Safety and Situational Awareness Safety and situational awareness are one two of the most important elements of any outdoor activity. I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories of what can happen if they aren’t given enough consideration. Yet despite those warnings uneducated people still keep falling into the same situations.
Even now, after the popular “Survival Guy’s” and “Safety Expert” documentaries have appeared on countless travel and educational channels, we still go out unprepared. Now I don’t at all claim to be any kind of expert in how to keep yourself safe.
I’ve had my share of injuries… However I can share with you some clear common sense items:Map out your camp site before you arrive, identify roads, landmarks and Ranger Stations and be aware of fire danger levels if you are in heavily forested areas.
In winter time, if you are snowshoeing, be aware of avalanche areas.Cooking and campfire: Keep your cooking and campfire away from your tent.Children: Be certain to teach children to respect fire, sharp instruments, wildlife and to stay nearby.
Let friends and family know where you will be camping and when you expect to return.Never sleep with portable heaters running over night in your tent. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be lethal, or at the very least, seriously uncomfortable.
Plus, plastic melts!Wildlife: Respect their habitat – you are in their home — and always keep your food out of reach, especially in bear country.Water: Never drink directly from rivers or mountain streams, trust me this can have bad consequences. Use a well-rated water purifier/pump.Sleeping Bags: This is where I hear the “That’s a plug”, well give me a little credit, at least there’s good info here Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for a sufficient temperature. i.e. don’t go out winter camping with a %2B50 degree rated sleeping bag.
Poison Ivy Relief: If exposed wash the exposed area immediately with soap and cool water. Bring ointments that can help relieve any discomfort. Some people think vodka helps, but Myth busters shot that down like five episodes ago.Snake Bite Kits: If you are camping in an area, or during a time of year, in which you could encounter poisonous snakes, be certain to have a snake bite kit, and then don’t leave it in your tent when you go out for a hike…doh!Bee and Wasp Sting Kits: Not everyone is allergic to bee or wasp stings but some people are highly allergic.
Be aware if anyone in your group is. Also, don’t quote me on this, but I heard somewhere that jumping into a lake helps you escape, however, you could very well be facing a whole new set of issues if you do that so….Bear Repellent: If you will be in bear country, bring bear repellent. Know what to do ahead of time upon encounter with a bear.
I know for a fact, without a shadow of a doubt, kicking the bear if the repellent doesn’t work.Ticks: Be aware if you are in an area where Lyme disease is possible and know the proper way to remove ticks – with tweezers as near to your body as possible and never squeeze the tick as you remove it.
See American Lyme Disease Foundation. Bugs and Insects in general: Avoid wet and grassy areas.Avoid scented products, such as perfume or cologne.Wear colored and long sleeved pants and shirts when possible. The light colored cloth allows you to see any little critters.In areas with heavy populations of mosquitoes or flies, a head net can be a welcome relief while hiking.
It also can be a great fashion idea when you stumble across a random mountain town. Entertainment Now if you aren’t running for the nearest Hyatt, let’s move on to the fun stuff. In the outdoors, there should never be a time where there isn’t something to do, whether it be hiking, swimming, climbing a tree, or well…climbing a tree higher!
However, if you do find yourself without anything to do, and relaxing and reading a book isn’t appealing, here are a couple other ideas.Story-telling: Since the dawn of human kind, campfires and night and story-telling have gone hand-in-hand.
With children, let them talk about what they want – the stories will follow. What did they see in nature during the day that most excited or pleased them? If there aren’t any children, you can still always make something up and pretend it really happened…lol, but be warned, I think that leaves open the possibility of you being dubbed a liar!Musical Instruments and songs: Like good story-telling, songs and campfires have always gone hand-in-hand. If you or your children play instruments, bring them if you can.
Bring along some songs, as well. Even if you don’t know how to play, again, you can always pick one up and make something up; at the very least you’ll get some laughs.Cards: For many, cards are a must to any campsite.Look up!: For many, the stars overhead are pure wonderment. You might want to bring a star map. I like to give random stars a name, then try to find them the next night. So far, I’m 0-100. Cooking For those who love to cook, cooking over a campfire is a great challenge, harking back to where the art of cooking began.
The web offers many free recipes for campfire cooking. One thing to keep in mind: Don’t go grabbing random plants and throwing them in your stew… now you’d think that would be just flat out logic, but apparently, based on some statistic I recently read… it’s not.Calculate the number of meals you will prepare, measure out the ingredients you’ll need and pack them, neatly labeled, in Zip lock bags.
These are the times where, as a writer, you wish Zip lock paid for product placement.For quick “on the go meals,” prepare chili, stews and soups before your trip, freeze them, keep them in a cooler to reheat.Bring heavy duty aluminum foil and your favorite plastic wrap. This could also be categorized under the entertainment section ; )Bring liquid biodegradable dishwashing soap.Freeze foods, such as meats and cans of juice, before putting them in your cooler.
They will keep longer and serve to cool other foods. Crafty! In the woods, you need to be crafty; otherwise you’re just…well, normal!Cover pots and pans when cooking. Food cooks faster and you use less fuel. Pack everything in a cooler in watertight plastic bags. Wait! I might be repeating myself, well, it’s good advice anyhow.Store food high and out of reach to discourage animals, including bears.
Consider hanging it high from a tree branch, this is where the climbing a tree practice we talked about earlier comes in handy… 2 for 1 entertainment and no bears! (You’ll need to remember to bring rope.)While you’re eating, place a pan of water over your fire, to help clean up when you’ve finished eating, or for a warm liquid to wash the taste out of your mouth Fuel source: Will you be using charcoal or propane to cook? Be sure you bring plenty of what you will need. Surprisingly enough the whole “rubbing two sticks together” is harder than it looks.Clean up quickly after eating so food doesn’t harden.
Yes, unfortunately hardening food is a big problem these days. Once I forgot to clean up after making some chicken soup and man oh man, I broke a tooth later that day.If you’ll be cooking over a wood fire, wipe dish soap on the outside of your pots and pans to make soot removal a breeze.Search the web for great campsite cooking recipes and come prepared to dazzle your family! Or if you’re eating alone that night, you can conveniently forget you got the recipe online and say to yourself “I’ve always been an incredible cook”…. definitely comforting. Campsite and Campsite Etiquette Picking your campsite is kind of like shopping for a house, minus the realtors, escrow and whatnot:Find a shaded spot that is large enough for your needs.
Pitch your tent away from low ground, where rain water can gather.Be certain your campsite will have good drainage, in case it rains.Be certain restroom and bathing facilities are within easy walking distance.Be certain drinking water is nearby.Pack it in- Pack it Out: Leave your campsite as clean (or cleaner) than you found it.
We all hate it when we get to a campsite and there’s a freeze dried haggis wrapper sitting there.Keep an orderly campsite: Keep your campsite orderly and safe. Don’t leave dangerous or sharp tools exposed. Keep food stored safely out of reach of animals, so you do not draw them in. If you looked hard enough, I bet you could find a maid service online that could help with the orderliness, with the technologies these days who knows!Make sure your campfire is cold: When you leave be absolutely certain that your campfire is cold.
No jokes, this is important!Treat neighboring campers as you would want to be treated. Don’t be loud and bothersome in close camping quarters.Don’t pee near camp, it can attract wild animals and is just flat out a bad idea.
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Tips For Setting Up Your Tent
You may not think that setting up your tent is all that important, but I can tell you form first hand experience that I’ve had more then one camping trip ruined by not setting up my tent the right way. Here are some tips for setting up your tent for a more enjoyable camping experience.Location, Location, Location: One of the first things you need to take a look at before you set up your tent is the location where you will be setting up.
Just because a campground has a spot designated for your tent doesn’t mean that it is the best place to set up.I have woken up in the middle of the night more than once with water in my tent after setting up in the campgrounds designated spot.
If at all possible, set up in a spot where the ground slopes away from the back of the tent. This will allow water to run off away form your tent should it happen to rain.Tarps Are Your Friend:Be sure to place a tarp on the ground before setting up your tent.
Having a tarp under your tent will prevent ground moisture from seeping up through the bottom of the tent and getting your sleeping bag and other camping gear wet.Most tent come with a rain fly, but if there should be a period of heavy or prolonged rain, even the best of rain flies will not hold back the water. This is why I always put a tarp over my tent when I set up.
The best way to do this is to use a tarp that is about 4 or 5 feet larger than your tent so it extends beyond the foot print of your tent. This will protect your tent better and also allow you to place some chairs outside the tent.
If at all possible, use rope or twine and tie the tarp off to any trees that are around your tent and be sure that one of the back corners of the tarp is lower then the other three corners so if it rains, the water will run off away from your tent.Use these tips for setting up your tent for a better camping experience. Happy Camping !
Camping Trips Create Great Family Memories
It is not always that a family or group of friends could get together and enjoy some activities so why not plan your camping trips ahead in order to get the most out of it. In activities wherein many people are involved, it is very important that everything is well planned and the equipment well prepared so that everyone would have fun and ensure the safety of every participant.
The key to succeeding in planning is to start with the venue or the place where the activity will be held. Check on the place, book and secure the location. Take note of the weather changes that might occur and be ready for circumstances that may arise.
Once the place is set and ready for the trip, plan the activities that everybody may be able to enjoy. Consider the age range of the people involved in the camping and be sure to check on everyone’s specific needs to see which may need additional help such as those who are asthmatic, with high blood pressure and others that might need special attention. The children should also be properly supervised to ensure their safety.
Do not just travel without an emergency kit handy. One of the basic things included in the kit should be alcohol, towels, medicines, water and band-aids. All camping trips should have at least one first aid kit.
The camping activities should then be planned carefully so that everyone will have fun. Be sure that both the children and adults will be able to participate in these activities. Some examples of activities include fishing, cooking, or simple karaoke inside the tents.
For more active participants, you can prepare extreme sports such as rock climbing, hiking, biking, and bungee jumping, cliff diving or swimming. Feel free to involve these participants in the planning process too. Ask for their suggestions as to what activities they would like to do during their camping trips and you’ll be amazed at how their suggestions would make the planning a whole lot easier.
Be sure to prepare every needful equipment, gear and accessories so that the trip would be worth it. Remember that both proper planning and execution constitutes successful camping trips By: Tom Houser ,Tom is an experienced camper who has been camping all his life. He has taken many family trips and many canoe trips as well. Click here for information on choosing a good sleeping bag sleeping bag.
Pop-Up Campers – Is a Pop-Up Right For You?
As everyone here is well aware of, camping is a great way to take in all that nature has to offer. Popup campers are a cost effective, simple way to enjoy comfort while out in the wilderness. A great alternative to tents, pop up campers can be rented or purchased for a price that won’t hit too hard on the wallet. Brand new popups can be found from around $4,000 all the way up to $12,000.
There is also a huge used market out there for such campers. Used popups can be found for very fair prices.A big plus to popups, being a trailer, have the ability to be towed behind nearly any vehicle with a hitch. A small car can even handle the load with ease.
Of course, a hitch will likely need to be purchased as well. Popups have a nice, low profile, which is good for two main reasons: Minimal vision obstruction and minimal wind resistance (which hurts fuel economy significantly, as seen with traditional pull behind campers).
Popups are surprisingly roomy when expanded, and one who hasn’t taken the time to check out the inside of a set up unit would be pleasantly surprised. Families with children can fit comfortably with their own separate areas.Also it is thought that popups are difficult to set up, but this is most definitely not the case, not even in older used models. They simply crank up and secure to their position, and you pull out slide out areas , if applicable, and you’ll be ready to go.
Never forget to put down the stabilizers on each end of the camper to ensure it can’t tip when somebody is in it. Popups can be set up very easily, from the most ignorant beginner to the most experienced expert.
Remember- popups have had years and years of time to perfect the design and the easiest, quickest setup method has been optimized. Setup time total ranges from 30 minutes to an hour, which is longer than an RV, but the difference in cost more than makes up for this pitfall.
Also, most big tents can easily take this much time to get properly set up while providing far inferior protection to the elements.A popup camper should be considered by anyone interested in a cost effective “home away from home” in the great outdoors.
You’ll have the security and comfort that your old popup tent never could. Popup campers are a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts.
Hiking and Camping in Bear Country
The most important factor to keep in consideration is that bears and other wildlife are as their name implies-wild. While bear sightings are very rare in the mountains in Breckenridge, you should keep in mind that the goal is to coexist with these creatures, so you should do your part to keep these animals wild and safe. Under no circumstances should bears be captured, harassed, or fed.
In fact, feeding a bear will likely make them become more aggressive toward the next group of humans it comes across. Before you go out playing in the Breckenridge mountains, take these precautionary tips into consideration
• Make noise.Although the mountains boast a calming and relaxing environment, an unassuming bear can feel startled if stuck upon. For maximum safety, make mountain activities a group effort. The more noise you make, the less likely a bear will approach. If a bear hears you, it’s unlikely that it’s going to come to the noise.
It would rather keep to itself and leave you alone. When bears are surprised by mountain visitors sneaking up on them, they are more likely to feel threatened. Talk, sing, or hum as you explore the mountains. Local shops in Breckenridge sell bells that you can tie around your neck, automatically making noise for you as you hike trails.Â
• Stay calm.In the rare event that you do come across a bear while hiking, try to keep a cool head. Slowly lay down your pack or anything else you are carrying and back away from the animal. In most cases, the bear will either move along on its own or take interest in your pack. If the bear does approach you, make yourself look big by extending your arms above your head, and make loud noises.Â
• Clean up.Bears are hungry creatures and will likely follow the smell of food the longer it lingers. After you’ve finished cooking, burn all excess grease and food from grills and stoves. Be sure to wipe your table or eating area clean as well. Additionally, try to situate your camping area so that your tent and sleeping bag do not smell of food. Because the clothes that you’ve cooked in will retain the grill’s smell, store those in bear-proof containers as well.Â
• Store it.Keep your food and garbage in the trunk of your car or suspended from a tree. Get all food at least ten feet off the ground and four feet from the trunk of the tree to be safe. Remember, vehicles are not bear proof-the trunk is the safest storage place if your car is nearby.Â• Get it out.Don’t burn or bury your trash-a bear will just dig it up and create a mess. Pack it in bear-proof containers and pack it out with you. Many camping areas are equipped with bear-proof garbage cans for your use.Remember, bear encounters in Breckenridge are extremely rare. Bears are solitary creatures that like to stay to themselves. Hikers and campers can continue to coexist with mountain wildlife by remembering these basic tips of hiking and camping in the Colorado high country, so get out and have a good time in Breckenridge.By: Christine J. CookChris Cook lives part time in Breckenridge, Colorado and loves to share her expertise on the mountains with visitors. If you’re planning a trip to the Rocky Mountains, visit this site for your Breckenridge lodging , Campgrounds – Ohio Offers Its Best To The Word
Buckeye state may not offer the mountains like other states but has still got lots of places and beautiful sceneries for vacationers. In Ohio while camping you can have the chance to enjoy the Midwestern hospitality offered by Ohio campgrounds.
In fact the Ohio campsites may be seen as ones which made your family camping trip the most enjoyable.Though Ohio is considered geographically a small state,but it has quite a few of campsites it can boost about. This state of Ohio is fraction-ed into five camping regions which are distinct: that is southwest, northeast, and northwest southeast.
Each of these regions has a distinct style and flavor to offer for campers.In case you desire to camp at the central region of the state; for example, you will have a number of fascinating options. First of all is the Rippling stream campsite which is in Baltimore, Ohio.
Apart from the state offering a full picnic area, rippling stream has a game room movie night, hayrides, bingo, and horseshoes. There’s also a swimming pool for you to take a dip when you tire from hiking.If you want to research Ohio campgrounds in the northwest region of the state, try surf motel and RV campsite in Marble head.
This is called Ottawa counting camping ground, which looks out over beautiful Lake Erie and also bordering the popular Kelly’s Island and the beautiful Put-In-Bay. This ohio campground also offers quite a few of amenities such as picnic tables, out door pool, and other stuff like fishing and boating.
If you’re moving around southwestern Ohio, make sure you stop at Forest Heaven which is located in Chillicothe. This Ohio campground is considered as a primitive campsite, which is particularly land of tranquility. Forest Heaven is one of the Ohio campgrounds that brings people to simple living style .
It also has luxuries to offer, such as electricity, hot showers ,flush toilets and laundry.Spend your time here by doing activities like fishing for one day, walking for next, and swimming ,boating ,riding etc while in Ohio campgrounds.Ohio is a place for family vacations, as this whole state is family oriented.
There are too many Ohio campgrounds you can choose from. Camping is the best form of activity for a family to get together, irrespective of the region of Ohio you are vacationing in, there are also lots of family oriented summer activities where the whole family can have fun.
Simple pleasures together create more stronger bonds within the family .Simple pleasures can be such as dining together on the picnic table, sleeping below stars will become the most cherished memories for you as well as for your children.
Ohio may not be as glamorous as Las Vegas and may also not provide amusement parks of Florida but Ohio campgrounds have lots of place for the family fun. Once you spend time at an Ohio campgrounds, for sure you and your family would want to return for more fun and frolic.
Cachuma Lake Campground – A Great Camping Experience
If you are looking for a great place to go camping, whether it is tent camping or you have and RV, you should check out Cachuma Lake Campground in Santa Barbara County.
Located off Hwy 154, it is a beautiful lake that offers many activities year round. Widely known for fishing, this campground/recreation area also offers wildlife tours, hiking, boat rentals, a swimming pool, miniature golf, and so much more. There is no swimming or skiing allowed on the lake however, so keep this in mind when you go.
The lake hosts fishing tournaments through-out the year, and is home to the UCSB Rowing Team.So, now you know what the park has to offer, let me tell you a little more about it. The campground is a County run park, camping is first come first served.
They do not take reservations. They have a large number of full hook-up sites for Rvers as well as partial hook-up sites. They have an even larger number of tent sites. In most cases, when you arrive they will give you a map of the campground, tell you which sites are available and you can drive around, choose the one you want and go back and pay for it.
Most of the campground is dirt, they do allow campfires year-round, and they have a wonderful little store in case you forgot or run out of something. There is also a wildlife museum in the park and they occasionally host special events for kids. Prefer hiking?
Try out one of the many trails available around the lake. They range from short walks to longer hikes. Maps are available at the park.Want to see wildlife? This is the place to do it. Because the park is located in the mountains you will most definitely see raccoons and probably a skunk.
Keep your trash picked up at night and the raccoons won’t be a problem. Skunks? Don’t do anything to scare them and they will leave, they are just passing through anyway. You will also see squirrels, birds, and other small wildlife. Go down by the boat launch ramp and you can feed the ducks, carp will come and eat with the ducks too if you’re lucky!
You can wear yourself out riding your bike around the park on the roads leading to the various campsites. They also have Yurts for staying in if you don’t want to stay in a tent.Cachuma Lake is located only half an hour from the Santa Ynez Valley. Day trips into Solvang, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez are a must. There are a variety of fun shops, wine tasting, and excellent restaurants in the Valley. If you would rather go to Santa Barbara, you can head the other direction from the lake and it is about forty-five minutes or so depending on traffic.
The most important thing to remember about camping there is to have a great time!
Roast some marshmallows, make new friends, and catch a big fish!
Enjoy Cachuma Lake and you will want to return.