Beyond you’re Wildest and Sweetest Dreams

Crickets are chirping and in the distance a great horned owl makes sure he gets recognition — you’re getting drowsy. The most significant time of day in the vast outdoors is bedtime. If you think about it, the foremost thought when packing camping gear is that you will be spending the night in the wild. It’s exciting and extraordinary even for the most avid camper. Camping is a fabulous experience, and in our busy world there isn’t time to enjoy it as often as we would like. This sometimes brings about the need for a camping refresher course. It’s vital to roundup the appropriate gear to make certain that everyone will get a good nights sleep. It makes the difference between a treasured adventure, and one that’s well…..not so much.

There are very experienced campers that carry all of their gear on their backs, make do with very little, and camp on a different site each night. However, many of us are beginners or intermediates, and some may even call themselves amateurs. Roughing it sounds like the way to go when embarking on a camping trip, but for many of us this angle is kind of irrational. There is impressive gear available for our convenience, and it’s just plain silly not to take advantage of these tools. This is not necessarily saying that everyone needs to go glamping (glamour camping), but there are fine tents, mattresses, sleeping bags, and clothing for a more comfortable excursion. It’s best to decide exactly what type of camping suits your personal view of a successful trip.

Let’s go with the scenario that a family of four is going tent camping for several days in a national park. Now, each person has had some informal experience with a scout troop or with buddies. This time is different because of the responsibility for the comfort and safety of a family. Just a few pointers will ensure that this trip becomes a fond memory.

Tents have improved drastically in the last decade. They are lightweight, easy to assemble, well ventilated, and waterproof. Choose a tent that is suitable for your family, or another option is to purchase two smaller ones. An extra set of tent stakes to reinforce the ones that come with the tent should be on your list. A ground cloth is essential for a good nights sleep. You want a plastic tarp. Most tents have a bottom in them, but placing a ground cloth beneath the tent is very wise. Fold it so that it doesn’t extend further than the perimeter of your tent. Camping in the most gorgeous weather near purple mountains can still bring heavy dew.

Next up is bedding, and this must not be taken lightly. A good nights sleep is needed in order for your family to enjoy hiking, fishing, and all the breathtaking sights that Mother Nature has bestowed upon us. Again, this is a personal preference as to whether you will put sleeping bags directly on the floor, or take advantage of lightweight camping bed frames. An advantage of choosing a bed frame is the storage that is available beneath it for food and clothing. Another is that the frame and the air mattress that fits in it brings sound and uninterrupted sleep. An air mattress repair kit, extra blankets, and pillows should also be on the checklist. However, there can be a comfortable outdoor experience when using up-to-date sleeping bags. They’re lightweight, warm, waterproof, and padded. Sleeping bags will lessen the amount of gear that must be hauled.

Choose a campsite which will bring comfort to your family. Look for a high spot that doesn’t have a lot of large rock. You want a smooth surface for your tent and general safety as well. Don’t setup camp right on the bank of a water source. This is dangerous when walking in the dark and animals tend to be a nuisance. Pick a site that isn’t heavily vegetated to avoid insects and snakes. Spray herbal insect repellant on your site and apply an extra dose around your tent. Always keep your tent door fastened. Light — bring plenty sources of light. Pack handheld lights, hanging lights, headlamps, and matches. Goodnight John-Boy……Goodnight Elizabeth.