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10 Things You Should Know About Camping

Updated on August 8, 2013

Things You Should Know About Camping

A warm welcome to this light-hearted lens devoted to an amusing activity called camping, said to be by some -- a popular outdoor pastimes..

For those who are new to this robust form of recreation, it has a lot to do with surprises be they bugs, beasts, or bouts of bad weather.

In the interests of enhancing next your trip to the wilderness or to your own backyard, here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind in order to enjoy one of summer's great traditions. And, it may also help to remember the Boy Scout motto: "Always Be Prepared"!

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Image Credit: RF Graphic from DrawShop.com/Camping-Surprise-484-10.jpg

ARE YOU REALLY READY FOR YOUR FUN-FILLED WINTER CAMPING EXPEDITION? - Be prepared for unexpected visits from neighbors to see if you're home.

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Image Credit: Winter Camping - igloo - graphicshunt.com/images/igloo-10249

1. What to pack for your camping trip?

There are a whole lot of things you need to pack for a camping trip.

So, here's hoping that you have a whack of greenbacks and a good memory so you can make sure you have everything:

1. A tent (to keep the bears, bugs, and bad elements off your body).

2. A sleeping bag (and cot), if you want to feel warm and cozy at night.

3. A box of matches (to light a fire under someone's bushel or heat up your meals)

4. A Swiss army knife (it'll do everything and then some)

5. A flashlight (to find your way to the latrine, outhouse, or powder room at night)

6. A skewer (it's great for roasting things over an open fire or to ward off the angry beavers, bears or big black flies)

7. A map and compass (yes, it always helps to know where you're going and which Yellow Brick Road to follow in the forest)

8. Finger food (crackers, potato chips, marshmallows..(they're great when you're lost and waiting to be found).

9. A big canister of bug repellent (to annihilate every insect known to man).

10. A big roll of toilet paper (don't worry which way to hang it...Mother Nature doesn't care!)

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Image Credit: istockphoto.com/istockphoto_1733264-camping-clip-art.jpg

MOUTHY MAXINE KNOWS THAT - Camping isn't all that it's cracked up to be ...

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Image Credit: John Wagner Maxine cartoon posted in imagineomit.blogspot.com/2007/08

"Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong."

-- George Carlin, American comedian

The Happy Camper Shop

Coleman Tent Light
Coleman Tent Light

Let there be light...that's why Superman invented this kryptonite-powered lamp!

 
Rothco Survival Hatchet
Rothco Survival Hatchet

What would a woodchopper be without a handy dandy hatchet!

 
Gerber Crucial Multi-Tool , Gray [30-000016]
Gerber Crucial Multi-Tool , Gray [30-000016]

A handy set of tools you can carry on your belt.

 
Mountain House Granola with Milk & Blueberries #10 Can
Mountain House Granola with Milk & Blueberries #10 Can

Your emergency food supply that tastes really great!

 
Mountain House Lasagna With Meat Sauce
Mountain House Lasagna With Meat Sauce

For those who want an instant tasty meal on the trail...here's a nice pack of lasagna!

 

2. What is proper camping attire?

Camping is all about casual wear...you know a short-sleeved shirt with oodles brightly colored badges to impress any grand pooh-bahs you meet along your journey into the wilderness, and don't forget to put on a your brogues to stomp on the slugs, and a pair of shorts to show-off your fine rather fine knees and legs to those captivating campers next door.

And, while we're at it, why not consider some artful accessories like a bright bandana, a colorful cap, you not to mention a musical instrument in one's backpack to serenade your sweetie-pie, awaken the campsite in the morning, or send all those critters waiting to devour you packing.

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3. What cooking utensils do I need?

Unless you're hiring Martha Stewart or the Galloping Gourmet, you should plan on doing your own cooking.

The only thing the macho man will need is a griddle and a flipper. Frankly, it's the only thing his mother taught him to use besides his propane-fired barbecue.

The only thing a marvelous maven will need is one pot, one large wood spoon, and a large recipe book and an apron plus a large bottle of wine (for sipping and seasoning).

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Image Credit: cliparttoday.com/Griddle_tnb.png

Cooking Over a Campfire Poll

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Image Credit: Ron Leishman illustration, toonclips.com/3953.jpg

What's the tastiest thing to roast over a campfire?

See results

4. Is knowing how to tame a flame a requirement of camping?

Taming flames is both an art and a science, which is why a good many males usually go on warrior weekends -- to learn how to tame them with the help of a few dozen beer, the support of fellow flame-throwers, and possibly the challenge of a dragon or two to slay just to prove they can douse the flames without being eaten first.

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Image Credit: clipartguide.com/0511-1006-2315-3926

The Happy Camper Shop

Light My Fire Original Swedish FireSteel Army 12,000 Strike Fire Starter
Light My Fire Original Swedish FireSteel Army 12,000 Strike Fire Starter

Yup, when you're matches are wet, your butane lighter goes caput, and your campstove won't start...this may be your only help to heat your next meal.

 
SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-IN-1 Fire Starter & Magnesium Fuel Bar (Everything you need to start a fire!)
SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-IN-1 Fire Starter & Magnesium Fuel Bar (Everything you need to start a fire!)

For the tightwad types who don't want to spend an arm and a leg on an emergency fire starter...this is a great gizmo!

 
Coghlans Waterproof Matches 10 Pack
Coghlans Waterproof Matches 10 Pack

Yes Smarty Pants, someone did invent waterproof matches...but you have to remember to pack them!

 
First Aid Only Outdoor First Aid Kit, Soft Case, 205-Piece Kit
First Aid Only Outdoor First Aid Kit, Soft Case, 205-Piece Kit

Your very own first aid kit in case you singe your eyebrows or get a sunburn tanning yourself with the help of a dragon's flame!

 
Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC, 1 Pack
Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC, 1 Pack

This handy dandy fire extinguisher will come in handy when you want to douse the flames from your campfire or quell the fire-breathing dragon in the campsite next door.

 

5. What is the most comfortable way to take a nap?

Rest and relaxation are what camping is all about.

And, you'll need plenty of rest if you've been fighting off all those blasted black flies, badly-behaved beavers, not to mention the buckets of bad weather.

If, you're afraid the creepy critters will sneek into your sleeping bag at night, you might consider hanging yourself between two trees -- on a hammock. That way you can grab a wink or two before being distured by Godlilocks in the next tent over and the Three Bears looking for a bed and breakfast.

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Image Credit: benchesandhammocks.blogspot.com/Man in Hammock Cartoon.jpg

Happy Camper Poll

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Image Credit: Happy Camper illustration - dscrapbookingroom.blogspot.com happy_camper.jpg

Are you a Happy Camper?

See results

6. How do I know if the beasts are friendly?

Bewildering beasts and crazy critters are part the great outdoors.

Unless you happen to have a park ranger at your finger tips to inform you which are the friendly ones versus the ferocious ones, you'll probably have to rely on your Manual of Beasts, Bugs, and Other Big Bozos To Avoid.

Yes Virginia, if a big beast with lots of hair starts growling and shaking your tent, you'd probably best to avoid it. On the other hand, if they're calm connubial critters like like this pair of mating moose, you could consider blowing them a kiss...from a distance.

After all, you don't want to be their next meal do you?

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Image Credit: Ron Leishman illustration, clipartof.com/1044157

The Happy Camper Shop

Why Buffalo Dance: Animal and Wilderness Meditations Through the Seasons
Why Buffalo Dance: Animal and Wilderness Meditations Through the Seasons

This is a great little book to keep your sanity while trying to figure out what all those wild things are doing when they're not looking for their next meal.

 
Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small
Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small

It's high time you learned how to talk to all those critters great and small and this is just the book to help you.

 
Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
Edible Wild Plants: Eastern/Central North America (Peterson Field Guides)

Well, at least if you haven't encountered any strange beasts along your journey, you might want to figure out what you can eat in the wild and what you should avoid.

 
The Hunter's Cookbook: Or How Ta Cook Them Thar Critters
The Hunter's Cookbook: Or How Ta Cook Them Thar Critters

It's a safe bet that if someone wrote a book about how to cook a critter...some of them are mighty fine to eat, provided you have secured a hunting licence first or know the origin of your deceased critter.

 
Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, And Dying In The National Parks
Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, And Dying In The National Parks

For anyone who wishes to make camping and working in a park a vocation...it's also nice to know that there is always someone handy who is willing to answer the peculiar questions of campers and hikers.

 

7. Do I need any special equipment?

Well if you're going far off the beaten track, into the hinterlands, or off on a wild goose chase, it's probably a good idea to take along a handy dandy compass or GPS.

Of course, it also helps if you know how to use one of these fancy schmancy gizmos, so they don't have to send the park rangers or sniffer dogs out to find you.

And, just in case you're mucking about in a swamp with a bunch of dirty alligators, it's probably a good idea to take along something to purify the water when you get thirsty.

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Image Credit: Ron Leishman - toonclips.com 8819.jpg

8. Do All Bugs Bite?

Bugs need to eat to survive just like you and me. The real question is whether they prefer taking a bite out of you as opposed to other tastier plants or animals.

But, the Blue Mosquito is a peculiar sort of pest who prefers to buzz around at night and feed only on smurfs and blueberry cool-aide.

So, when all is said and done, all you need to really know know about bugs and homo sapiens is, campers are nature's way of feeding mosquitoes!

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Image Credit: macmcrae.com/blue-mosquito-cartoon.jpg

The Happy Camper Shop

Zap Racket The Original Large Handheld Lightweight Electronic No Batteries Needed Rechargeable Bug Fly Mosquito Zapper Racket with a Detachable Power Cord for Indoor or Outdoor Use (Colors May Vary)
Zap Racket The Original Large Handheld Lightweight Electronic No Batteries Needed Rechargeable Bug Fly Mosquito Zapper Racket with a Detachable Power Cord for Indoor or Outdoor Use (Colors May Vary)

Want to give your tennis arm a workout -- this bug begone device will give banish them to the Happy Hunting Grounds and keep you in shape.

 
Thermacell MR-GJ Portable Mosquito Repeller, Olive
Thermacell MR-GJ Portable Mosquito Repeller, Olive

When it's time to send those munching mosquitoes on their way...here's a portable repellent device.

 
Flies Be Gone - Non Toxic Fly Trap
Flies Be Gone - Non Toxic Fly Trap

For budding etymologists, this fly trap is a great way to count all those blessed bugs that are no more.

 
Sea to Summit Mosquito Head Nets
Sea to Summit Mosquito Head Nets

If the idea of ending another living creatures life...even that of a mosquito bothers you, you can always try this environmentally-friendly alternative to bug begone!

 

9. What does one do if it rains cats and dogs?

Every now and then the weather doesn't co-operate with your comping plans and it rains cats and dogs.

What is one supposed to do?

The short answer is suck it up! The longer answer is take this as an opportunity to practicing jumping in mud puddles like you used to do as a kid. Or, you put on your swim suit, fins and water wings and learn to swim. On second thought, this might be time to learn how to build an ark and escape from the rat race!

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Image Credit: Ron Leishman illustration - toonclips.com/7943.jpg

10. Are you ready for things that go bump in the night?

A night in the outdoors can be a scary thing, especially if you're in a tent with your only companion, a flashlight and a great urge to fulfill the call of nature.

Yes, it's a pity the park rangers can't medicate the howling hyenas, tranquilize the toads, and snuff out the spiders with some sort of spray so you can get a good night's sleep.

But, monsters under the bed and in your sleeping bag are part of the charm of the great outdoors. Suck it up...you've only got another six hours to go before daybreak when the bugs come out to bite you black and blue.

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Image Credit: victorgatmaitan.blogspot.com/nightmares(small).jpg

Campfire Song Poll

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Image Credit: shutterstock.com/42579535

What's your favorite campfire song to serenade your sweetie-pie?

See results

"God in his wisdom made the fly

And then forgot to tell us why."

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Ogden Nash, (1902-1971) American poet and humorist

Lessons Learned on a Camping Trip - A few words of wisdom from Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson

Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson, were camping. In the early evening they sat looking at the campfire while sharing some good wine, and later they went to sleep.

Some hours later Sherlock Holmes woke up and nudged his friend. "Watson, Watson," he exclaimed. "Look up! What do you see?"

So Watson looked, and then he answered, "I see millions upon millions of stars, Holmes."

"Yes. And what does that tell you?" inquired the master detective.

Dr. Watson considered this carefully before he spoke.

"Well, Holmes, astronomically it tells me that there are an awful lot of stars, and I suppose that there might be planets, just like Earth, orbiting some of them.

Astrologically I observe that Saturn is in Leo.

Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately three a.m.

Theologically, it appears to me that God is all powerful and that you and I are actually very small and insignificant.

Meteorologically, I believe we shall have a glorious sunny day tomorrow.

What does it tell you, Holmes?"

"Watson, you imbecile! Some thief has stolen our tent!"

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Story Source: Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson Go Camping" by Ragnar (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Image Credit: picture-book.com/sherlockholmesandwatson.jpg

MOUTHY MAXINE - On the merits of canoeing and camping

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Image Credit: John Wagner Maxine cartoon posted in imagineomit.blogspot.com/2007/08

For Newbies Who Prefer the Comforts of Home on the Road There's Always ... - The Happy Camper Caravan

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Image Credit: wheelywheel.blogspot.com?cartoon_caravan.gif

If you aren't suitably impressed by all this intriguing information about camping ... - You're part of the 10 per cent who think camping is for the birds!

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Feedback from the Frontline of Happy Campers - Why not share your best camping story with the rest of us.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      The Sherlock Holmes joke was hilarious! I love camping and have a few things that always come with me. I always bring things to start a fire, ingredients for sâmores, and the Tailgater from my employer, DISH. At first I was against bringing the Tailgater because I wanted the family to enjoy nature but it became a family favorite after the first time we brought it along. Itâs a great treat for the kids at the end of a long day of exploring.