Sunday, May 5, 2013

CAMPING - The Rite of Passage

CAMPING – The Rite of Passage

Ahhh summer is drawing near. The air is getting warm, school will soon be out, and millions of families will answer the call of the wild and brave the great outdoors in the ritual known as camping.

Growing up, my mom and dad would gather us up; load up the car and off we would go on an exciting journey. As kids we looked forward to cooking hotdogs and roasting marshmallows on the open flame, hiking all day to a nice and cool swimming hole, and tell ghost stories around the fire.

As adults, when we look back, we forget the snakes, scorpions, bugs, and mosquitoes, but we remember the time that dad fell in the water and mom forgot the popcorn. Summer camping is a ritual, a rite of passage that is fun, memorable, and at times disastrous.

So as summer descends on us, whether we are backpacking through the outback, or car-camping in a campground, let us not forget certain essentials that will make the trip more bearable and fun, and give great memories that will last a lifetime.

Below, we have compiled a list of some essentials… this is a broad list that can be narrowed down for solo backpacker, or expanded for the car-camping family of city-slickers... Oh yeah, don’t forget the popcorn!


Camping Equipment Checklist

Standard Camping Equipment

____ Tent - Spring / Summer Camping: Standard Tent
____ Tent - Fall / Winter Camping: 3 or 4 Season Tent
____ Folding Chair(s)
____ Cooler
____ Sleeping Bag
____ Air Mattress or Camping Mat
____ Blanket
____ Pillow
____ Lantern / Flashlight (extra mantles for lanterns and batteries for flashlights)

____ Camping Hatchet or Machete
____ Handsaw
____ Swiss Army Knife or Multi-tool
____ Fixed Blade Knife
____ Hammer
____ Rope or Paracord

Cooking Equipment
____ Propane or Charcoal Stove / Cooking Grill / Grate (for campfire cooking)
____ Propane Cylinders, Liquid Gas or Charcoal
____ Pots & Pans
____ Utensils
____ Can Opener
____ Coffee Pot
____ Cutting Board
____ Kitchen Knife

Food & Water
____ Condiments: BBQ Sauce / Ketchup / Mustard / Mayo
____ Butter
____ Cooking Oil
____ Cereal
____ Bread
____ Packaged Bagels
____ Packaged Cold Cuts / Cheese
____ Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish or Dehydrated Foods
____ Eggs (use a plastic egg container for real eggs or bring powdered eggs)
____ Bacon
____ Sausage
____ Pancake Mix
____ Canned Goods
____ Fruit
____ Water - 1 gallon of water per person, per day (*2 gallons per day in hot climates)
____ Milk (in plastic container)
____ Soda / Juice / Other Drinks
____ Coffee / Tea / Hot Chocolate
____ Chips / Pretzels / Popcorn
____ Snack Bars / Dried Fruit
____ Granola Bars

Personal Hygiene / Toiletries
____ Toilet Paper
____ Napkins
____ Paper Towels
____ Biodegradable Camping Soap (can be used for washing pots, pans, dishes, hair and body)
____ Sponge
____ Toothbrush & Toothpaste
____ Collapsible Water Bucket
____ Collapsible Water Carrier
____ Feminine Products

Clothing / Shoes / Linen
____ Jeans
____ Shorts
____ Shirts
____ Bathing Suit
____ Sweatpants
____ Socks
____ Underwear
____ Sandals
____ Sneakers
____ Boots
____ Hand Towel
____ Bathing Towel
____ Sheet (useful for using inside of sleeping bag to reduce moisture)

____ Emergency Rain Poncho
____ Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
____ Can Opener / Bottle Opener / Cork Screw
____ Paper Plates / Cups or Washable Plates & Cups
____ Tablecloth / Clips
____ Camera / Film
____ Batteries
____ Tarp(s) (good for placing under tents to reduce moisture and for make-shift shelters)
____ Sunscreen
____ Bug Spray
____ Lighter / Waterproof Matches
____ First Aid Kit
____ "Ziploc" bags
____ Garbage Bags (*many natural camping areas require that you take ALL of your garbage with you! Carry In - Carry Out!)

List additional or personal items you may want or need to bring:
____    ______________________________
____    ______________________________
____    ______________________________
____    ______________________________
____    ______________________________
____    ______________________________
____    ______________________________
____    ______________________________ 

Camping Tips and Tricks:

  (1) Use a re-sealable container for storing food and cooking utensils to avoid having your food spoiled by ants or animals. Consider storing your container in a separate tent or vehicle to keep away any "unwanted guests"… particularly bears.

  (2) Block ice works best for extended cooling. It usually lasts for 2-3 days in a standard cooler, 4-5 days in an extreme 5-day cooler. Split the block in half and put a block on each side of the cooler. Add your food and drinks, and then fill in the remaining space with bagged ice. Keep your cooler in the shade when possible.