How to Make A Campfire: A Beginners Guide to Flame!

How to Make A Campfire: A Beginners Guide to Flame!

Why is a Campfire Important

A lot of people see the time spent around the campfire as the soul of the camp. Perhaps they’re exaggerating a bit, but we understand the importance of the campfire.

Camping isn’t complete without a campfire. Aside from the warmth generated by the dancing flame, lots of camping activities are only made available by having a fire.

  • Cooking Food (Smores)
  • Boiling water (Coffee)
  • Drying Wet Clothing and Gear (Rain)
  • Lighting Camp (Darkness)
  • Raising spirits (nerves)

Not only does it give you a physical attribute as heating there is a mental side as well. It helps make you feel safe and secure. At least In my mind.

keeping the critters away at night is a significant effect fire has as well. I don’t know of many animals that will come toward a camp that is lit by a campfire. (honestly, I don’t know any critters, just an example…;)

Starting  A Fire

Knowing how to start a campfire is a skill you should know before going camping. In this piece, we will explain how to start a campfire and the different styles to accomplish this.

Before we go into the ABC’s of how to start a campfire, a little insight on the chemistry of fire itself will help your case a little.

Speaking of ABC’s a fire needs three core elements; Oxygen, fuel source, and heat. Once these three elements combine in the right order, They create a chemical reaction known as Fire!

Campsite planning

The Fire Triangle

They call it The Fire Triangle, it is the basic chemistry behind a flame.

  • Oxygen (O2)
  • Fuel (Wood – Fuel)
  • Heat source (Ignition – Spark)

The fuel source could range from papers, oils, to chunks of dry leaves. But for a campfire, dry wood is the standard used fuel.

Campfire Location

Depending on the location of the campsite you might have to improvise accordingly. In the warmer times of the year, just about everything can serve as fuel.

Of course, we don’t recreate only in those times and moisture may cause issues when using natural resources in the wetter and colder months.

Natural Resources

If you are camping in the forest and it has been dry, you will most likely not have an issue finding fuel for the campfire. Small twigs to dead trees will be abundant most of the time.

( Check your local burn bans and code at your local forestry dept.)

If you are camping next to water sources or up in the mountains with heavy snowfall the resources might be more on the damp side and finding burnable fuel can become a very stressful situation if your campfire experience is low.

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Other Essential Tips

Be prepared the best you can. Bring waterproof matches; a lighter, a striker, a magnesium strip, anything you can bring along that can help your situation if you get yourself in a bit of trouble will go along ways.

To create a campfire, you need to have the necessary resources. Take a tour of your surroundings and see what you can find.

Wood will mostly be available, but its condition will depend on the weather situation around the area.

Getting a campfire started doesn’t just involve stacking some limbs or fallen trees onto a fire ring and lighting it on fire.

This style can work, don’t get me wrong, to sustain a fire it needs to be nurtured and done in a way you will not run out of fuel to fast, and it won’t go out due to the elements.

Successful campfire building in the wilderness requires some fundamentals you must have to start one. We will take a look at them now!

Fuel Gathering

Situations

The speed and effectiveness of starting your fire will largely depend on your level of preparedness and ability to gather fuel. This will depend of course on your circumstances.

If you become lost and you are not prepared for this, the whole situation becomes dire, and the need for fire becomes almost an emergency, in some instances.

Finding fuel in this type of situation is stressful and can be dangerous. If its dark out and you can’t see anything finding just the minimal amount of resources to get the fire going should be a priority. (Try and gather plenty of fuel to burn long enough to be able to get more though.)

Once a fire is started, and you have light then you can find more resources easier. Remember speed will be a factor. Fire burns quickly, and you need to keep it fueled.

Although if your camping with friends and family or on a hunting trip, the situation entirely changes and is more laid back and your fire starting necessity may not be as urgent.

Many time fire fuel is brought with us in these instances and fire starting becomes a fun activity we can share with friends and family. (One of my favorite things is to watch my children practice these skills)

Materials

Wood Wood is an essential element is necessary for all campfires. It can be small scrapes, strips, shavings or logs. Regardless of their form or shape.

It would be best if you seek out the driest logs and pieces of wood. This will save you from the stress of having to expend more energy and resources trying to get through the wet exterior.

(It is possible to burn damp wood it is just incredibly time-consuming and challenging)

There are different names used for referring to wood resources based on their size or their sources, and for your campfire, you sure will need most (if not all) of them.

Tinder – material that will take the initial ignition and become the start of the fire. Usually a small dry substance such as dry tree needles, moss, or wood shavings, etc.. (Burn approximately 10-30 seconds)

Kindling – small twigs and branches generally under 2 inches in diameter and about 8-12 inches long. This is the “get the fire going” material. (burn approximately 1-4 mins each.)

Limbs and Branches –  Larger diameter wood that has fallen from trees to the ground and can be cut up into 12-20 inch lengths.  (burn approximately 20-30 mins each.)

Logs – fallen tree trunks that can be bucked up into long-lasting firewood. Usually, 4-24 inches in diameter does take longer to process but also burns much longer. (burn approximately 30min -2 hours each Depending on size.

Warning – Please respect our wilderness areas and unless it is an emergency do not cut down, limb, or break wood off living trees. The wood sucks to burn anyway and its devastating to the environments. Just a thought.

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A heat/fire source Having a good ignition source will increase your fire making abilities by a lot. Don’t rely on one type of source either. Make sure to have a few options in your gear.

Waterproof matches Can be purchased for your camping gear and should be in everyone’s kit for emergencies. Depending on your source they can work or they might not.

Butane Lighters (Bic) These also can be put into your camping gear to help with fire starting. This is the way most people will be able to get a fire started quickly and easily. The downfall is that one they get wet they are garbage.

Strikers (Ferro of, Magnesium strip, fire steel), All of these, are for emergency uses and can work when wet. (Most of the time).

Friction Fire (bow drill, Hand drill, etc.) These are more of a primitive and last form of survival technique to get a fire going. Unless, you know how these styles work and have used them, achieving fire this way is extremely difficult.

SETUP

After securing all the materials that you will need for your campfire, the next logical thing to do is to set up the fire.

You have your wood and other fuel sources; you have your ignition, now is the time to put the materials together and get the fire you need to be started.

However, to have a good flame, you must take the time to prepare your campfire site. This involves taking some necessary precautionary actions and clearing the area of materials that could prevent the setup of a good campfire.

Clearing and setting Is there an existing fire ring (a spot where previous fires have been made)? Go on and clear away the cold ash and charcoal.

Doing this will present you with enough room to arrange your wood and fire materials for the new burn. You may leave the old ashes at the edge of the ring or do away with them altogether. Depending on how cold and damp they are they could affect the new fire.

If there is no existing fire ring, you will need to clear out a spot for your campfire – this would mean that you will have to remove dead grass, vegetation around your chosen place.

Using your shovel, lightly scrape off the soil from the fire ring, and keep it nearby in case of an emergency.  You are free to use the freshly removed earth as a border fence for your fire ring, or you may choose to use rocks (recommended).

I always try to use rocks, and if necessary use the earth that’s been dug up to fill in gaps.

(Be aware of your surrounding don’t be that person that starts a wildfire that burns people out of their home)

Burn it up!

Structure

At this point, you have cleared your fire ring, and you are ready to start setting up your kindling and wood for the fires. Some fire types are best suited for different occasions.

Before we go on to discuss them, take your tinder as we talked about above or some light wood, paper material, cardboard and place them at the center of the fire ring, it shouldn’t be more than a foot in diameter.

Now to the fire! Most people do not realize that there are several forms of campfires, and each has a specific purpose that they serve.

The following are some campfire types you can set up and their designated functions.

Log Cabin Fire – This is a fire that is intended to last long. It is great for long nights in the winter.

Lean-to-Fire – This is a fire type that is great for cooking. It is not meant to last long. Use small pieces of kindling and tinder to start the flames and then add more wood as the fire grows.

Teepee Fire – The Teepee fire is great for cooking. All you need to do is to arrange the sticks in a teepee above the position of the tinder.

Cross Fire – Also suitable for fires that are meant to last for a while, the Cross Fire differs in wood arrangement slightly as the wood pieces are placed in a criss-cross manner.

Ignition

On to the final part of it all and that is lighting the fire.

Keep kids and pets away by a safe distance before you set fire to the tinder. Light it up from several edges. This ensures the tinder lights up quickly.

Never use gasoline regardless of the circumstances you might find yourself. Gas is extremely volatile, and the situation could escalate rather soon especially when in the woods.

All Done?

When you’re through, and the fun is over, ensure that you thoroughly and exhaustively put out the fire.

Do these strategies to avoid problems. Gently sprinkle water onto the flame. As you continue doing this, watch the embers and stir them gently while pouring more water. Continue until you can no longer hear the hissing sound of the embers.

That’s it; you’re good to go.

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Tent or Hammock? What’s the Difference?

Tent or Hammock? What’s the Difference?

Tent or Hammock? What’s the Difference?

When you go on a camping trip what is the form of shelter you prefer? I have been a tent man my whole life, and I don’t expect that to change. A buddy of mine swears up and down that a hammock is the way to go. How about we take a good look at the two and see which is better or worse for you!

Tents are far from ideal. There are lots of things to consider with the use of the tent. From finding the perfect campsite to the fear of the unknown, the list is endless. But we have warmed up to it.

Then there’s the hammock. This tent – the alternative is hinged on an arboreal lifestyle. Yes, you read that right. You’d have to take a nap on a synthesized material supported by trees. As crazy as that sounds, many are making the switch without looking back.

What makes these two camping accessories different? Let’s find out.

The Differences in Setup

The most conspicuous difference between the use of the tent and hammock is tied to their setup.

With a tent, it’s all about searching for the right surface – no flooding, possible animal invasion nor awkward terrain. It has to be perfect or at the very least, close enough.

The setup of a hammock couldn’t be any different. This camping approach is heavily dependent on trees.

To camp in a hammock, you’d have to find the right trees. Besides proximity, these woody plants have to be strong enough to support your weight.

No exceptions! This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the hammock material is tied to both trees.

With a hammock, the action on the ground isn’t much of a concern to you – unless of course, it affects the supporting trees.

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The Weight Factor

Tents are usually heavier than hammocks. They are built to withstand the elements while camping. It’s like taking your home along in a backpack. With structural components consisting of cotton, nylon, and polyester, the tent is bound to be heavy especially when it rains.

While this will add to the burden of transportation, it keeps you safe from the weather.

With the hammock, things take a different turn. Weight isn’t much of an issue with this camping accessory.

Most hammocks are made from nylon which improves their tensile strength. The only issue is you’re at the mercy of the weather.

Innovation appears to have taken the outdoor market by storm offering products which can keep the elements at bay and providing the warmth you need.

However, these accessories could add to the weight of your backpack.

Size

One area where the tent seemingly triumphs over the hammock is size. Tents come in varying sizes. Depending on its dimensions, a tent can hold as many as four persons comfortably.

While weight might be an issue, there’s that closeness a tent breeds especially among family members.

Hammock users are not necessarily loners, but this camping accessory is about getting the privacy you need. Hanging out alone on support anchored by trees doesn’t exactly engender togetherness.

Yes, camping hammocks are available in various sizes, but they can support just one person comfortably – lovers might differ in this regard.

Time Constraint

Camping might be that place where time seems to stop. Being surrounded by nature has a way of making time irrelevant.

Even so, there are occasions when you have to set up or dismantle your tent/hammock for different reasons such as personal issues or weather conditions.

This is when you’d observe some small differences. For a tent, you could spend a few hours putting it together or dismantling it.

This will also depend on the size of the tent. Bigger tents will take more time especially if you are handling this alone.

Unlike tents, hammocks are easier to set up and dismantle. All you have to do is tie or untie the straps. This should only take you some minutes to complete.

However, the use of accessories such as the tarps and sleeping pad could add to the time spent.

MORE | How to Make a Campfire

The Change factor

The condition of your preferred campsite can change within hours of making that choice. You could sleep under cover of a tent and wake-up in a waterlogged space. Often, there’s the need to change tent positions due to the unforeseen situations. If it’s a rather large tent, then there’s a problem.

With a hammock, there’s a lower chance of surprises springing up. Having the straps of a hammock tied to the stem of trees wouldn’t put you in harm’s way if you did your homework.

No, snakes wouldn’t lunge down on you from above – real life isn’t the same as the movies. In fact, the odds of that happening are higher in a tent since more snakes are adapted to a land-dwelling habitat than an arboreal one.

Adaptability

Who wants more from their tent? Everyone. We can’t just carry around a bulky tent and get only a roof above our head. Sadly, that’s the way it is.

Innovation might be making inroads into the outdoor niche but the flexibility of the tents seems to have been missed.

The modern-day tent isn’t as adaptable as it should be. Aside from providing some sort of protection against the elements, its functions are greatly limited.

The adaptability of the tent fizzles out when compared to the hammock. The latter has a wide range of uses. Besides acting as a resting place, it’s the perfect spot for grooming your reading culture.

Many regard the hammock as an epitome of improvisation, and it’s not difficult to understand why.

The Impact of Water

The undoing of every tent is the presence of water on the surface of a campsite or the closeness of a water source. This reduces the number of potential sites for the location of your tent.

Regardless of how alluring an area might be, water can bring all that to naught. Also, you can’t enjoy the view of water bodies from a resting place.

Water isn’t a problem when resting on the hammock. From such an arboreal position, chances are you’d be unaware of the emergence of water onto the land below.

Also, you can enjoy the beauty of water bodies without fear of the condition on the ground around.

Comfort

This is one of the strengths of the tent. With its structural build, the tent provides some semblance of warmth.

Spending a cold night in a tent might not be exactly splendid, but it supersedes whatever a hammock has to offer in this regard. The absence of several openings in the tent reduces the impact of the elements on a cold rainy night!

The hammock and warmth are seen as oil and water – they don’t mix. With the level of exposure observed in the hammock, it’s difficult to argue with that.

However, innovative products like the underquilt, and sleeping pad have brought some relief to worthwhile camping gear.

Similarities Shared by Tent and Hammocks

The similarities common to both the tent and hammock could be based on their composition and function.

From a functional perspective, they provide a resting place for you when camping.

As regards the structural constituents, both tents and hammocks share the same base materials. Nylon, polyester, and cotton are some of the materials used.

Another similarity between the tent and the hammock is the level of customization possible with both camping gears.

These accessories can transform your desired camping gear into a warm safe house.

Final Thoughts

Tents and hammocks have all the attributes required to make camping less hazardous. But the hammock has shown signs of offering much more than the tent.

Accessories can erase Even its current flaws. While the tent is the pinnacle of our camping days both present and past, the hammock has the future in its sights.

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Camping In The Rain Guide

Camping In The Rain Guide

Camping in the Rain

Your going camping in the rain huh? Umm…wait! Is that something you are really going to do? On purpose? Hmm, are you sure? OK. I guess we better get to informing you about the ins and outs of this type of camping. Follow along as we run down our list of Camping in the Rain Guide.

Camping when it’s raining isn’t super ideal of course. That would hinder the amount of time we can spend outside. We would all rather it be warm and sunny. This guide will set you up for an ideal trip rain or shine. But if it does rain, you will be ready. We will look at setting up camp and tent locations, items to bring in your gear to stay dry and warm, and other tips and techniques to make you forget that the heavens have poured out all along the forest floor.

Watch the video below!

Tent and Campsite Location

When looking to set up camp, try to stay up and away from water. Lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans all rise very quickly with big rainfall and if you are near bodies of water there is the possibility of getting washed out during the night.

Do not set up camp right in the middle of a valley or a dried up stream or river bed especially in desert areas because these formations are hotspots for flash floods and can be very deadly. Instead, look for elevated areas at least a hundred feet from water areas. I like to try and face my tent toward the sunrise if possible. It gives you a little bit of resolution to get up and face the day after a cold, wet night. If you can find an area that has trees and is elevated, even better.

Try to set your tent in between a few good sturdy trees so you can tie up cordage to hang some tarp overtop of your tent if needed. However, you don’t want to be in the direct path of a falling branch in the middle of the night either. So be aware and if you can avoid being directly under large branches, maybe think about it. Check out the waterproof tents on Amazon here. /p>

Setup A Dry Area

Tarps and Paracord

Tarps are a camper’s best friend even in dry weather. I have always used a large 20 x 20 tarp doubled up under our family tent. Not only does it help with padding, but it keeps sticks and sharp rocks I have missed from penetrating the base of our tent. So when it comes to helping you stay dry, they are a mandatory accessory in my mind.

If you come prepared with a few tarps and some cordage, you will be so much happier. Coming from experience, being out in the rain in a dry tent at night only to wake up in a completely soaked tent kind of sucks, to be honest.

If you need paracord I picked up a 500ft spool here but they have many new colors now and I think you can buy smaller amounts. And tarps you can get at your local harbor freight or Maynards if you dont want to wait for amazon delivery. More| Campsite Essentials

Dried in Outdoor Space

Once you have reached your campsite destination and have picked your tent setup areas, the next area of business is comfortability in the camp. You want to create an outdoor living space for cooking and working the fire along with any other activities you will want to enjoy while having it drizzle down on you.

The size of your camping party will determine how large of an area you will need. If you have the whole family and some friends, this could be a pretty big area and need some time to set up. On the other hand, if you are soloing out in the woods, a small 10-foot area will do just fine.

Tarps come in some good kits these days.

Start by stringing up a couple of overhead tarps by hanging them from a couple of trees across from each other. Making sure they are angled to a drainage area that is lower than the area you are trying to keep dry. Done wrong and the water will drain off and hit the high ground and then just run right through the camp. Not good!

After the tarps are in place and all are draining correctly then you can start on the mingling area. A place to hang out drink some warm beverages, eat some dinner, play a game, or just relax. Since you are already dry overhead, you might want to think about the ground and staking down a couple of tarps that will let the water stay beneath them.

Then set up your tables chairs and anything else you brought along. Now if you are by yourself or a couple, this is going to be way less intensive, but the exercises are the same on a smaller level.

Tent Setup

(First and foremost check that you have a waterproof, good working tent with rainfly. If your gear is weak and broken, your struggle will be rough.)

As I said before, I have always laid a tarp under my tent for protection. I still do that when it rains even though some people say that it is not needed. Whatever, I like it, and I will keep doing it.

This is your decision to set up as you seem it necessary. Although I do set a tarp under my tent, I also lay one down on the inside floor of my tent. This will help with any pooling or seepage from the ground and the sides of the tent.

What happens is the water that does make it into the tent will follow gravity and end up under the tarp along the floor, allowing my sleeping bags, gear, and myself to stay dry on top of the tarp. More | Camping with a 2-year-old

Trench

The final prep for keeping the rain out from my tent is light trenching if I am going to expect a lot of moisture. What I do is grab my campsite hatchet and use the backside to carve in some trenches on the high side of my tent. Diverting any water that may try to come under my tent.

Usually, I have been able to get away with 4-6 inches deep and maybe 3 inches wide. Of course, this will vary due to the area you are camping. It rained more than the trenches could handle a few times and honestly, the tarps kept me dry enough.

Tarps are somewhat bulky and can be a pain to hike with. Pick and choose your gear accordingly.

Staying Dry Away From Shelter

Best way to stay dry while camping is not to get wet, right? Well, if you stay in camp and do not venture out at all that might be an ok scenario. Most people who do go out and camp tend to venture and like to go and explore the wonderful outdoors. Doing this can and eventually will leave you out away from camp without the proper gear to stay dry.

Having the proper protective outerwear or shell layers is going to make the difference between getting soaked and the situation becoming dangerous to getting from “point A” to “point B” and enjoying every minute of it. Great set of outer shells! With such a vast selection of weather gear, someone might get overwhelmed. There are types for the extreme cold to desert heat rain gear.

Know the area you will be going and bring the set that is suitable for the condition. If you bring the wrong one you could overheat and become dehydrated or get so cold and wet that you get hypothermia.

It is very important to pack the right raingear set. Gore-tex or E-vent are very breathable and have a waterproof membrane. There are many brands out there, and most are very durable and comfortable but be aware the prices can be high for the big brands.

I have found many lesser known brands that do just as good. Lighter items and more of an emergency type gear are available at a big box store and online. Ponchos, PVC rain suits, and cheapies are good in a dire situation but not recommended for day hikes or long-term use. They will fail you.

Getting Wet!

When you get wet, and you will, eventually. You need to get dry, especially in a cold weather environment, as fast as you possibly can. Hopefully, you have warm dry clothes back at camp in a drybag. If you don’t, things can go bad if the right steps are not followed.

The first thing is to get the wet clothes off. Hopefully its warm enough where a little birthdate suit time is going to be ok. You will need to get your skin dry and warm so it can start helping the body rewarm itself. Jump into your sleeping bag until you are warm enough to start drying things out.

If there is a fire already going, great! Use that to your advantage and get close to it if possible. Hang a tarp over one side creating a heat reflecting wall to help radiate the heat toward you. Hopefully, you do have warm clothes and are able to get changed right away. Awesome, tragedy diverted, and off you go to your next adventure.

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How To Dry Wet Gear

Assuming the rain does saturate you and your clothes, you are staring down a tough test ahead. Drying items in a high moisture area is a crappy thing to try and do. If you are lucky and set your campsite up the right way you already have a dried in the area and fire is going or at least an area you can have a fire. In that case, a dry line strung underneath the tarps can keep you wet items hung up to dry overnight and hopefully be ready for use the next day.

If a tarped area or fire is not in the cards for you, the task you face is a much more difficult one. I have searched and found the driest limbs or sticks I could find and make a log cabin style layered frame and laid wet shirts and socks over them so they could air dry. It does work but it takes time, and you can’t do a lot.

I also have cut holes in the top layer of my tent near the poles and strung a para cord from one tent post to another making a mini dry line inside the tent. It works but depending on your style of the tent could swing either way. Again getting wet sucks and if not prepared for it can be very devastating to your camping trip.

Fire in the Rain

Having a campfire is the main priority when camping in the rain. It provides warmth, cooking, and good spirits. Having the ability to dry your thing if wet is priceless.

The process of starting a fire is challenging to many in dry weather. To do it in a wet environment with very little to no fuel and the surroundings soaked is a monumental feat carried out by very few outdoor enthusiasts. This is so freaking cool. A lighter and flashlight in one on Amazon

Tinder

To begin the process of starting a fire, you will need starting fuel known as tinder. A lightweight extremely flammable substance usually made up of a fibrous thin cut wood. Sometimes moss or needles can be used as well.

A birds nest is a name they call a small bundle that you shape tinder into. It allows oxygen in but has wind resistance built into the design.

Making tinder is sometimes done by using a campsite hatchet or survival knife and running it down the length of the driest piece of wood you can find, carving off pieces about 1/8 of an inch wide. Creating a pile of these will hopefully be able to get a fire going once ignited.

Char Cloth

My favorite and really the simplest is to have and make your own char cloth. This can be anything from pieces of bandanas, old shirts, or chunks of rope. Shoot, I have even seen old gloves in there and they actually worked really well.

What you do is take a tin can of a sort. I like the large size smelly candle cans they hold a little more and are almost airtight. I put about ten holes in the top with the head of a nail or knife. Put the cloth of your choice in there. Do not pack it real tight. Seal it up with the lid and put it on the fire. You want to wait until you see smoke to start pouring out of the hole.

This will not take long a few minutes depending on the temperature of the fire. Watch the smoke and wait until it stops. When it stops, you need to let it sit because if you open it it will catch on fire and you will need to start over. I flip it over and let it completely cool off before opening the can.

Ignition

Ignition can be a tricky part as well. If you rely on only a lighter bought from the store and you get wet out hiking or boating or just getting rained on, you are screwed. They are so worthless you might as well had left them at home. Don’t get me wrong. I usually have 3 or 4 in my gear for emergencies.

Another style to start thinking about is flint and steel ignition.  There is also a Ferro striker style. Both of these styles need a metal striker that kicks off sparks onto your tinder. Then you can get into your more primitive ignitions. Hand drill and bow drill are a friction based fire starting technique.

Wood

Gathering wood is the biggest chore there is when camping. You need to go out find dry wood and bring it back to camp. It is tedious and physically tiring sometimes. When its wet out, that makes it even more challenging, because everything is soaking wet. That means its heavier than normal and chances are you won’t be able to burn it anyway.

If you can find burnable firewood, get it to camp and keep it dry. Gather as much as you think you will burn than get another few loads. We always burn more than we think.

Stay away from trees that are alive they won’t burn well, and it will be a smoke fest. Now that your wood is back to camp you will need to buck it up to fire length size with your campsite hatchet or ax. Do you have one right? After you buck it up, stack it next to the fire so it can start drying out.

Keeping Your Gear Dry

Bring Waterproof Bags

If you are counting on being in the rain, you better get your gear in some waterproof bags, then put them in your camping bags or backpacks. Sleeping bags, clothes, food, electronics, maps, and whatever else that can’t get wet, should be put in a waterproof bag when heading out. If you don’t have any waterproof bags, thick black garbage bags will do just fine for a trip, but that’s probably it. One trip.

Waterproof Backpacks and Stuff Sacks

Having one of these waterproof backpacks saves you so much trouble. If your hiking into camp or doing a day hike, if it rains and all your stuff gets wet, you’re going to want to go home right away.

Be prepared! I can’t say that enough. Don’t get a cheap water resistance backpack! Go out and pay for something you know is going to keep your gear dry.   Get some stuff sacks too. Put everything in a waterproof sack and then the problem of getting wet is almost eliminated. They come in all sorts of sizes. And you can get them in so many places.

Conclusion

Camping in the rain is not everyone’s cup of tea. I understand that. If you get caught in a rainstorm and were not expecting it, it can be awful and turn you away from this recreation. Please don’t let that happen. It is nature and she will throw everything she has at us. As long as we are prepared for it, our adventures and family outings can be enjoyed to the fullest.

One thing I did not discuss in this article is clothing. I figure clothing is pretty much common sense and I don’t know where anyone of you will be going. I could have covered every region and temperature but decided against that. It is too large of a topic. I hope you can use this to help you decide how to set up your next outing. Comment below if you think I need to add some other things.

Enjoy. Relax. Have Fun.

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Best Campsite Hatchets For The Average Camper

Best Campsite Hatchets For The Average Camper

Best Campsite Hatchets

Alright, Summer is just about to wrap up and if your anything like me you might be starting to keep an eye out for those outdoorsman tool sales that go on at the end of the season. It’s like a month-long black Friday only in September and just for camping gear. 

So this year my primary focus is going to be picking up a good campsite hatchet. How about we take an in-depth look at the hatchet to get familiar with whats on the market?

Hatchets are a necessity when going on a camping trip especially if you do any dispersed or primitive style recreation. If you happen to find yourself in a hazardous situation a good hatchet is going to be your favorite campsite tool. Knowing the style you have, and what its designed for, is a high priority as well. You don’t want to get stuck out there and be unfamiliar with the hatchets uses.

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Camping Hatchet AKA The Camp Ax

A campsite is going to be better off if there is a camp ax involved. It not only is there for protection for just in case scenarios but it’s a marvelous tool that has a never-ending achievement list.

Whether you are on a day hike or setting up a primitive camp for a 10-day retreat, you will come to a point where you will need one of these bad boys. Unlike there larger brothers the Splitting Axe. Made for portability in mind they will fit in your backpack or your belt.

Although the camping hatchet does not take the place of a great knife, it can and will do many of the same things if your Camping knife gets destroyed or lost somehow. 

From cordage cutting to gutting and quartering hunting game. The hatchet is such a diverse outdoor tool there is not much you will have to worry about when in the wilderness If you have it in your gear.

Get this beast on Amazon

What can a Hatchet be used for?

Chop Down A Tree

If you need to chop down a tree, you will have the right tool to do so. Again a larger ax might be a better fit. If you need shelter and there are trees the right size around, you will be able to fall them and use them as seems fit. Make sure to judge the fall correctly.

Start your cut on the underside of the lean. (Trees tend to lean toward the sun) Chopping downward and upward creating a wedge-like notch. You want this area to be roughly the same size as the diameter of the trunk of the tree you are trying to fell. Once about ¾ through, start chopping from the other side just above the center of the first causing the tree to fall in the direction of the notch.

BEWARE: trees tend to kick back and up and will knock you back and injure you. I saw My dad fly about ten feet through the air by a large tree kicking back on him. It does happen.

Once felled the tree can be used as supports for a shelter or some other structures if you are going on a bushcraft or primitive trip. You can use your camp ax to buck it up to the lengths you will need. A freshly cut down tree probably won’t be great for firewood unless it was already dead though.

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Limbing a Tree

If you stumble upon dead or fallen trees or you fall one your self, you will want to delimb the tree to have better access to move it or buck it up. It makes this job so easy if your hatchet is sharp.

Safely walk down the side of the tree and start chopping all the branches off at the trunk, making your cut as smooth as possible. Just make sure you never cut toward yourself. Alway swing the hatchet in a direction that it cannot come into contact with your arms or legs or any other part of your body for that matter.

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Pounding with the Poll

The backside of a hatchet is called a poll or butt it is usually a broadened flat portion of the head that can be used to pound and hammer objects as needed.

I have used it to:
  • Set up a tent by pounding in the stakes.
  • Making a heat reflector made with bucked up branches and pounded into the ground. Then stacking more branches in between building a small wall like structure.
  • Clubbing game to eliminate life.
  • Banging hardwood dowels into trees for gear hanging.

As with other types of hammering tools, it has a vast selection of activities it can be used for. It just keeps building the case for an essential campsite tool.

Process game

If you are counting on yourself to find food, And hunting, snaring or trapping your meat is your method of feeding yourself. Than a hatchet comes in pretty handy as well, For ending the games life to dismembering, it does it with ease.

For a smaller game such as rabbit and birds cutting cartilage and breaking joints is light work if you have the right campsite hatchet on duty.

Harvesting big game such as deer, elk and bear can be a bit cumbersome though. A sharp and steady hand will need to be maneuvering the blade with the big boys.

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Have some fun!

Throwing hatchets is a great way to blow off some steam when boredom takes over. After being out for a day or so in the wilderness, and for as fun and fantastic as I think camping is, in all forms. I do get bored from time to time, and I bet you do as well.

When throwing camp axes, be safe. Make sure your cleared down range before ever thinking about tossing the weapon. Because once you get it in your head, you are going to throw the hatchet, that is precisely what it becomes “a weapon.”

Make yourself a target and let it fly. This is not, at all, a useful trait, but like I said before it can swing moods and turn that frown upside down.

Don’t be stupid and never let children try this unsupervised.

How to choose the best campsite Hatchet

Oh Boy, You want to know how to pick the best campsite hatchet? Well, that is a huge question, and I don’t know if I can answer that for you. I guess that’s why you are here though so let’s give it a try, shall we?

Where will you be camping?

Probably the most critical question that is going to determine what type and style of camp ax you will want to purchase. Will you be camping in the nearest “pay to camp” campground 40 miles outside of your hometown? Or will you be trekking deep into the unknown wilderness not knowing where you will end up? These scenarios are very different and will need camping hatchets just as diverse.  

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What will you be using it for?

Will you be using the hatchet as we described earlier in the article. Primitive or bushcraft style? Making your structures. Felling trees and delimbing branches for structures?

Will you be out on a hunting trip setting up multiple tents for you and your family or buddies and needing a hatchet as more of a utility tool than a mandatory campsite essential?

In some cases, there is no need for a hatchet. I have been in these types of settings where I have everything we need right at the campsite. We brought our wood from home and nothing we will be doing needs a campsite hatchet.

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What Price Range are you Looking In?

LOW

If you are starting out in this hobby, you might want to stick with the more inexpensive camp hatchets. There is an abundance of low-cost options that are decent enough to get you to buy as you are learning. And as long as you are not going out for weeks at a time, they will suffice.

Because of their low cost, there are drawbacks of course. Quality will lack, durability as well. You will not get all the bells and whistles that might come with some of the different styles as well. Just keep these in mind.

My opinion best 3 in Low-cost range

#1 Pick #1 

#2 Pick #2

#3 Pick #2

Medium

Medium price range will put you into some beautiful hatchets. You will be able to get your desired campsite hatchet, and it will last for years if taken care of properly. This range will get you excellent quality steel heads and wood handles if that is what you are looking for. Bells and whistles will be there and most likely be name brand.

My best 3 in middle price range

#1 Pick #1

#2 Pick #2

#3 Pick #3

High

High-dollar expert-level camping axes and hatchets are very desirable but costly. They are built the best and are worth every dollar if you ask me. Super high quality steel the best wood handles. There are tactical camp axes as well; they come with some pretty outstanding extras.

I am not a snob I promise. I have used all types and have owned very cheap hatchets that I still have and use these days. Although these high-class hatchets are like driving a Lambo vs. driving a VW bug, they both get you from one place to another, but one will get you there much faster and in style.

My best 3 in high price ranges

#1 Pick #1

#2 Pick #2

#3 Pick #3

Durability

Will it last? If taken care of and not misused I think so. At least I hope so. Here we get into the price range of the hatchet. Low, medium, and high. Which do you think will last the longest? I know I probably will put my money on the later of the ranges. Only because of the quality of craftsmanship that goes into some of the higher priced Tools.

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How does it feel?

Depending on your size and again what you will be doing. The feel and weight will come into a factor.

If your a smaller person, and you’re swinging a heavy ax for a few hours at a time, collecting firewood, your arms are going to be shot.

If you’re a bigger person, you don’t want a little ax, that can’t cut it for the job you need it for.

The feel of the camping hatchet in your hand will be the number one aspect of choosing which is best for you. That’s why I said I could try to help you. Honestly, its how it feels. Its how it will swing with you behind it. How it will cut into the wood as you make contact.

No doubt about it. This is a personal choice, and all I can do is maybe give you a few options to peek at to get you on your way.

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Conclusion?

Well at least for this article. This is a large topic, and I am not by any means an expert and I could still write another couple thousand word on the campsite hatchet but I won’t for now.

My absolute favorite

 

Enjoy. Relax. Have Fun!

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Campsite Lighting Ideas

Campsite Lighting Ideas

Campsite Lighting Ideas

Campground lighting is such an important area of camping. And if it’s not planned correctly, it can pretty much make a pleasant time into a crappy one. And to be honest, that doesn’t go over very well when you have a family of six out there stumbling around in the dark. Let’s explore the area of Campground Lighting Ideas together. What is your go to? Leave a comment below.

There are so many different ways to light up a campground from your traditional campfire to Coleman gas lanterns, battery operated lanterns and lights, and solar-powered lighting. We will dive into these realms of campsite light and try to figure out which will work best for your situation and maybe what we just might want to pass on.

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SOLAR POWER LIGHTING BELOW!

Campsite Lighting Ideas

If you go looking for campground lighting these days you have so many to choose from that they all can’t be tried and tested in a timely matter. So we are left buying stuff that we can’t count on 100%. Not because they are an inferior product but because we don’t know anything about them.

Gas Lanterns

These babies are my personal favorite when family camping. Maybe that’s because I grew up with them. I don’t know, I just like the bright almost orangish tint it gives off. It just makes the campsite feel right. Burning multiple types of fuel like propane, kerosene, or white gas is what gives gas style lanterns the heat source to light up the ever so fragile mantles.  

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Mantles

Mantles usually take the shape of a small coin purse or bag but instead of a leather or fabric case its made with a ceramic mesh that encompasses the bright flame that is burned by the lantern.

The makeup of the common mantle is of a mixture of rare-earth elements such as; magnesium oxide, cerium oxide, and thorium oxide. These are forced into the fibers of the mantle which are made of a silk or silk-like material. And it has been the same makeup for the better part of a decade or longer.

The Danger of Gas Lanterns

Because of the rare earth elements and gas burn off, these types of lanterns do give off dangerous amounts of CO2. So please don’t use them inside of your tents. If you must, for safety reasons, please make sure your tent is ventilated and keep the lantern away from the walls of your tent. They get very hot and that would not be a good time if your tent burns down. Am I right?

(There is also a very minimal risk of radiation involved with the mantles form the Thorium and Cerium Nitrates. Read More about the radiation Here.)

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Styles of Gas Lanterns

Propane Lantern

Typically, a use and throw away container, propane is very inexpensive. The containers just screw on to the fitting on the underside of the mantles. Usually, there will be some type of base that you set the propane container into providing the lantern with some stability. You don’t want these guys falling over. Not only will it most likely destroy the mantle, but you might break the lens as well.

Coleman Lantern

Runtime for the normal 16.4-ounce bottles of propane is approximately 6-7 hours on high and 13-15 hours on low. Some of the newer models also come with regulators and self-ignitors making running these little gems an easy chore. And everyone likes easy when camping.

Liquid Lantern

These lanterns put out a very high lumen rating when burning. Some can be adjusted to burn not so bright nowadays though. That did not use to be the case. Because they are a liquid-based fuel, a huge issue is getting the fuel into the sometimes nickel sized hole. If not careful, you can spill the contents all over the place and that sucks.

These liquid fuel sources are also under pressure but it is not automatic. You must manually thumb pump these guys up until they are under enough pressure to burn for a few hours. Then you must keep pressurizing it every once in a while. “Coleman Liquid Camp Fuel” and “white gas” are the store bought kinds of “naphtha” the actual name of the fuel.

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Battery Operated Lighting

Now technology is advancing at an extremely fast pace and when it comes to camping gear, I am on the fence about many issues. Call me old school or maybe I’m just thick headed about certain things. But, I will tell you the truth, these new battery-powered lights are really fricken cool and they are the future of lighting.

Most if not all battery operated campsite lighting comes with LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Because of this fantastic technology, they come with a number of advantages;

Battery Life

I have heard of these some of the lights last 200 hours on one set of batteries. And that’s running at 800 lumens. Ridiculous.

Kid Safe

Because of the LED bulb technology, these do not get hot so children can safely handle them and move around with them freely. It is especially great for tent interiors.

Durable

I have personally seen these lights fall from trees and still work perfectly. Mine have taken an extreme amount of camping abuse. They are made to last so have peace of mind when buying them.

Brightness

Although not as bright as their fuel counterparts, these lights can reach very high lumens and are a constant light source.

Battery operated lantern

The lanterns offered in battery power these days are awesome! They come in many sizes and shapes. Some are designed to look just like the traditional fuel lanterns and some, that are more mainstream, are sleek and colorful. Depending on where you buy them or the brand is going to determine what quality you get.

The LED lantern is pretty cut and dry when it comes to its functionality. Most of them have multiple settings like

  • Bright
  • Medium
  • Low
  • flash or pulse
  • Red

 

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It just depends. Some have multiple bulbs in one lantern. Some have single bulbs in four separate parts that can be removed for single use. The only downside I can see with an LED battery powered lantern is that you need to buy batteries now and then and dispose of them. Big woop! We can deal!

Everyone knows that you get what you pay for and let me tell you, you don’t want to be out on a bathroom walk in the dark and your LED lantern decides to call it quits. So make sure and do your due diligence on the products before a purchase.

Battery Operated Headlamps

Oh man! Are these thing important or what? I don’t know what I would do without a headlamp while camping these days. Gathering wood is so much easier when you have two hands to cut and chop.  Being able to see the trails if you stay out too long and the sun gets behind the mountain before you make it back to camp.

With so many uses the battery powered LED headlamp (get the best one here) probably rates in the top 5 for my personal backpack list. I always have one and a set of batteries in my bag. With so many features I could write a whole post just about these guys and I might just do that in the future but for now, let’s look at some of the options.

Beam type

Floodlight wide range helps when you are cooking or prepping the fire, anything that needs to be done that fairly close up will need this setting for best results.

Spotlight tight range will help with navigating walkways and checking on noises in the forest. You can pinpoint the light on something very easily.

Strobe is made for more of an attention grabber. People will notice it easier than a straight beam. It can be used during emergencies.

Low beam is the less battery draining mode the headlamp will have. Used for small campsite tasks or reading in a tent.

Medium beam is a selection for really whatever you want. It’s kind of a mundane setting and I actually never use this setting. But its there on most headlamps.

High beam is used for looking at items further in the distance. Where you need more light to get the task done, such as pulling in a boat at a dock or ramp.

Red light beam is mainly used in the dark. It causes less stress on the human eyes and is just pretty cool to use.

Other amenities they offer are a tilting head that can be adjusted to point down which comes in handy when conversing with your campsite mates. Most, but not all LED headlamps, are going to be water resistant, That doesn’t mean you can take it swimming in Lost Lake, but it can be worn in a little rain if you need to.

Battery Operated Flashlights

Now that we have covered the ever growing class of the headlamp, let’s take a look at the age-old battery-powered flashlight. Flashlights are serious business actually. A flashlight is one thing everyone should have in their campsite gear.

Nearly all of the flashlights produced these days come with the LED bulbs and they have pretty much made all other bulb types obsolete. The options LED offer are just too great for other older bulb types to be able to match; such as efficiency, runtime, brightness, and different modes

A flashlight actually has the highest rated lumens available when it comes to mobile lighting. That means lighting up any area is going to virtually be a click of a button. Bam there was light!

😞The only sad face with these, in my opinion, is that they are a one-handed accessory and need to plan your task accordingly. For example, changing a child’s diaper, cooking, and wood gathering are all a little more challenging if the only light source is a flashlight.

 

                                      Big Boy

Beam Type

Spotlight beam is for pinpointing things in the distance such as trail and cave exploring. A single beam that’s tight and bright.

Adjustable beam is an awesome addition to a flashlight. Some of these you can turn to widen or tighten the beam making it very versatile when out in the wilderness.

Floodlight beams are the brightest and the option that will be used for the most basic tasks. Walking trails and trips to the bathroom are just to name a couple.

Size and Shape of a Flashlight

The size and shape of a flashlight can vary drastically. From your typical cylinder shape with a reverse umbrella shape head to a short and fat handheld one that looks like a disc. No matter what size you come across there is no way of getting around it they are very valuable when out camping or hiking.

Made with either a plastic, aluminum,  or stainless steel, they are drastically different in durability. some are thinner and lighter and some can hold a significant weight behind them. This does not mean that they produce a higher lumen though. Most flashlights can withstand some pretty heavy abuse.

A downside to the cylinder shape flashlights is that they tend to roll away from you if your on any type of an incline. Some model types are designed to anti-roll and are shaped kind of blocky or have angles on them to avoid the rolling.

Battery Powered Strip Lighting

These type of lights are becoming very popular with the modern camper. They have an awesome ability to light up the most modest areas. I personally don’t see any problems with them really. Maybe the only downfall is the battery replacement. But honestly, they last so long it’s not a problem. There are also styles that can be charged by USB and that allow for chargeable battery blocks to be carried around and used almost anywhere.

LED bulbs that are inside of a waterproof membrane is what supplies these lights. They can come in many different lengths and widths. I have seen them from 6 inches all the way to 100 feet. Some of the LED strip lights come with sticky backs, magnets, or you can just hang them on some branches. It doesn’t matter as long as you are getting the area lit up, right?

Some are specifically made for a campsite and then I have seen some specifically for Christmas lighting being used in a campsite. Go figure. However you want to use them, they are extremely handy and bright. Again, choose wisely as you always get what you pay for.

Solar Power Lighting

Solar power actually has been around for quite a while but never has it been so reliable. The technology behind it is complicated and I will not pretend to understand it. (Sun makes power. No sun, no power). 

Best I could find on Amazon HERE

There are actually quite a few different types of solar lights and lanterns out now. I have even seen an inflatable type. They look pretty cool but are super cheap. I personally don’t know if I would trust that as my light source out in the wilderness. Possibly on the back porch barbecuing with some buddies, but that’s probably it.

There are hybrid styles as well. You can charge these models by car chargers, portable batteries, and some by a hand crank and then use the sun as a source of power which would probably be a great campsite lighting idea. Anything with multiple sources of power is really great in my opinion.

There are several different designs to choose from, from traditional camping lantern designs all the way to the aforementioned blow up design. They are also available as a bare bulb that can be suspended, which are great for the inside of your tent. You can pretty much choose from any style your little heart desires.

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Conclusion

We have gone over a lot of campsite lighting ideas throughout this article and if you have anything to add please do so in the comments below. I would love some feedback and to hear your opinions. We can venture into any of your ideas as well.

I did not delve into the art of DIY lighting because that will be a whole post on its own and I am looking forward to putting that down on some paper soon.

And remember

Explore. Relax. Have Fun.

 

 

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

How To Camp In The Desert: A Non Expert Guide

How To Camp In The Desert: A Non Expert Guide

How To Camp In The Desert

We were out camping this weekend in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Right now there’s a statewide fire ban, so a campfire in the evening to cook on was not an option. The reason is that it’s too dry. Well, that got me thinking about the desert because a desert is super dry. Can you have a fire there? I don’t know the answer to that, so I’m going to look into desert camping a bit.

Desert camping is not a trip for the faint of heart. You have the sun bearing down on you almost continuously during the day and it’s tough to find any shade to protect yourself during those hours. Food, water, and shelter are tough to find unless you bring the gear yourself. Depending on what part of the world you are camping in, different natural resources will be at hand. If desert camping is a recreation that you are interested in doing, stay tuned and pay attention to this article. It will give you some guidance, some tips, and hopefully a little confidence to help you on your way to a fantastic journey!

What is a Desert?

Deserts, in general cover about one-fifth of the world’s surface. Extreme environments and lack of precipitation cause these areas to have minimal plant life and animal life. The plants and animals that are there have adapted over the years to survive in such a harsh environment.

Many people have the perception that deserts are very hot and dry areas, and that’s true for the majority of them. But some deserts are very cold and covered in ice and are very baron.

Planet earth has four main types of deserts:

Coastal Desert

These deserts usually sit on the western coastline of continents. They are generally between 20 degrees and 30 degrees latitude, and the wind blows from the East which prevents moisture from coming onto land. Also, that’s what creates the dry environment. These type of deserts usually have cold winters and warm summers. An example of a coastal desert is the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Cold Winter Desert

The Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau in the red desert, are cold winter deserts in the United States. These type of deserts usually have long dry summers and very cold winters with minimal amounts of rain and snowfall. This makes them considered a semi-arid style of a desert.

The minimal amount of rainfall in these cold deserts are often caused by what’s called the rainshadow effect. This happens when the mountains are so high they keep the moisture from coming into the area.

Cold Weather Sleeping Bag at Amazon

Polar Desert 

There are very few polar deserts. They are only found in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Like all deserts, they get very little precipitation and have very little plant and animal life.

Subtropical Desert 

When you think of a desert, a subtropical is what you’re most likely to think about. These are they very very hot deserts. These are the big boys. They are found in Asia, Australia, Africa, North, and South America. The Sonoran Desert and Mohave are probably the most popular in the United States.

Moisture in these areas comes in such a small amount that when it does fall it dries and evaporates before it even hits the ground. The plant life and animals have evolved to be able to retain moisture and hunt and move around at night so they don’t have to be out in the sun during the day.

Camping in the Desert

Camping in any of the areas mentioned above is going to be an excellent experience if planed correctly. Anywhere that moisture is between 1 and 16 inches in a year or considered desert-like conditions.

You will need to pack according to wherever you’re going. That means having your warm clothes for the night because in the desert the temperature can drop 30 to 40 degrees, if not more. It could be a hundred plus in the afternoon and drop down to 50 or 40 degrees in the night time, which if you’re not packed correctly for, could cause real issues.

Grab your compass here

The desert is relentless and it has killed many people over the years, so be careful. Make sure you let family and friends know where you will be and make sure you’re prepared. If all those things are checked off, you should have a great experience and most likely want to come back to the desert.

 

Remember always document your expeditions and trips. Take as many pictures as possible and write down in your journals whatever you do to keep those memories. Because, I promise you, in the future, you will want to look back and show your family, friends, and everyone else who will listen.

More: Mandatory Camping Gear

What Kind of Gear do I Need To Camp in the Desert?

Clothing

When it comes to clothing, you want to be careful what you bring you don’t want to over pack for your trip, but you also don’t want to under pack. You’re going to want to bring t-shirts and shorts and flip-flops, but I’m telling you, you don’t want those for your main attire. The sun is hot, it will burn you and it will suck the moisture right out of your body. What you need are articles of clothing that will retain the moisture inside. Shirts that cover your arms, your neck, and your midsection and pants that cover all the way to your ankles. Socks that wick away all your sweat and keep your feet dry because wet feet in the desert cause serious issues.

Desert boots from Amazon

You also wanted pack warm things like fleece jackets, wool sweaters, and any type of synthetic like a rain jacket. Anything that will breathe well. Here’s a list of a standard pack for a desert camping trip. Certain things are optional and certain things are mandatory. Depending on where you’re going, you’re going to have to make that call.

More: Dispersed Camping For Noobs

Base Layer

  • synthetic undergarments
  • long john set top/bottom medium weight
  • breathable t-shirts
  • synthetic liner gloves
  • wool or synthetic socks (2 per day)

Outerwear

  • waterproof pants/shirts/jackets
  • breathable synthetic or softshell hiking shirts/pants/shorts/
  • large brimmed hat/bandana/beanie
  • hiking Boots/waterproof shoes/sandals

Extras

  • waterbottles
  • tarps
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • camera
  • map
  • gps
  • compass
  • paracord 550lb
  • insect repellent

More: 12 Essential Camping Items

Camping Gear

  • single wall tent ( protect from dust )
  • first-aid kit
  • personal medications
  • toiletries/shovel
  • hiking backpack
  • sleeping bag (-30° to 20°F)
  • sleeping pad/mattress
  • stove and fuel
  • lighter and waterproof matches
  • cookset/eating utensils
  • lanterns/headlamps/batteries/fuel
  • water filters and additives
  • multitool/knife

MORE: Camping with a two-year-old

How to Set up a Camp in the Desert?

Another thing to remember about deserts is the flash flooding. The ground is hard and there’s a lot of dried-up river banks and Ravines. When it rains, where you put your tent could mean life or death. A flash flood can happen in a matter of minutes and if your asleep and that happens, it’s trouble. Look for a high spot to pitch your tent.

The desert floor is made of mostly rock. It’s going to be pretty hard. So a pad or mattresses is recommended. Your tent or sleeping situation should be stable and able to keep you warm enough for the chilly night. Ultralight Desert tent here

Campfires 

Campfires are nice but not always needed in the desert. For a comforting effect they are nice to have and to keep critters away and what have you. Cooking over a fire is great too if that’s the type of food you will be bringing.

More: Dogs and Bears when Camping

Water 

A fire is almost always a good idea for boiling out the contaminants in water, that is if you don’t have any filtration systems along with you. Water can be tough to find in the desert and dehydration is a killer.

The body sweats heavily in the dry climates and can leave you extremely thirsty very fast. The obvious thing to do is drink your water. However, be careful and ration your water when you’re on hikes or out on a day trip in the desert. Try not to drink everything you have on the first leg or your trip. Be smart and make sure you have plenty of drinking water with you at all times.

Lighting 

Lighting is invaluable. If you have battery-powered lanterns and headlamp lights that they make these days, you’re in luck. They are bright and last a very long time. For setting up camp after dark to walking away from camp to use the bathroom. They are handy and cheap enough to stock up on.

Where can you camp in the desert

There are many places in the world that you can plan a desert camping trip. However, here are my favorite five in the United States. They can be beautiful and at the same time, show no mercy to its inhabitants. Respect the regions and wilderness and enjoy what Planet Earth has given us.

More: High Altitude Camping

Saguaro National Park

Located in Tucson, Arizona, the giant Saguaro is the largest cacti in the United States. Named after the cactus is the beautiful and relentless desert of Saguaro National Park. The weather here is relatively mild compared to other deserts in the United States with wintertime temperatures getting as high as 70 and as low as 50 to the summertime highs of over a hundred down to the mid-80s. The best time to come camping is in the springtime.

Reserve now

Joshua Tree National Park

What can I say, this place is incredible! It’s open year-round to the public and it’s about 800,000 acres of awesomeness. Joshua Tree is one of the most visited deserts in the United States with just a few hours drive from Los Angeles, Vegas, and Phoenix. It gets almost three million visitors a year. Besides camping, there is also hiking, photography opportunities, and many rock climbing areas. This desert is the busiest through the months of October through May when it’s not as hot.

reserve now

Canyonlands National Park

This desert is also open year-round with an approximate 338,000 acres of land and water. Canyonlands is divided into three different sections by two different rivers. The Green and the Colorado River split the park up. The three parts of the park are Island in the Sky, The Maze, and The Needles with the Island in the sky being the most challenging area to recreate it. This desert is among the most challenging of this list as there are very few park amenities.

Reserve now

Death Valley National Park

Well, this one is not called Death Valley for fun. This desert sits on Highway 190 between California and Nevada. It is hazardous with flash flooding happening regularly in summer and fall months. Death Valley National Park is the largest national park outside of Alaska. Containing almost a thousand miles of paved and dirt roads is a great feat. They provide access to all the remote areas. Ninety-one percent of this park is protected, so be courteous and play by the rules.

This place is filled with Barren Salt Flats, massive mountains, and deep canyons that get hit with flash flooding. Make sure you check with local National Park Service to find out if any emergency closures are going on. Prepare and pack carefully so that you can enjoy the situation

Reserve now – There are No reservations at this desert. it is open year-round and pretty much can go wherever you’d like.

Great Dunes National Park

This park contains North America’s tallest dunes and is a recreational hot spot for camping and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts. Great Sand Dunes National Park sits at about 13,600 feet and is one of the highest deserts in the United States. Sitting inside of Colorado, the storms in this place can come in quickly making it very wet and cold very fast. Make sure and pack accordingly.

Summertime is usually the best time to go with highs averaging in the 80’s and lows in the 40’s. Springtime is the worst time to go. Weather can range from being blizzard conditions all the way to swimsuit weather. March and April are the two snowiest months in Colorado.

Reserve now

More: Snowmobile Camping

Is Camping in the Desert Dangerous?

Yes, it is, dangerous if you are inexperienced and not knowledgeable of the areas. There are precautions you need to take in any outdoor situation. Know the weather first and foremost. Flash floods, lightning, snow, rain, and anything else mother nature throws your way. You need to be prepared. Also, the only way to be fully prepared is to know all the aspects of the trip.

Animals and critters are also a concern. From snakes to scorpions. These things are killers if not taken seriously and given their distance. Check all your shoes, bags, tents, and anything else they could get into. It happens all the time.

Is Camping in the Desert Fun?

Yes. Absolutely.

If done right and with caution, this could be the best experience of your life. The beauty of an early morning sunrise of a desert is a unique sight. The dew on blooming desert cactuses is picturesque. I recommend this recreation for the whole family. It is a memory maker and extremely fun atmosphere.

Explore. Relax. Have fun.

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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