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March 18, 2010

What to Know About National Parks

Filed under: Camping — Tags: , , — Simos @ 4:25 am
Yellowstone River

View from the top of a mountain at Yellowstone
Photo by: Steven Ritts (Stock Exchange)

Welcome back to your premier “camp grounds” on the Internet,

Since we talked so much about KOA camp grounds the other day, I thought it would be a good idea to give a little general background on the many beautiful national parks in the U.S.

After all, the national parks are part of the public trust, and they are some truly beautiful, pristine places – and great for getting acclimated to the unique joys and challenges of camping … without wireless Internet. (more…)

March 16, 2010

Camping for Just About Everybody: An Intro to KOA Campgrounds, California

Filed under: Campground Destinations — Tags: , , — Simos @ 4:01 am
The Big Trees

Big trees of Sequoia National Park
Photo by: Mo Moore (Stock Exchange)

Welcome back to AllCampgrounds, fellow campers!

From today on, we’ll be beginning a whirlwind tour of major camp grounds, parks, and natural reserves throughout the United States.

There are thousands of camp grounds coast to coast to choose from, whether you’re camping RV resorts or looking for something a little more wild and rustic!

We’re not going in any particular order – variety IS the spice of life, after all – so I think we’ll pick up with KOA campgrounds, California. Expect to see famous, infamous, and just-about-unknown sights as we hit the trail


March 12, 2010

Choosing a Sleeping Bag

Filed under: Camping — Tags: , , , — Simos @ 4:26 am
Picture taken from siting inside a canoe, looking up an unnavigable stream.

One canoeist reaches the “end of the line” – at least for now!Photo by: Matthew Barnett (Stock Exchange)

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to the AllCampgrounds blog. I’ll be taking on the pleasant task of posting here in our continuing quest to highlight the best in camping. Expect my posts to feature news and reviews on the best camp grounds from around the U.S. and Canada. I’ll also discuss the latest tips and gear for campers, both experienced and new. Whether your goal is to go on an intense survival adventure, meet new folks at the RV camp park, or bring the family out into the country to toast s’mores and tell stories, I’ll be providing the info you need to make the most of your trek.


February 23, 2009

Cleaning the Fish You Catch While Camping

Filed under: Camping — Tags: , , , — writer @ 6:49 am

Whether you’ve been following the last few posts on Ice fishing and want to give it a try, or you’re thinking about trying to land a few in the upcoming spring/summer fishing season its time to think about one of the more, err how shall we say “gross” aspects of catching fish to cook while camping.

Okay, you’ve caught your fish, you want to cook your fish and you want to eat your fish. The first step is, you have to kill (gasp) your fish! Oh, come on. Did you think fishsticks came from the fish fairy?

The easiest way to go about this necessary task, unless you are into sushi, is to give the fish a sharp rap on the top of the head with a blunt object such as a the handle of a hunting knife, the back of a hatchet, or even a rock. Of course if you have a hatchet or sharp knife anyway, you could just cut the head off, but some people think this is cruel. Personally I say 6 of one, half-a-dozen of the other. The fish has to die, the quicker the better.


February 16, 2009

Ice Fishing While Camping

Filed under: Camping,Camping Safety — Tags: , , , — writer @ 12:21 pm

Part of the camping experience involves other outdoor activities. Though we are nearing the end of the winter season, Ice Fishing is still an activity that campers may enjoy in many backcountry areas. Many state parks have lakes that are great for this also. There are of course rules and regulations that must be followed. Check with your state for the correct rules and necessary licensing. Other than that there are some basic safety rules that should be followed.


February 5, 2009

Camping Safely with Wild Animals

Chipmunk, Lake Tahoe, CAPhoto by: Alpeviolen (Stock Exchange)

A few years ago, right before we went on our annual camping trip, the news was full of stories about children getting attacked by bears while they were camping. In fact there seems to be an up rise in the occurrence of bears attacking people over the last decade. The really scary part is that several of these attacks did not take place in the backcountry wilds, but in established camping areas, parks and other recreational facilities. I will admit that I was particularly diligent the first night and slept with one eye open. Fortunately nothing larger than a chipmunk hopped up on the sugar from a stolen Oreo visited our camp.


January 23, 2009

Finding the Right Tent for You

Filed under: Camping — Tags: , — writer @ 4:11 pm

Camping tents come in all shapes and sizes. From compact one-man domes to large, sprawling multi-family units, tents are made to suit any camper’s needs. Determining what style of tent is right for you can be a challenge, but it is not impossible.

The first step in evaluating your tent choices is to look around you. Knowing your surroundings and the weather you will be camping in is vital to assuring you are well-protected as you sleep under the stars. Smaller, more compact tents made of dense fabric work best for cold or windy areas. The less open area you have exposed in your tent, the less body heat will be cooled by the chilly air. The weather can change drastically from day to night in many camping spots, so a safe bet is always to plan for an overnight temperature around 32 degrees during a summer camping trip. Pack an extra blanket or sleeping bag if necessary to be sure that you stay warm even during the coldest nights.

The number of campers you have in your party is also essential when evaluating your tent choices. Most tent companies build tents according to the number of people that will be sleeping in them, so an accurate body count is necessary. If you are camping alone, a one or two man dome tent will be more than adequate. If a larger group is going, plan on a tent just big enough to sleep all of you. Many tent companies make tents with separated sleeping units, so even people who are not exactly comfortable sleeping in the same room can enjoy camping together.

The final important consideration when selecting your tent is it’s size and weight. Camping in a designated campground area makes larger tents much more manageable, but if you are camping off the beaten path a smaller, more compact unit is important. Many manufacturers are producing lightweight portable tents made of light fabrics and sturdy, lightweight support beams to ease stress and strain for those who carry tents long distances. If your trip requires a hike and a larger tent, employ two people to help pack the load. One can carry the tent fabric and one can carry the poles and stakes to help distribute the heavy load.

Camping can be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a spare day or two. Proper planning is vital to ensuring you have a safe and pleasant trip, so look over your tent options carefully and choose the right style of tent to avoid any unnecessary stress or backaches while out on the trail.

January 14, 2009

Create a First Aid Kit for Camping

Filed under: Camping Safety — Tags: , , , — writer @ 5:24 pm
Photo by marvinxsteadfast

Photo by marvinxsteadfast

Most camping trips include some kind of minor injury. This may be a scratch, burn, sting, or some form of bump or bruise. Occasionally the injury is more severe like a sprain or broken bone. Most campgrounds may have some type of first aid station, but it is not always necessary, or practical to make the trek if the injury is small. Anyone can treat minor injuries with some basic supplies. Make up a camping first aid kit for your next camping trip and be prepared. This is what you will need:

  1. Adhesive tape can be used to hold gauze in place. It can be used to hold cuts together until stitches can be put in, and it can be used with other materials to form splints for possible broken bones.

  2. Band-Aids can be used to cover cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds and blisters. A box of assorted sizes should be purchased.

  3. Gauze rolls may be used to control bleeding and cover wounds.

  4. Gauze pads may be used to clean wounds, control bleeding and cover wounds. The most common size to include is 4” X 4”. Be sure to purchase individually rapped gauze pads to keep them clean and sterile.

  5. Elastic bandages can be used to wrap suspected sprains to keep swelling down. They may also be used to make splints.

  6. Bandage scissors or shears can be used to cut the injured persons cloths, or bandages, tape or gauze.
  7. Triangular bandages can be used for slings and tourniquets.

  8. Tweezers can be used to remove a variety of foreign bodies like ticks, splinters, stingers and dirt and gravel from wounds.

  9. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean wounds and for a mouth wash as long as it is not swallowed.

  10. Calamine lotion can be used for sunburns, insect bites, and poison ivy.

  11. Ipecac syrup is used to induce vomiting. This is especially necessary when camping with small children.

  12. Rubbing alcohol can be used to sterilize tweezers and needles and to clean minor wounds.

  13. Pain relievers such as Advil, Tylenol or equivalent generic brands. Make sure to include products suitable for children and adults.

  14. Topical ointments such as Bacitracin or Neosporin to prevent infection of scrapes and scrapes.
  15. Benadryl for allergies and bee stings-capsules for adults, liquid for children. Be sure to check expiration dates on this and all other medications.

There are other items you may include such as a basic first aid manual, waterproof matches, safety pins, antacids, nail clippers, hot and cold packs and even a cell phone to call 911. Prescription medication can be kept for those that need it and snake bite kits and or Epi-Pens should be included if necessary. All of the items should be stored in a waterproof container. A plastic toolbox or tackle box is ideal.

Remember to change Band-Aids or bandages and check for infection, which can occur quickly in damp most environments. 

If the injury is more severe like a broken bone, a bad burn, or a deep cut that may require stitches head for the first aid station or nearest medical treatment after administering necessary first aid such as immobilizing the arm or leg, or cleaning and covering any open wounds after any bleeding has been stopped.Any bites from wild animals also require prompt medical attention to evaluate the risk of exposure to rabies.

January 2, 2009

Bugs and Camping

Filed under: Camping,Nature — Tags: , , — writer @ 10:17 am

As much as my family loves camping, there is something about camping that we don’t like and that’s finding bugs in our tent! I’m not scared of most bugs, but I certainly don’t want them as roommates, especially spiders. My family has learned some tricks over the years that help keep the bugs where they belong—outside of our tents.

Spider Photo by Wendy Pastorius

When we arrive at a campsite we choose the best spot for our tents. We look for areas that are less likely to attract flying and crawling bugs. We never pitch our tents directly beneath the long hanging branches of trees. We don’t pitch our tents near standing water or under light poles, either. All three of those places are prone to be bug magnets.

There are a couple of tent rules that I enforce when camping:

  1. No one is allowed to eat or drink inside their tents.
  2. Don’t turn on your flashlights inside your tent unless the door is zipped closed. (Because bugs are attracted to light, we try to keep our camping lanterns a good distance from our tent doors, too.)

I’m a clean camper. I know that the less attractive my campsite is to bugs, the fewer bugs I’ll have to deal with. This means I keep garbage at our campsite to a minimum. We either dump it right away at a dump station, or we burn what we can. We also never leave leftover food on the table. I try to cook only what we’ll eat at a meal. But, if I do have leftovers, I store it away in air tight containers.

Another bug deterrent is a campfire. While it impossible to keep a campfire burning 24/7 because we often leave the site to go exploring, we generally have one when we are at our campsite—no matter the season. (If you opt for a campfire, be sure it’s attended by an adult while it’s burning and make sure it’s completely out before you leave your site.)

The truth is there’s no way to completely avoid bugs when you’re camping. While the occasional Daddy Longlegs may still find its way into our tents for a sleepover, the majority of the time our tents are bug free.

December 17, 2008

Love in the Wild

Filed under: Camping — Tags: , , — writer @ 9:50 am

Photo by Tom Check

Happy Camping Couple; Photo by Tom Check

While dirt, bugs, and wildlife might not seem even remotely romantic, camping can be the perfect way to reconnect with your sweetie. What better way to rekindle the flame than to spend an evening in a secluded tent, cuddled up next to the one you love?

We all know that life gets hectic, and we often tend to take those we care about for granted. It can be difficult to stay close to our significant others, but the rugged outdoor nature of camping is an excellent way to get back in touch. Setting up your tent, for example, is a job too big for just one person. Working together with your loved one helps to reestablish a feeling of togetherness and reinforce your team-working skills.

A Roaring Campfire - Photo by Chas Redmond

A Roaring Campfire - Photo by Chas Redmond

The thought of even trying to prepare food over a campfire is enough to frighten some people. But think of it this way – sitting close to a low, romantic fire cooking for the person you love most in this world. Grab a couple of thick steaks, some baking potatoes, a bottle of your favorite wine, and you’ll soon have a meal fit for even the hungriest of lovers. Poke a few holes in your potatoes and wrap them in aluminum foil before placing them directly onto the coals for simple baked potatoes. Season your steaks lightly and grill directly over the fire for three to five minutes per side depending on your preference for the perfect, simple steak.

Most people are used to the hectic pace of everyday life, and usually wind down by watching television or spending a few minutes on the computer. Camping removes all of these electronic luxuries, so finding ways to occupy your time can be difficult. A simple deck of cards can provide the perfect distraction for a long night in the wild. If you have an area to yourselves and feel adventurous, try a quick game of strip poker to heat up the night.

After a satisfying night of good food and good fun, retreat to your tent for some well-deserved rest. Try spending the night snuggled in a single sleeping bag, as opposed to separate beds. This close contact will not only help keep you warm in the chilly air, but also keeps you as close as possible to your loved one. Stay warm, sleep well, and wake up to the beautiful sunrise with a new appreciation for your significant other.

Romantic Sunrise - Photo by Pam Roth

Romantic Sunrise - Photo by Pam Roth

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