||What should I bring... tent
To save money on road trips, I often camp along
the way. Sometimes I don't camp every night, but every other night. This all
depends on your trip. Anyway, it is also a good way to experience the local
flora and fauna (especially bugs) in a real intimate way. There are some
things so that you will have a minimum of comfort during your one night stay
in the outdoors. I have learned all of this through trial and error.
|A tent that you can easily carry
and roll up
I am on my second tent, since while sleeping in my first
tent, my feet touched the walls and sprung leaks in the rain. I bought
the new one while out on the road at Wal-mart. You need a tent that
leaves about a foot clearance on each side. If you are alone, a small
one will do as you can adjust your angle inside. I am using an 8x8 now
and am very happy. It is easy and quick to set up (at least when the sun
is still out) and has zipper-able windows and a roof for ventilation and
to protect from the elements. I also have a few pouches to store my keys
and glasses and a door to store my shoes. I love my tent. It has saved
me a lot of cash and it is better than sleeping in the car. (Sleeping in
the car is not good for your back or your sanity.) Bring a small
battery-powered lamp for light.
|Air Mattress and a decent, small
Do not get a pump that craps out on you like I did and
was forced to blow my air mattress using lung power in The Middle of
Nowhere, Wyoming. It really ruins a night. I used to sleep on pads,
but moisture from the ground and the hardness make it tough for a wuss
like me to get shuteye needed for the road. So now I use an air
mattress. It is nothing fancy at all, but it keeps me off the ground.
Blow it up so that it is firm and throw it as quick as you can into that
tent before the bugs find out the flap is unzipped.
|Tarp A good
vinyl tarp can act as a roof or as a basement. You should know that the
ground sweats during the night and if you do not have a tarp beneath
your camp floor, you will get some of that water in your tent. I have
woken up many nights with drenched socks and cold feet. Wipe it off with
a towel and spray it with disinfectant with each use.
|New stakes and a mallet
For each trip you should get new stakes for the tent. I
like the ones with the green tips which aid in hooking and setting
things up. They should be thick and strong and long enough to find solid
ground if it is wet out.
|Sleeping bag and a pillow
Bring a sleeping bag no matter how warm you feel it will
be. At night it gets cold, especially out west. I made the mistake of thinking I was saving space on a trip and left mine at home in
lieu of a blanket only to end up shivering the whole night. It is best
to sleep in the cold with a knit hat on your head and socks
on your feet. Do not wear too much beside sweats while sleeping. Your
body will produce the heat needed to keep you warm. You only need to
|Lint and matches
Collect lint from your drier, toilet
paper, or use papers collected along the way during your trip to start a
fire. Many campgrounds require you to buy wood on site so don't lug it
around. A fire provides entertainment, s'mores, and mosquito repellant
throughout the night. Make sure your tent and car are not too close to
|Water and food
If you are in a wild location and plan on cooking, try to do it
away from your sleeping area like in a picnic grove a few blocks away.
Keep your food in the trunk. There are critters and beasts that come to
campgrounds at night looking in your car windows. I found footprints one
night of a raccoon all over my car. He must have been trying to get in
for hours. Water should be brought in the tent in case you need it
during the night. You will hear coyotes, deer, frogs, crickets, flies,
and other odd and end creatures all night long.
Carry a flashlight with you in the
tent and outside. It will help you spot dangers and help you know where
you are going.
Good for cooking, cutting, and
stabbing intruders. Remember that most campgrounds have little in the
way of security. I have also used a baseball bat to make me feel safe
while cooking not too far from a bear in Ontario.
|Things not to bring into a
Television, snack food, shampoo (keep
it in the car if you must), perfume, jackets, wide-brimmed hats and
baseball caps (a knit hat will do)... KEEP IT SIMPLE so you can get
moving in the morning. The goal is speed. See my camping page...