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10 Signs You Have a Camping Addiction

We love camping. The smell of the fire, the sounds of nature, the lack of busyness; these are just a few of the reasons. As I look around at all my gear, it occurred to me that I might have a camping addiction. As far as addictions go, there could be worse ones. I have compiled a list of “symptoms”. How many of these do you have?

Camping addiction
Camping and canoeing with the Boy Scouts
You have an entire wardrobe dedicated to camping.

There have been many times where I went to grab a shirt and decided I couldn’t wear it because it was a “camping shirt”. This has also happened with shorts, jackets, hats, and shoes.

You have a tent for every scenario

Am I camping with the family? Am I sharing a tent? Do I need more room for my gear? Is it going to be windy, cold, rainy? Will I be able to drive in pegs? I have a different tent for almost every one of these situations.

You have as many backpacks as an outdoor retailer

When I open my closet, I have a minimum of 6 different day packs. I’m pretty sure they multiply in there, but I can’t be certain. Due to my camping addiction, and changing tastes, day packs seem to add up.

When you drive down the road, you always scope out good camping spots

Camping Addiction

When  travel, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for a road that may take me out into the forest for a nice secluded camping spot. There are times when I’ve driven into the woods, scoped out a great spot and marked it on my smart phone map for a return trip.

You cook your meals over a fire
camping addiction
Dutch oven coking

Cooking over fire isn’t just for camping. We have cooked many a desert and meal in our dutch oven at home. We store it in our pop-up camper so we know to keep it handy so we can use it.

You have a stocked camper ready to go
camping addiction
Reloading

Our pop-up is always at the ready. In fact, all we need to grab to get out the door is food and clothes. Everything is always in the camper. Propane is full, dishes, silverware, towels, bedding, and everything else is always ready to go. Because of this, we can mobilize for a camping trip pretty quickly.

You can’t use your garage due to camping gear

Back when we had a garage, 1/2 of it was taken up by our pop-up camper and the other half my wife’s car used. Of course the camper was stocked and piled up with other tents, chairs, and other outdoor gear; but this only left a small percentage of the garage for other uses.

You have a sleeping bag for every temperature

Zero degree, 20 degree, summer bag, it doesn’t matter. You have these bags and more. You even have a liner for either a light bag or to make your cold weather bag better. When my daughter asks for a bag for a sleep over, I immediately ask “how warm is the room going to be?”. Gotta make sure to be warm enough.

You scour yard sales for camping gear

Camping addiction - yard sale

You probably have the gear you need, but finding decent gear at a bargain? Heck yeah! I don’t know how many times I’ve visited a yard sale and asked “any camping gear?”. If the answer is no, I typically move on. If the answer is yes, awesome! Typically there are stories shared about why they’re selling, where they’ve camped… Good times.

You suggest a camping trip for Mother’s day

Camping addiction

or her birthday, your anniversary, valentines day, or just because. Because she loves you (and camping), she agrees. The picture above is from one of our Mother’s Day trips which was an awesome weekend. Due to my wife being awesome, this trip was actually her idea!

Did we leave any symptoms out? What symptoms do you exhibit that are not on this list? Since we admittedly have a camping addiction, we want to hear from others who do as well. The question becomes: “should I seek help?”. No way! Get outside & camp more!

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Everything I Learned about Camping…

As a kid, I was a Boy Scout (I am now a Scoutmaster). Everyone knows that Boy Scouts like camping. As a Scout, I did a lot of camping, and as a Scoutmaster I seem to do even more. Camping to me is “hitting the reset” button. Whether with my family, or with the troop, being in nature, makes everything better.

Below are some of the things I’ve learned over my camping career (some the hard way).

Camping Lessons:

  • Pitch your tent in your garden or yard beforehand your first outing  to make sure it’s all there and you know how to set it up.
  • On uneven ground, don’t pitch your tent in a valley. That’s the first place water & moisture will pool.
  • Always make a list of the things required, and tick it off as it goes in the pack.
  • If it is windy, be sure to stake down your tent. Even if the tent can’t be picked up by the wind, the corner can flap like crazy.
  • Double check your equipment before heading out. Make sure the gas stove works, you have fuel for it, you have batteries for the flashlight, etc.
  • Pre-prepared meals can save a bunch of time. If you make up your dry pancake ingredients beforehand, you will only have to mix in the wet in the morning.
  • A hotel bar of soap inside an old pantyhose leg hung by the water faucet is a convenient place to keep it. Not only does your soap not get lost, but the pantyhose act as an abrasive to help clean your hands.
  • Take spare tent pegs and invest in good pegs that won’t bend easily.
  • Consider a site with good facilities for first timer camping experiences.
  • 2 words: extra batteries. Nothing worse than being out camping with a dead flashlight.
  • Take extra plastic bags for wet clothes, wet shoes, trash, etc.
  • Remember to bring a can opener. I always keep a military style P38 in my bag and mess kit.
P38 can opener. A must for camping!
P38 can opener

 

  • Being close to the camp toilet, while convenient, isn’t always the best spot. Try to camp up wind.
  • Duct tape. Always take this. I’ve repaired tent fly, splinted broken poles, mended cooking utensils, repaired canoes, the possibilities are endless. In stead of bringing a whole roll, I wrap a fair amount around an old piece of PVC pipe.
  • Enjoy yourself!

What camping tips or lessons do you have? Comment below. Before you do, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

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Caring for & Storing Your Tent

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Just like a vehicle, you have to maintain your tent if you want it to last. If you don’t take care of it, you will more than likely need a new one soon. Take care of it well, and it will last almost forever!

Cleaning your tent

Don’t try to go the easy route and throw your tent in the washing machine; this can damage your it. The agitator could actually tear your tent. The heat of the dryer can damage the material as well. The best way to clean your tent is by hand. Use a mild detergent and an non abrasive sponge or rag and gently scrub the soiled areas. This is especially important when your tent has been exposed to sand, silt, bird droppings; well you get the idea. You also want to avoid any harsh household cleaning products. Pre-soaking products, bleach,  and spot removers; these products will damage the tent’s waterproof coating.

Cleaning Mildew & Mold

mold

Hopefully, you’ll never have to do this. But even the most seasoned campers have to deal with mildew and mold. How do you know if it’s there? Typically, there is a musky smell and some discoloration. Use an enzymatic cleaner to stop the growth of mold & mildew. Your goal is to stop the growth because continued growth of mold and mildew will leave a permanent stain and smell. There are also the health ramifications of sleeping in a moldy tent. The gear cleaners that are available are either spot cleaners or submersive.  Monitor the time your tent is submerged. Prolong exposure to these cleaners can also damage the waterproofing properties.

Cleaning Pine Sap

The Camp Gear Center headquarters is snuggled withing the largest ponderosa pine tree forest in the world. We know all about pine tree sap. If you get sap on your tent, it can be a hassle. Sap isn’t necessarily an end game. You can gently clean it with mineral spirits being careful not to scrub too hard or you can damage the waterproofing. Another option is to sprinkle some powder on the sap and simply move on. After time and more and more sap, your tent can look freckled, but that’s not really a big deal.

Zippers & Poles

Don’t neglect cleaning the zippers and poles. Simply brushing off the zippers and poles before storage will go a long way! Adding a dry lubricant formulated for outdoor gear will prolong the life of your zippers.

Tent Storage

There is no more important rule than NEVER STORE A WET TENT. If you get nothing else from this article, please remember this. There is no such thing as too much drying time. A wet or damp tent will breed mold and mildew and can ruin the wall and roof materials. As soon as you get home from a trip, pitch your tent in a shady area or inside to let it air out. If you don’t have the space to pitch the tent, drape it over something to air out.

Store your tent loosely in  cool dry place. The fabrics work best when they’re able to relax. Sure storing your tent in a stuff sack or the bag it came with is better for space savings, but a loosely stored tent will let be able to breathe and not be as stuffy.

Avoid storing your tent is really hot or damp places. A car trunk is not a good option as much as it sounds good to be “ready to camp at any moment” . The heat can damage the materials. Store your tent in an air tight bin or container if you live in a tropical or moist area.

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Camping Essentials

With the right gear, you can be prepared for anything. Camping essentials lists come in many shapes and forms. You can search the internet and come up with about a thousand different lists. We have compiled a comprehensive checklist for you. For a printable version, click here.
As a scout leader, we teach the new scouts about the ten essentials for camping which are listed below:
The Ten Essentials (BSA)

__Pocketknife20161102_165208
__First aid kit
__Extra clothing (Weather appropriate)
__Rain gear
__Water bottle
__Flashlight/headlamp
__Trail food
__Matches and fire starters
__Sun protection
__Map and compass (& know how to use them)

Below is our comprehensive list for camping. You don’t have to bring everything on this list, but this is meant to get you thinking and make sure you don’t miss something. If you have anything to add, feel free t
o comment below and we can add it to the list. Here is a link to a printable version (list).

Shelter

__Tent
__Ground cloth/tarp
__Extra stakstakeses
__Shade tarp/poles/rope/stakes
__Axe or hammer
__Mat for tent entrance
__Dust pan/brush

Bedding

__Sleeping bag
__Sheets/blankets
__Pillow
__Air mattress/sleeping pad/cot/tarp
__Air pump
__Repair kit for air mattress

__Utility bags for storage

Cooking

__Large water jug & water bucket         20161106_120613_1478464536041_resized
__Coolers/ice
__Thermos
__Stove with fuel/propane/mess kit
__Matches/lighter
__Charcoal/firewood/buddy burner
__Dutch oven/tin can stove/box oven/etc
__Campfire grill/BBQ grill
__Fire starters/newspaper
__Tablecloth/thumb tacks/clips
__Plates & bowls/paper plates & bowls
__Silverware/plastic silverwarecook-set
__Measuring cups / cook set
__Heavy-duty aluminum foil
__Paper towels
__Trash bags
__Dish soap
__Clothes pins
__Cooking oil/spray
__Containers for food storage
__Potholders/oven mittsstove
__Pots and frying pans with lids
__Soap for outside of pots and pans
__Cook utensils-spatula, knife, spoon
__Tongs
__Skewers/grill forks
__Can opener/bottle opener
__Folding table
__Mugs/paper cups
__Mixing bowl
__Cutting board
__Ziplock bags
__Napkins
__Dish pan
__Dish rags/towels
__Scrub pad/brillo
__Seasonings/sugar/condiments
__Potato peeler

Clothes

__Shoes/boots
__Jeans/pants/belt
__Shorts
__T-shirts
__Socks/extra socks
__Hat
__Bandana
__Sweatshirt/jacket
__Underwear
__Sleep clothes
__Rain gear
__Swim suit/towel
__Laundry bag

Personal

__Shower shoes/flip flops
__Towels/washcloth
__Soap in plastic case/shampoo
__Tooth brush/tooth pastesolar-shower
__Deodorant
__Comb/brush
__Razor
__Feminine products
__Toilet paper
__Shower bag or 5 gallon bucket
__Camping shower/shower pump
__Other personal items
__Personal medications – take extra

Miscellaneous

__Sunscreen/chapstick
__Lantern with fuel/mantles
__Extra batteries/bulbs
__Compass/GPS
__Bug repellent/candles
__Whistle
__Water filters/purification/treatmentfirst-aid-kit
__Camera/batteries
__Books/magazines (a Kindle would be better)
__Candles
__Maps/directions
__Misc. tools
__Backpack/fanny pack
__Fishing gear/license/bait
__Radio
__Musical instruments/song books
__Camp chairs
__Sunglasses
__Hammock
__First aid kit
__Tissues
__Saw/axe
__Park map/guidebooks/trail maps
__Lantern pole or hanger
__Collapsible drying rack
__Popcorn
__Marshmallows, Graham crackers, Hershey bars (Smores)
__Flashlight/batteries
__Pocket knife
__Plastic grocery bags
__Binoculars
__Rope/clothes line
__Canteen/water bottle/coffee pot
__Bungee cords/straps
__Cards/games/toys/golf
__Duct tape/electrical tape
__Notepad/pen
__Reservations info./confirmation
__Cell phone/charger & 2-way radios/walkie talkies
__Small shovel
__Safety pins
__Money/ID/credit card/quarters
__Bikes/helmets
__Travel alarm clock
__Work gloves
__Umbrella
__Hand wipes
__Drinks/snacks
__Small sewing kit
__Fire extinguisher
__Hot chocolate/tea bags/coffee
__Scissors
__Watch

Tell someone of your plans – give details of where you are going and when you expect to return, give directions and possible alternative roads that you may take, provide cell phone numbers, vehicle description and license plate numbers, hand-held radio channel and codes that you will use, and provide local authority phone numbers (State Police, Game & Fish Commission, Sheriff Dept, etc.) for the county or area that you will be in.

Basic First Aid Kit

__Personal medications
__Roll bandages
__Adhesive tape
__Antiseptic wipes
__Sterile gauze pads
__Cotton swabs
__Tweezers
__Safety pins
__Scissors
__Bee sting kit
__Sinus medications
__Tissues
__Bug repellent
__Sunscreen
__Notepad/pen
__Sterile compresses
__Splinting materials
__Personal information/contact person
__Feminine products
__Ipecac
__Razor blades
__Plastic bags
__Small bottle of water
__Blanket
__Other personal needs
__Small mirror
__Triangular bandages
__Misc. Band Aides/bandages
__Anti-acids (Tums, Rolaids)
__Antibiotic cream
__Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Tylenol/Naproxin
__Hydrogen Peroxide
__Ace bandages
__Sunburn lotion
__Burn ointment
__Snake bit kit
__Eye drops
__Poison ivy cream/cleansers
__Heat/cold packs
__Small flashlight
__Latex gloves
__Antibacterial soap
__Thermometer
__Coins for emergency phone calls
__Antibiotic soap
__Butterfly bandages
__Twine
__Mole skin for blisters
__Road flares
__First aid manual
__Nail clippers

Know what the weather forecast is for your camping destination. This will help alleviate many issues encountered at camp. If you are expecting bad weather, you can prepare for it or rearrange your trip. If you think of anything I’ve left out, please comment below.

 

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Video Gear Review: LED Headlamp

LED Headlamp Review

Here’s a video of a cool little headlamp I picked up recently at Amazon. Because we like to work with our hands while camping (or anything else), we love headlamps. Headlamps are an essential part of our camp essentials. For the complete list, click here. This little headlamp is pretty awesome. It’s bright, it has multiple modes, and it won’t break the bank! Click here to get one for yourself! Oh yeah, be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel and our mailing list.

 

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Mess Kit Video Tour

Below is a video tour of my mess kit that I carry. Many a soldire carried one of these. They are great because you can cook in one half and the other half features a divided plate. I also store my utensils and seasonings inside. Another great feature is that it is made out of stainless steel. I have seen aluminum mess kits twist and contort when used to cook; this won’t do either. You also don’t have the issue of aluminum leaching into your food potentially. The whole thing snaps together and stows in your pack fairly small as well. Check it out below and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.

Product links:

20161106_120613_1478464536041_resizedcook-setstove

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How Much Gear is Too Much?

As an assistant Scoutmaster, I have the opportunity to do a lot of camping. I love being out in the wild with the Scouts; it makes me feel younger and I get quality time with my son. We do a variety of camping, from “dump-outs” to “backpacking” trips. I love both types of camping and always look forward to the next one before the current trip is even over.

Backpack Camping:
Backpacking trips with the scouts are great for the following reasons:

  1. Every scout is responsible for all his gear.
  2. Cooking on a backpack stove is always interesting.
  3. The younger scouts really learn what “roughing it” can mean
  4. There is less impact on the campsite
  5. We can be a little more remote
Coffee is important

Dumpouts:

Dump-outs are great trips with the scouts for a number of reasons.

  1. The food is ALWAYS good.
  2. Plenty of man power to get everything done.
  3. There are almost always enough supplies.
  4. We usually attract more scouts – which is always entertaining!
  5. Did I mention the food?

 

Lots of gear on this trip

When we do our dump-outs, we bring the troop trailer which has everything under the sun in it. We have at least 4 dutch ovens, multiple cooking sets (utensils, pots, bowls, etc), food gets stored there, wash bins, extra TP, rakes, shovels, propane, you name it. Which brings me to the question: How much is too much?

With a dump-out, all the gear (and usually scout gear included) is pulled in a 10′ trailer. We usually have a larger group so loading & unloading isn’t an issue. The scouts usually prepare some really good meals with all the coocking gear as well! Did we use that 20′ canopy in the trailer? You bet! it was a hot weekend and it provided some much needed shade. Some of the leaders were able to bring cots for in their tents, a few EZ-Up canopies were also brought. We were quite comfortable.

BSA regulations won’t allow a scout to carry more than 25% of his body weight in his pack. This can be an issue for some of the smaller guys. It really makes you look at your gear to see what is truly essential.

It comes down to how much gear does it take to be comfortable? Nobody wants to go camping and be miserable (well maybe a few people). My advice is to bring what you think you’ll need. Would you being a cast iron pan on a backpacking trip? Probably not. Are you going to rake your site upon departure? Probably not on a backpacking trip. I also recommend bringing things that can serve multiple needs. Do you need a bowl, pot, & plate on a back pack trip? I suggest eating straight out of the pot if it’s just you. Less to clean too! For a list of camping essentials, click here.

What are your  essentials? What have you taken on  a trip that you wished you hadn’t?

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Welcome!

 

Welcome to Camp Gear Center! This is where we will talk about everything camping; things we love, things we’d like to change, camp recipes, and some product reviews.

Because we love camping so much, we decided to dedicate our lives to finding the best products and information to share with you. While we are out enjoying nature, we are compiling ideas to share and testing new products to review for you.

Pull up a camp stool around the fire. Welcome to camp, we’re glad you’re here.