“Be First In Line” Campout

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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.

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

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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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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Cold Weather Camping Tips

A number of my friends take their kids to the desert in December to go dirt biking and they complain about the cold camping. Well, here are a number of tips that I’ve used when cold weather camping that will make your campout more enjoyable.

The obvious first tip is to bring warm clothes. So why am I mentioning this? So, you’ll bring the right clothes! Bring gloves, ski jackets, wool hats, wool socks, long underwear, turtleneck shirts, sweat pants, sweaters and lots of extra clothes that you can layer. Unlike summer camping where you can get away with a couple of t-shirts and a pair of shorts. Plan to over pack during cold weather. As the old adage goes, “It’s easier to put on clothes you have than clothes you don’t have!”

Shelter - Find a place to shelter your tent from winds. I know it may be hard to do this in a desert, but try to make camp on the edge of a dry lakebed, not in the middle. If the wind seems to be coming from a particular direction, park your vehicle to block the wind.

During the day you keep warm by being active - hiking, dirt biking, etc. At night when it gets colder and sleep beacons you is when you need to be prepared.

Bedding - Make sure you bring lots of warm bedding. I usually take a 0° F rated sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, an extra blanket and a summer rated sleeping bag. Make sure you have lots of padding between your sleeping bag and the ground of your tent. If you don’t, the cold ground will suck all the heat out of your body while you sleep! Burrrrr!

Sleeping - Before you go to bed, put on your long underwear, wool socks and a wool hat. Your body loses lots of heat through an exposed head. If you wake up cold, put the extra blanket or summer sleeping bag on top of you or another layer of clothes such as: sweat pants and a sweat shirt. If you get too warm, vent your sleeping bag by opening the zipper, or vent yourself by taking off your wool hat or a layer of clothing. The key is to keep warm, but not to sweat. Perspiration will make you wet and cold. If this happens, peel off your wet clothes and put some dry clothes on and start again. Now aren’t you glad you brought lots of clothes! :-)

Warmth - A couple of tricks I use are to build a fire at night so everyone can sit around, chat and get toasty before going to bed. But, also while the fire is burning, put a pot of water on the fire, bring it not quite to a boil, pour it into a canteen or heavy-duty water bottle and take it to bed with you to warm the sleeping bag! Additionally, it’s always good to have some hot beverage like cocoa or tea prior to bed to put something warm in your body. But, you better rid yourself of the fluids before you go to bed. Nothing is worse than waking up in the middle of a cold night to the “call of nature”. :-(

Hopefully you will find these tips useful and feel comfortable enough to camp when the weather is cold. Try it! It’s quite a sense of accomplishment.

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