Do You Have the skills to survive the Outdoors?

As our society becomes more and more technological, cold and urban, ever more people are starting to feel the urge to get away from it all, take a break from modern life and go back to the way things were for our ancestors. Perhaps this explains the rising popularity of camping holidays, the ultimate experience of going back to nature and living in the wild, with only a basic structure for shelter and a fire for cooking.

4428-int-section

Of course, lots of people don’t exactly do it that way. Camper vans are popular, as is ‘car camping’, and all sorts of electrical appliances have been adapted for camping – there are even camp microwaves. Most people consider at least modern toilets and showers to be a campsite necessity, regardless of whether it’s really true to the spirit of the activity. Camping doesn’t really have to be an outdoors thing if you don’t want it to be, as many camper vans aren’t that much different to houses on wheels, and many families stay in them for a large part of their holiday. It’s all about doing what you feel comfortable with.

For hardcore campers, though, the truest form of camping is camping which teaches survival skills, such as eating-wild caught food, finding your way around by the position of the sun and making fire. You would have to be very hungry to eat the animals that can be found in the woods of most countries, however, and for this reason camping with facilities and packed food is far more popular.

Most campsites are in woods or open fields, and are often publically-owned – if you want to find one, they should be clearly marked on maps for walkers and on road signs for cars. It’s up to you what you take with you, but most people will prefer to have at least a tent, Survival Knifes,sleeping bags, backpack, torches,Camping Grill and either a tool for making firewood or portable oven where campfires aren’t allowed.

Be Sociable, Share!

Advertisements

7 Common Mistakes New Campers Make

Any camper who claims never to make a mistake in the bush is either handling the truth carelessly or doesn’t get out there too often. No matter how many years we’ve been at it, all of us are guilty of an occasional “error of judgement”.

But is that such a problem? Certainly not. If we admit to the blunder, carefully think through it, and try to salvage a lesson from it, each mistake becomes a more effective learning experience than any number of trouble-free camping trips.

4428-int-section

It seems to me, though, a few campground blunders crop up more frequently than others, particularly among newbies of the outdoor scene. Here are seven bloopers you should watch out for:

Common Mistakes New Campers Make:

Mistake #1: Poor choice of equipment

No doubt the earliest trap of all for enthusiastic but inexperienced campers lurks among that vast array of equipment and hardware that confronts them in a well-stocked outdoor supplier’s store. It’s right here where they are most vulnerable to the well-meaning but poorly informed — and usually equally inexperienced — sales assistant. Possible results are inappropriate, insufficient and unnecessary camping gear.

Solution: Hasten slowly. Hold off buying too much stuff until you get a feel for the outdoor lifestyle and activities that most appeal to you and your family. Read, ask, look around; maybe hire some gear to see if it suits. After each trip, review your equipment options, then add (or discard) according to your needs, wants and outdoor aspirations.

Mistake #2: A tough first trip

By leaping straight into the deep end — perhaps a week-long trip through remote and uninhabited desert country — it is possible that you or your family may never want to go camping again. Unfamiliar equipment, seemingly hostile terrain, lack of established routines and very little skill add up to a trip you all, quite probably, would prefer to forget.

Solution: Take your camping one step at a time, progressively developing each trip from the one before. For example, try a shake-down trip, first up, to a not-too-distant country town where there’s a commercial campground or RV park. Next, visit national parks that offer basic facilities and amenities. Finally, venture into the “real bush” or further into the backblocks where higher levels of self-sufficiency are necessary.

Mistake #3: Traveling too far or too fast

Many outdoor people fail to distinguish between camping and touring. They spend maybe a week of their two-week camping vacation just getting to and coming from. Or they travel on such a tight driving schedule that the whole trip becomes one frantic dash from campsite to campsite. Isn’t this meant to be a holiday?

Solution: When touring, take time to see and experience the country. A good daily maximum is 300-400 km. On the other hand, when off on a camping trip, try to spend no more than 25 percent of total holiday time travelling. Plan your route or your destination accordingly.

Mistake #4: No stand-up-height shelter

With the increased popularity of small, low-profile tents, more and more campers get caught with no other form of shelter. A two or three person hike tent is fine for sleeping, but that’s all they’re good for. Who wants to spend a day of foul weather hunched and huddled in a space the size of a dog box. After all, no matter where you go, one day it’s going to rain. Every so often, it will bucket down.

Solution: As well as your sleeping accommodation, take along a large tarp or awning to string up, at head height, between trees, vehicles, poles or whatever to provide day to day living space during pouring rain or blazing sun. Go for quality and sturdy construction, with sufficient room for all in your group, plus a bit of camp furniture.

Mistake #5: Unsuitable toilet arrangements

If there’s one thing that’s inevitable in the city or the bush, it’s the need for a toilet. On unimproved campsites for a night or two, the camp shovel and a long walk is often adequate. But always use the shovel. There’s not much worse than finding toilet waste around the perimeter of a campsite — the hygiene implications don’t bear thinking about! Unfortunately, this is so common I can only conclude that few campers give toilet arrangements any forethought at all.

Solution: Add a small shovel to your camping gear and take it along on every trip. For camps of four days or more, a bucket-style chemical toilet will be more convenient, but you still, eventually, need to bury it. Indeed, in some areas, taking all forms of waste back out with you is now the only legal option, so prepare accordingly.

Mistake #6: No campfire preparations

A cosy campfire — where they’re allowed — is an integral part of camping’s attraction, so it’s always a surprise to witness the blundering, half-hearted attempts of many new campers. Scrounging for damp wood, huffing and puffing (even dousing their meagre efforts with petrol!) they usually finish up with more smoke and frayed tempers than flames and comfort. Believe it or not, most campsites — particularly the popular areas — rarely provide sufficient kindling let alone dry firewood.

Solution: Plan ahead. Collect enough dry firewood and kindling for your first campfire, either before you leave home or along the way. A bow saw and an empty carton is all you need. Also, a supply of waterproof matches,wood burning camping stove, newspaper, and firelighters should be packed on board where you can get to them soon after arrival.

Mistake #7: Inadequate refrigeration

It seems to me, whoever came up with the idea to carry an icebox on roof racks or in an open trailer is a couple of cans short of a six-pack. He’s probably the same guy who buys a bag of party ice for a long-weekend camping trip and wonders why the steaks are sloshing about in a cooler of bloodied water by Saturday night. Getting the most out of an icebox requires a bit of thought and careful nurturing.

Solution: If possible, use block ice. (Make your own in the freezer at home.) If party ice is your only option, choose bags that are frozen solid and leave them unbroken. Carry more ice than you think you need. Better still, find a supplier of dry ice. Always carry and store the icebox in a shaded spot, or cover it with a heat-reflective tarp. Keep a layer of cans or watertight containers across the bottom to keep food (in containers!) out of the water.

Don’t be too surprised if, in your early camping days, you bump up against a lot more mistakes than these. But take heart: Each error you make eventually adds to your outdoor savvy. And although there will always be campers with more experience than you, there are even more with considerably less. Watch and learn from their mistakes.

Be Sociable, Share!

5 Best Camping Games For Adults

We’ve all had tons of fun playing I Spy or taking part in a camping scavenger hunt. There are plenty of board games that are ideal for playing by the campfire and a deck of cards is a must have on any camping trip. But what about some fun camping games just for adults?

4428-int-section

Traditional camping sports, like horseshoes, volleyball, and shuffleboard are always fun, but here are a few creative camping games for adults and older teens that are sure to bring lots of enjoyment, as well as a few laughs. Coleman paintball gear is also a fun choice for adult outdoor entertainment.

Camping Games For Adults:

Mr. B’s Shave Camping Game:

Give everyone a balloon and a marker. Blow up the balloons and instruct everyone to draw Mr. B a face. Apply shaving cream to each balloon and give everyone a plastic knife for their razor. The first person to shave Mr. B without popping him is winner.

Where’s the Grapes?

First, be sure you have plenty of table space for each participant. Put 5 grapes on a plate and heap whipped cream over the top until the grapes are hidden. Place a plate in front of each participant, have them put their hands behind their backs, and see who can uncover and eat their grapes first. Be prepared with lots of napkins for this adult camping game.

Popping Crazy Camping Game:

Before the game, write a selection of crazy actions on strips of paper, like “cluck like a chicken,” “do the twist,” or “imagine your Elvis and perform a song”. Put each action inside a separate balloon and blow them up. All participants should sit, facing one another, in a large circle. Play some upbeat music and start passing the balloons from person to person around the circle. After a few minutes, stop the music. Each time the music stops, everyone should put the balloon they are holding in their chair and sit on it with all their weight for about 5 seconds. Wait for those who popped their balloon to perform their crazy action, then start the music back and continue.

Things That Go Bump in the Night Camping Game:

This camping game for adults is so much fun that you may want to invite your neighboring campers to join in! You need at least 4 people, but the game is more fun the more people involved. You will need a flashlight and should play at night with all your camping lanterns off. Designate one person as the curator and another as the visitor, everyone else is a statue. Statues can move through the dark, but must be completely quiet. The curator should have the flashlight and he and the visitor will walk around trying to catch the statues moving. If a statue is seen moving, heard bumping into something, or talks he becomes a visitor as well and joins the curator in eliminating other statues.

Balloon Lift Camping Game:

This is another camping game for adults that promises hilarious fun! Divide everyone into teams of two and place a balloon on the ground in front of each pair. The object of the game is to pick the balloon up, then pop it between the two people, but without using any hands! The first team to pop their balloon wins. Teams that use their hands are eliminated.

Be Sociable, Share!