My suggestions are still good, so hang in there.
Camping is very popular with four-wheelers, and with some quality camping time left this year, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this topic. This isn’t Camping 101, however. Instead, I’d like to review some of the finer points of preparing for your trip.
The following suggestions are gleaned from years of experience in the outdoors. I think even veteran campers will find some of these useful. Let’s dig in.
• Freeze water bottles. They make great ice packs for your cooler, but also are a good source for cold water throughout the day. As you drink the melted run off, any water added will be kept chilled stretching your ice cold water to almost 2 bottles' worth. You can also freeze meat in advance for longer trips
• If shopping for a tent, pick one that’s easy to set up. I like at least a three-season tent, which features snaps on the outside to hold the tent poles. No need to run the poles through those fabric tunnels and the hassle involved. Also, try to find one with a rain fly that extends all the way to the ground. That will keep out sand and dust better. Purchase a footprint for your tent. This protects the tent floor from rough ground you may encounter and adds a layer of insulation (although a thin one). Many manufacturers produce these, though a large tarp can work as well. This footprint also keeps the bottom of the tent clean, meaning less mess during take down. Practice setting it up before your trip! This includes practice putting up the tent at night with your headlamp! I know, sounds kinda dorky but I can't tell you how many times we've had to set up in the dark.
• After setting up your tent, I suggest you tuck or fold the edges of the tarp under the tent to keep it from collecting rainwater and snow which is then funneled right under the tent.
• Position your tent so it faces downwind. That will help keep out dust and moisture. You can position your truck also to make a bit of a wind break. If you are in an area with lot of gnats/flies, face your tent door into the wind. The flying insects like to loiter in the lee of your tent!
Speaking of cold, if your eggs are frozen in the morning, peel them like a hardboiled egg and melt them in a flying pan. Then enjoy scrambled eggs!
• I like to roll up my tent from the backside. That way I always know where the front door is for the next time.
SleepingNights can get surprisingly chilly, especially in the mountains and desert. You won’t sleep well if you’re cold, and you shouldn’t get behind the wheel the next day if you haven’t had a good night’s rest.
• If you only have a 2-season bag, pack two sleeping bags or one sleeping bag and a blanket. Put the extra bag or blanket inside the main bag for warmth.
• Use a good insulator between the bag and the ground. When it is cold outside, the ground will serve as a gigantic heat sink and suck all of your warmth out. Some form of sleeping pad should be used both for insulation and comfort. I have found Therm-A-Rest air mattresses are great for camping. I still supplement the Therm-A-Rest up with a foam pad underneath.
• Synthetic materials dry out much better than down and can be compressed without as much loss in insulation as down. Cheaper too.
• If kids are part of the camping experience, a durable cotton cover on the bags can extend the life of your bag.
• Don't forget to pull tomorrows' clothes into your sleeping bag so that they are warm when you put them on in the morning!
• When you roll up your sleeping bag, put the head part in first. It will remain clean and dry.
Store your Therm-A-Rest fully open too. If you keep it compressed, it will not restore to its full thickness right away.
• Sleep uphill if there’s a slight grade to the land. It’s much more comfortable that way. If the grade has you feeling like you are going to roll off to one side, stuff tent bags, clothes, etc. under your sleeping bag at your hips and shoulders to create a berm.
• Your jacket makes a great pillow when rolled up or stuffed in the sleeping bag stuff bag.
Now, get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!
PS - I would love to hear your tips! Send me an email.
Tread Lightly! -- ReminderPick a camp site that is already established. Don't disturb the environment to create a new camp site. "The best camp site is the one found - not built."
We no longer trench tents. New tent designs have a "bath tub" floor.
Pre-make food (chili, soup, etc) and freeze it as well so you reduce the trash to be hauled out. The frozen dish adds to keeping everything cold for a long time.
2009 September Schedule
September is coming up fast. Badlands Off-Road Adventures is offering several opportunities for you to get out and to improve your skills. The weekend after the Labor Day weekend, there is a session on Spotting on Saturday and an introduction to Rock Crawling on Sunday. Two weeks later, you can spend the entire day with us on the Sand Dunes at Pismo Beach. In between, there is a 2 day Getting Started clinic at Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area for anyone who wants to learn the basics of 4-Wheeling. The basic class is also a great way to confirm "you know what you know"! And it is a fantastic way for you and your spouse to connect to enjoy the sport. The class builds lots of confidence.
See below for more details on these clinics.
2009 October Schedule
It is time to get back into the Desert! We have two mini Expeditions planned for October that you do not want to miss.
Register for the expeditions using one of these links.
Mojave Road: http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Mojave
Death Valley: http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Deathvalley
Spotting Clinic September 12
When do you need to spot another vehicle? Whenever the driver asks you. Whenever there is high risk of vehicle damage, personal injury, loss of vehicle control, or potential roll over, you need to spot. On a long difficult trip, fatigue sets in and the ability to pick lines quickly fades along with confidence. At these times, less experienced drivers need to be spotted. After a close call, a driver may need to be spotted on subsequent obstacles.
Are your skills up to the challenge? The Spotting Clinic provides practical experience and instruction. You will learn spotting etiquette, hand signals and when to spot. You will learn what to watch and how to communicate with the driver. You will learn your role and responsibility. The clinic allows time to practice and fine tune your spotting skills. More Details...
You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Spotting
Rocks Clinic September 13
This is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take out time and stress careful wheel placement. We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line; by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times. You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time. More Details...
You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rocks
Sand Clinic September 26
Register for the Sand Clinic using this link.
Ham Radio Test Session
Start studying to get your amateur radio ticket. You have lots of time to get ready.
The next Outdoor Adventure USA (OAUSA) ham radio test session is scheduled for October 10th at the Bass Pro Shop in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Testing will start at 10:00AM and run until noon. Tests will be available for all license classes. The standard ARRL testing fee of $15 will apply.
It is worth the trip just to visit the Bass Pro Store. There is no other store like it in southern California. The store is just off I-15 at Foothill Blvd. In addition, OAUSA will have a meet and greet in the parking lot with plenty of built up off-road vehicles on display.
If you have any questions please contact John (KN6VL) at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a link to the OAUSA forum that will be keep up-to-date on the test session. http://oausa.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1435
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