I’m a tech junkie, even when I’m out fishing, hunting or camping. But, I’m a dolt when it comes to keeping my electronics charged and ready when needed. I can’t count the times I’ve reached for my smartphone to shoot pics of a fun outing, just to see the dreaded “low-battery” warning – oftentimes within an hour of heading out. That’s why I’ve become a sun worshiper. Today’s portable solar-driven, battery-recharging products are power-challenged outdoorsmen’s and women’s best friends, even during winter and when skies are gloomy. Fully electrified by the sun, they recharge cell phone batteries in an hour…
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In an instant the blue-sky, 70-degree, high-country afternoon morphed into a mother of an autumn storm. My husband and I jumped off our horses and secured them, threw our saddles adorned with all our gear into a pile, ripped the tent fly from its pouch, jumped atop the saddles and covered the human-plus-gear mound with the waterproof cover. Clouds generated wind, which delivered rain, which begot hail. We weathered the storm, which lasted into twilight, without getting drenched or frozen. The storm forced us to camp at an unplanned backcountry location. And, we had only a brief stretch of daylight…
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When enjoying wilderness camping, an additional set of environmentally friendly camping criteria comes into play. Keep Mother Nature in mind by setting up camp away from the water and areas with delicate life. 1. Avoid the water. Camp 300 feet from water — streams, rivers and lakes — to protect the resource. Draw water for cooking, drinking, dish washing and bathing and carry it to your camping area. Also be mindful of water control regions below dams. When water is released, a river is a treacherous place. 2. Identify and stay clear of fragile regions. The weight of a tent…
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The rain ended an hour before daylight, but the ground and brightly-colored leaf litter covering the forest floor remained wet. Rain water dripping off of the tree limbs was beginning to slow its rhythm. A few vehicles already lined up in the trailhead parking lot, as others pulled in carrying autumn hikers. The family and I worked our way up the trail consisting of rock outcroppings; some of the trail was on exposed rock making for some slippery steps.   When hiking this fall, make sure your daypack contains essentials such as a flashlight, food and water, a handheld GPS…
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Tough to find a more pleasing experience than sitting around a cozy campfire during autumn. However, campfires can also escape the fire pit and become a roaring, damaging wildfire in only a few minutes if not watched. I witnessed a campfire quickly ignite a two-acre grass fire before being extinguished by campground employees. If that fire had occurred in a more remote area, it would have been bigger and more damaging. The combination of autumn’s dryness and an abundance of fire starting tinder covering the ground in the form of fallen leaves and dead ground cover can wreak havoc.  …
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For some campers, the thirst for “getting away from it all” is not quenched by spending a night in a developed campground. But a dose of dispersed camping, camping outside of a developed camping area, with no amenities, will do the trick. If you would like to try backcountry camping, a few adjustments to your free camping plans are needed. The US National Forest has plenty of free camping opportunities. Where can you try dispersed camping? A great place to camp wild is in a US National Forest. These forests offer developed campgrounds as well, but the thousands of acres…
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Camp cooking is an extension of the line of fun had while camping. For some campers, cooking over an open fire with various cast iron vessels is the main camp attraction and activity. For others, a cereal bar and a swig of water serve as a full meal. But for most campers, a mix of both is the normal routine. A camp kitchen can be a spread of gear at the end of a picnic table or laid out on a portable table next to the fire ring, and with proper planning, an efficient kitchen away from home. The following…
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Tents come in dozens of shapes and sizes, designs and intentions. So do campers. I recently observed a perfect example of this at a state park campground, at neighboring campsites.     On one site, a 10-person tent with attached screened room, housed one person — big tent, small occupancy. But, the guy had a pile of kayaking gear stacked inside the screen room so space was necessary for him. Next site over, a family of two adults and three kids spent the weekend using a four-person tent as home. Tight sleeping quarters it must have been, but they enjoyed the…
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How many times have you tried something, which afterwards, you wished you could have only sampled it before jumping in? I have plenty of times. Negative results leave a bad taste that is tough to erase. When a new endeavor involves investing not only time, but money as well, thorough research sure helps in weeding out a majority of the bad stuff. For those folks that are considering camping for the first time, or want a night or two of sleeping under the stars, but have no camping gear on hand, "test driving" camping is available. Most state parks and…
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Even though the weatherman may be right more often than not, weather patterns can be unpredictable. So that camping trip that was supposed to be dry and beautiful can turn into a soaked mudfest in the snap of a finger. Properly setting up your tent is key to staying dry in the rain. Can you stay dry when you’re camping in the rain? Here are seven easy tips to help you stay as safe and dry as possible. Know Where to Set Up Your Tent Pitching your tent at a low spot in the middle of a rainstorm is a…
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