How to Store Camping Gear

Store camping gear 1

By Whitney Klenzendorf

Sometimes it can feel like the majority of a camping trip is spent packing, unpacking, and locating equipment.  This is a situation which sometimes drives me slightly insane.  And everyone seems to store camping gear differently.  So to combat this insanity I’ve developed a pretty efficient system of storage.  A system which prevents me from EVER having to pack for a camping trip!

Here, I’ll share with you the magic system.

Store Camping Gear easily and efficiently

And the fun part: you get to use a labelmaker!

I bought three bins of equal size and separated my camping gear into them according to various categories.

store camping gear 2

This does involve having two sets of certain things, one for home and one for camping, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Bin 1:

Food prep in one bin: spatulas, measuring spoons, bowls, oven mitts, forks, etc.

Store Camping Gear 5

Bin 2:

Store Camping Gear 4

Cleaning equipment and random tools go in the next bin.  This includes hand soap, dish soap, dish towel, paper towels, small broom and dustpan, scissors, multiplugs, etc.

Bin 3:

Store camping gear 3

Grilling/coffee tools in the third bin.

Summing up storing camping gear:

Of course you can divide your gear however you like.  You don’t have to follow these categories but separating what you plan to take into bins is practical.

I bought the bin sizes that would fit in my guest closet, and I keep them stacked there when not using.

Obviously the size of the bins and the amount that goes into them can depend on the number of people camping. The type of camping may also have a bearing on this.  You may wish to store more stuff rather than less to save packing time in whatever situation.

Having and using this simple system makes my life SO much easier.

When I want to go camping, I can just throw the bins in the car, without having to repack them each time.

After a trip, I make sure they are restocked/cleaned as needed. I took these bins on a recent camping trip to Inks Lake and couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.

Dry but delightful: Hiking in the desert

Hiking in the desert

By Lynley Joyce

Deserts are dry, dangerous and often barren.  So why would anyone go hiking in the desert?

It’s because deserts can also be stunningly beautiful with a wide range of plants and wildlife tenaciously hanging on to the rugged and sometimes dramatic landscape.

Desert trails

Hiking in the desert 2If you are considering hiking in the desert, the United States hosts some of the world’s best desert walking trails, and there are plenty to choose from.  Most are in the Southern and Western states.  Popular spots include Big Bend’s Outer Mountain Trail in Texas, just about anywhere around the Grand Canyon and national parks such as Canyonlands, Arches and Zion in Utah.

The United States haven’t cornered the market on desert walks, though.  Australia boasts some scenic routes through its red centre. There is the Larapinta trail in the Northern Territory, the McDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon, to name a few.

For adventurous travelers to Africa, the Namibian desert offers many hiking in the desert options ranging from gentle strolls to challenging treks.  South America’s deserts also include some desert hiking trails.

Water

Water, or rather the lack of it, is obviously the biggest issue when walking in desert or semi-arid areas.  Hikers usually need to carry all their own water.  There’s no way to get around it: it’s heavy, so most people only do shorter desert hikes.  Each person needs at least a gallon/ 4 litres every day, or up to 1 ½ gallons / 6 litres if it’s hot. Most people could only carry enough for a two day hike at most.  Many people stick with day walks or shorter walks.  For longer walks with no reliable water sources along the way, hikers have to organise water caches to collect every second day or so.

Hiking in the desert 3Check with locals such as national park rangers if there are local water sources that can be used for drinking.  Some deserts may have springs, oases or other water sources but they can dry out.  Just about all water in the desert should be purified by tablets and/or filtering.  Take sterilisation tablets or a filter with an iodine resin.  Desert rivers, such as the Colorado River, can be silty and so difficult to purify. Some water sources may also have contaminants which filtering cannot remove.

Ironically, when it does rain in deserts it can lead to dangerous flash flooding.  Dry river beds are not the place to pitch a tent.  They can flood if there is rain anywhere in the catchment.

Hiking in the desert: Be prepared

As well as having enough water, desert hikers must know a bit about the area they are going in to.  They need to take good topographical maps, a compass and maybe an EPIRB or similar.  It can be easy to get lost in the big wide world, and the lack of water makes this super dangerous. Most of us can last a while as long as we keep warm and have water.  People can die from dehydration in just days.

It’s important to be prepared even if just planning a quick foray in to the desert.   Just about every day the rangers in the Grand Canyon National Park have to rescue people who have taken on more than they bargained for.

Time it

Hiking in the desert 4Avoid deserts in summer as they are way too hot.  Many deserts and semi-arid areas can be delightful in spring when wildflowers bloom.  It’s worth researching the best time for hiking for specific areas.

If it is hot, consider walking early in the morning, resting during the middle of the day in the shade, and walking again in the late afternoon and evening.  As well as escaping the worst of the heat and glare from the sun, the sideways sunlight and shadows can add to the landscape.

Some places are good for moonlit walks, if the tracks are clear.  For example, some of the shorter hikes in Utah’s Arches National Park can be amazing by moonlight.

Keep the energy up

Most hikers crave salty and protein rich food.  There are salt tablets but most people use a hot hike as an excuse to get stuck in to the salty snacks we should avoid most of the time. Too much salt though can lead to extra thirst and the need to carry more water.  Nuts, most seeds or legumes, salami or meat jerky are great protein rich foods.

Sun and heat

When you go hiking in the desert, expect heat and glaring sunlight during the day but it can get extremely cold at night in deserts due to the lack of cloud cover.  Campers may be able to skimp on wet weather gear and a full tent in a desert, but they should be prepared for cold.

Cover up with light weight and light coloured clothes to both block the sun and to reduce evaporation. Light long sleeved shorts and trousers are probably the best way to go.  They provide protection during the day and can help with warmth at night.

Sunglasses are essential.  Take tape to repair them if needed – usually medical tape from a first aid kit will do the job. Deserts tend to be windy places, and sunglasses can help prevent grit and dust in eyes.

Sun screen is another must. Even when wearing a hat, it can help protect skin from wind burn and the dryness. It’s also a good idea to take a decent moisturiser – maybe the end of a tube so as to not carry too much extra.

If someone does overheat, find a shady sport, rest and drink plenty of water.

Hiking in the desert 5

Further Information:

The following are links to some additional information available online:

http://www.desert-survivors.org/des_hike.html

http://www.desertusa.com/

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Backpacking-Water-Filter-Reviews

http://www.epirb.com/

Awesome Group Games to do when Camping

group games 1

By Iris West

Sure, camping can be fun in its own right; wandering out into the great outdoors offers that magical touch with nature. You can take in that fresh, alpine air far away from your demanding job and life. But, with group camping games, you can take that outdoor experience to a whole new and scintillating level. And, these group games are sure to allow you to have the time of your lifetime. Of course, the essence of every camp is to have fun. A lot of fun, for that matter. So, forget about your adult responsibilities and mingle with your friends, family, colleagues, and nature like never before.

The “Hot Seat”

group games 2The Hot seat is one of the most exhilarating group camping games that will certainly knock your socks off. One person will act as the “hot seat”, implying that she will have a piece of paper (with a word written on it) on her forehead. The person will tend to ask various questions while the rest of the group respond with Yes, No or Maybe. This continues until the “hot seat” get the word right. Even better, a timer can be used to make the game a bit more competitive. A consequence is due if she doesn’t get the correct answer within the set time.

“A Lie and Two Truths”

group games 3Two truths and a lie is a game that has been known to take women camping by storm. And for good reason. It’s a multiplayer game that is ideal for group camping. All you need is papers and pen – the rest will pan out without any hassle. Here’s the deal: if you want to know all those little secrets about your camping mates, this game is the bomb. Actually, the game works like a charm if you know the players pretty well.

So, here’s how it is played: the camp-mates take turns revealing three facts about themselves. Of the three, two are truths and one is a lie. Other players will guess which revelation is a lie.

Famous People

group games 4Well, everyone could use another dose of celebrity gossip and their A-lister lifestyles. If that sounds like your cup of tea, this group game can play out well before a campfire – especially when you are sitting in a circle. One person comes up with a name of a celebrity or famous personality. Then, the person to her left has to think of somebody with a given name starting with the first letter of the famous characters’ surname. If the individual fails to think of a single name, her turn is forfeited.

Scrabble

group games 5The age-old game of Scrabble has never lost its luster and will make for a good group camping game. As expected, Scrabble is a multiplayer game that is as captivating as it’s educational. Remember camping group games are meant to be fun. So, make your Scrabble game fun by adding a little flair of jokes and other anecdotes.

Card Game: Uno

group games 6Uno is a fantastic card game that is not only time-based but also always scintillating. The good news is that either children or adults can play Uno. In a word, timeless.

More often than not, Uno is one of those campers’ must-play group games for ultimate fun. For newbies and rookies, the rules are pretty straightforward and easy to learn.

The goal of the game is to eliminate your entire hand by playing one card each time matching it by number or color to the very last card played.

Who am I?

This is yet another of the age-old campfire group games that you will get a kick out of. Sometimes referred to as 20 questions, the rules are pretty much like those of the “famous people,” but funnier and more robust.

Fruit Roll

This game is exactly what it sounds; it’s a game where campers try to eat a fruit roll. The essence of the match is to see who the fastest fruit roll eater is. There is a trick: it’s a hands-free game!

Beersbee – one of the best group games

group games 7In principle, Beersbee is a fusion of horseshoes and Frisbee golf. It has grown increased traction with travelers and campers because it’s somewhat familiar but fresh and quite fun. It encompasses two empty beer bottles, two poles, and a Frisbee (the right kind).

You need to hammer a small platform made of poles into the ground (a bit of manual work, but that is all the heavy lifting you will do).

group games 8The two pole should be about 40ft apart with a bottle on top of each. A camper will stand just behind the other pole and try to hit the bottle off the pole using the Frisbee. There’s more. The opposing players, on their part, will try to catch the bottle or Frisbee before either reaches the ground. Quite fun, right? Each team will be scored based on the number of beer bottles knocked or caught respectively.

You can check out more about the game of Beersbee on their official website.

There you are – several group games that great for camping and poised to make your experience in the outdoors much more exciting.

group games 9

Packing for Camp and the Outdoors

packing for camp 1

By Lucy Gomez

Packing for camp should be thought about carefully.  Planning for a camping trip can be hard work, as camping requires a lot of gear to ensure that nothing goes wrong. Your list should obviously start with the basic necessities, that being food, water, and warm clothes, among a lot of other things, but there are also quite a few more items that you may not realize you are going to need.

What Do I Need With Camping?

Depending on the type of camping trip you are planning to have, there are multiple different categories of items, supplies, and other miscellaneous items that are going to be necessary for your trip.

Shelter Items

packing for camp 2For starters, you are going to need shelter items, unless you have a cabin that you will be staying in. You will need a tent, stakes and a few extra, a dust brush and pan, ground tarp or cloth, a small mat for the entrance, a hammer or an ax for the stakes, and rope, poles, and a shade tarp.

Bedding Items

packing for camp 3If you are bringing your own tent, then you will most definitely need bedding to sleep on. Also, if you are bringing an air mattress or a cot with you, you’re going to need a sleeping pad, pillow, sheets, blankets, an air pump, and a repair kit, just in case any damage occurs while camping. However, if you are just bringing a sleeping bag, then all you will need is a pillow, an extra blanket, and a sleeping pad. A utility bag is also a good item to bring, as well.

Cooking Supplies

packing for camp 4Just bringing food items is not enough, especially if you are going with a larger group of people:

  • Water bucket and a large jug
  • Ice and a cooler
  • Thermos, you may need more than one depending on how large your group is
  • Lighter or a box of matches
  • Buddy burner, firewood, or charcoal
  • BBQ grill or a campfire grill, which will be something similar to an oven rack
  • Newspaper or any other fire starter
  • Clips, thumb tacks, and tablecloth, if there are picnic benches where you are camping, or if you are bringing your own table
  • Measuring cups
  • Aluminum foil, heavy-duty
  • Paper plates and bowls with plastic cutlery
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags for cleanup
  • Potholders and oven mitts
  • Frying pans and pots with their lids
  • Skewers, grill forks, tongs, can opener, bottle opener, and any other utensils you may need that are not cutlery
  • Tupperware or containers for storage of food
  • Brillo, scrub pad, sponge
  • Dish towels and rags

Hygienic/Personal Items

packing for camp 6For the next checklist, you are going to need all of your hygiene and personal items, which is an especially important essential when going camping. You will need washcloths, towels, shampoo, conditioner, soap, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, a portable camping shower or pump shower if you do not have access to one, toothbrush and paste, deodorant, a brush and/or a comb, flip flops or shower shoes, medications, razor, and any other personal item that you deem necessary to bring.

Clothing Items

Camping and any style of retreat in the outdoors will require essential clothing that you will need to bring with you. You will need warm sweaters, jeans track pants, and coats, long johns if necessary, hats, gloves, scarves, a dirty laundry bag, a swim suit, beach towel, rain gear, boots, and extra warm clothing.

Miscellaneous Items

packing for camp 7The following are random, miscellaneous items that you might want to include when packing for camp:

  • GPS or compass
  • Lantern with mantles or fuel
  • Chopstick
  • Sunscreen
  • Water purifier or filters
  • Bug candles and/or repellent
  • Chairs for sitting
  • Sunglasses
  • Radio
  • Fishing bait, license, and gear
  • Fanny pack and backpack
  • Random tools, including utility knife
  • Candles
  • Books, Kindle, or magazines
  • Camera and/or video camera
  • Games that will cater to a summer camp for toddlers
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kits, always bring more than one
  • Hershey bars, graham crackers, and marshmallows to make smores
  • Bungee straps and cords
  • Coffee pot, water bottle, and a spare canteen

Packing for Camp: Having a Successful Camping Trip or Retreat

By ensuring you have all of the items in this checklist, plus the extra items that you deem necessary, you will have a fun, successful camping trip!

What are your favorite things to include when packing for camp?

packing for camp 8

Camping in Less Developed Areas: A Simple Guide

Less developed areas 1

By Oceana Setaysha

Camping in less developed areas can have its fair share of challenges.  Here are some things to consider before you travel to a non-traditional camping destination.

Explaining Camping In Spots People Don’t Camp

There are so many things to love about camping. However despite its ubiquitous nature in many Western countries, it’s not practiced widely all over the world.

That means that sometimes when you go to other countries, often less developed areas, it can be difficult to explain what camping is, and why you want to do it.

less developed areas 2Why Don’t People Camp?

In many developing countries, travel is a luxury that few can afford. When people do choose to travel, it’s often a pretty big deal and tends to involve pre-organized accommodation, hotels, resorts, homestays and more.

The idea that a person with the opportunity to travel would intentionally spend their evening sleeping outside in a temporary structure isn’t just unlikely, it’s difficult to comprehend. Travel is seen as a status symbol, particularly in less developed areas. So by extension the places people stay, where they eat out, the vehicles they travel in and so on are all signs of their wealth and standing in the community.

Explaining The Draw Of Camping

Trying to explain the draw of camping comes in a couple of levels. First, you have people who might have heard of camping before, or seen it in a Western movie, and are therefore open to the idea. Then you have people who haven’t heard of camping, or seen it, but can be swayed with some explanation and information. Then you have group three, who simply cannot (and often will not) take the time to understand camping.  This group of people will continually offer other options to save you from spending the night outdoors.

camping-984038_960_720Unfortunately, encountering the third group can be a challenge, but for groups one and two it’s not impossible to explain just why you want to camp. Learning a few local words will often help you out, particularly in less developed areas where English is not a commonly spoken language.

The message you want to get across here is not necessarily that you’re trying to save money. Rather that you want to experience the natural environment in a purer way. Lots of compliments about a country’s natural beauty tend to go down well in all local groups. Explaining that you’re eager to see the stars, the sunrise or similar might also be a good idea. Talking too much about how you want to save money isn’t likely to get you very far.  Particularly so in countries that survive on a tourist dollar, so don’t focus on this.

Finding Spots To Camp

When you’re travelling in less developed countries, it pays to do a little bit of research prior to arriving.  This is to get an idea of where you might find camping areas. Camping on private land is fraught with complications, as it would be in any country.  So it’s best to avoid this unless you have express permission from the landowner.

camp-439277_960_720In Asian countries, you’re likely to have more luck looking for camp spots on the grounds of churches, temples and mosques.  This is provided that you present yourself respectfully and seek permission from the head of the temple. Many backpackers have found Buddhist establishments to be the most open to the idea of camping.  However even then there are no guarantees that you’ll be allowed to stay.

Outside of these sorts of establishments there are also national parks.  These parks often provide grassed areas for free (or very cheap) camping. Of course, national parks can be a bit out of the way, and they aren’t always available.

You can also chat to local businesses, particularly accommodation and restaurants, to see if you can swap camping for other things.  Things such as a small cost (less than the price of a room).  Or even a loyalty promise (to eat at the restaurant/café everyday).

If you’re heading to an area where you haven’t done any pre-research on camping options, don’t arrive too late in the evening or afternoon. Arriving later in the day doesn’t give you as much time to explore your options.  The last thing you need is not finding yourself somewhere to stay. If this does happen, ensure you have some local currency on you in order to barter for another accommodation option.

When camping in less developed areas, always remember:

When you’re a travelling camper, it pays to remember to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Some people can become rude, angry or frustrated when they hear you want to camp instead of utilizing local accommodation.  This is even if that accommodation is overpriced and not as comfortable as your camp set up.

In instances like this just keep your cool, and understand that you might not always be able to camp. That being said, there’s no point allowing yourself to be bullied by others.  So be assertive, but friendly, shaking off any rudeness, and continue getting on with your adventure.

To obtain more information and read further about adventure-related destinations, there is not a lot available.  However we have managed to find the inexpensive book Adventure Travel and Trekking available through Amazon.

less developed areas 5