Photo by form PxHere

What is a Camping Trip without a campfire? It would be a rather boring camping experience, don’t you think? Building a campfire can be a very rewarding experience, but there are some safety precautions and other factors one should know about before leaving. Here are a few tips on campfire safety that should be adhered to in order to ensure you have a great camping experience.

  1. Before going on your camping trip, make sure you choose the right campground. Before you make a reservation (necessary on a busy weekend like Memorial Day), find out the campground’s rules on campfires. Believe it or not, some campgrounds do not allow campfires at all. They have their reasons. However, I can not imagine what they could be. I usually avoid these places like the plague. If you do not do your research and show up at one of these places, you are just plain out of luck… “Oops!! Look at the signs around the campground. No campfires!! Sorry, honey. I should have done my research.”

There are also areas where you can have campfires, but you can not pick your wood from the woods. There are many places in these areas where you can buy bundles of wood for $3.00 a bundle on up. You have to spend a little bit of money if you want your fire to go all night (or until bed time anyway). However, if you get to one of these areas and you want to build a campfire, that is what you are going to have to do.

In California, this type of camping is unavoidable. I did a lot of camping there and did not find a place anywhere where you could pick your own wood.

Then, you have the places that, pretty much, have no real restriction. The only thing they ask is you adhere to general fire safety. These are my favorite places to go.

  1. Most of the latter type campgrounds have designated fire pits. USE THEM!!! They are there for your safety. They are usually in the area of the campsite where there are the least low-hanging branches and furthest away from your tent site. If there is not a fire pit, you can easily build one by gathering enough big rocks to put in a circle. This wall of rocks must be big enough to keep the wood inside the ring. Also, clear away any twigs, dried leaves, paper, etc within several feet from the fire pit.
  2. When building your fire, start out with small twigs, a little paper and anything else that can be used as a fire starter.

Side note: Some folks put dried leaves on the pile to help start the fire. I do not use them, because they make a fire smokey.

Then, you start putting your kindling down. These sticks are a little bigger that the twigs (about 1/2″ to 1″ in diameter). After that, throw on you bigger logs. There are several way to do this. I like to build a tepee style fire the best. I feel this is the strongest fire structure. There you go… A little architectural lesson from the Indians.

  1. Make sure your fire is a comfortable size. Building your fire too big could be catastrophic to the people in your group as well as your camping neighbors. It will not be a great thing for the wildlife and the forest either. “Oh, no! The tree overhead just caught fire. What should I do?” Make sure that you have the correct equipment (ie. bucket full of water, shovel or a fire extinguisher) in case the fire does leave the boundaries of the fire pit.
  2. Have fun. Bring out the weenies and the marshmallows. Play cards. Tell stories. However, you must also be safe. Respect your fire. There should be no horseplay around the fire.

I hope these tips on campfire safety have helped you plan a safe camping trip.

Image by <a href="">David Mark</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>

There are a few types of camping each with their own set of needs. For instance, if you want peace and quiet, you do not want to camp next to an area of leisure (such as a golf course), a drag strip, or a highway.

I have had the latter two experiences, which I’ll explain later in this post. On the other hand, if you are there to golf and want to be in close proximity to the golf course, you may be willing to put up with the loud industrial mowers they use to mow the green every morning. Likewise, if you come to an NHRA event and want to be within walking distance to the drag strip, you may be willing to be awakened by those darned top fuel cars.

It is all a matter of preference. In this article, I will be giving you ideas to help you in finding your ideal campsite.

The first thing you must do is identify your camping needs. Then, you go about looking for a campsite that will suit these needs. You should learn about the surrounding areas of the campgrounds you are considering using for a certain duration of time. The best way to do this is to call the local tourist office or chamber of commerce in the area you are considering. You could call the campgrounds directly.

However, their information is a little more biased because they want you to come to their campground. Once you have chosen your campground, it is highly recommended that you make a reservation. This will assure that you have a campsite when you get there. This one thing could greatly increase your chances of having an enjoyable camping experience.

Once you have chosen your campground and arrive there, it is time to choose your campsite. Most campgrounds will allow you to drive around and pick your site. Some campsites have flat areas already cleared for your tent. Pay close attention when exploring the campground for these sites. The earlier you arrive, the better choice you have in campsites. They also will let you change your mind, if you find you do not get along with your camping neighbor. They will allow you to move your equipment to another site, but only if there is one available.

I like to camp for many different reasons. Sometimes, I just like the sounds of nature to keep me company. On other occasions, I like to get rowdy with friends. This is the type of camping I do at least once a year. We have a friend that reserves a few campsites close together using her credit card.

A bunch of us pay the $10.00 a day fee at the front office, which gets paid back to her minus the $20 a day for her and her boy friend. We then just get rowdy all weekend long. These campsites are at the very back of the campground, so we do not disturb other campers. The only other people who use these sites are rowdy people like us. It is just one big party.

Back in the last decade, my friends and I used to go to the Virginia Motor Sports Park to watch the NHRA event once a year. There was a campground right next door. You could hear the races from there. However, that is why we were there. We tried to get there as early as possible, so we could select the best campsite available. We did not want to be right next to the drag strip. We also did not want to go to the other end of the campground where we would be too far away. We usually picked a spot in the middle of the campground. At night, it was just like any other camping experience.

I have also camped right off major highways. When I moved to Pennsylvania in 1998, I used to go home to Virginia once a year. My relatives live in Salem and Roanoke. I could have stayed at their houses, but I chose to camp, because I am very independent. There is a campground at Dixie Caverns in Salem, VA.

The entrance is on HWY 11 and it backs to I-81. However, it is very close to my relatives. Remember, choosing a campsite depends on what your needs are. Besides, these roads do not get much traffic late at night (an occasional tractor trailer or two).

When choosing your campsite, it is important that you do not choose one with camping items on it. Just because the site may appear empty, it could be that they have an rv and decided to take it out for the day. In other words, do not step on other peoples toes. That also goes for the wildlife as well. Always respect the wildlife. Remember, they are the hosts and you are their guests.

Camp about 200′ to 300′ from water to avoid being flooded out in case of a torrential downpour. Being close to water during a thunder storm also increases your chances of being struck by lightning. Do not camp under big pine trees because they act as lightning rods. Be sure to keep your food and garbage away from your tent to avoid having your tent ransacked by animals. Do not eat food in your tent. You may get a rude awakening.

Do not camp at the bottom of a cliff. This could be catastrophic if a loose rock falls on your tent, especially if you are in it. Also avoid campsites with leaning trees. These trees may fall on your tent in the event of a wind storm. Make sure you avoid poison ivy.

Your campsite must have good drainage. You do not want your campsite to become a big puddle after a rain.

In short, for the best camping experience, you must find a campsite that fits all your camping needs. Identfy your needs. Inquire about campgrounds in the area in which you plan on camping. When you arrive to your chosen campground, drive around to explore the campground to find your site. Camp and have a good time. I hope this information helps you in your endeavors in finding your ideal campsite.

Photo by Lukas form PxHere

A very important component for a camping trip is your tent. You have to remember, this is going to be your house for a certain duration of time. In this article, I am going to tell you what to look for when choosing the right tent for your camping trip.

The first thing you should consider is the quality of the tent. Is it sturdy? Does it bleed? For those that are new to camping, what I mean by bleeding is, when the tent is wet from either rain or dew, does water drip inside when you touch the inner walls of your tent?

The next thing you should consider is the dimensions of the tent. If you are bringing the whole family, a three room cabin tent may be what you need. However, to maximize your privacy, you may want to get two or three smaller tents depending on the size of your family. This way, you and your significant other will have your own tent and the kids will have theirs. If you are a backpacker traveling alone, a two man lightweight tent is definitely the answer. All tents have the dimensions and the amount of people they sleep listed somewhere, whether it be on the box, in a manual or on a tag sewn onto the tent itself. In a nutshell, you should identify your camping needs.

Another thing to consider is your budget. Be sure you can afford the tent you choose. However, do not totally replace cheapness for quality. Remember, if you buy a more expensive tent, you save in the long run, because you will not have to replace it as often.

A cheaper tent will cost you more in the long run, because it will not last as long as a more expensive tent. If you are on a budget, I would suggest taking the middle of the road.

Select the tent color that best suits your needs. Light colors make the tent brighter on the inside and provide cooler temperatures. This is best for summer camping. Darker colors provide a dark, cave-like feeling inside the tent. They also harness solar energy to help provide a warmer environment inside. This is best for winter camping.

There are many tent manufacturers. Some are noted for making inexpensive tents, while other are noted for making more expensive tents. As you know, I am partial to Coleman. They are a little pricey, but they are built to last. I just bought my first Coleman tent last year. It is 7′ x 9′. It is a little roomy for one person. However, I like a lot of room to move around. Any way, the most impressive feature to me is that it doesn’t bleed. I have not even bought the waterproof spray Coleman offers. I know that I will eventually have to buy the spray and recoat it. However, it has been a year and I haven’t needed it yet. If you can’t afford Coleman, another good choice is Eureka. Their tents are of high quality for the price. This is what I consider taking the middle of the road.

Another good manufacturer is Northwest Territory. I had one for many years. Durability is not a problem. However, they do bleed. You need to waterproof them immediately out of the package. After that, you need to do this on a regular basis.

In short, when choosing the right tent for your camping vacation, you need to identify your camping needs. Take your time when considering which manufacturer you are going to go with. Remember, this is going to be your home for a few days or maybe a week. The right tent will keep you comfortable, especially during unfavorable weather conditions.

The wrong tent will have you packing your camp and heading for a motel. Now, that would be a real waste of money all the way around.
Back Country Camping Beach Vacation Beaches that allow camping camping Camping Beach Camping can be fun Camping in National Parks Camping on the beach Camping Trip Camping with the kids Choosing the Right Tent Family Camping Tent Tent Camping Wilderness Camping

<p>from <strong><a href="">PxHere</a></strong></p>

Most people think that the list of essential camping equipment consists of tents, sleeping bags, a good camping stove, coolers, pots and pans, eating utensils, food, toiletries and other personal hygeine items. This is true. These thing are all you need to have a great camping experience. However, one thing that is often overlooked is a screened gazebo.

A screened gazebo is a great addition to the joy of camping. If you build it around your picnic table, it provides a flying insect-free environment for cooking and eating (provided you keep the entrance closed). You can also do things, such as play cards or other games in a flying insect-free environment. There are also other advantages to camping with a screened gazebo. There are several different types of screened shelters. In this article, I will explain what they are and how they add benefit to your camping experience.

The first one is your basic canopy. It is basically a frame with a shelter on top. This deserves little mention for the purposes of this article. A tarp tied to four trees can do the same thing. If tied right, the tarp is more sturdy than the canopy for obvious reasons.

Now, you can get screened canopies. Even though these are not as sturdy as a fully screened gazebo, they are the least expensive, very light-weight and extremely easy to set up.

There are also your basic screenhouses. The frames are similar to those for the canopies. However, they are designed with screened walls with zippered entrances, which makes them a little stronger than canopies. In addition, they provide protection for your food from flying insects and other debris carried by the wind.

Then, you have the hexagon gazebo. The hexagon gazebo is even more sturdy than the screenhouse. It’s frame consists of a spoked hub pole system creating 6 sides. This is actually my choice. I do not want something that is going to fall every time a stiff wind comes around.

Now, I will go into the ways a screened gazebo can make your camping trip that much more enjoyable. As mentioned earlier, it provides you with a relatively bug free environment for eating and cooking. In the evening, decorate your gazebo with soft, colorful lights for lighting. This provides a nice atmosphere for playing cards and other games. If you do not want to use your gazebo as an activity area, it is perfect for storing your food, coolers and any other camping equipment you are not currently using. This will help your campsite look neat and clean.

Remember, this is your home for a duration of time. How you keep your campsite is a reflection of you. If you are going to use it for this purpose, you should set up your screened gazebo as far away from your tent as the campsite area will allow. This way, if a wild animal ransacks it, they will not spill over into your tent. This brings me to another point. Never eat in your tent. Of course, you are almost always going to have to deal with the occasional downpour. The mist from the rain inside the screened gazebo feels extremely good after a hot summer day. In addition to adding to your camping experience, a screened gazebo is also great for backyard parties.

Now that you see what a great addition a screened gazebo could be, you should consider adding one to your camping gear. They are very inexpensive and easy to put up.

As you all know, I am partial to Coleman. Coleman has a variety of screened gazebos and other types of screened shelters. I hope this information has shown you how enjoyable and practical camping with a screened gazebo can be.

Beach Vacation Beaches that allow camping camping Camping Beach Camping can be fun Camping in National Parks Camping on the beach Camping With a Screend Gazebo essential camping equipment Family Camping Screened Gazebo Tent Camping Tents Wilderness Camping

Norm Andreiw, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Camping can be a rewarding experience, no matter where you are. However, camping in national parks is one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors, because national parks offer the most options. These options range from full service campgrounds with all the facilities you need to wilderness camping with no facilities whatsoever. When planning your camping trip, you must know that there are two types of campgrounds.

There are those that accept reservations and those that are operated on a first-come, first-served basis. Those that accept reservations are a little more expensive than the first-come, first served campgrounds. However, on a big weekend such as Memorial Day, you may want to make a reservation, because you may not find a campsite in a first-come, first-served campground. In this article, I will explain everything I mentioned in this paragraph in detail.

Option #1 – Full Service Campgrounds With All the Facilities

These campgrounds are perfect for the family outing. They have full bath facilities complete with sinks, toilets and showers. They also have electric power hookups as well as a camp store. Some of them even have an amphitheater where you can watch a show or a clubhouse where they hire DJ’s or live bands for you partying and dancing pleasure. There are usually quiet hours starting at 10:00 and pets are required to be on a leash. They also offer three options for camping (some, not all).

There are cabins for those who do not want to set up anything. There is almost always an RV area for those that do not mind some set up (such as hooking up the RV to get electric power) but don’t like to camp in tents. Then there is tent camping for those that really like the outdoors, but want all the amenities that these campgrounds offer. I am going to stick to tent camping for the purposes of this article.

Option 2 – Back Country Camping With Limited Facilities

These campsites are great for those that want to be a little rowdy without having to deal with quiet hours. However, the facilities are very limited. You may just have an outhouse. However, some of these have a small building with a single shower, a toilet and a sink. Every year, I camp in a place where you have to drive 1/2 mile to the closest bath house. That doesn’t bother me, because I am not one for observing any kind of quiet hours when I am camping. If the site has more than just an outhouse, these sites are also perfect for a romantic experience alone with your girlfriend or wife without your neighbor being a few feet away from you.

You do need a permit for this type of camping. Each park has its own rules for getting this permit. Sometimes it is as simple as filling out a form on the day of arrival. Other times, you have to apply for it months in advance. In the latter, it is all about timing. Always plan ahead, or you could be left out in the cold.

Option 3 – Wilderness camping with no facilities

This type of camping is perfect for the all out adventurer from the kayaker to the backpacker. However, you must never travel alone. It is always a good idea to have at least one other person with you to go for help. Both of you should be CPR certified in case of an accident that renders one of you unconscious. If there is more than two of you, only a couple of you need this certification. This ensures that everybody has a high expectancy of coming back alive. Nothing is ever 100%, but the chances are better than average. You also need a permit for this type of camping.

The best way to make a reservation is through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS). Through the NRRS, you can make reservations for the USDA Forest Service, Army Corpes of Engineers, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation outdoor recreation facilities and activities. You can reserve individual campsites up to 240 days in advance, cabins (booking window varies from 180, 240 and 360 days in advance),

Alaska cabins up to 180 days in advance and group facilities up to 360 days in advance. You can make reservations online at or by calling NRRS at 877-444-6777. If you do not want to make a reservation, you can take your chances at one of the many first-come, first-served campgrounds.

Remember, this can be a tough way to go if you are planning your trip on a big weekend. You may end up staying in a hotel, if you can even get a room there. What a bummer. At any rate, camping in national parks is really the best way to enjoy the camping experience. However, sometimes you have got to plan in advance, or you could be left out in the col

Photo by <a href="">Laubenstein Ronald, USFWS</a> on <a href="">Pixnio</a>

Planning your camping vacation can be a very tedious task. However, it is neccessary if you want to have a successful Camping Trip.

A very well-thought-out plan will ensure that you forget nothing, whether it be important or unimportant. The best way to do this is to make lists. By the way, this should be started at least three days before you depart on your camping adventure.

Start with a master list that lists all of your main categories. From there you make a list for each of your main categories. There is an article that explains this process in detail.

It is so well written that I decided to feature it in this post. It is titled “The Importance of Organized Lists for Camping Supplies”.