March 19th, 2010 | in Camping
| 2 comments
One of the scourges of every camping trip in the history of the world is Poison…Poison Ivy and Oak and how to deal with them.
The best prevention against poisonous plants is to learn to identify these plants then avoid any contact. Should you touch one of these plants, do not scratch, and wash the area in cold water within 20 minuets. Should you develop a rash, use a topical solution like calamine lotion to ease the discomfort.
POISON OAK- It can make your best campout or day hike turn into a total nightmare. You really have to know what this plant looks like in all of its seasonal colors and stay away from it. In spring it is bright green, in late summer it starts to turn red and slightly brownish-orange. The best advice is to know where you are hiking and hike in pants and long sleeves if you think you may be coming in contact with it on overgrown trails. Poison oak can be found growing wild all over California under the 5000' elevation. Once touched, the oil of poison oak can spread from your clothes to your body with indirect contamination. Never burn the plant (leaves or vines) for any reason.
POISON IVY- is not found on the west coast but is found throughout the woods of New Jersey and other eastern states. It has leaves in clusters of three (so let them be). If you come in contact with poison ivy, do not put your hands near your eyes or face, as the irritation spreads easily.
Watch out for this seemingly harmless little vine or shrub in the woods. It mimics Virginia Creeper which has leaves in cluster of five. Some variations of poison ivy leaves look like oak leaves (hence the term “oak leaf poison ivy”) but again, there is no poison oak found in New Jersey.
Myths vs. Facts about Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy rash is contagious.
Rubbing the rashes won't spread poison ivy to other parts of your body (or to another person). You spread the rash only if urushiol oil — the sticky, resin like substance that causes the rash — has been left on your hands.
You can catch poison ivy simply by being near the plants.
Direct contact is needed to release urushiol oil. Stay away from forest fires, direct burning, or anything else that can cause the oil to become airborne such as a lawnmower, trimmer, etc.
Do not worry about dead plants.
Urushiol oil stays active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years.
Breaking the blisters releases urushiol oil that can spread.
Not true. But your wounds can become infected and you may make the scarring worse. In very extreme cases, excessive fluid may need to be withdrawn by a doctor.
I've been in poison ivy many times and never broken out therefore I'm immune.
Not necessarily true. Upwards of 90% of people are allergic to urushiol oil, it's a matter of time and exposure. The more times you are exposed to urushiol, the more likely it is that you will break out with an allergic rash. For the first time sufferer, it generally takes longer for the rash to show up – generally in 7 to 10 days.
Tags: Camping, camping basics, camping with kids
Camping stoves and other cooking accessories have made it possible to cook most things outdoors, but baked goods have generally been out of the question. Until now, that is. Made of smooth aluminized steel, the Coleman camping oven lets you bake a batch of muffins, biscuits, or rolls right at the campsite.
The oven doesn't require electric or gas power to work. Instead, campers simply place the oven on top of a Coleman two- or three-burner stove, which provides all the heat you need to bake some of your favorite oven dishes. The oven also offers baking essentials such as an adjustable steel bake rack and an easy-to-read thermometer. And when you're finished baking, the oven folds flat for storage. Made in China, the Coleman camping oven measures 12 by 12 by 12 inches (W x H x D) when standing and weighs 7 pounds. As you can see, camp ovens have smaller interiors than home ovens, hence standard 9 by 13 inch rectangular pans will not fit inside a camp oven. Since you must use smaller dishes this requires recipes which produce a smaller amount. I recommend the following baking pans for use in a camp oven:
9 inch square pan
8 inch square pan
9 inch round cake pan
8 by 4 inch bread pan
9 inch pie plate
Round 2 quart casserole
At a cost of about $30, the Coleman oven makes a great addition to your camp kitchen.
Baking with a Coleman Camp Oven
Coleman ovens or other camping ovens fit over the burner of a camp stove or placed on a grate over a fire. The heat from the flame rises up into the oven and through a diffuser in the bottom of the oven. There is an adjustable rack inside the oven and a temperature gauge in the center front of the oven door which indicates the oven’s interior temperature. It will not however, allow you adjust the temperature. This is done by adjusting the flame below the oven. It takes a little practice to get the hang of it but it can be done. I burned the bottoms of several loaves of bread before I learned how to use this type of oven with any skill. Since the heat emanates from the bottom of the oven, the tops of most foods will not become as brown as they do in your home oven and the bottoms will have a tendency to brown quickly. You must therefore, keep an eye on them and adjust the temperature downward as necessary.
It is best to use your camp oven in an enclosed area, well protected from wind, as it will be less difficult to maintain a steady temperature. Exposure to wind can make many baked goods take longer to cook. Keep this in mind when setting up your oven and if you cook out in the open, then you may want to keep your baking for calmer days.
Contrary to most recommendations, I don't preheat my camp oven. I think it wastes fuel, and I haven't found any real difference in the resulting cooking or browning of the foods. First I prepare the bread, bar cookies, pie, or other treats. When the preparation is completely finished, I put the pan into the oven. Then I light the stove eye, and put the oven on top of the flame. Next, I adjust the flame to high and watch the temperature dial. When the desired temperature is reached, 350° for example, I turn the flame down very low. Usually the oven will maintain the temperature for the next 20 minutes or so, often long enough to finish the baking. When the temperature begins to drop by about 50 degrees, I turn up the flame again, until the temperature inside the oven has reached my desired temperature. Again, I turn the flame down to low and let the food continue baking if needed. For hotter temperatures, or for longer baking, I usually have to repeat this process several times. I have found that using this procedure produces fewer burnt bottoms on my bar cookies and bread loaves. As you can tell, camp ovens have to be “baby sat” a lot more than home ovens but the results are worth it.
Get The Coleman Camp Oven Here!
Tags: Camping, camping basics, camping equipment
March 15th, 2010 | in Camping
| 3 comments
Ah, summertime! Getting outdoors and making the most of those long, warm sunny days. Although most people look forward to the summer, it can be a dangerous prospect if you’re not nice to your body by drinking lots of water and taking frequent breaks.
To beat the heat and have some happy summer memories follow these pointers:
Drink plenty of water.
Sport drinks and fruit juices are OK but you have to drink more of them to get a comparable amount of water into your system. Beer causes dehydration, and drinks with caffeine remove fluid from your body. Always take a break in the heat and drink appropriate fluids. Dizziness, fatigue, flushed skin and a dry mouth are all symptoms of dehydration.
When you lose too much water your skin immediately flushes. When you're dizzy, weak, or lethargic you've lost about 3% of your body fluid. At 5% you feel confused. At 6% your heart races and once you've lost 7% of the water in your body, you'll pass out. When it's really steamy, you should be consuming a pint of water every 30 minutes.
Don’t forget to Eat
Keep salty and revitalizing snacks such as nuts, dried fruit and energy bars handy in order to replenish what you lose as you sweat. Give your body a chance to cool down.
A person with heat stroke will have a high body temperature which will send their body into shock. Heat stroke causes delirium and possibly vomiting. At this point the body won't absorb water fast enough and in fact drinking could lead to more nausea and vomiting. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and one needs to seek immediate medical attention.
Keep babies out of direct sunlight. A baby outside should be covered with a light blanket and hat. Fill kids up with plenty of water before they go out in hot weather as children lose water at the same rate as adults and since they have less body mass the effects are more severe and they can become dehydrated very quickly.
The sun is the main cause of skin cancer which is the most common of all cancers.Thankfully the cure rate is 95%.
YOU'RE AT GREATEST RISK IF you work or play for long periods of time outdoors, you are a natural blond or redhead who burns easily or are fair skinned as fair skinned people don't have enough color pigment to stop the sun's burning rays. Everyone should try and avoid being in the sun from 10-11 am to 2-3 pm when the UV (ultraviolet) rays are the strongest.
Sunscreens are used as a preventative measure to prevent sunburn. If you are already burned, drink plenty of liquids and cool the skin with water, gels or creams. Those sunscreens that contain Aloe are excellent and promote healing. Aspirin or Tylenol may ease the pain and allow you to sleep.
To prevent burning, look for a sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 or high and one that will block both UV-A and UV-B rays. Apply sunscreen evenly to all exposed areas 20 minutes before you go out. Reapply every two hours, or after each swim. SPF (sunscreen protection factor) tells you how much longer you can stay in the sun, before burning, than you can without using a sunscreen. For example, SPF 15 (the minimum recommended) means that you can stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection, before burning. SPF 15 will filter out UVB light (the most dangerous) and at least some UVA light (primarily causes premature aging and wrinkles, but with enough exposure can contribute to cancer). The higher the SPF the greater the protection.
But remember . . . NO sun screen absorbs all the sun's rays. If you stay in the sun long enough you'll burn. Sunlight reflected from water or snow can also be dangerous. The most important factor is to apply sunscreen liberally and reapply often, especially after you swim or sweat. It also helps to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 2 pm when the rays are the strongest and wear opaque, tightly woven clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Children are particularly susceptible and one or more severe, blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence can double the risk of melanoma (a type of skin cancer) later in life.
Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide deflect light rays, but should be combined with screening ingredients. There are colorful zinc oxide creams and transparent zinc oxide (Z-Cote) is now found in many moisturizers and foundations. Paba is an ingredient that some find a skin irritant. To improve water and sweat repellency of the formulas, some products use oils that repel moisture and others are absorbed into the skin and then "time released".
Certain drugs, such as antihistamines, oral contraceptives, anti-inflammatory drugs, tranquilizers, oral anti-diabetics, diuretics, some antidepressants, and some dandruff shampoos can increase your sensitivity to light, raising the chance of an adverse reaction to the sun.
Another weapon in the war against the cancerous and aging effects of the sun is clothing made from special fabrics that block 95-99% of the UVA and UVB rays. As a comparison, the average tee shirt blocks 50% of harmful UVB rays when dry (10-20% when wet). Available for adults and children, there are pants, shirts and jackets on the market.
HOT WEATHER TIPS
Take a Dive. If you have the option of jumping into a lake, river or ocean for a quick dip, do it. Even sticking your feet into the water helps. Jumping in a lake or river will unclog your pores so you can continue to sweat effectively. Plus it feels sooooo good.
Wear a hat.
Try to avoid taking drugs as some medications, such as cold and allergy pills, can decrease sweat rates and contribute to overheating.
When you stop for breaks, always rest in the shade.
Until Next Time…
Tags: Camping, camping basics
March 4th, 2010 | in Camping
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Seasoned campers know all too well the importance of having the right tools, cooking equipment, spices, work space, and everything else that is needed to be a successful camp cook. When you are in the middle of preparing a meal and out in the middle of nowhere, it isn't a good time to realize that you should have brought certain items along to make the job easier. Just think about all of the things you use at home when cooking. It's no different in the woods, except for one thing….your kitchen cupboard could be a hundred miles away, and the nearest store might be too far to be worth the trip. Being prepared ahead of time takes the hassle out of camp cooking and ensures that everyone will enjoy great meals.
The first thing you should do is put together a "Chuck Box" (also known as a grub box or patrol box) where you store all of your camp kitchen equipment. The only requirement for a chuck box is that it contains the items you need for your camp kitchen. This saves you from scrounging around your home kitchen for place settings, cooking and eating utensils, spices, and everything else you'll need every time you want to go camping. In the strictest sense a sturdy cardboard box could be used as a chuck box. However, since cardboard is not water or rodent proof you are well advised to use inexpensive plastic containers that seal and are easy to stack.
If you do much camping, you soon learn that it's not enough just to have the small things. You also need work surfaces for cooking, cleaning and food preparation. Camping table space is at a premium when you are doing outdoor cooking so some hard-core campers prefer to build a chuck box from wood that can provide an actual portable kitchen with many features found in the home kitchen including work surfaces.
What all this really means is that once you have a well outfitted chuck box, whether it is a simple box full of utensils, spices, & other necessities, or a more elaborate design, your once lengthy camping checklist turns into only a few items with the chuck box being one of those items. Now the hassle of getting ready to go camping is gone forever and you won't forget the key items because they are always in your grub box just waiting for your next adventure.
When preparing your camp kitchen, there are many things you'll want to include. As you become more familiar with cooking in camp, you'll be able to adjust your gear to your personal needs. At first, you'll probably take along things that you'll never use, and forget things you wish you would have brought along. Have a pen and paper handy to jot down the items you don't use and those items you needed, and make your adjustments accordingly. Following is a checklist of items that most camp chefs will nearly always need:
Lighter or Matches
Long Tongs for Hot Charcoal
Hot Coal/Ash Shovel
Hot Coal/Ash Bucket (fire proof)
Cookware (Pots, Pans, Pie Irons, Dutch Oven, etc.)
Wooden Stirring Paddles
Long Handled Solid Spoon
Long Handled Slotted Spoon
Long Handled Meat Fork
Long Handled Spatula
Can Opener (Manual, Not Electric!)
Large Butcher Knife
Metal or plastic mixing bowls
Coffee Pot or Kettle
Plastic Dutch Oven Scraper
Nylon Scrubbing Pads
Fresh Water Container
Fresh Water Container
Cups or Glasses
Tags: camp kitchen, camping equipment
February 25th, 2010 | in Camping
| 1 comment
When you need to cook or simply want to relax around a campfire, knowing what kind of wood to use can eliminate frustration. There are two basic kinds of wood for campfires; hardwood and softwood
Hard Wood burns longer, here are some examples of hardwoods:
Soft Wood burns fast & splits easier, here are some examples of softwoods:
The Burning Properties of Wood
Wood from an evergreen tree, called "softwood," burns quickly, lets off lots of heat and dies leaving no coals. It makes a colorful bonfire, but you will need lots of it for a whole evening. Deciduous or "hardwood" takes longer to ignite, burns slowly and turns to glowing coals. It is perfect for a cooking fire.
Remember that good firewood is always dry while rotten, crumbly, wet or green wood will make a smoky fire and Poplar can smoke even when it is dry. Avoid softwood with balls of tree gum attached, as this will cause a fire to spit.
For a great fire starter, use "fatwood" or dry wood from an evergreen tree that is streaked with resins. Pine needles and Birch Bark (never peel from a live tree) also work well if they are very dry. Don't try to start a fire with other kinds of bark though, since bark does not burn well.
Note: Never collect wood near Poison Ivy or Poison Oak. The smoke from burning any part of the plants can cause an allergic rash and can be even more dangerous if inhaled.
A natural result of tree recognition is to learn the burning properties of their woods. Below is a listing of the most common woods for burning and their burning properties. There are more, but this is a good list to start. If you are unsure of the wood, the best and safest bet is not to burn it and it is worth remembering that ALL wood will burn better if split.
Alder: Poor in heat and does not last, to be seen growing beside ponds.
Apple: Splendid – It burns slowly and steadily when dry, with little flame, but good heat. The scent is pleasing.
Ash: Best burning wood; has both flame and heat, and will burn when green, though naturally not as well as when dry.
Beech: A rival to ash, though not a close one, and only fair when green. If it has a fault, it is apt to shoot embers a long way.
Birch: The heat is good but it burns quickly. The smell is pleasant.
Cedar: Good when dry. Full of crackle and snap. It gives little flame but much heat, and the scent is beautiful.
Cherry: Burns slowly, with good heat. Another wood with the advantage of scent.
Chestnut: Mediocre. Apt to shoot embers. Small flame and heating power.
Douglas Fir: Poor. Little flame or heat.
Elder: Mediocre. Very smoky. Quick burner, with not much heat.
Elm: Commonly offered for sale. To burn well it needs to be kept for two years. Even then it will smoke.
Holly: Good, will burn when green, but best when kept a season.
Hornbeam: Almost as good as beech.
Laburnum: Totally poisonous tree, acrid smoke, taints food and best never used.
Larch: Crackly, scented, and fairly good for heat.
Laurel: Has brilliant flame.
Lime: Poor. Burns with dull flame.
Oak: The novelist's 'blazing fire of oaken logs' is fanciful as Oak is sparse in flame and the smoke is acrid, but dry old oak is excellent for heat, burning slowly and steadily until whole log collapses into cigar-like ash.
Pear: A good heat and a good scent.
Pine: Burns with a splendid flame, but apt to spit. The resinous Weymouth pine has a lovely scent and a cheerful blue flame.
Plane: Burns pleasantly, but is apt to throw sparks if very dry.
Plum: Good heat and aromatic.
Poplar: Truly awful.
Rhododendron: The thick old stems, being very tough, burn well.
Robinia (Acacia): Burns slowly, with good heat, but with acrid smoke.
Spruce: Burns too quickly and with too many sparks.
Sycamore: Burns with a good flame, with moderate heat. Useless green.
Thorn: One of the best woods. Burns slowly, with great heat and little smoke.
Walnut: Good, and so is the scent. Aromatic wood.
Willow: Poor. It must be dry to use, and then it burns slowly, with little flame. Apt to spark.
Yew: Last but among the best. Burns slowly, with fierce heat, and the scent is pleasant.
Tags: camping basics, camping needs
February 23rd, 2010 | in Camping
| 1 comment
A one pot meal is a camper’s delight as the meal only takes one pot, as suggested in the title, is quick and filling, and if the pot is large enough can feed a crowd. Cleanup is also a bonus.
A good One-Pot Meal recipe should be:
Quick: The recipe should take less than 30 minutes to prepare and need only 30-45 minutes to cook.
Easy: Even novice cooks should be able to make a successful One-Pot Meals.
Healthy: A One-Pot Meal is low in fat and high in nutrition.
Tasty: A One-Pot Meal should taste good and be filling.
Convenient: A One-Pot Meal should be able to use fresh, frozen, dried and canned foods for the ultimate in convenience.
What is a True "One-Pot" Meal?
A true "one-pot" meal contains protein, starch and vegetables all in the same pot. Any recipe that directs the cook to, "Prepare pasta separately." or "Serve with bread." is not a true "one-pot" meal.
What Do You Use to Cook One-Pot Meals?
A 2-quart cast iron Dutch oven is great, feeds 2 adults and may be used on the camp stove or a campfire. However any type of cooking pot may be used and the size is easy to determine if you remember the one-quart-per-person rule. To feed four, use at least a 4-quart Dutch oven or other pot and be aware that larger pots will probably increase the baking time. Your Dutch oven need not be enameled cast iron, but it does make for easier clean up, storage and lighter weight when the pot is full of food.
Below is a classic one pot recipe:
Chicken and Dumplings
serves 6 | 30 minutes active time | 45 minutes total time
This old-fashioned winter dish is the soup equivalent of a hot toddy. Use a wide pot so the dumplings don't stick together.
Ingredients for the soup
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 3-pound chicken, cut into pieces
* 1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
* 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
* 2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
* 2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 sprig thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* Fresh parsley
Ingredients for the dumplings
* 1 1/2 cups flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1. In a wide, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the olive oil.
2. Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, then brown them in the oil over medium heat, about 2 minutes a side. Remove and set aside.
3. Add the onion to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add the carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, turmeric, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute more.
5. Stir in the broth.
6. Return the chicken to the pot, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the first five dumpling ingredients.
8. Add the cream and mix until just combined.
9. Drop about 12 heaping tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into the pot.
10. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes more.
11. To serve, scoop the dumplings and chicken into bowls, then cover with broth.
12. Garnish with the parsley.
Tip: For quicker dumplings, mix 1 egg with 1/2 cup milk, then add the mixture to 1 1/2 cups Bisquick and stir to combine.
Tags: dutch oven, dutch oven cooking
February 21st, 2010 | in Camping
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An energy bar is the outdoor equivalent of throwing softwood on the fire. They are designed to provide quick energy when it is needed while camping or participating in other outdoor activities. They are easy to carry, last in heat and cold and easy to eat. The only downside is that commercial energy bars can be expensive and some leave a great deal to be desired in terms of taste. Some would even leave one to believe that the main ingredient is sawdust. The solution to these problems is to make you own. Below are a couple of recipes for doing just that.
This energy-packed recipe is so easy to make, and requires no baking! Whether you decide to wrap the bars in individual wrappings and take them on a hike or just keep them in the fridge for a post-workout boost, these bars are a delicious way to keep you going throughout your busy day.
I prefer to use a basic organic crispy rice cereal from the bulk section of my local health food store, but any crispy (not "puffed") rice cereal that is dairy-free will do.
Makes 16 to 20 bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
5 cups dairy-free crispy rice cereal (see Head Note)
¾ cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/3 cup finely chopped dates
¾ cups dark, dairy-free chocolate chips, divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup groups.
¼ t. salt
2/3 cups soymilk powder
¾ cup honey or agave nectar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
¾ cups tahini
1 t. vanilla extract
1. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking dish with dairy-free soy margarine or oil or you’re your baking dish with parchment paper. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the crispy rice cereal, rolled oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dates, ¼ cup of the dairy-free chocolate chips and salt. Set aside.
2. Place the soymilk powder in a small heat-proof bowl and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, brown sugar, tahini, vanilla and the remaining chocolate chips. Stirring constantly, cook until the chocolate chips have just melted, the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is combined, about 1-2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can simply place a heatproof bowl in the microwave and microwave the mixture until just melted.) Gradually mix the tahini-chocolate mixture into the soymilk powder, stirring vigorously to avoid clumping.
4. Pour the tahini-chocolate mixture into the rice cereal mixture, mixing well until evenly distributed. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, press the mixture into the prepared dish. Cut the mixture into bars while still in the pan and still warm. Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before removing from the pan with a spatula. Serve at room temperature or cold. Bars will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
4 ripe organic bananas
3 cups organic rolled oats, not quick
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup coconut flakes or shredded
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mash the bananas well in a mixer then add all other ingredients and blend well.
Place dough on a 12×16 inch jellyroll pan that’s been greased generously with coconut oil. Pat out the dough into a rectangle about 1/3" thick.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 18 ? 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting the bars. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate.
Note: Before or after baking you may brush or drizzle a generous amount of melted coconut oil on top of the bars for an extra energy boost.
If you are not into cooking and experimenting then try this. There is a website,
http://www.elementbars.com this allows you to design your own energy bar. Though more expensive it may be fun and will make great gifts for your outdoor friends.
Tags: camping recipe
February 20th, 2010 | in Camping
| 3 comments
Camping trips with babies rarely go perfect the first time but you can avoid a lot of serious complications with a bit of practice and planning. In the long run, camping with babies can be a blast as they are generally adaptable and sleep more than toddlers.
The Practice Trip
The wise parent will make the first camping trip with a baby a short two night adventure near your home. This allows your baby the chance to become comfortable with the outdoors without over-doing it.
A longer trip can become disorienting for the baby as the little one has to adapt to the longer car ride. This takes training and patience and you probably don't want to start off your first camping trip with a screaming baby. Another word of advice is to pick a spot without extreme temperatures. Even tiny babies can put up with almost anything you might expose them to, but you will have to work harder to keep them comfortable.
Heat seems to be the extreme to avoid. You can keep a baby warm on snowy nights but it's hard to cool an unhappy baby in 95 degrees Fahrenheit and infants under 6 months of age should not wear sun screen unless your pediatrician recommends it. Even a baby kept in the shade can be exposed to a great deal of reflected sunlight.
Remember, babies require a great deal of equipment and supplies. If you forget something dire or realize that something you left home would really be handy you can always go home and get it if your first camping trip is close to home rather than 200 miles away.
Camping with a baby is always entertaining, but it may be quite a bit different than the trips you are used to taking. Give yourself a chance to get used to the changes. Plan to arrive at your campsite long before dark as even babies need time to acclimate to their new surroundings. You will also need time in the daylight to set up your tent and get situated. Even if you have set up your tent 100 times you may find it more difficult with your new addition. It is wise to have a tent that one person can set up alone if it becomes necessary. A leisurely evening in your campsite will allow your baby to feel comfortable and secure.
When packing for your practice trip go overboard. Pack more clothes than you think you will need. More formula or baby food, more diapers, more wipes, etc. You can never have too many diapers or wet wipes. If you haven't already discovered how handy having wipes can be, you'll find out on a camping trip. Disposable diapers aren't environmentally sound, so PLEASE throw them into a trash can or dumpster WITH a lid.
This is your chance to see what you'll really need. Worry about packing space on your next trip. It is recommended that you pack lots of clothes but not too many items that are really heavy or bulky. It is better to layer lighter clothing.
Temperatures will fluctuate throughout each day and it is easier to add a layer or remove a layer of clothing when the climate changes than to re-dress your baby five times a day. Snap-crotch garments for your little one are a real plus here as it is difficult to change the diaper of a camping baby without them and they will stay warmer on cold nights if they don’t need to be stripped down for every diaper change.
When thinking of feeding your baby, think safety first. Pre made formula is expensive but sterile. Powders are convenient but can be hard to mix at campground faucets and some campgrounds have questionable water sources. The biggest concern is keeping prepared formula cold. If you are in an RV with refrigeration it's no problem, however, tent campers, please be careful!
Keeping bottles clean can present another problem. I suggest a bottle with a disposable liner. If you use regular bottles don't forget a bottle brush!
So you have had a successful first camping trip with your baby, taken notes, made adjustments and are now ready for the real thing. For your first real camping trip away from home it is recommended to choose a campground where you have camped before. This way you will know what facilities the park offers and there won’t be any surprises. Plan your trip with plenty of time to spare. Just getting to your camping spot will usually take a lot longer than you may anticipate. With a baby diaper changes and an occasional stretch are a requirement. The best thing about camping with a baby is watching your child's reactions to the elements. A tree, a cloud or a flower can keep a baby happy for hours and provide great photo opts for mom and dad. So don't plan a day full of activities and hikes, just relax and enjoy, take lots of pictures, go to sleep early and be prepared to get up at dawn. No matter how late you put your baby to bed, they will always get up at sunrise when you camp!
Even though you try, you can't always control your baby’s moods and other campers simply don't want to listen to a screaming baby. Do your best to be a good neighbor and try to figure out what your little one is trying to communicate. PLEASE DO NOT let your baby cry and cry and cry. Keep your cool and don’t get frustrated. Sometimes the baby’s portable bassinet or car seat that they are already used to is a good and secure sleeping place for your baby and both fit nicely in the tent.
Let the little ones age 6 months – 3 years sit in their stroller around the campfire. This will allow them be a part of the activity and also keeps them safe and in a familiar environment as long as you ensure the sparks and smoke from the fire are not blowing in their direction. Do not let youngsters get over tired while camping. To the best of your ability, keep them on their home routine of taking naps, eating regular meals and observing regular bedtimes. This will help reduce the crankiness that can result in the crying/noise for those around you.
Make the camping experience fun by allowing the baby to get dirty and messy. It is hard on everyone if everything is off limits and someone is always saying don't touch that, don't get dirty, don't, don't, don't. Enjoy your kids when they are small, they don't stay that way long.
Tags: Camping, camping basics, camping with kids
February 16th, 2010 | in Camping
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ISN'T CAMPING DANGEROUS?
The things most people worry about when camping with children are wolves, bears, and the possibility of drowning. These worries should actually be much less than the higher risk injuries such as sprained ankles on river portages, lacerations playing “Junior Woodsman”, burns caused by the campfire and so on. The same dangers that can happen doing regular activities at home! Try to and allay the child’s fears, and yours, with knowledge, and by all means avoid the scary stories.
WHAT ABOUT BUGS?
Yes, there are bugs in the outdoors. Try and be calm when you explain about biting insects and remember in most cases, although uncomfortable, they won’t kill you. Always carry bug repellant that you are sure you and your child are not allergic to. Even if it doesn’t work it makes the child feel better. Set a good example for your child by dealing with the bugs yourself in an adult manner and your child will probably mirror your behavior and not have a problem.
THE SCAREST THING IN THE OUTDOORS – THE BATHROOM!!
Many children will have questions and issues with where and how to go the bathroom when camping. Toilets may be quite scary to a child. A pit toilet may seem like a perfectly normal thing to you, but your toddler may not agree. These toilets can smell pretty bad and it's easy to see why some children are afraid of falling in. When you tell your child about camping, be sure to include information about the bathrooms. Some of the flush toilets can be loud and are not like the potty at home. If your child will still use a potty chair you may want to bring one along – just in case. Camping trips can also be a real chance for a breakthrough in the area of potty training as there are no “accidents” on your rug or your furniture and a potty chair can be set up anywhere in your camp site so your child won't feel isolated. You will have more time with your child when camping, and this can be the most help of all.
From your child’s point of view the toilet paper may seem yucky. Most camp bathrooms have industrial quality (sand paper) toilet paper. Your young bath roomer may refuse to use this stuff. Some camps provide little squares of paper. A parent may be able to use this stuff but a young child might have some problems. Additionally, many of the toilet paper dispensers make it quite difficult and sometimes impossible for a small child to get the paper off of the roll. This is actually intentional. The harder to obtain the less paper is used. Many former park employees think this is the silliest thing they have ever seen as the bathrooms always end up with bits of paper all over the floor and people break these irritating dispensers all the time. Your child may not even be able to get the paper off of these rolls. The biggest problem of all is an empty dispenser. You will find this every busy weekend you camp. The easy solution to the toilet paper problem is to bring your own.
Bathing and showering can also be scary for children. Camp showers can be a test of your patience. The temperature may be hard to adjust (or impossible) and the water may run cold for some time before getting warm. Most camp showers require quarters to operate – and some campers complain of running out of money in the middle of shampooing their hair. Children who normally take baths at home will not appreciate a camp shower. Many camp grounds do not offer bathing facilities at all. If you plan on camping for any length of time you will have to adapt and teach your children to do the same. Some ways to adapt are Sun Showers (a large black bag with a shower head) are great for camping. You can use them at home a few times to allow your children to become used to the idea. Just set up the sun shower in your back yard and let the kids try it out with bathing suits. Most kids just think of it as an interesting sprinkler and a sponge bath can work quite well, especially if you are camping in cold weather.
Enjoy camping fun and exciting times with your children and make a life time of memories.
Tags: Camping, camping basics, camping with kids
February 15th, 2010 | in Camping
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Getting your campfire started can be one of the most frustrating outdoor activities, especially when the kids are waiting for their Smores with roasting sticks in hand. Following is a summary of various types of home-made Fire Starters. You will find a little thought and preparation goes a long way when getting your campfire started.
Use pine cones covered with wax**
Place a piece of charcoal in each section of a paper egg carton and cover with melted wax. ** Tear apart and use as needed. You can also use sawdust, dryer lint or Pistachio shells instead of the charcoal.
Take 100% cotton balls and thoroughly rub Vaseline into them. Keep in a zip lock bag and use as needed.
Use newspaper cut into strips (3"-4" wide). Roll up and tie with string and cover with melted wax. **
Use lint from your dryer as a fire starter.
Bundle about 10-12 Diamond brand "strike-anywhere" wooden kitchen matches together with waxed dental floss. The heads of the matches should all be pointing in the same direction. Generously soak the bundle of matches (except heads) in melted paraffin wax** to waterproof and to provide a long burn time. Dip the match heads, lightly only, into the wax to waterproof them. Simply strike on a flat rock to ignite.
Cut a cotton cord into 1" lengths and soak in melted wax. ** Let dry and store in empty film container or zip lock bag.
These are called candy kisses. Use the small 6" emergency candles and wrap them in waxed paper. Tie/twist both ends of the waxed paper to seal in the candle (looks like a salt water taffy candy). Light an end when you are ready to start your fire.
Cut waxed milk cartons into strips to be used as kindling for your campfire.
Stuff paper towel or toilet paper rolls with paper.
Newspaper crumbled into a ball. Don’t ball the paper too tight and use several pieces and be sure it is very dry.
Use dried pine needles.
Soak a piece of charcoal in lighter fluid and coat with wax. **
Use small condiment or "sample-size" cups. Add a long wick to each cup and fill with melted wax. ** You can also fill them with sawdust.
Use stacks of small pieces of cardboard covered in wax**
Waterproof your matches by dipping them in wax** or coating them with clear nail polish.
Use cotton string about 3-4" long, put in a wax paper bathroom cup with about an inch hanging over the edge. Fill the cup nearly to the top with saw dust and pour melted wax into the cup. The saw dust will compact and become waterproof. The extra string length is a wick to start burning the starter, but can also be tied to another starter string through a pack loop to carry outside your pack.
*Never use liquid igniters such as gasoline or lighter fluid on your campfire
** When melting wax, only use a double broiler set up consisting of two pots, one which sits on top of the other. The bottom pot containing boiling water, the top pot contains the wax. You can improvise a double boiler by placing the items to be cooked in a metal bowl, which is placed over a pot of boiling water.
Melted wax can easily ignite so always have a fire extinguisher handy in cause of emergency.
Tags: camping basics, camping equipment