Happy Second Birthday Camping for Women

happy second birthday 1

By Nicole Anderson

Camping for Women is now officially 2! So we are marking our ‘happy second birthday’ with this brief message.

The website www.campingforwomen.com went live with its first blog post on 23 May 2015 and it’s hard to believe that was two years ago.

We had a very busy second year as we built on the foundations laid in the first year.

Top 10 achievements for this past year include:

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  • Published The 3 in 1 Camping Cuisine Cookbook for hikers, campers and glampers
  • Launched an online shopping portal: The Global Outdoor Adventure Store in conjunction with Amazon
  • Produced checklists for hikers, backpackers, campers, and RVers for free download
  • Built on our library of 91 articles written by outdoor women adventurers to over 250
  • Launched a Travel and Adventure tab on the site to include specific travel content
  • Increased regularity of free article posts for subscribers and facilitated comments for these
  • Partnered with Brown Gal Trekker on the International Film Project to promote outdoor women based on the piece ‘Don’t Date a Woman Who Treks’
  • Expanded recognition of regular contributors through dedicated pages and contributor logo
  • Promoted other women outdoor adventure blogs of interest to readers and subscribers
  • Recognised with the Versatile Bloggers Award given by bloggers for quality content

So much done, but so much still to do…

So what’s being planned next for year 3?

Well, we have a few things that we are working toward right now including:

  • Launch of an exciting new video show addressing all outdoor women issues where subscribers can ask questions to have answered by a columnist in conjunction with another fabulous outdoor women’s group
  • Launch of ‘The 4 in 1 Camping Cuisine Cookbook’ following the successful first publication
  • Completing specialist guides being written on Canyoneering, RVing and stress reduction
  • Continue to build a bank of useful articles, tips and information for women who love the great outdoors delivered via our free subscription
  • Providing a service to assist women produce and share videos with other women

Check out our second year video here:

As we hope you join in wishing Camping for Women a happy second birthday, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas for what you would like to see for the future. Just send us a message on the ‘Contact’ page of the website or email us: [email protected]

Here’s to another great year serving fellow outdoor women adventurers everywhere…

Help us celebrate a happy second birthday:

So we hope you might join us in briefly celebrating our second milestone by perhaps making a comment or two below.  We always love to hear from you.

But most of all we want to again take the opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone for your wonderful support and ongoing encouragement to continue to develop the best global resource possible.


The Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award

By Nicole Anderson

Camping for Women has just received the Versatile Blogger Award, recognizing the efforts of everyone involved with its blog.

So what is the Versatile Blogger Award?

Versatile Blogger Award 1It is a peer award where bloggers nominate other bloggers who they believe deserve some recognition for their high quality standard of writing, images, uniqueness of the bloggers content, passion and love displayed throughout the website.

In this case, Camping for Women was recognized for all its efforts made to benefit our subscribers and readership. We especially want to make mention of all our wonderful contributors who provide so much value and are passionate in their love of the outdoors.

Who nominated Camping for Women?

Logan & Kallsy Page are a United States couple in their late twenties with a passion for adventure and experiences. Being a medical student and a teacher, they mostly focus on budget travel in iconic locations. This spring and summer you can find them road trippin’ around the Southeastern USA with their dog, Bentley. They love finding a blend of new experiences in urban cities and the great outdoors.  They are the couple behind the blog Pages of Travel.

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Part of the nomination acceptance process is for the award recipient to tell the nominator 7 things about themselves that they may not know.  So the team at Camping for Women selected founder Nicole Anderson to outline 7 things about her.

7 Things you may not know about Nicole Anderson

  1. For the most part, Nicole grew up in regional Australia – her family came from the rural town of Bendigo, in the state of Victoria.
  2. Nicole spent part of her schooling in Japan where she learnt fluent spoken and written Japanese.
  3. Nicole is a breast cancer survivor and a member of the Dragons Abreast Dragon Boating Sport, and has represented her club in regional and international regattas in Australia and North America.
  4. She is now engaged to be married, having been proposed to by her partner James while they were on holiday in Tahiti in January this year.
  5. Nicole has had the travel bug for some time and has now explored many countries in 5 of 7 of the world’s continents. She has not seen anything of Africa or Antarctica (as yet!).
  6. When Nicole decided that she wanted to get a dog as she moved into her new home, she decided on a name first before seeing the dog. The dog’s name was to be Flannigan.
  7. Nicole and her partner James have just built a brand new 4 bedroom home in the beautiful and famous Gold Coast, where they have chosen to live.


When you only have a maximum of 15 blogs you can nominate among all the fabulous blogs that exist in the world, this can be a really hard task.

However, we had to draw the line somewhere and go with some that are our favorites.

So here they are our nominees, presented in alphabetical order…

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Born to be Adventurous

Versatile Blogger Award 4To founder Annika Mang, having a baby didn’t mean the end of adventures; instead it was the beginning of grander ones.  Born To Be Adventurous was created as a platform to share and inspire families to get outdoors and adventure with their kids with an eco-focus. Annika shares her family’s and other families outdoor adventure stories and tips and activities. She also runs a green up challenge where her family reduces their waste to a single jar. She encourage followers to choose a green up goal for the month to reduce their families waste. Goals can be as big as reducing their waste to a single jar or choosing a smaller goal like using reusable coffee mugs


Brazen Backpacker

Versatile Blogger Award 5Brazen Backpacker is the adventure-seeking, poetic, and often humorous blog of Emily Pennington. Started in 2016, it is already making waves with content syndicated on The Outdoor Project, Camping for Women, Women Who Explore, and many others. The site features Emily’s ramblings on everything the adventuresome soul might desire – from gear suggestions to stories of expeditions gone horribly awry, to tales of falling in love in a National Park, all illustrated perfectly with her colorful travel photography. If you’re in need of inspiration for your next trip or daydream, this website is the perfect place to start.


Brown Gal Trekker

Versatile Blogger Award 7Brown Gal Trekker blog was launched in September 2016. In addition to being focused on the outdoors, it further aims to address unconventional or seldom talked about topics in the world of hiking.  Marinel, the person behind Brown Gal Trekker, is an avid hiker and global explorer.  Along with her social enterprise, Peak Explorations, her blog aims to promote women and diversity in the outdoors. Her blog often shares her journeys in off the beaten path trekking destinations, practical advice to assist fellow hikers, and her insight on the outdoors world that can range from why we should hire mountain fanatics to why one shouldn’t date a girl who treks. No matter the topic, Brown Gal Trekker focuses on inspiring and empowering readers to pursue anything and everything that their hearts desire.


Female Traveler

Versatile Blogger Award 8Female Traveler is a travel and lifestyle blog featuring destinations, travel tips and inspiration from around the world. Ira of Female Traveler blogs all about her adventures all over the world, but it’s her extensive coverage of Europe that keeps readers coming back for more. Many love reading about her adventures in places that they know and love. Her site has been described like a treasure trove of things to do, places to see, and plenty of inspiration to just keep going and live your dreams



Get Camping Wild

Versatile Blogger Award 9Getcampingwild.com is a place where campers can share everything they have learned along the (sometimes prickly) way in the wilderness. It’s a place where new explorers can find out everything need-to-know about those first few steps into the great outdoors. The blog is run by experienced camper Lucy Gomez and aims to gather all the best camping tips to inspire and improve camping for all adventurers! Whether you’re an established starlight-sleeper or a first time pop-up-tent, Lucy and her team aim to help you make all your future camping trips stress-free but unforgettable.



Mountain Mom and Tots

Versatile Blogger Award 10Mountain Mom and Tots is an outdoor family blog that’s all about helping families explore outdoors. With an emphasis on hiking, biking, camping and skiing with kids, creator Mountain Mom shares how she adventures outdoors with three young kids.  Susan, a Mountain Mom who lives with her husband and three young kids near Sundance, Utah. When they are not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, Susan spends her time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 her family travelled 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.



My Perfectly Damaged Life

Versatile Blogger Award 11My Perfectly Damaged life is an adventure/travel/photography blog.  Perfectly Damaged, which started simply as Jennifer Hewitt’s photography name but has since morphed into her blog and social media brand, is based on the concept that nothing is perfect and we are all damaged.  Despite this, we can live a life that is perfect for us despite the damage, Perfectly Damaged!  Jennifer’s hope with her blog is that her readers will see that she is just an average woman getting out there experiencing life, mishaps and all, and as a result get out there as well.



My Wild Kitchen

Versatile Bloggers Award 12MyWildKitchen.com shares unique but simple home-cooked meals for venison, wild game, and wild desserts, too (think blackberries!). All the recipes Noel shares at MyWildKitchen.com use easy to find ingredients, and are designed to reconnect the hunter (or hunter’s spouse) with the wild game they’ve harvested. At MyWildKitchen.com you will find recipes for venison, feral hog, wild turkey, dove, freshwater fish, and even squirrel, all presented with full-color, step-by-step photos of each part of the cooking process, making it a breeze to follow along no matter the difficulty level of the recipe.



Revolving Compass

Versatile Blogger Award 13Neha & Abhishek are a couple travel blogger based in Bangalore, India. Revolving Compass is born out of their love for travel and their enthusiasm to share this travel experience with the rest of the world. The couple believes that every travel has a lot of soul enriching experiences hidden in it and they thrive to bring these out to the world through their travel stories, as they travel the world along with their little kiddo. Apart from the travel stories, Revolving Compass covers family travel tips, destination guides, best possible travel itineraries, travel friendly products and talks about how to overcome the challenges of traveling with a toddler and enjoy it to the best extent possible



Solo Passport

Versatile Blogger Award 14Raksha Prasad is an IT professional who craves and breathes travel. She love exploring new places and meeting new people and mostly travels alone or with any of her travel buddies. ‘Solopassport’ is all about showcasing her experiences and photographs taken along her travel journey.




Versatile Blogger Award 15Teakisi (pronounced Tee-ki-si), creates a space for African women to empower and celebrate each other, and to unite through their stories. A Teakisi woman has many names: Mukadzi in Shona, Obinrin in Yoruba, Umugore in Kinyarwanda, Daaku in Luo, Aberu in Ateso, Minga in Beti, the list is endless. Teakisi women are vibrant and empowered Africans, with a love to empower others. Teakisi is here to share the voices of these African women. Teakisi stands out for several reasons, but what truly makes it special is that it’s a platform dedicated to the everyday African woman. Most of our contributors are not “professional” bloggers/writers, they’re just everyday women with a story to tell and wisdom to share.



The Modern Outdoors

Versatile Blogger Award 16The Modern Outdoors is an honest look at life in the wild. Nicole Atkins, the founder of MO, has over 25 years of experience and isn’t afraid to push boundaries. The result is a blog that offers practical knowledge articulated with humor and irreverence.



Waboose Adventures

Versatile Blogger Award 17Waboose Adventures is an award-winning blog that brings you into the backcountry where every portage takes you deeper, and every step takes you further into the wilderness. Cobi Sharpe shares her adventures in nature through writing and her award-winning photography.




Wandering Lights

Versatile Blogger Award 18Writing and photography has been the vice for of creator Danielle Dorrie for years – and she took this is to the next level with her blog Wandering Lights. Check out all of her thoughts, then head on over to her Adventure Blog – www.LoveMaineAdventures.com. That’s where she talks about the current risky adventures that she has as she grows and invites people to follow her in her journey.  She encourages comments on her work and likes to engage with creative minds and enjoy other blogs in the process.



Whits Wilderness

Whit’s WildVersatile Blogger Award 19erness is an outdoors lifestyle blog for Texas women, where 6th generation Texan and blogger Whitney shares her tips for hiking, hunting, camping, outdoor cooking, and shooting sports. Her guidance entails what to wear (she calls it “field fashion”), the best trails to hike, tips for a glamorous camping experience, recipes, and comprehensive “Girl’s Guides” to various activities. Her goal is to inspire Texas women to get outdoors and enjoy this beautiful natural world we live in!



So there are our nominees.  They all have quite different strengths and qualities and we hope you will have as much fun exploring and learning from these blogs as we did.


Nominees, Here’s Your Mission:

The next step in the Versatile Bloggers Award process, mean nominees are similarly required to:

  • Thank your Versatile Blogger Award nominator/presenter on your blog and link their site.
  • Select 8-15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly that deserve this awesome award. It is best to make sure they accept the award and can nominate 8-15 other bloggers too.
  • Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. Have fun with this and take advantage of the opportunity for your readers to learn more about you!
  • Display the Versatile Blogger Award on your blog by including it in your post!


So many wonderful blogs out there, so little time…


Camping and Hiking on your Period

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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

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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 http://www.ptwinchester.co.uk/ 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!

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Camping for Women sincerely thanks Sarah Brown and http://www.ptwinchester.co.uk/ for sharing this fabulous resource.

An Amateur Dirtbag’s Guide to Zion in the Winter

Winter in Zion

By Emily Pennington

“I feel bad about Ben,” J.C. muttered as we tip-toed down the razor’s edge of Angels Landing. “He would have loved this.” I nodded, squinting as I peered off into the brittle, orange canyon, 1500 feet below. At that exact moment, a pair of bouncy, brunette pigtails inched over the top of the trail where the chains meet their steep demise, carried by Emma, who looked nervous, wild, and full of vertigo. Ben’s curly head of hair followed shortly behind, smiling. I laughed out loud, grinning like a maniac. Emma had faced her fears and hoisted herself up nearly a thousand feet of wet sandstone to share this moment with us, suspended in the clouds as the sun began to wash itself over the striped walls of Zion National Park. Welcome to Utah.

Zion in Winter 4

In an epic bid to stretch the possibilities of weekend roadtrips away from Los Angeles this winter, I recently found myself planning my first trek to Utah and its fabled Zion. I’d been hearing about the place for the better part of a decade, clumped, red sandstone hoodoos littered with Pinyon Pine trees forming bright, panoramic canyons of enormous scale.

When you look up “best national parks to visit in the wintertime” online, Zion pops up high on every list, and it’s easy to understand why. The snow-capped rock formations create an all but subtle juxtaposition of copper and white that spans for miles in every direction, plus, the possibilities for off-trail peak bagging are huge. Despite snow melt causing unsafe sandstone conditions for many of our climbing objectives, we still had a gorgeous and varied January tumble through the park, and I hope these tips and highlights can serve to illuminate your own journey!

Zion in Winter 5

First of all, Zion National Park has winter weather that varies greatly. A friend of mine climbed Angels Landing in the snow over New Years, but upon our arrival at the trailhead 2 weeks later, we encountered merely wet, slippery sandstone. Temperatures can vary between 20 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you’re either dodging ice and snow or watching were you put your hands when you rock scramble so that stable-looking holds don’t crumble in your palms. There are also several chunks of the park, much like Yosemite, that are higher elevation, and therefore hold more snow and lower temperatures than the main canyon where the road traverses though.

Zion in Winter 6

We jumped on a ton of trails during our brief time in the park, and I sincerely feel that Angels Landing is the absolute best. You trudge up switchback after switchback cut into the edge of Zion’s main canyon before ascending an incredibly exposed class 3 route up the neck of a massive sandstone behemoth. There are signs everywhere informing you that 6 people have fallen from these cliffs in the last 10 years, so you feel like a complete badass when you push onward, death in your rearview, and begin to ascend the chains.

Honestly, it reminded me quite a lot of the Half Dome trail in Yosemite, an infamous and equally sketchy climb up the steep back of a massive dome. And, much like Half Dome, the crowds make the trail much scarier than it needs to be. Wear boots with good tread, take your time, and screw your head on straight when you need to pass people on the chains.

Zion in Winter 2

If you happen to make it to Zion when it’s below freezing or dry and without snow, there are a multitude of easy, off-trail class 3-4 scrambles to spice things up and satiate your danger bug. Cave Knoll and Firepit Knoll in the Kolob Terrace section of the park are bubbling over with alien landscapes, stacked, round hoodoos sitting like rust-colored teardrops in every direction. The ten mile drive to reach this sparsely populated section of the park will truly make you feel as though you’ve time-traveled into the wild west, with valley homesteads and ranches dotting the horizon.

Checkerboard Mesa was also high on our list of class 3 rock climbing in Zion, but after post-holing up to my thigh as we tried to navigate the drainage around to the back of the rock mass, we decided to call it and take awestruck pictures of the completely unreal texture on the wall’s front end. If you find yourself on the less popular east side of the park, I implore you to jump out of your car and hike off trail a bit near Checkerboard Mesa. The solitude and bizarre rock shapes are noting short of inspiring.

Zion in Winter 7
I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t take a minute to say it plainly – it is absolutely imperative to remember that, no matter how awesome or easy a route looks, climbing on wet sandstone is never a good idea! I can’t tell you how many times a member of my group grabbed a jug on a canyon wall to hoist themselves up, only to have it break off in their hand. We had at least 5 or 6 climbing objectives that we had to scrap last minute due to the quality of the rock that week in the park. If this does happen to you, do not despair! Angels Landing, The Watchman, parts of East Rim Trail, and the West Rim Trail were all jaw-droppingly beautiful and ready to be hiked.

If you only want a quick excursion or are with family or a less athletic group, the one trail I would implore you to check out is the Canyon Overlook Trail. We sped over to watch the clouds disperse just as the sun was setting, and the way the light trails meander through the Triassic canyon is pure magic.

Zion in Winter 8

With all my weekend warrior road-trips, I try to keep costs down as much as possible. One thing I adored about Utah that I haven’t found quite as close to the national parks in Cali was the abundance of cheap, clean motels that offer a free breakfast. For a thrifty $40-50 per night, you can get a double bed room in Hurricane, UT and drive a mere 20 minutes into Zion each day. I’m a backpacker dirtbag at heart, and we were blessed with weather that would have made camping within the park’s boundaries possible, but there’s something emboldening about knowing I’m going home to a warm bed that makes me push harder and longer in the snow, unafraid of wet gear.

Zion in the Winter 1

I used to get cranky living in Los Angeles in the wintertime. I felt stifled by the fact that all my favorite trails were covered with snow while I was held captive in a smog-ridden constellation of concrete that the sun beat down upon as though time’s essence held no weight. Then, one day I realized that we live in an absolute mecca for road trips, and my quest to become a weekend warrior, in earnest, begun. Winter shouldn’t keep anyone from exploring some of our nation’s greatest treasures. It’s often the most magical time to visit the national parks, and you’re sure to see things that summer simply cannot provide. So go on, declare a snow day. I dare you.

For more information about climbing in Zion National Park and off-trail rock scrambling, check out SummitPost.org


The cheap hotel I stayed at in Hurricane, UT (and would totally recommend for late night hot-tubbing) can be found here.


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

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.

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How to Store Camping Gear

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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.

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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, 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:





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.


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.

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