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Camp Trip Amenities

Itís always a good idea to decide on what amenities youíre going to take, and look for, in your camp site. This is particularly important if you are taking a beginning camper, or camping with friends for the first time. When I was a boy scout we camped out in large tents. We also had kerosene tent heaters, because the scout masters checked the weather in advance. When the boys and I woke up early and ventured out- our bucket of water to douse the fire (be prepared) was frozen solid. We didnít even notice because we warm in our cold weather sleeping bags and the (properly vented) heater was softly running all night long. Years later I did some much less pleasant camping while in the military. We had small pup tents, and slept on the ground with just a thin pad. Even at 19 my back hurt when I got up. We also only had limited water, so that made showers a once a week endeavor, which was most definitely not fun. My wife has camped with her family for years. They always tote the coolers, generators, lanterns and tents- so while you may be out in nature, you are certainly not roughing it. The point is there is as many styles of camping as there are campers- everyone has a ďjust rightĒ. To make sure the trip is enjoyable for everyone, you need to get together as a group and plan. Some things are a given. Checking the weather for your location is not optional- itís mandatory to make sure you have the best chance at a fun trip. Nothing ruins a trip faster than a rain on camp that has no rain gear. Trust me, itís not fun getting up at 3am and sloshing through the mud when nature calls. Once you have the right gear for the environment (cold weather, hot weather, rain, etc), you need to find out what each group member thinks is a fun trip. When my wife and I first camped together, she brought a hair dryer, which I thought was a riot. She was expecting power, I wanted a wide sky full of stars and no noise. Over the years we have both learned to compromise a bit, and now I donít have to pack a trailer full of gear, and sheís not sleeping on ground with a flimsy mat. Decide if you need all the gadgets Ė you may not take that laptop if you want to get away from work. You do want a GPS- butís always good to have a good old fashioned map and compass- those donít need batteries. Of course the common sense rules apply- let people know where you are going to be, and when you are going to return. Also, if youíre going to be camping deep in the back country, make sure you have a cell phone that works- or perhaps even a satellite phone. The Boy Scouts are definitely on to something- the better prepared you are, the more fun the trip is.

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