Archive for July, 2012

Six Must Have Items for any Camping Trip

Monday, July 30th, 2012

We have all gone on vacation and forgot something. In doing so, we have just jumped into our car and went to the local superstore to purchase the item. When you go camping, whether it be campground or primitive, that luxury is not always available. To prevent this from happening, it is always a good idea to have a checklist of items that you need. Aside from this list I always found very fun to pack and use these metal detecting for children gear when traveling with my kids.

1. Shelter. This is one of our basic needs and it is very important to have the correct shelter. The first thing you need to look at is how many people are going to use the shelter or tent. If you are not primitive camping, it is always better to go up in size. This leaves room for cots and/or air mattress that many campers like to use. If, on the other hand, you are backpacking and primitive camping, go for the smallest tent. Each additional person that is listed on a tent’s capacity adds weight and bulk, which equates out to a heavier load for the hiker. Also, consider adding a tarp to the supply list for the tent. Laying out a tarp first and then setting up the tent on the tarp will reduce the chance of poking holes into the floor of the tent.

2. Cooking Equipment. This includes pots and pans along with a cooking stove. If you are backpacking a simple mess kit will do. You can cook on it and eat out of it. If you are camping at a campground, you could consider bringing along the good old-fashioned cast iron cookware, which can be used to cook main dishes and desserts. Also, consider what to cook on. Before you decide this always contact the campground or backpacking area to see if you can utilize a flame. If you are primitive camping, consider using a “pocket rocket,” which is a collapsible mini stove that utilizes an isopro fuel canister. If you are camping at a campground, consider bringing charcoal. Not all campsites provide or have available firewood so having charcoal can provide you that heat or cooking source. To make your life easier, do not forget the fire starting kit.

3. Clothing and Sleeping Equipment, Clothing and bedding are straightaway. You can have shoes, socks, hiking beds, ponchos and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The essential methodology is acceptable shoes and downpour gear. Your choice here depends on where you live or travel. Pick shrewdly. At that point look at what devices and supplies you may require. Utensils, composing stuff,best mask net, and plastic sacks. Nothing beats having a great day in the wilderness and then being able to bed down in a comfortable sleeping bag or bed mat. But what makes a restful slumber for one can become a nightmare for another. Choosing the right sleeping bag is critical to a good night’s sleep. If you are primitive camping consider using a mummy bag. These bags save space but if you are camping in the summer, they can be too hot. These bags are designed for temperatures such as 40 below, 20 below, and zero degree. On the other hand, if you are camping in a campground, a square-sleeping bag works wonders. This type of bag provides more room and is designed for warmer temperatures. If you do not have a sleeping bag, you can create your own bed mat, which consists of old blankets and sheets.

4. Insect Repellent. Regardless, if you are going to be sitting around a commercial campsite or out in the backcountry, it is very important to use bug repellent. While it is very important to understand the importance of applying bug spray, it is just as crucial to know what kind to use and when. Insect repellents work in two ways. One, it repels the insect. The common chemical used for this is DEET. This can be used on the skin. The other type kills the insects when they come in contact with it. The chemical used for this is permethrin. This should only be applied to clothing and tents. Prior to your camping trip, review the type of bug repellent you have and apply accordingly.

5. Let there be Light. Having light at your campsite addresses our collective fear of the dark and creates a safe haven for all. Depending on where and how the light is going to be used will determine the type of light you choose. Lights that are going to be taken into tents should never have a flame source. Flashlight and LED lights are the best choices. If you plan to have a light that is placed in a permanent location, such as a table, consider using a lantern that is fueled with some form of gas. Regardless of which you choose, always check the batteries, fuel level, wicks, mantles, and whether the light actually works. Campers have had their camping experience ruined when they assumed that the flashlight from last year was still working.

6. Camping Luggage. What do you carry all this equipment in, one may ask. The answer is simple if you are camping in a traditional campsite but what do you do out in the backcountry? The answer is a backpack. These primitive camping suitcases come in both internal and external frames. If you are going to be carrying a lot of materials, consider using an external frame backpack. This metal frame on the outside of the pack, gives you an additional surface area by which you can hang stuff off of plus the frame helps keep the pack off your back.

Gathering all your camping materials together and checking them out prior to ones trip is the first step to planning the perfect camping extrusion. As many campers can testify to, those who fail to plan plan to fail and camping is no exception.

Leave No Trace Camping

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

If you are a frequent camper, you may have heard of “leave no trace” camping. It is a great way to camp sustainably. Here are some 10 tips if you’d like to start practicing this type of camping.

1. Watch where you set your tent. It’s important to set your tent in an area where there is no vegetation. This is especially important when you will be staying for more than one night. An ideal spot has dry leaves, so you can minimize your impact. Stick to paths when you can to avoid trampling on nature.

2. Take everything you brought. Often, it is illegal to remove plants or minerals from campsites or national parks. But, even when it’s not illegal, it’s important to realize what a big impact removing natural items can be. Additionally, only use dead materials when finding wood for a fire. It’s not a good idea to cut down trees for firewood.

3. Avoid feeding wildlife. Feeding wildlife can have a huge impact on the environment. Often, when animals get used to human handouts they become less wild, they can become nuisances, or worse, dangerous.



4. Plan ahead. In order to practice leave no trace camping, it is important to plan ahead and prepare in advance. By understanding the regulations in the area you are visiting, you can reduce your impact. It’s also a good idea to plan for weather and emergencies.

5. Camp in small groups. In order to have a lower impact, it is a good idea to camp in smaller groups. Typically 4-6 people are ideal for a camping trip because you are able to keep a campsite small. Additionally, by scheduling your trip around a slow camping season you will have less impact.

6. Use a map. Often campers use marketing paint or flagging to mark trails or paths. Instead, use a map and a compass.

7. Use established fire rings. Unfortunately, campfires can cause damage to camping areas. It’s always a good idea to use a lightweight stove when possible. When you do decide to use a campfire, use fire rings or mound fires. By keeping fires small, you can reduce your environmental impact.

8. Be respectful of others. While not technically part of leave no trace camping, it is always important to be considerate of other visitors. It’s important to think of their experience by avoiding making loud noises and being courteous to others on the trails.

9. Control pets. Pets can be great to have camping. But, it is important to make sure to control them.
10. Set up a gray water site. Rather than washing dishes in a lake or in a stream, create a cleaning area away from the water. You can wash your dishes there using environmentally friendly dishing liquids. Be sure to dump this water away from a lake or stream.

Most campers are passionate about the great outdoors. So, it is always important to do your best to preserve the nature you love. By following the leave no trace tips, you can make sure that future campers will be able to enjoy camping for years to come.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/baronbrian/1737675763/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Kruger National Park – Best Campsites

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

The Kruger National Park is one of the most iconic national parks on the African continent. There are vast landscapes and amazing wildlife. You can take your family on game drives, as well as walking safaris. The Kruger is a great, accessible place to camp for the whole family. Depending on where you want to stay within the park, there are several options for camping. Most campsites in the Kruger National Park are called rest camps. Here are a few of our favorites: Berg en Dal Rest Camp One of the newest camps in the Kruger National Park, Berg en Dal is situated in the bush. Opened in 1984, the area around Berg en Dal, has a variety of grazing animals, including: white rhino, kudu, impala, giraffe, elephant, reedbuck, klipspringer, grey rhebok and warthog. You can also see leopard and wild dog in this region of Kruger National Park. Camping in the Kruger National Park typically offers more luxury than many other African campgrounds. This campsite is no different. All of the campsites here are suited for caravans and tents; each site has a power point and a braai (barbecue) stand. If you’re tired after a long day of finding game, you can also hit the restaurant and cafeteria for meals.



There is also a swimming pool if you’d like to cool off after a hot summer day. Getting to Berg en Dal is a breeze; it’s less than an hour from the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. Pool pump repair is available 24 h as well. Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp If you are heading to Mozambique, the Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp is a convenient place to spend the night. It is only 7.5 miles (12km) from the Mozambican border. The flat area around the rest camp offers a great view of the Crocodile River and Marula trees that scatter the banks. The area around Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp is called “Southern Circle” and it is known for the various prides of lion that call this area home. It is also home to a large population of the Kruger National Park’s rhino population. You can also view San (Bushmen) paintings near the Hippo pool. These paintings are the only remaining remnants of the people who once lived and hunted in this area of Africa. Satara Camp The third biggest rest camp in the Kruger National Park, Satara offers a variety of accommodations. If you are ready for a break from camping, you will find plenty of options for guesthouses and bungalows at Satara. Traveling with a group? There are plenty of sites here for camping, with 100 campsites (all with power points); Satara can accommodate your entire group. If you need to stock up, you’ll find a well-stocked grocery store onsite. Located in the center of the Kruger National Park, Satara is a great place to see some of the world’s most famous predators: lion, leopard and cheetah all call this area home because of the fertile grazing land. This area is often called the “cat camp” because of the variety of large cats in the area. Kruger National Park is a great place to camp with the whole family.

Traveling with your cat can be very challenging at first. Many cats never leave the house so just the act of bringing them outside can cause them a lot of anxiety. Even a simple trip to the Vet can make your cat so anxious that after just a few minutes they are vomiting. Only about 1% of cats will curl up content and go to sleep when they are traveling. There are a few things that you can do to prepare for your trip to make the ride at least tolerable.

But 1st and foremost make sure you have an ID tag on your cat. Since many cats never go outdoors this is something most cat owners do not have. If you cat gets away for whatever reason you want to make sure that when he is found he is returned to you. Many cats end up in shelters simply because they had no tag on their collar to identify them.

Then you need to invest in some sort of crate, it can be plastic or fabric (although I like the extra protection the plastic ones give your cat.) I know that getting your cat into one of these will probably make a good piece for Americas Funniest Home Video's but once they are in the crate and the car or plane is moving they tend to feel safe in the confined area and just relax and go to sleep. Something you can do to get them used to the best cat crate for car travel

is to just place the crate in the house about 1 week before you will be traveling with your cat, leave the door open and put some treats in there. They will become curious and go in and out on their own.

When the day comes to put them in it to travel they will already be familiar with the space and will relax more easily. If you will be taking an especially long trip you may want do some trial runs just to make sure your cat does not experience severe motion sickness. You can tell he is sick if he is very quiet & depressed and is profusely drooling. If he does, you may want to consult your vet for some medication so your cat may be more comfortable. This will make the ride much more tolerable for you cat.

And remember never to open the crate unless you are in area where the cat can jump out. As soon as that door opens they are gone. So never open it outside, in an airport etc. On the other hand some cats will be frozen with fear and refuse to come out, in this case just leave the door open and let them come out at their own pace if this is possible.

If possible pamper your cat & bring their food and water from home, cats are very fussy and even a little different taste in his food or water is enough to make him go on a hunger strike. Also bring a leash or better yet a harness, cats are very adept at slipping out of their collars, a harness is much more secure.

And never leave your pet alone in the car! It only takes a few minutes for the internal temperature of a car to build up to 50 degrees above the outside temperature if it is parked in direct sun. If you must leave then you need to crack a window and only leave for a few minutes. Heat stroke is an emergency and if you are traveling you may not even know where the nearest Vet's office is located.

Have some toys and treats that you only bring out when you are traveling and eventually your cat will learn to love to travel!