|Going Camping - Intro||Camping Gear||Planning the Trip||Tent vs RV||Packing for the Trip|
|Meal Planning & Preparation||Beach Camping||Mountain Camping||Desert Camping
|Group Camping||Emergency Preparedness||Our Top 10 Trips||The Camp Store||Contact Us|
Unless you're camping in your back yard or living room, both of which we've done, by the way, you are not going to have access to your 'stuff'. Your campground may have a camp store with a few necessaries, but it won't have most of the items you see here, so you need to hunt, gather and/or shop first. Your campsite can be as simple as letting the seat back in your car or as well provisioned as an army. Campers, faced with necessity, and necessity being the mother of invention, have created a whole world of camping equipment to make their experience whatever they want it to be. The problem becomes picking and choosing what to take along. Early on, we found Wal-Mart offers a wide and imaginative assortment of camping, outdoor and sporting goods for the lowest prices possible. The random items below are from their catalog and can be found in their stores, ordered for store pick-up or home delivery.
This little coupon book will keep money in your pocket on the way and while you're there!
First time Mountain Camping can mean colder temperatures (especially at night), wind, hard ground, steep trails and other 'features' you should consider when packing for the trip. If you can drive to the campsite, you have far more options than when you're packing or floating in to camp. Many shelter, sleeping, cooking and toilet articles come in lightweight (portable) versions. Mountaineering has caused the creation of ultra-light materials and product designs to allow you to carry the most in the least amount of space and a minimum of weight. We have always driven to the campsites and generally just have to eliminate what will won't be needed in the mountains.
Beach Camping can mean harsh sun, rough surf, hot days, and possibly cold nights, too hard or too soft ground, wind, sand, cold water and noise from the ocean, traffic, seagulls, etc. Normally, conditions are milder and missing items are not as serious. It's usually closer to civilization and easier to pick up needed items, but the selection is limited and the prices are high, and you don't want to spend time shopping, so it's best to pick out what you need in advance and be done with it. Now, imagine yourself at the beach campsite. What's the weather like? What's the campsite like? Is there water, toilet, shower, fire pit or grill (and firewood)??? Is there a camp host, a camp store? RV campers always need to know where the nearest gray/black water dump station is.
Desert Camping may be the most demanding of special equipment. Temperatures are either too hot or too cold and the air is either dead calm or blowing your tent away. The ground is hard and driving stakes requires a jackhammer and there is no water, electricity, phone service or stores. It's not for everybody but it's real camping! We go mainly to the high desert, which means the searing heat is mixed with high winds. There's no lakes or rivers and the main activities are hiking, rock climbing and boulder 'scrambling' (and sitting in the shade trying to stay cool). We started when our son was 8 and he was quickly addicted to climbing the boulders and this became his favorite destination. Adults are slower to find things to entertain themselves but tracking the kids, hiking, horseshoes, photography and relaxing soon filled the time. Injuries were surprisingly few but the first-aid kit was definitely needed. Again, this is the place you'll appreciate the fans, misters, heaters, shades and other comfort items more than anywhere else.
Lake Camping tends to be what we think of as 'camping'. Moderate temperatures and terrain, trees, cold (or at least cool) water, swimming, boating, fishing, water toys. Better facilities (toilets, showers, electricity, phones, shopping, etc.) are all 'up at the lake'. It has it's discomforts (insects, crowds, noise, heat, cold) so there's plenty of opportunity to overcome these with 'accessories'. Missing items are more the things that would be fun and less the necessities.
First time Camping in a Motorhome is real different. It can be just like home, if you remember to charge the batteries, refill the water, dump the sewage, park on the level, use the right kind of fuel (diesel vs unleaded), and switch over to generator at the right time. You can go to more accessible mountains, lakes, deserts, rivers or beaches. You can't follow the 4-wheelers, though, so you shouldn't be far from civilization. Still, you can have the same entertainment opportunities, if you brought the right gear. Missing items aren't as important. The motorhome can break down, or the toilet can stick or refrigerator can stop, but cars break down, too, and your camping equipment isn't going to fix that. Just be careful and concentrate on having fun!
River Camping can be right in town or in the most isolated canyon, depending on where you camp on the river. Rivers offer the swimming, boating, fishing and other opportunities of a lake with the added dimension of moving, meaning you can ride for enjoyment and get dragged where you don't want to go. Safety equipment is more important. We (in the Indian Guides) used to make rafts and float down part of the Colorado River. It was great fun but we always had to look out to keep from running aground, or missing our destination. Rivers don't stop to let you off!
Camping in Yosemite could have been, 'camping in a resort', because so many things apply to commercial entertainment facilities set up in wilderness locations (county, state and national parks, KOA and other private resort campgrounds). Yosemite has lakes, rivers, mountains, RV hookups, tent 'cabins', regular tent camping, and several hotels. It also has crowds. We don't attempt any wilderness camping here. We rent tent cabins, rafts, bicycles, horses and ride the free buses around the valley. We take drinks and snacks, but eat at the cafeterias and forget cooking. We concentrate on taking hikes, swim and ride the river, swim the lake, take pictures and enjoy the sights (rock climbers, paragliders, animals, flowers, trees) and planned activities. We just become tourists. This might be a good strategy at other resorts, but not many places have the attractions of Yosemite.