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Camping Camping Camping is a great way to

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Camping Camping Camping is a great way to Powered By Docstoc
					                                Camping
Camping is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. If you are new to
camping, the first thing you should do is become familiar with the basic
camping gear that you will need. One way is to go camping with a seasoned
camper. You can quickly learn from them. Basically, you need a shelter, which
could be a tent, cabin, or RV, and you need a bed, which could be a
combination of sleeping bags and pads, cots, air mattresses, and comforters,
and you need to eat, which may or may not require cooking utensils.

What Gear Do I Need?
First time campers usually start out as tent campers, who are also referred to
as car campers because they carry all their campground needs in their car
(rather than an RV). Your first tent need not be expensive, but it should
provide adequate weather protection.

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Similarly, you can find moderately priced sleeping bags that work well too.
With a little care and maintenance most camping gear will last for many years.
And depending on your eating habits you may need nothing more than a
cooler, a bag of charcoal, and a spatula.

Related information: Camping On A Budget

Choosing A Tent
Why do you need a tent? A tent shields you from the wind, sun, and rain. A
tent protects you from unfriendly outdoor pests like flies, mosquitoes, and
noseeums. A tent provides a place to store clothes and other gear out of the
weather. And a tent offers you a place to go for a little privacy. Remember
there's nothing wrong with sleeping out under the stars, weather permitting.
But sooner or later you'll likely need a tent.

Related information: Features To Look For In A New Tent

Sleeping Bags and Pads
Making a bed at the campground is easy. First you need to have some type of
padding to cushion you from the hard ground. There are inflatable pads and
various closed-cell pads that work quite well. On top of the pad you'll place
your sleeping bag. If you're a beginner, you're probably summer camping, so
you won't need an expensive sleeping bag. A lightweight rectangular sleeping
bag will do. If it gets too warm, you may opt to sleep on top of it with a sheet
and/or blanket. Don't forget to bring a pillow.

Related information: Sleeping Bag Materials
Campground Cooking Supplies
Outdoor cooking is enjoyed by many whether at the campground or in your
own backyard. So if you're a backyard chef, you already have lots of recipes
to try at the campground. If not, you can always get by with a cooler of drinks,
sandwiches, and snacks. Most public campgrounds provide a grill and picnic
table at each campsite. With a bag of charcoal and a spatula you're ready to
make steaks, hot dogs, and hamburgers on the grill. Add a propane stove, a
skillet, and a few pots, and you're ready to cook up lots of stove-top meals.
Get a Dutch oven, and now you can bake at the campground too. Depending
on your cooking skills and equipment, you can make meals at the
campground that can rival home cooking. For some great meal ideas, check
out these Camping Recipes.

Related information: Chuckbox Items

Where To Buy Gear
When shopping for camping gear, check out Wal-Mart or Target first. They
have the best prices. Next I recommend visiting your local sporting goods
store, where you can usually check out tents that are set up on the display
floor. Get in them, lay down, and ask yourself if they are roomy enough.
Check for the basic features mentioned above. There are many quality tents
available in the $100-$200 price range. For online shopping, I recommend
Campmor, Cabela's, Coleman, Sierra Trading Post, LL Bean, and REI.

Related information:

Get Organized - Make A Checklist
A camping checklist will help you remember essential items, like the can
opener or your toothbrush. Make a list of your camping gear and refer to it
every time you go camping. Revise it as needed. I've created a basic checklist
that you can use to get started:



                             Where To Camp
Campgrounds will fall into two basic categories: public or private. Public
campgrounds are usually run by a government agency and include those
found in national parks and forests, Bureau of Land Management areas, Army
Corps of Engineer projects, and in state parks and forests. Private
campgrounds are typically RV parks and campground resorts owned by
private citizens or businesses. Both public and private campgrounds are well
represented on the Internet.

Public campgrounds offer the largest choice of campground destinations
available to us. These campgrounds, which are mostly funded by tax dollars,
are typically found in scenic areas or on lands set aside to preserve some
aspect of the natural environment for present and future enjoyment of outdoor
recreation. The public campgrounds usually offer the same quality of service
and amenities nationwide.
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If you've ever camped at one national park, you can likely expect the
experience to be the same at other national parks. The same can be said of
campgrounds in the national forests, Army Corps of Engineer Projects,
Bureau of Land Management Areas, and the state parks. Although the state
park systems vary from state to state, the other public facilities remain
somewhat consistent nationwide.

Unfortunately there is no one Web site that has all the information about every
campground available in the US. But there are Web sites that may be
considered the definitive source for details about particular types of
campgrounds. For the national parks there's Park Net. For USDA Forest
Service and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) there's Reserve USA. The
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has their state directory. For state parks
there's L.L.Bean and my own directory of state camping destinations, which
includes links to every state park homepage.

National Parks (NPS)
Within the National Park System there are hundreds of parks, recreation
areas, and other facilities; and within these parks are over one hundred
campgrounds open to the public. Campsites are usually available on a first
come, first serve basis. A few of the campgrounds offer reservations, which
can be made online. National Park campgrounds aren't expensive, typically
costing $10-20 a night, with a maximum stay of 14 days. Amenities aren't
many, but you came here to enjoy the park, not the campground. The
campgrounds have clean restrooms and hot showers, some have laundry
facilities, and campsites will have picnic tables and fire rings. But remember,
the national parks are very popular and tend to get very busy on holidays and
during the summer months...read more

National Forests (USFS)
Campers have available ten's of thousands of campsites at over 1,700
locations managed by the USDA Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers,
National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of
Reclamation. Details of individual campgrounds are available online from
ReserveUSA, a great service provided by the National Recreation
Reservation Service (NRRS).

Finding a campground at ReserveUSA is easy. From their Web site, click on
the map of the US or from the list of states. Clicking on the map or on a state
name displays a localized map, below which is a list of campgrounds in the
area. At this point you can either choose a campground from the list or click
the map for a smaller map and campground list.

Each campground page will tell you a little bit about the area and show a
detailed map of that campground's layout. You can then choose the area of
the campground that interests you and read specifics about each campsite to
find one that meets your needs. Information about special events, services,
and amenities is also provided. Once you have found a campsite you like, just
a click of your mouse and you can make a secure online reservation...read
more

Army Corps of Engineers (ACE)
The Army Corps of Engineers are familiar to most of us from their involvement
in dam construction to control river flows, build lake reservoirs, and produce
hydroelectric power. Part of their charter is to also open up these river and
lakeside areas to the public and provide recreation opportunities for fishing,
boating, and camping.

With over 4,300 recreation areas at 450+ lakes managed by ACE, there
certainly are many choices. As with the campgrounds provided by the US
Forest Service, all your searching is simplified by ReserveUSA.

The campgrounds at ACE facilities are clean and well maintained and offer
the basic amenities: showers, restrooms, water, picnic tables, and fire rings.
The areas are otherwise somewhat primitive, but will usually offer services for
boaters and fishermen, like marinas, boat launches, and tackle shops...

				
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