Trip

Tent In The ForestThe hustle and bustle of each busy day you experience can catch up with you and leave you feeling drained. This is a great reason to take time to enjoy Mother Nature and reconnect with the beautiful things that make our planet so worthwhile. At the same time, I understand how difficult it is to get away from your responsibilities to go camping and have outdoor fun. In the spirit of helping you enjoy camping and the great outdoors, here’s how I have a simple, loosely scheduled, one-day camping trip at a popular public campground and marina near my home, much like one near you.

  • 5 days in advance: Reserve a one-nighter with nearby campgrounds and purchase inexpensive pop-up tent, if you don’t already have one. More on tents.
  • 1 day in advance: pack tent, sleeping bag, pillow, Swiss Army knife, water, small stove, frying pan, mess kit, book, flash light and digital camera. Keep it simple and under control. Easy clean up is a must.
  • Morning of: Pack can of beans or spaghetti, fruit, cookies, water, pre-made pancake mix, butter and small amount of syrup (for one) in a small, portable ice cooler with frozen cooler pack inside. Consider also tossing in granola bars, trail mix, nuts or whatever other convenient foods you like.

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Why Camping Is Essential To Childhood

ABCs of CampingJust as the ABC’s are to reading, spelling and writing, camping can be an essential part of your child’s survival tactics. Knowledge is power and the more your children know about their world, indoors and out, the stronger they can be in a time of crisis or emergency. Specific information about camping in the hands of a child can also keep them safe and prepare them for unexpected relocation or evacuation.

So what can you teach your kids while camping? Besides how to have a good time with mother nature, you can teach your kids a number of things from how to use a utility knife, to how to start and put out a fire. Teach them to use the outdoor grills, pitch a tent and other camping equipment. Show them how to catch fish…and more importantly, how to clean and cook fish! Show them how to cook and take care of themselves in the outdoors. This lifetime skill can come in handy at any time throughout their lives. Some of the skills that I learned as a Boy Scout have stayed with me forever!

To further your kid’s education in outdoor survival, geology, and botany, I highly recommend joining the local Boy and Girl Scouts of America. It’s an excellent organization with a reputation for improving the quality of kid’s lives. They will go beyond camping and teach your children to communicate, identify and survive the every day and the extraordinary events in life. If you have young kids, now is the time for them to join!

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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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The Truth About First-time Camping

Right here and now let me get rid of some of the myths and rumors that keep first-time campers from taking the plunge. This knowledge will prepare you for the camping time of your life!

Camping can be simple and inexpensive. Much of the clothing you will need for the outdoors is probably already in your closet. Some of your personal camping gear can be made from things around the house or purchased at surplus stores, garage sales, or sporting goods stores.

If you follow the rest of the instructions in my book you will be fully prepared for the camping adventure of a lifetime. So, let’s start with some of these myths!

Myth #1  I’m not an outdoor person
Sure, camping is about being outdoors and enjoying it, but you don’t have to be “Ranger Tom” or a card-carrying Sierra Club member to enjoy camping! It is natural for people to be outside, breathing fresh air, getting a little color on your cheeks. With the proper equipment such as a tent, warm sleep bag, and some good food you will have most of the amenities that you have at home, only be outside. Go on, give it a try and tell me what you think.

Myth #2  It’s too expensive
Yes, everything you do seems to cost money. But where can you stay overnight with a family of 4 or more for under $45? Once you make the initial investment in equipment that I talk about in my book you will have many seasons of enjoyable camping at a fraction of the cost of staying in a hotel.

Myth #3  I don’t know what to take
Hold on! Isn’t that why you are reading this? This is the simple, no-brainer, “Camping 101 course that will give you the facts about the necessary equipment to bring. It’s all boiled down for you in this easy to read format. Read on…or get the book.

Myth #4  Camping is boring. What will I do with the kids?
Your kids are probably like mine. They spend too much time watching TV, playing video games, and doing e-mail or IM (instant messaging). So, for me, when I can get them away from all this, I welcome it. When I’m going camping with the kids I pick some activities that they like to do or let them choose what they want to do, while we’re camping. I get them involved by having them help plan and cook the meals. We may go for a hike on a nearby trail. Next to the campsite may be a lake where they can fish or swim. I also bring pencils, paper, and crayons for them to draw what they see. Bring a football, soccer ball, baseball glove and any other sporting equipment that the kids are into. They also bring their favorite board game or favorite book(s) to keep them busy.

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