Camping For the First Time: How To Succeed and Enjoy

Road into a campground, circa 1957
Road into a campground, circa 1957

Playing Pioneer

If you have never been camping at all in your life, you may have any number of reasons why. As everyone is different, these reasons can run the gamut from simply not having had the opportunity to phobias about bugs or dirt.

No matter. It is something everyone should try at least once, if only for the education that can be gained. You can view camping as a small sample of playing at being an early pioneer, experiencing what it's like to live as they did, minus modern conveniences.

Naturally, this illusion carries only so far, as you will no doubt arrive at your destination in the air-conditioned comfort of your modern car, using it as well for any side-trips you may choose to take in exploring the region.

Nonetheless, getting out into nature and the elements is a healthy and wholesome activity. It can re-charge your personal spiritual batteries, and energize you in a way that is difficult to explain.

What Is Camping?

It's not really camping if you bring your portable TV, radio, playing cards, and just sit in the campsite listening to ball games, playing cards or watching TV or playing with electronic game devices. You can do all of those things at home. Camping is for a change of scene; for doing different things than you can do at home.

You need comfortable, flat-soled shoes at camp and for hiking
You need comfortable, flat-soled shoes at camp and for hiking

A word to the ladies here: camping is done out-of-doors. There is dirt; the floor is dirt. You will probably get dirty. So what? There is water; you can clean up. Camping is not a fashion show. Leave the high heels, pretty dresses, makeup, hair dryers and curling irons at home! It's a time to be carefree and no-fuss: the whole definition of a vacation! I mention this only because I have seen it so many times!

Besides which, because of uneven ground, wood chips, sometimes soft or rocky dirt, high heels are a really bad idea; they are an injury risk. You could easily turn and sprain or break an ankle trying to mince about camp in such shoes. Leave them home, and wear your athletic shoes, sneakers. "tennies," or whatever you call your comfy flat walking shoes.

Plan Ahead!

Map out and plan your drive well in advance. Once you are off the freeway, mountain roads have much lower speed limits, and it will take you longer to get where you are going.

You do not want to be setting up camp after dark. I've been there and done that more than once; never by choice. It is not fun trying to put up a tent by flashlight. Once, this resulted in one of the tent pegs going straight down an ant hill. That was not fun.

Because of the dense tree canopy in forested areas, it can get quite dark in the woods before the sun has actually set.

Big Basin State Park, California
Big Basin State Park, California
Manzanita Lake, Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park
Manzanita Lake, Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park
Campsties in the woods, location not noted
Campsties in the woods, location not noted

Suitable Beginner Locations

This is a somewhat 'dangerous' statement for me to have made, since some people are timid and some are adventurous, so no one kind of location is suitable for all beginners.

I will, however, provide this listing of the various types of camping from which to choose, and you can select what suits your own level of adventure or willingness to try new things.

  • There are commercial campgrounds, such as the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) chain. I've stayed at them many times, when I was on a road trip when my children were young. I don't consider this as true camping. It is more like setting up a tent in your own backyard. However, when traveling with easily-bored youngsters not yet old enough to appreciate nature lessons or have the endurance for hikes, they are spot-on. These outfits provide a very commercial "camping" experience, complete with nice lawns on which to pitch your tent and full-service hook-ups for the RV crowd--though they are designed with a 'rustic' feeling.

Some of them even have cabins! [Note--sleeping in a cabin does not qualify as camping! :-) ] Also provided are on-site swimming pools, general stores and even laundromats. The settings are usually in or near areas that are popular tourist destinations. Considering all they offer, their rates are usually quite reasonable.

  • Then, there are private campgrounds, or privately-run areas within government forest areas. many of which are indeed out in the woods, and offer more of a 'communing with nature' feeling, but these,too, tend to be posh with grocery stores, laundromats, scheduled activities, and swimming (although not all have pools; some are located on lake shores). They also tend to be quite expensive on a per-night rate.
  • Pinecrest, in the Stanislaus National Forest in California is a good choice; the concessions and amenities are run by the same people that operate the Dodge Ridge Ski Resort in the winter months. We stayed at Pinecrest once when I was a child--there was even a paper boy riding his bike around the campground each evening offering newspapers. But that was back in the 1950s; I don't know if that is still true.

Somewhat Less Commercial, But Still Beginner-Friendly

  • Next down the list, coming closer to the true outdoors experience, is camping at state and national parks. The majority of these campgrounds are fairly well laid out, with paved roads looping through the sites, and well-marked individual sites complete with fire pits and picnic tables. There is usually a clearly marked spot in which to park your car, and most sites are large enough to offer at least a couple of options as to where to pitch your tent. Water is piped in, and it varies from park to park whether you have a spigot at each campsite, or must walk down the road apiece (perhaps half a city block, usually never more than that) to fetch a pail of water.

Most of them are equipped with full-service restrooms, some including showers. (Beware--some shower facilities are coin-operated, and you get a scant 3 minutes of water per coin!)

Some, but not all, have hookups to accommodate RVs. If you arrive by RV to a site without hookups, you will be relying fully on the self-contained capability of that vehicle, and will have to pull in elsewhere for a dump station, if none is offered on site.

(Personally, I have never used an RV: to me, camping is for escaping from the daily mundane routine and household chores, and an RV, in my opinion, is like taking my house with me, housework and all. Thanks, but no thanks. I can sweep and mop floors and scrub toilets at home.)

Many if not most national parks are equipped with full-service grocery stores...some, such as the one found at the south rim of the Grand Canyon, are doggoned supermarket/department store combinations, with the obligatory souvenir shop included!

Others run the exact opposite, and have only a visitor center/natural history museum and the ranger's office. A few souvenirs may be offered. This is the case at Calaveras Big Trees State Park near Arnold, California. If you forgot something vital and need a grocery or hardware store while there, it's about a 4-mile drive back to town.

Almost Primitive

 Want to really commune with nature? Try a Forest Service campground. I know California has them--it is worth inquiring whether they exist in your state. These are usually quite primitive, may or may not have fire pits and tables, and toilet facilities amount to vault toilets (sort of like those porta-potty booths you see at large public events), except that they are permanent installations. Water is usually available, but not right at your campsite, and it might not be piped--not in the traditional sense, anyway. You may encounter spring water, always running, perahps routed through a pipe for your convenience, but then left loose and flowing on its way.

These are also further down the scale in per-night costs. Permits from the area's Forest Service office may be required as well. Your drive in is likely to be on a dirt or gravel road, and campsites are not marked with neat little number signs that you find in the state and national parks. You are truly out in the woods, and it is unforgettable.

Not-So-Beginner

Even more removed from the hustle and bustle of civilization is the walk-in campground. These vary from a short walk of a few hundred yards to a couple of miles. Permits are always required for walk-in sites. Fire regulations are strict; usually no open fires are permitted. You must have some kind of portable camp stove.

Now, you are getting into equipment more related to backpacking-style camping, where you want to minimize the weight of what you must carry. You must first research the area in which you are interested, and find out if water is available, or if you must pack in your own.

This is a serious weight burden. Water weighs in at 8 pounds per gallon, and you need a minimum of close to a gallon per day per person...and this is just for drinking--it does not include hygiene uses or dishwashing.

If you will be relying on 'wild' water, such as from a creek or river, you need to be prepared to boil your water before drinking it, and/or use water-purification tablets or filter systems.

Not Really For Beginners--For the Truly Adventurous!

Beyond the walk-in, and reserved for the truly adventurous, is the backpacking trip. This requires serious planning, down to the ounce, of what you will need to carry in with you (and pack out as waste). Advanced first-aid knowledge is a must, as are excellent map-reading and navigation skills.

Most established trails require permits for two reasons. First, if you do not arrive at the destination point at your scheduled time, search crews have some idea where to look for you, and secondly, it monitors the amount of traffic an area gets, which is restricted in order to minimize human impact and preserve the experience for those who follow.

Research must be done on the area, its climate, terrain and wildlife you may expect to find. If you are not properly prepared or equipped, your adventure can quickly become a disaster or tragedy. I am not going into any further detail here, because, in short I am not qualified. I've never gone backpacking (although I would have liked to try it).

My reason for not trying it out? A terrifying, out-of-proportion, irrational horror and phobia at the prospect of meeting up with a snake, especially the venomous type. It is so bad, I don't even like to speak or type the word that names the species; I don't want to see one, even on TV, a movie, or a picture in a book. I'm with "Indiana Jones" on the subject (probably worse)! :-) I know, it's crazy, but hey..we all have to have some weird quirk: it's what makes us human, right?

There are many, many books on the subject, and clubs and other experienced backpackers, sometimes even found employed at outdoor-outfitter type stores. The better stores have salespeople who 'walk the walk' and are not just there for a paycheck.

Tents can be small or large, simple or complex
Tents can be small or large, simple or complex

Equipment--Basics Will Do--Shelter

Naturally, you'll want the basics: a place to sleep, a means to prepare food, a way to store water and food. That's all there really is. When you come right down to it, those are the only 3 things we need to live. All else is extras. Just ask the survivors of any disaster, "After you lost your home and everything in it, what were your needs and priorities?"

The answer is and should be obvious. We have simply become spoiled rotten in this day and age. The truth is, if there is a disaster, it is the folks with camping know-how who will make it through, provided there was time to escape in the first place.

So--shelter is most basic. You'll probably want a tent. Some folks enjoy sleeping out under the stars. I do not. I tend to get cold at night and I want that insulated air space that a tent provides. A fellow Hub Pages author, Habee, has written an excellent article on selecting a tent.

And believe me, unless you're camping in the desert where summer temperatures can still be in the 90-degree range after midnight, and hit 90 again by 7:a.m., it can get quite cold overnight, even in summer. This is especially true in the mountains. For every 1,000 feet of rise in elevation--there is a corresponding drop in temperature.

Why is this so? Because, the higher in elevation we climb, the thinner the atmosphere becomes. The atmosphere serves as our insulating blanket, if you will, to protect the Earth from the chill of space. The thinner your blanket, the more you feel the cold.

This thinner atmosphere, which we mostly just refer to as "air," is also why those who climb the highest mountains often need to carry oxygen supplies with them. Without, they can become ill, with what is termed "altitude sickness." Don't worry; you won't be going family camping at any such elevations. But, at some of our national parks, you will be at five-thousand feet or so above sea level, and that chill factor does come into play.

Safety and Privacy in the Tent

You can sit around the picnic table, warming your hands around the lantern, or over the fire pit at your campfire marshmallow roast. But if it starts to get so cold that you are wanting a heater, it is time to just go to bed. Crawl into your sleeping bag and you'll soon be nice and safely toasty.

For inside the tent, however, you will need a non-flammable light source, such as a large flashlight or battery-operated lantern.

Lighting the Campsite

Coleman PerfectFlow Lantern
Coleman PerfectFlow Lantern

The Coleman line of products has always been reliable and sturdy. They are easy to use and transport.

 

Lighting: Outdoors

You will also need a light source, probably more than one. A propane lantern gives a very bright and large circle of light, and is appropriate for use on the outdoor camp table while eating, washing dishes, etc.

I can readily recommend the Coleman propane lantern as the best choice for camping use. It is easy to set up and use, even for older kids, and lights readily with a single match or with a spark-igniter such as you might use on a gas BBQ grill.

Now, these lanterns get very hot, and you will need a hot mitt to move them by their handle when lit. Don't try to use your sleeves!! You will get burned, and possibly ruin your clothing as well. This happened to one of the inexperienced parent helpers at Scout camp one year: she brought her jacket sleeve down over her hand to hold the lantern handle. It melted the nylon of her jacket, and the heat went right through to her hand, resulting in a minor burn. It could have turned out much worse.

That said, you can, very carefully, cup your hands a few inches away, around the outside of the lantern globe to warm them. This is best tried only by adults or much older kids, however; no one younger than teenagers. It is probably better to warm your hands at the campfire, if allowed, or in your pockets.


WARNING!!

You must never, ever put any kind of "camp heater" inside your tent. Never!!

These are usually propane-fueled gizmos, and it is an open flame, whether visible or not, and a very dangerous thing to put inside a tent.

The same thing goes for your propane lantern and stove.

Appropriate Camp Lighting for Inside the Tent

Coleman 5319-700 MicroPacker LED Mini Lantern, Yellow
Coleman 5319-700 MicroPacker LED Mini Lantern, Yellow

A couple of these will provide plenty of light inside the tent, and cast even lighting, preventing shadow-play

 

Lighting: Inside the Tent

While the tent keeps breezes from chilling you, there is no heater other than body heat inside. You heard that, right? I repeat: no heat other than your body heat!---------------->

And a word to the wise--place your battery-operated lights near the outside walls of the tent, pointing outwards.

Place them in the center and you'll create a "very interesting," and possibly embarrassing, shadow play for your camp neighbors! You'll note I said "lights," plural--a single light will cause the same issue no matter where placed.

On one camping trip, my friends and I witnessed just such a display; the young couple had arrived earlier in the day, and unpacked all of their brand-new camp gear from the boxes they'd just bought.

Taking a walk around camp after dinner, we passed by their campsite, and they had hung their lantern from the center pole of the tent, and they were inside getting undressed for bedtime. It was not until they heard other campers snickering in the area that they realized their mistake.

Equipment--Bedding

You want also to have a bed. Some people prefer an old-fashioned bedroll, which amounts only to a couple of blankets that can be rolled up and carried, but most prefer the comfort and convenience of a sleeping bag. If you are camping with children, make very sure that you buy them a proper sleeping bag from an outdoor supplier, or at the very least, from the sporting goods department at a department store.

You do not want to let them go camping with a "slumber bag"! Those lightweight thngs with cutesy designs are little more than a fleecy blanket or lightweight quilt, and are intended for indoor-only use, such as slumber parties. They will not keep you warm enough out camping. Sleeping bags are rated by temperature, and a bag with a sub-zero rating will keep you toasty no matter how cold it gets. A bag rated to about 30 degrees is adequate for most family type camping trips in summer.

Storing and Carrying Your Sleeping Bag

A stuff-sack is the best way to transport sleeping bags these days, as it keeps them from unrolling all over the place
A stuff-sack is the best way to transport sleeping bags these days, as it keeps them from unrolling all over the place

You can choose from any number of styles--a generic bag will simply be a flat rectangular sack. Models with built-in pillows are also available. As you go up in price, you can get body-shaped "mummy" bags. These are usually the ones with sub-zero ratings, and have a drawstring hood built in so all that sticks out while you sleep is the end of your nose, or not even that, if you choose. The mummy style bags are the usual choice for the likes of the hardy souls who do things like climbing Mount Everest.

Simple cots such as these fold up quite small, and some folks like them
Simple cots such as these fold up quite small, and some folks like them

Elevated or on the Ground?

Cot or no cot? Well, a cot is just one more thing to pack, in my opinion, and I prefer to travel a little bit on the light side. Besides, even in a tent, the air can be chilly at night, and that air space under the cot can cause you to shiver if you are sensitive to cold.

Simple cots, such as folding Army cots, as shown to the right, can often be had at military surplus stores for a very reasonable price. We had these when I was a kid; my father had a bad hip, and getting down to the ground level was difficult for him, so he preferred the cot.

Depending on your age and ability or willingness to withstand what amounts to sleeping right on the hard ground inside your sleeping bag, you may or may not need additional padding. This can range from a couple of old blankets folded under your sleeping bag to a fancy self-inflating closed-cell foam air mattress of the type preferred by backpackers for its light weight.

Or, you can go whole-hog, and get yourself a 4-inch-thick double-bed air mattress. These can be inflated by one of two methods: a foot pump, which involves much aerobic activity to get the thing firm enough, or an electric pump that plugs into your car's power port. At our age, this is what we use. In my younger days, I just tossed the sleeping bag on the floor of the tent with a blanket underneath. The blanket also adds a layer of insulation from chill as well as a bit of padding.

Food at Camp

For beginners, I recommend canned foods and "just add water" mixes. There are many from which to choose. Most of what you need to eat can be found at your local supermarket, convenience-food-driven as we are these days. For example, pancake mix can be had in a single-use "add water, shake and pour" container.

Canned fruit, beans, stews, soup, or whatever strikes your fancy and that your family will eat also qualify as beginner-friendly camp food. Just don't forget the can opener--and no, an electric one will not work unless you are in an RV!

If you want a step above, there is a wide selection of freeze-dried food available at outdoor suppliers. You can go hog wild, and even have freeze-dried ice cream. The texture is odd, and it won't be cold, but it's pretty tasty.

A Word About Wildlife

Before I introduce cooking equipment, I want to make one extremely important point:

Never, ever for any reason store any food whatsoever inside your tent. Not even a tiny bit; not even a candy bar or chewing gum. Not even empty wrappers!! Lock food in your car out of sight if leaving camp on foot, or place it in wooden lockers at campsites that have them.

Why? Wildlife. Raccoons (and bears where present) have no compunctions about ripping open a tent, occupied or not, if they smell food. Their sense of smell is hundreds of times greater than our own. In areas where bears are likely (the site's information handout will let you know), the animals are very accustomed to human presence, and know what ice chests look like, and what they are for.

Never leave camp on foot or go to bed at night without putting your ice chest back in the car, well-covered by a blanket. Again, bears know what coolers look like, and what they are for: they have been known to break into cars to access a cooler.

I don't say this to frighten you needlessly; but to give you a heads-up so you will know how not to be frightened--if your food is properly stored, you'll have no worries.

Cooking and Eating Utensils

For cooking and eating, your needs will vary depending on how many people are in your family or other group. For the average family, a single mid-sized saucepan and medium-sized frying pan will suffice. If you'd rather "rough it," you can get a military surplus or Scout style "mess kit," which nests all together and includes a miniature fry pan, small saucepan, drinking cup and sometimes utensils; the frypan doubles as your plate. However, these are single-person units, and everyone would need their own, and they are not truly feasable for cooking for a group. They are, however, ideal for backpackers.

A very large bucket (for water) with a bail handle and lid is also advisable, especially if the water spigot is not right at your own campsite. Don't forget a small bungee cord or piece of thin rope to tie the lid on so raccoons or other wildlife do not knock off the lid and contaminate your water supply.

You'll Need a Stove

Coleman Triton Series 2-Burner Stove | 22,000 BTUs
Coleman Triton Series 2-Burner Stove | 22,000 BTUs

This Coleman stove is very similar to mine, which has served me well for many years

 

Cooking at Camp: Equipment

A camp stove is a good investment regardless of whether you ever go camping again or not: it qualifies as emergency preparedness equipment. They come in every size and configuration imaginable from single-burner mini stoves to 3 and 4 burner models that when closed resemble a (metal) suitcase.

The type shown at right is very similar to the one I inherited from my dad, and which is still going strong. The only difference is that mine is deeper, having originally been made for the white gas liquid fuel, and I am running it on a conversion kit to use propane. My stove is over 40 years old, and it will probably outlast me!


A very large bucket (for water) with a bail handle and lid is also advisable, especially if the water spigot is not right at your own campsite. Don't forget a small bungee cord or piece of thin rope to tie the lid on so raccoons or other wildlife do not knock off the lid and contaminate your water supply.


Cooking at Camp: Equipment

A camp stove is a good investment regardless of whether you ever go camping again or not: it qualifies as emergency preparedness equipment.

They come in every size and configuration imaginable from single-burner mini stoves to 3 and 4 burner models that when closed resemble a small (metal) suitcase.

They can also come in handy in non-emergency situations at home. An extra place to put a pot of beans during a barbeque party, so folks aren't in and out of the house all day is one such use.

We found ours very handy for cooking all our meals during the two weeks our kitchen was being remodeled, and was bare to the studs.

Eating Utensils

For cooking and eating, your needs will vary depending on how many people are in your family or other group. For the average family, a single mid-sized saucepan and medium-sized frying pan will suffice.

If you'd rather "rough it," you can get a military surplus or Scout style "mess kit," which nests all together and includes a miniature fry pan, small saucepan, drinking cup and sometimes utensils; the frypan doubles as your plate. However, these are single-person units, and everyone would need their own, and they are not truly feasible for cooking for a group. They are, however, ideal for backpackers.

Don't forget the silverware and serving utensils!

Sometimes, You Will Forget Stuff

In the past, I've found myself in the position of having forgotten some essential item and had the need to track down a local store to supply the missing tool. After that, I began keeping a lidded plastic box I called "The Picnic Box," stored in the car all summer. In it were kept the sorts of things likely to be forgotten in the confusion of last-minute preparations to leave:

  • straws
  • can/bottle opener (the type known to some as a 'church key')
  • napkins!!!!
  • plastic eating utensils
  • a serving spoon and fork
  • hand-operated rotary-type can opener
  • combination salt and pepper container
  • a paring knife

You get the idea. These items can be modified to suit your needs and preferences, but those are pretty universal basic needs. Why do we forget such obvious things? I think it is because we are so accustomed to taking them for granted, it sometimes does not occur to us in the excitement of packing for an adventure, that we will be leaving behind these everyday contents of our kitchens.

Be Prepared, or The Art of Improvising

Way back when, I used to think the Scout's motto of "Be Prepared," meant think of any possible thing you might need, and have it with you. This quickly becomes impractical and even ludicrous. Why even leave home?Rather, it means have your basics, and learn to improvise with what you have. I've been down this road a few times.

Once, when I went camping by myself to have a break from the teenage angst my daughters were going through, I tossed together in a hurry the essentials, traveling light.

A little too light, as it turned out. I had forgotten to pack my beach towel, and was left heading for the shower armed with a few dishtowels instead. It was less than adequate. Oh, well, that's the definition of improvising!

That's All There Is To It!

If you have no equipment at all to start with, some shopping will be involved. Wheee!! Shopping trip!!

However, with some careful assessment of things you already have, you may find there is not a lot you need to buy. Sure, there is a lot of special-purpose gear available, and you can spend a small fortune, but that is not the idea. You're not going up Mount Everest, so you don't need to be professionally outfitted for below-zero backpacking conditions.

 Improvisation is the name of the game for first-timers. And, if you find you enjoyed yourselves, but some of the "improv" items were not up to par, then that is the time to shop for more specific gear.

Summer's coming--go get ready!

Camping Experience?

Do you think you will try camping based on this information?

  • Yes! I can't wait!
  • No, I still don't like bugs and dirt
  • Maybe, if I can convince other family members
  • Still not sure
  • Try it? Been there, done that! Love it, and can teach the class!
  • Tried it, didn't like it.
See results without voting



Photo credits: all black and white photographs are by my late father; copyrights owned by the author.

Color images and art graphics are by Pixabay.

© 2011 DzyMsLizzy

More by this Author


Comments 71 comments

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 18 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello peachpurple,

Thank you so much. I'm glad you liked the article.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 18 months ago from Home Sweet Home

glad that you had enjoyed camping, lots of preparation is required.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello there, PegCole17;

Thanks very much. I'm delighted to have triggered happy memories for you, and I'm glad you enjoyed my father's photographs.

Camping is such fun, but now that hubby is disabled, and his back problems are getting much worse, I fear our camping days are also relegated to memories for us.

Thanks very much for stopping by and your kind comment.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello there, PegCole17;

Thanks very much. I'm delighted to have triggered happy memories for you, and I'm glad you enjoyed my father's photographs.

Camping is such fun, but now that hubby is disabled, and his back problems are getting much worse, I fear our camping days are also relegated to memories for us.

Thanks very much for stopping by and your kind comment.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This truly brought back some fond memories of tent camping in Florida years ago. It is really important to travel light, while bringing all the things that are essential, like you said, a means to prepare meals, water and a comfortable warm sleeping bag - plus the tent. The rest is luxury but nice to have, like a clean towel, a toothbrush, shampoo, soap, matches, a flashlight, food . . .

We once won a contest and used the points to get camping supplies like a Coleman stove and lantern, fishing poles and other stuff that was nice to have.

Your pictures brought back such nice memories.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 3 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello again, B.Leekley,

Camping is a lot of fun, as well as a money-saver. It is definitely worth trying if you've never done so before. Thanks for stopping by and for the votes.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Up, Useful, and Interesting. I'm planning a cross country trip next spring, and if I decide to camp some nights to save money, I'll find this hub again when making plans.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Thanks so much, htodd! I'm pleased you were able to find the article of use.


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for the great hub,Thanks for the nice info


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, ParadiseForever--

Thanks so much for the comment and the kudos. I'm glad you enjoyed the piece.


ParadiseForever profile image

ParadiseForever 5 years ago from Chennai, India.

I do want to join you in camping Mrs. J.B. & DzyMsLizzy :-) What a wonderful way of enjoying the nature? Congrats Dzy for your win and thank you for sharing great tips not only for the beginners, but for readers like me who enjoy exploring the nature. Keep writing!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Right on, Mrs. J.B. ;-)


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

DZY: BINGO!!!!! Go Camping, let loose. So you get dirty, your hair's a mess and there is dirt under your nails. That's living for the moment. Enjoying nature and not being afraid to be other than perfect. Life's too short ot enjoy it.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, techiejonz, thanks for stopping by and for the kudos!

As to your question, believe it or not, it's tough to answer. It took me either 11 years, or a few hours, depending how you look at it. The idea for such an article has been in my head for the longer period, and over the years, I made several false starts.

Once I got going, and found my dad's pictures, it went quickly. (My own pictures are locked up somewhere in storage in an old-fashioned photo album!)


techiejonz profile image

techiejonz 5 years ago from Philippines

Hi there!! Congratulations. How long did it take you to write this article? I'm just curious. Thanks!!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

LOL Mrs. J.B. I presume you were addressing Dr.Amilia??

;-)


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Come on... Lighten up... Camping is good for your soul... Let loose, have fun and live!!!!!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@Dr.Amilia, Thank you so much for stopping by, and the vote! I understand that camping is not for everyone.

@kdupree, Thanks for your input. I'm glad I jogged some pleasant memories for you. Perhaps now, you'll make time to re-visit the experience. ;-)


kdupree 5 years ago

I remember when I was younger. I had camping when I elementary. I wanted to do it again. Nice!!


Dr. Amilia profile image

Dr. Amilia 5 years ago

Though I love the idea of camping but for some reason I would prefer to actually never have to camp, lol.

I hope that made sense. :P

Voted up!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Thank you, Spindle. I hope you can come for a visit someday and take in all the sights. ;-)


Spindle profile image

Spindle 5 years ago from Surrey

Interesting post. Wish I lived in the States to test some of those places out!!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, diogenes!

LOL--That sounds like quite an adventure, indeed! And I must thank you for contributing to my daily education--I had to go look up what a "jackdaw" was. Now I know! ;-) HA! Now I have another word to beat folks at Scrabble!

Thanks for stopping by--blad I was able to resurrect memories for you. ;-)


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

Very complete article as regards what you wanted to get across. Unfortunately, camping is a bear (sic) in the UK as the weather is usually awful, there's nowhere nice to camp, there's no bears and racoons to tease and feed (Ha!). I lived in the USA for years and that's where campers belong. The last time I went camping here I caught pneumonia, got a black eye, went home with a baby jackdaw and was expelled from the 4th Broadstairs scout group...I was 10! Voted up...Bob


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, triciajean!

Thanks so much. It was a fun hub to write--full of nostalgia for me. I've one more to write on my blog of more personal stories that happened on our family trips in my own youth, as well as things that happened when taking my girls camping.

You are so right about campfire story-telling!

Unfortunately, the modern tradition of campfire story-telling seems to have devolved into the exclusive purview of spooky-scary-creepy-ghostly tales, rather than a passing down of knowledge. Ah, well.

Thanks so much for stopping by and the input!


triciajean profile image

triciajean 5 years ago from Bantam, CT

Hey, DzyMsLizzy, I think this hub will stay active for a long time! For all of us here, who are writers if not campers, your hub may evoke a gathering round the campfire for storytelling, an art much older than writing.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, stephhicks68--

LOL. Our kids sure do manage to have us learn things along with them, eh? Just chalk it up to fond memories-to-be, and tales you can tell when you're a grandma someday! ;-)

Glad you enjoyed the post; thanks for your input!

Cheers!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

LOL - I am not a camper, but have reluctantly had to learn and enjoy with several young boys that are Scouts. This is such an awesome hub. Bookmarking and sharing with my fellow scout parents! ;-)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

LOL, Mrs. J.B. "..slept in a tree..." Hahaha. Sounds like something my younger daughter would have done, had she thought of it. Thanks for sharing!


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

I have never camped in a National Park but my brother has.. Slept in a tree as I remember.

I appreciate the fact that you are a woman that is of natural beauty as I am and that you are carefree.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, again, Mrs. J.B.--

Agreed...but I do love the National Parks, for they have so many wonderful things to see, the "full service restrooms" are, for me, something that is simply 'just there,' but I use them only for the minimal purposes.

;-)


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

I loved your response. Full bathrooms? outlets? Dresses? High Heels? That is not camping.

Camping is for going out on the lake at 6 am in a canoe, just admiring the natural beauty of the world. Running around barefoot, with wild hair and lord who cares what you are wearing. It is for eating hotdogs or fish caught that day and for meeting people from every walk of life that also said let's have FUN this weekend...

I went camping every year, climbed mountains, saw black bears etc... The best memories of the yester years...


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, Nell--

LOL... I've been there, done that, in a manner of speaking. Check out my blog posts for more personal tales than Hub Pages prefers...you'll find the link on my profile page for Stray Thoughts on A Leash. ;-)

And thank you so very much for leaving memory of your own, and thanks also for the kudos! ;-)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, Oh this brings back so many memories! lol my first trip into camping left me very wet! we put up the tent and it was sunny, the next day we woke to find we were soaking wet! it had rained in the night and we had slipped down the hill, it wasn't meant to be a hill, but it turned out that way! lol by the way Congrats! yeah! cheers nell


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, Mrs. J.B.

I agree! And the 'spoiled whiners' should be issued standard blue jeans and stripped of their makeup and appliances before leaving home!

Would you believe, I've been camping in places such as the national parks where they offer "full service" restrooms, complete with electric outlets...and I've seen women in there blow-drying their hair and putting on makeup.

One gal was even in a dress and high heels!

I felt like saying, "Hey--it's CAMPING--not staying at the Ritz or meeting the Queen of England!" But I just shook my head and went on my way.

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Camping is fabulous. No blow dryers, make up etc. required. Everyone you meet is a memory forever in your life. I suggest that everyone go camping. Even the spoiled whiners.... Great hub. Very informative and worth reading..


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, Jeff_McRitchie--

Thank you so much for the nice compliment. I am happy this hub is being so well received.


Jeff_McRitchie 5 years ago

What an excellent overview of camping. Even experienced campers can get something out of this Hub. Good job!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, KidsPartyFavors!

Glad to share. Camping is fun for families--I remember fondly our camping trips when I was growing up. Thanks for stopping by!


KidsPartyFavors profile image

KidsPartyFavors 5 years ago

My family loves camping! This is great for families!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@Lori Cotten--I'm glad to have stirred up your memory banks and inspired you to set your own adventures on paper. Your young men will surely appreciate that! How lucky can you be, to grow up right in a state park! Thsnks much for the vote!

@K9keystrokes--Thank you very much! I'm glad you found the hub useful--apparently it stirred some memories for you as well--I'm a very experienced camper, but I can't even imagine trying to spend the night in a foxhole! Military operations hardly qualify as R&R. ;-) Thanks so much for stopping by!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

Nice job! And congrats on your win, very well deserved. Your advice on first time camping is quite helpful, as are your more advanced tips. I love camping and have done it from every imagined aspect stemming from a foxhole in the Air Force, to a beautiful cabin lakeside. Each, as you point out, has its individual credits. Awesome and voted way up.

K9 ;)


Lori Cotten profile image

Lori Cotten 5 years ago

Thank you! You have just brought me back to some priceless memories I have of camping when my young men were little boys. You've also inspired me to write some of them down. I loved camping when I was younger, I actually grew up in a State Park in Minnesota. I am voting for you, keep up the good work, I enjoyed reading!

Lori Cotten


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Thank you very much, Green Lotus!

Just for you, then, may I recommend the Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. ;-) Gorgeous setting...historic first-rate hotel...but...save up plenty of pennies, first! ;-)


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Congratulations on your big win and for a great hub! Of course my ideal camp site is still a cushy hotel room overlooking a scenic lake :)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hey there, KarenT--fancy meeting you here! ;-) Thanks for the input...much appreciated!

And BTW--you are now being followed..... lol....gonna put up some poems??

Catch you later!


Karen T. 5 years ago

Good job, mom!! Brings back memories for sure!! I like what nature has to offer, but as I get older, I find myself wanting creature comforts such as a bed and plumbing. I could not sleep on the ground now! :-)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@travel_man1971--Thank you very much!

@WannaBWriter--Oh, Prairie Creek Redwoods is beautiful. did a 2-week "Redwood Highway" trip when my kids were in jr. high..great fun, great memories...and a funny story more suitable for a blog entry. ;-) And thanks very much!

@Les Trois Chenes--It's not for everyone--I only hoped to provide a nudge to anyone undecided. ;-) Thank you very much for stopping by!

@Paradise--Thank you! Yes, the KOA's serve a purpose with their own niche. A word to the wise--don't stay at the one near Graceland in TN!! It's right under the flight path for an airport, and the FedEx and UPS cargo flights are taking off all night. We got no sleep at all! (And that was even with cheating--inside a cabin, as their tent slots were all taken!)

@PeggyW--Thanks so much for stopping by and adding that info. You are absolutely correct about even toothpaste..and that goes for in the tent, as well.

As for inside the cars, we were advised that as long as it was covered up, so the bears could not see things they recognized, and the windows all rolled up tight, they generally would be unable to smell the car's contents. Problems can certainly arise if the window is open a tiny crack, or if the window seals are shot.

If you are choosing between a cabin and the car, yes, the cabin is probably a better choice. But it's all relative. Between a tent and a car--choose the car!

And yes, you can hang food from trees...but I didn't go into that, as it verges more on a back-country thing for backpackers. ;-)

Thanks so much for your input!

*****

Thanks to everyone for their congratulations! I was certainly surprised to find I'd won this prize!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Great guide for people thinking about camping for the first time. Just a note...when my friend and I stayed in a cabin in Yosemite, there were instructions as to leaving NO FOOD...even toothpaste!...anything with an odor in our cars. They had pictures of damage done by bears smashing windows and doing damage to the cars.

I guess that is why pioneers used to hang their food high up in a tree if they did not have caves or buildings in which to store it.

Congratulations on your win! Well deserved!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

Pretty good hub, makes me want to go camping!! I'm a KOA type woman.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working