Film Project: Don’t Date A Girl Who Treks

Marinel de Jesus 1

By Marinel de Jesus

Editor note: Click here if you haven’t yet read the original post ‘Don’t Date A Girl Who Treks’.

And now to announce a very exciting film project to promote women who love the great outdoors, Marinel shares this exciting development in her own words…



A few months ago, I attended an outdoor film festival in Washington, DC that focused on the adventure films that were produced by artists from all over the world.  The work presented was certainly admirable.  I was inspired.  A few months later, I watched yet another outdoor film festival and found myself, yet again, inspired.

However, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disconnect.  The first time around I felt the same feeling but couldn’t understand what it was about.  It was after the second film festival event that it became evident to me that the past two showings I watched were lacking in two things that mattered to me: (1) hiking or wilderness backpacking and (2) women.  It was at that point that I vividly recall noting this concern to my male friends who shared their honest opinion that filming an activity that focuses only on hiking isn’t as exciting or “sexy enough” as climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and all these other adrenaline filled sports.

“Okay, they have a point,” I begrudgingly said to myself.

Months later I was trekking with three guys in the Caucasus Mountains of the Republic of Georgia who were from Egypt, France and Sweden, respectively.  I raised the same question as to why there’s a lack of hiking or backpacking film documentaries at such events.  The answer was similar to the first.

I never asked my male friends about the women aspect.  After all, I was already dismayed at the responses dismissing the idea that pure hiking or wilderness backpacking as the subject of a film fails to even meet the standards that would compel any filmmaker to produce such kind of film.   So, I pushed the idea aside… but ONLY for a moment.

Film Project

Hiking with women trail leaders on the Kilimanjaro trail, Tanzania.

Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks

Film Project 3I was in China’s remote trekking trails in yet to be discovered Tibetan Autonomous Region of the country when I met May.  She was from Thailand who once trekked up the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.  As money was an issue, trekking or traveling for her was a major expense.  By fate, May and I met in some of the most remote trekking regions in Sichuan Province of China.  We ventured out to do the 30 kilometer high altitude pilgrimage trek in Yading Nature Reserve.  It was a trekking region that has yet to be fully explored by trekkers from the western world.  You can read our adventure in full HERE.

The piece, Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks, was inspired by May and all the wonderful solo women trekkers I’ve met in over a decade of trekking in the U.S. and abroad.  To be clear, the piece is not so much about dating, but rather it’s meant to be a way to celebrate women and their love for the mountain trails.  May was one of them.  To not be able to pursue her passion as often as she would want given the location of her home in Thailand that is devoid of mountain trails is a disappointing reality, to which I can fully relate.   In the small city she lives in, life is simple and money is difficult to come by.  For someone like May, it’s a devastating notion to accept the fact that she is unable to pursue her passion as easily as she would like due to her responsibilities in taking care of family members and the lack of finances to afford traveling to hike up mountains.  Personally, I would go crazy without regular access to mountains!

Our meeting was in 2014.  Yet, even now, May still reminisces about our pilgrimage trek in China.  In her correspondence, she often dreams about hiking up mountains, whether within her home country or outside of it.  I figured if May cannot trek an actual mountain, then I can bring the mountains to her from all corners of the world – thru the film project that is now underway.


Just shortly after writing Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks, I decided in September of 2016 to open my Brown Gal Trekker blog to the public.  I soon came to find out that the world seems to agree that women certainly must be celebrated for their passion and commitment to the outdoors.  I was thrilled to learn that the world echoes the same sentiment that I’ve had all along, and as a result, Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks was published by Dave’s Travel Corner (a pioneer website for independent-minded backpackers), Huffington Post and WHOA Mag (a publication that promotes women in the outdoors).  At the same time, the piece was promoted by various leading entities in the hiking world including and Hike Like a Woman.

Film Project 4You can find the publications via the following links:

Dave’s Travel Corner

Huffington Post

Whoa Mag

Women Who Explore

In late October, 2016, Bernard Chen, an award-winning photographer who I met months ago as part of the Great Himalaya Project (which still is currently a project via Brown Gal Trekker), reached out to me regarding ideas for future projects.  I then brought up to him the idea that has been brewing in my head, which is to create a short film based on Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks by showcasing women trekkers globally through a collage of photos and videos submitted by the trekkers themselves.  Bernard was thrilled at the idea.  We both agreed it’s a perfect means of promoting outdoor women from all walks of life and their presence in the media.

As the idea sank in my head that day, I recalled the earlier conversations about the boring nature of a film on hiking.  Then, my mind redirected me back to the feeling of disconnectedness that I experienced from the lack of female hikers depicted in the media. But then, I felt  a surge of excitement knowing that the landscape of the outdoor media world will change, soon enough.   That change is right within our control.  We just need to make it happen.

Film Project 2


This FILM PROJECT is a collaborative endeavor that is made possible through the help and support of female trekkers worldwide and various leading female-led outdoors entities such as Hike Like a Woman, Animosa, Fat Girls Hiking, Women Who Explore, Adventure Some Women & Camping for Women.

Hence, if you’re a female trekker who has photos or videos that you wish to submit, please send them to

In addition, please provide us with the following:

  1. Your name
  2. Short background story on your photo
  3. Short answer to the question, “What does hiking or wilderness backpacking mean to you?”
  4. Your blog site (if you’re a blogger)

You’ll be notified when your piece is selected via e-mail.  Credit will be given to your submission.  You can subscribe to BGT’s blog if you wish to get updates on the project.

Also, we are raising funds to create the film.  Your donations are welcome!

Start by clicking here to check out some really cool T-Shirts that highlight the film project.


And also check out Marinel’s company that take adventurous women on some very impressive treks across the globe:

Peak Explorations


Camping for WomenCamping for Women is a proud supporter of the Date Date A Girl Who Treks film project.

We see this as a significant project to showcase the many amazing, diverse and talented outdoor women all over the world.

We are encouraging as many of our subscribers and readers as possible to take a proactive role in supporting this wonderful initiative.  Just can’t wait to see many of your images featured in the film!


Camping and Hiking on your Period

Period 1

By Oceana Setaysha

Don’t let your period slow you down!

If you’re an active, outdoorsy type, there’s nothing more annoying than trying to schedule your hiking and camping around your period. It always seems to arrive at the least opportune time, and nobody wants to miss out on their fix of outdoor adventures.

But who says you have to miss anything?

It’s actually totally possible to both camp and hike while you’re on your period, and there’s no reason to cancel or reschedule a trip just because you happen to be on ‘shark week’. Here are some simple tips for dealing with your period on an outdoors trip.

Choose An Appropriate Sanitary Option

Period 2The first thing you need to do is choose a sanitary option that is going to work for you. Now you pretty much have three choices: pads, tampons and menstrual cups. The one that you use is going to be dependent on your personal preference above all, but it’s also important to consider how long your trip is. When we’re thinking about tampons and pads they obviously create waste when they are changed that cannot be burned or buried so it needs to be carried with you, which might not be appropriate for a longer trip. On the other hand a menstrual cup is reusable and simply needs to be cleaned, but in wild areas with lots of animal activity you will need to bury your period blood away from your camp and at depth.

Bring Lots Of Unscented Wet Wipes

Period 3If you’re hiking and camping in an area where there isn’t a lot of water it makes sense to take unscented wet wipes. You want to be able to stay hygienic during your trip, and these are a great way to do this. Despite some wet wipe companies advertising that they are biodegradable, many are not and should not be disposed of outdoors. Unless you can find a reputable, natural material based wet wipe you will also need to carry that waste with you. Alternatively you could take a cloth that could be used to clean yourself at the end of the day, and then rinsed and dried for use again the next day.

Take Ziploc Bags For Waste

period 4It’s not pretty to think about but the pads, tampons and wet wipes that you’re taking with you need to be disposed of. In most places that don’t provide rubbish disposal along the trail or in camping spots, you’ll need to carry them yourself. Obviously these items will start to smell very quickly, so a smart idea would be to take a number of Ziploc bags. Small Ziploc bags are great for each item of waste (i.e. one tampon or pad) but you should also bring a larger bag to contain these smaller bags. Remember to pack the waste in tightly, and squeeze the air out, so that you aren’t loosing too much space.

Pack Carefully

When you need to carry extra items like pads, tampons and wet wipes you may need to sacrifice space in your pack, particularly for extended hikes. Take some time in your trip preparation to really think about what is going into you pack to make sure you aren’t overburdening yourself. Consider whether you can cut out some of the larger clothing items you’re bringing and wash overnight, or other space saving ideas. Remember that as well as the menstrual items, you’ll need to leave enough space for your waste bag which, on a longer trip, can get big very quickly.

Consider Your Privacy

period 5One thing that you might need to think about, particularly if you’re hiking with others, is your own privacy when hiking and camping on your period. Although there’s a lot to like about sleeping with nothing more than a mosquito fly or a hammock, you’ll be grateful for your own privacy if you’re on a trip during your period. Remember, you’ll want some space to organise your trash bag, clean yourself up, and change your sanitary items in peace.

Bring Extra Underpants

The one thing that you shouldn’t be worried about bringing too many of is underpants. If you happen to dirty your underpants you want to change them as quickly as possible to avoid smell, insect activity and infection. You may not end up using your spare underwear, but it’s still a great idea to have it and it’s absolutely worth packing even just for a shorter trip.

Extended Hiking Options

If you’re planning on taking an extended trip, and by extended we mean several months of hiking and camping, perhaps in the pursuit of one of the many stunning monster trails the world over, you may need to think beyond your monthly period. You can choose to go on birth control, which can be used to artificially avoid periods. Some birth control options like the pill can be a lot to carry, but others like the implant or injections, can be taken care of before you leave and will halt your period.

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Know Your Knots Infographic

Know your knots 1

Making Effective Knots Made Simple

Feel like you are all thumbs when it comes to doing knots?  You are definitely not alone!

As outdoor enthusiasts, we all know that we need to do knots with our ropes for everything from camping to fishing and survival.  It is obviously important when out in the wilderness to ‘know your knots’.

Know your knots 2First of all we all wish we knew more about doing effective knots.  Often knowing which knot to use for each situation can be a challenge.  Which knot is best for which situation?

The other difficulty is knowing HOW to do these knots correctly.  Even following someone else can sometimes be confusing as not everyone can explain things well.

So wouldn’t it be good to have something you could refer to and follow easily?  Kinda ‘Know your Knots 101’.

Knots are something we come across in everyday life, from tying your laces to putting on a tie, but what are some of the simplest, easiest to learn knots that can help you out while out camping, hiking, fishing or even sailing! Here you can check out a very cool infographic on some of the top knots for each situation, how to tie them and what you’re likely to use them for!

Sarah Brown from has shared this very useful resource below:

Know Your Knots Infographic

Know your knots:

To conclude, the key to know your knots is to practice the ones you think you will need most.  The knots you choose will naturally depend on the type of outdoor activity you are doing.  Therefore practice, practice, practice…

Most of all keep this knowledge with you when you are out in the great outdoors because you never know when you might need it the most!

Know your knots 3

Camping for Women sincerely thanks Sarah Brown and for sharing this fabulous resource.

Survival Preparation Tips for Wilderness Camping

Wilderness Camping 1

By Stephanie McHugh

Wilderness camping is the ultimate unplugged-in-nature experience. There is physical challenge involved because all of your needs are carried on your back. Being imbedded in nature is best enjoyed when you have essentials for survival. Many of the tips and tricks of a successful wilderness camping trip are learned by experience.

Preparation for wilderness camping

In addition to packing the right things for a wilderness camping hike, some steps in preparation are a bit more involved. The number one tip is to break in new hiking boots before you hit the trail; a minimum of 50 miles of walking beforehand provides good insurance against blisters. Other prep tips follow:

  • Wilderness Camping 2If you have a new tent, set it up a time or two before your trip, to avoid possibly having to struggle during setup in inclement weather.
  • Do some research on the types of dangerous wildlife you might encounter on your camping trip, and be prepared. For areas with a lot of bears, for example, wear bells on your backpack, to avoid surprising a mother with bear cubs. Also, be sure to carry some sort of campsite locker or bear bag so that at night you can lock up food and everything else that emits any type of scent, such as moisturizer, bug spray, and toothpaste.
  • There may not be access to GPS or any other electronics in the wilderness. Learn how to use a compass, and pack one for the journey, along with a map of the area.
  • A hydration system is another chief consideration, when wilderness hiking and camping. If there are plenty of water sources where you’ll be camping, you can depend on a purification system of some kind. A CamelBak system that helps you carry a few days’ worth of water may be needed, if you aren’t sure of encountering natural water supplies.

Essentials to pack for backcountry camping

The excitement of braving the wilderness can quickly lose its charm for a wide variety of reasons. Backpack space and weight is limited. Thanks to skilled campers, you can be sure of various items that are worth their weight. In addition to more obvious necessities, such as a sharp knife, you’ll want to find room in your pack for the following items:

  • Wilderness Camping 3A ground mat is very lightweight and serves a great purpose. You and your gear can usually avoid being soaked, even if the ground becomes wet as you sleep at night.
  • Pack extra plastic trash bags, which have many great uses. A trash bag can be used as a backpack cover, an emergency poncho, and a catchment system for rainwater.
  • Include some binder clips on your backpack, to make it easy to hang clothing to dry at night or during the day, when you’re hiking.
  • Wilderness Camping 4Bring a lighter and some dryer lint, for getting fires started. Lint is virtually weightless and yet serves as a great fire starter.
  • Duct tape can serve many helpful purposes, such as patching holes and removing objects from your socks, such as cheat grass spines. Bungee cords also have many uses on wilderness camping trips.
  • Bring along a whistle, which can be of help in many different circumstances. The noise can scare bears and help you find camping partners, if separated in the backcountry.

Be sure to share your secrets of enjoying wilderness camping. With the right kind of preparation, the experience can be positively – as opposed to negatively – unforgettable.

Wilderness Camping 5

Planning Your Hike while Backpacking

Planning your hike 1

By Janessa Tice Miller

Planning your hike should consider some key things before you head out on a backpacking trip.  Doing this correctly from the start will help ensure your hike goes smoothly and safely.

Planning Your Hike Route & Daily Mile Goal

Planning your hike 2Before you can do anything else on a backpacking trip, you need to plan the route that you will hike. It could take on the form of a long through-hike, a week on a trail, or just a night or two out in the wilderness. Whatever the case, you need to narrow down your route and prepare.

Once you decide where you are going, you should plan how many miles you would like to hike within each day. Be realistic! It’s important that you know your own physical limits, and realize how many miles you can or cannot hike. It’s a good idea to try out a few day hikes first, just to test out your own stamina.

You don’t have to hike the exact number of miles each day, but you will want to hit very close to your goal.

Get Familiar With Your Route Each Morning

Planning your hike 3Before you ever leave on your trip, you will want to be familiar with the layout of your full trip. But the intricacies of the day ahead must be looked at individually before you head off in the morning. Make sure you are not wasting your time by taking an ill move, and check on how far you need to walk each day, and where you aim to camp. You should always carry maps of your route with you to assist in this process.

It’s also important to be continually aware of and checking on water sources. Some days you may need to hike a bit further than normal. Or you may need to readjust your route slightly if water levels are down, for example. So always keep a larger goal in mind, but focus on the day ahead on each individual morning.

Take Consistent, Scheduled Breaks Throughout The Day

Planning your hike 5If you are planning your hike to go all day, experts say you should consistently stop to rest. With each rest stop plan to grab a protein-boosting snack, drink some water, and sit down to rest or take a quick nap.

The length of your rest will depend on your own body and the amount of miles you are hiking. Some people like to take 5-10 minute breaks every hour. Others take 15-30 minutes every two hours. Some people just sit down and grab a snack.  Others always take off their shoes and enjoy a 15 minute nap.

The point of these rest breaks is to give your body the boost it needs to stay healthy and energized. You can play with different systems to figure out what works best for your own health and hiking style.  Then ensure to be consistent in whatever you choose.

Make Sure Someone Knows Where You Are and When You Plan to Return

Before you leave, you need to make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you should be back.  This is most important when planning your hike. It is a preventive safety measure that is always wise. If you go missing, someone will know where and when to look for you.  Camping for Women’s free P.I.N. (Planned Itinerary Notification) is something that is specifically designed for this purpose.

It is also important to make sure that you have obtained any permits or passes you might need for the area you are planning to hike. In many places, these permits are also an added safety measure.  This is because the authorities know when a person has not appeared that should have left a trail.

Planning your hike 6

10 Common Camping Mistakes to Avoid

Common Camping Mistakes

By Lucy Gomez

In today’s hectic schedule, everyone feels tired and stressed with their daily responsibilities at home or even at work. The feeling of being suffocated and wanting to get away happens from time to time. Who would not be tempted by the idea of spending a night under the stars, the comforting warmth and the dancing glow of a bonfire, the chirping of insects, the sound of flowing water in a nearby stream or river and the awesome stories and laughter shared with friends while drinking a bottle of wine or beer?

Only by being one with nature can a person truly feel refreshed and escape life’s responsibilities and pressure. Only through camping can one could feel the simple joy and have the most relaxing holiday. Camping gives us a chance to bond with our loved ones and be amazed with the beauty of the world.

However, there are instances that things don’t go the way as planned. The idea of spending a simple and wonderful restorative holiday break turns quickly into an awful event where everyone complains about the weather, food and the comfort.

Camping doesn’t need to be that way. Most common camping mistakes can be avoided if things are well-planned in advance. Even when you’ve camped out many times, you still need to prepare things carefully to avoid frustrations and possible safety risks depending on the campsite you plan to go to.

So what are common camping mistakes?

The following are ten common camping mistakes every camper should avoid in order to have a fun and memorable holiday.

Selecting an inappropriate tent

Common Camping Mistakes 1Tents have different features, style, quality and ease of set up. You should get the right one that fits your needs and gives you comfort when you sleep at night.

The size of your tent should be at least 30 sq. ft. per camper and it should be able to stand up to severe weather conditions.

Forgetting to research the location

Common Camping Mistakes 2Are you camping at a campsite?

It is very important to know what amenities that the campsite offers to help make your packing easy.

If it is not a campsite, be sure it is suitable for your needs and equipment.

Failing to test and check all equipment

Common Camping Mistakes 3A camper should also check if the tent’s poles, fabric and zipper are not broken to avoid arriving with a damaged tent at a campsite.

In addition, make sure that your cooker works, your air mattress has no leak and your sleeping bag zip is not broken.

You don’t want to travel a long way just to discover that something just won’t work for you.

Arriving very late at the campsite

Common Camping Mistakes 4It is a nightmare to pitch a tent when it’s too dark. You don’t want to ruin the start of your restorative break just by being late.

Also if you arrive early, you are often guaranteed to get a good spot and you don’t need to worry that you will wake up next to the toilet the next day.

Have some time to familiarize yourself with the site and look for a good spot with flat surface and dry grass without any overhanging branches.

Being dependent on weather forecasts

Common Camping Mistakes 6There are instances that weather forecast is wrong and it is always better to be prepared.

Pack some equipment and clothing that is suitable for different scenarios.

Get some waterproof gear during the summer and prepare some lighter clothing for winter.

Having Inadequate Lighting

Common Camping Mistakes 5It is very important to bring with you lighting that will be sufficient for all the activities you have planned to do at night.

A good way to light up the whole tent is to get a camping lantern. A head torch is also ideal for this as it keeps your hands free.

It is not advisable to rely on your phone’s light as this will drain the battery quickly.

Being Dependent on Campfires

Common Camping Mistakes 7Campfires are the most important aspect of camping. However, there are circumstances that it is difficult to build them up and it can take some time.

This is not pleasurable especially for hungry and tired campers waiting for their food.

It is better to cook using a camp stove to avoid having an empty stomach. There are also local authorities who prohibit campfires in some areas and campsites so it is ideal to check before going.

Bringing Unnecessary Stuff

Common Camping Mistakes 8Plan properly and take note of the things that you will need.

If possible, avoid wasting too much space with unnecessary clothes, gadgets, and gear.

It is very important to be comfortable when you’re traveling and having packed so much stuff like sardines can ruin it.

If you are going with your friends or family, suggest that each should only bring one bag.

Poor Planning and Practice

Common Camping Mistakes 9Camping is more than just a good tent, a good knife, and lighting a campfire. Avoiding common camping mistakes requires a lot of planning and preparation. If you pack without a list, you’ll end up missing something. And if you camp without preparation, there are some possible dangers that you will be unprepared to meet. It is important to prepare yourself for various scenarios.

It is also important to practice building campfires, assembling your tent, testing necessary equipment and learning basic first aid. The more you know, the better.

Failing to Have Fun

Common Camping Mistakes 10All these tips will be in vain if you fail to remember the most important thing of all – having fun. Don’t get yourself so busy with the chores. Make sure to have time to enjoy and relax. The experience may not be so perfect and there will be instances that things will go wrong, but it is better to just laugh at your mistakes and learn from them.  That way, even if you make some of the common camping mistakes, it won’t ruin your trip.

Remember that you are out camping because you want to escape from the pressures and stresses of life and not to be bogged down by stress and chores.  That was half the reason you wanted to go camping in the first place!  So just have fun and enjoy!

Winter Camping: Tips for Success

Winter Camping 1

By Lynley Joyce

Winter camping can be cold, dark, wet and windy, maybe even snowy.  Many of us are fair weather campers. We aim to be out in the elements when the weather is almost guaranteed to be favourable, but there are real joys to camping in winter.  The trick is to stay warm and dry.

Camping when there can be snow on the ground is possible with the right equipment and preparation.  This equipment can be expensive.  People do sometimes go winter camping in the North America or Europe, or in mountainous areas when there is snow, but this is serious trekking.  Most of us look at other options, such as a wilderness cabin or similar.

In many other places, winter camping can mean short but beautiful cold crisp days or more chance of wind & rain.  Camping can be very doable and enjoyable for most of us during this time.

Rug up

Winter Camping 2Wear layers of clothes to keep as warm as you need to be.  A base layer of thermals or fine merino wool is the go, then one or more layers of polar fleece or similar above.  When sitting around, a down filled jacket or vest is fantastic: face it, it’s just like wearing a sleeping bag.  Just be careful not to get it wet or it will never be the same. Rain jackets can provide good protection against cold wind as well as rain. Wear a warm hat as 10% of body heat can be lost through the top of the head.  Gloves are great, but mittens keep fingers warmer and are easier to get on and off.  The ideal is a pair of short fingered gloves with a flap over mitten top to cover the fingers most of the time.

Sturdy and warm equipment

Winter camping 3It’s important the tent and bedding is good quality and able to keep people warm and dry.

Tents should be able to withstand wind and be waterproof.  Tents can be re-waterproofed, but it’s no fun to find out it needs it in the middle of the night.  Consider an extra tarpaulin or similar under the tent floor.

Sleeping bags and camping mattresses are crucial for keeping warm at night.  Sleeping bag manufacturers give an indication on the minimum temperature for a comfortable night’s sleep, but that’s usually just for the brand new sleeping bag.  If you’re likely to get cold, wear thermals and other clothes to bed, including a beanie.  If you are winter camping in your car consider taking extra blankets.  Polar fleece blankets are light and relatively cheap.

Camp mattresses provide insulation from the ground as well as comfort.  Put a blanket underneath your sleeping bag as well as on top.

Winter Camping At night

Choose a sheltered campsite that is unlikely to flood.  Steer well away from any depressions that might pool water and try and place the tent so it gets the sun in the morning. Forget the view: chances are it’s windy.

There is always condensation in the tent when it is cold.  Reduce it by making sure there is adequate ventilation through the tent at night, no matter how cold and wet it is outside.  A decent tent should be able to have airflow without letting rain or snow in.  Make sure there is a gap between the inner tent and the outer fly and the fly can be unfastened from the bottom.

Winter Camping 4

Nights are long in winter. Take decent lights and spare batteries.  As well as a shared light in the tent, it’s good if everyone has a small head or hand torch.

Evenings in a tent can be cosy – take a pack of cards, games, light handcrafts that don’t need fine eye-work, something to read or whatever takes your fancy.

If you are able to have a campfire outside, songs and stories can be magical for everyone.   Tents are flammable, so make sure fires are down-wind.  Never use a camp stove in a tent.

Food to warm the body as well as the soul

The two coldest times when winter camping are usually bedtime and first thing in the morning.  It’s a good idea to eat something substantial just before going to bed when camping to help warm up. Sleeping bags only trap heat.  They can remain cold if a cold body slips in.  If you are freezing just before bedtime, try a few star jumps or other exercises to warm up before slipping in to the sack.  They may not help the sleepiness, but going to bed when freezing is worse.

Winter Camping 5Food for winter camping is pretty much the same as for summer camping, except it’s more enjoyable if it’s warm and hearty.  Don’t forget that food cools quickly during winter, so make so it’s something that can be served quickly.  Food does keep slightly warmer in bowls or cups rather than plates.

Hot drinks of any sort warm people up from the inside, and make a great hand warmer before going down the hatch.  Try instant soups, tea of any description, hot chocolate, gluhwein or whatever: as long as it’s warm. They’re great in the morning before the day and its activities warm up and in small quantities at night. Remember getting up in the middle of the night while camping is something to avoid.

If it’s freezing overnight, water in any container might turn solid.  Have a camp stove with a pot ready with water to go in the morning.  Get that first hot cup of whatever even if the water starts as a block of ice.  The other advantage is that you can quickly light the stove then snuggle back in to bed until the hot drink is ready.

Winter Camping 6

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.

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?

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How to Choose the Best Camping Tent

Camping Tent 1

By Mitra Cazaubon

Whether you are going hiking, camping or just enjoying a day outdoors; a tent is a must have. But before you go buying the latest tent, there are some important tips you need to know. In this article, we will look at the features you need to be mindful of when buying a sturdy, reliable camping tent.

Before we go into the features, make a list of the activities you want your tent for, the environment you will most likely encounter and whether you are going to be backpacking or driving to an established campsite.

#1 Camping Tent Size/Capacity

Camping Tent 3First, establish whether you will be camping or glamping. Decide on how many persons you want to house in your camping tent. A comfortable square footage for camping is between 16 to 25 square feet, which includes space for gear. Another aspect of the tent size you should consider is sitting and standing room. You should have enough room to at least sit in your tent. Depending on what type of camping (survival or backpacking) standing room may not be necessary.

#2 Shape and Design

Camping Tent 2Tents come in all shapes and sizes, literally. A-frame, umbrella, and dome are the typical tent shapes. Umbrella tents make great family tents since they have standing room. A-frames are simple tents to set up but are not very popular these days. The dome and umbrella designs are the more standard tent shapes. For light weight camping or hiking, I would recommend a bivy tent which usually has one to three tent poles and uses stakes to keep it stable. They are small and can weight under 5lbs.

Camping Tent 4If light weight is your top priority, this is a great shelter. The dome shape tent is a better choice for everyday camping and glamping. If you will be in a windy environment be sure that you have an aerodynamic design, sturdy tent stakes, and poles.

#3 Tent Fabric

The recommended tent fabric is one that let’s air through but not moisture. Breathable nylon and polyester do just that, but the water resistance depends on the coating the manufacturer applies. Canvas is the best waterproof tent material for long term camping on established drive to camp sites. But they are heavy and usually require help to set up.

Camping Tent 5

Acrylic, polyurethane or silicone are the most popular coatings used on tent fabrics. Tents coated with acrylic are cheaper since it’s a thin layer applied to one side of the fabric. They may be waterproof when new but after some use the thin layer tends to break around to seams. Acrylic coats tend to look glossy compared to the polyurethane which is a thicker layer than the acrylic coating, and is applied to the inside of the tent fabric, unlike the acrylic. The polyurethane coated tents are more expensive than the acrylic as a result, yet in rainy conditions the fabric gets soaked since the polyurethane seal is on the inside. Thus, these camping tents take longer to dry.

Polyurethane lasts longer than the acrylic coated tent since the seal is on the inside where it protects from abrasions and the elements. If this is where your budget reaches a good rainfly can solve this problem. On the other hand, silicone is rated as the best not only because it is more flexible than the others but also because it applies to both the inside and outside of the tent. Silicone coated tents are more expensive than the previously listed coats.

The material for your tent floor should be durable, and the seam connecting the floor to the walls should be at least 4 inches above the ground to avoid water seeping inside. Ensure that your rainfly overlaps the seam to make sure water doesn’t drip inside the tent.

#4 Tent Poles and Stakes

Camping Tent 6Aluminum and fiberglass are the most common tent poles you will find. Aluminum has replaced fiberglass in most tents since they are light weight and are strong considering their size. Fiberglass would need to be much thicker to hold the same amount of weight as the aluminum poles. One reason I wouldn’t recommend fiberglass is because it shatters when it breaks making it a bad choice for freezing conditions since this can make a hole in your tent. Fiberglass poles are also harder to repair when damaged.

Camping Tent 7Pay attention to how your tent poles are attached to your tent. Are they clipped on or do you have to pass them through loops? Tents which have clips on the outside to hook the tent poles make for easier setup.  Poles linked with elastic code can help prevent you from losing your tent rods since they hold together.

Stakes should be made of durable material to avoid bending when anchoring your tent to the ground.

#5 Ventilation

Camping Tent 8A tent needs to allow for proper air flow in humid and/or hot conditions. Bug netting for doors and windows allow for air flow without bugs getting in.

I recommend you get a camping tent with windows/doors on opposite sides to allow for proper air flow.

#6 Vestibule

Camping Tent 9A vestibule is a porch for gear you don’t want inside your tent but intend to keep out of the elements such as muddy shoes, wet socks, and clothing. A vestibule without floor can save on weight. It is usually an extension of the rainfly over the door.

#7 Rainfly

Ensure your rainfly doesn’t make contact with your tent when setup. It is a good practice to prevent water from seeping into your tent in case your seams aren’t sealed properly.

#8 Weight

The weight of a bag packing camping tent should be no more the 6 pounds. You need to consider the weight of the other items you will be carrying.

#9 Cost

If the price is not an issue the best camping tent around is the 4 season tents. As the name suggests, they are designed for all seasons and tend to be more durable.

My principle for outdoor gear is “Better to cry once”. I prefer spending money once to have reliable gear rather than inferior gear that fails me when I need it most.

You don’t need to break the bank to buy a tent. Depending on your activities and how often you plan on using the tent you can spend under $200 for a good tent. If hiking and camping are major parts of your life, then save up for a reliable tent.

Camping Tent 10

Important tips

1)    Allow your tent to dry before folding it away.

2)    Placing a tarp or ground cover before putting your tent up helps keep it clean when folding and can also protect from abrasions.

3)    Practice setting up your tent at home. Check the color coding instructions to make setup easier.

4)    Visit outdoor trade shows to get a feel for the different camping tent variations. You can also ask a friend to check out his/her tent for you to understand what tent is best for you.


A camping tent is a necessary shelter for any outdoor activity. Go through the features that are important to you based on your environment and needs.

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