Monday, July 20, 2009

Cheap Family Vacations

By Steven Gillman

The real secret to cheap family vacations is to be opportunistic. When a friend offers you their cabin on the lake, say yes. Can you have as much fun at the cheaper, closer amusement park? Then that's where you need to be. Do the kids like the idea of cooking dinner over a campfire? Drive right on by that reastaurant. Find out what everyone really enjoys. It's sad to spend MORE on a trip for LESS enjoyment.

Examples Of Cheap Family Vacations

In Michigan, and many other places, you can find reasonable motels on the beach. Cheaper, and usually more scenic, are the numerous campgrounds on the beaches of Lakes Michigan, Superior, and Huron. You can find these in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and in Ontario, Canada. Below are a couple beach-based vacation ideas.

Treasure Hunting Vacations

Two metal detectors will cost less than a few nights with the family in a hotel. Why not camp near a ghost town or beach, and spend your days hiking, exploring, and hunting buried treasure? We always find interesting things when we take our metal detector to the beach. The kids will love the adventure, and when they get bored with digging up quarters, they have swimming nearby.

Beachcombing Vacations

This is cheap, and the whole family can enjoy it. You can find all sorts of things washed up on the beaches of the Great Lakes and the Oceans. In Michigan, we used to find bouys, parts of houses, and light bulbs. The light bulbs actually worked, a mystery solved years later when a sailor told me they throw them overboard for target practice. We were finding the ones that escaped the bullets.

We also found chunks of coal that had fallen off freighters. We burned them in the campfire. We found balloons with messages attached, sea shells, fossil rocks, odd-shaped driftwood, pieces of styrofoam big enough to use as rafts, and - you get the point.

Camping Vacations

If your family is willing to live in tents for a few days, or if you already own an RV, camping is the cheapest of cheap family vacations. We recently stayed at Williams Landing in Florida for eight days. We stalked alligators, watched armadillos walk through camp, saw a dozen other forms of wildlife, and sat around the fire trading stories with new friends from England and Texas every night. The cost, including the hot showers: zero. Woodall's catalog, available at any big RV dealer has listings of free campgrounds.

Other Cheap Family Vacations

How about a Montana testicle festival? Festival vacations can keep the whole family happy. You'll usually find carnival rides, music, events, contests, and more. By the way, Montana's testicle festivals are billed as family events, but good luck trying to get the kids to eat the "Rocky Mountain Oysters."

Boondocking is all about parking your recreational vehicle where you don't have to pay. If you aren't sure that kids will enjoy being in the middle of nowhere, find a ghost town or other treasure hunting locale. In Arizona, an old Mayan Indian showed us where to look for arrowheads, semi-precious stones, and ancient pottery. The desert is a great place to escape to in the winter, and treasure hunting is cheap vacation as well.

There are many more cheap family vacations, and many ways to keep any vacation cheaper. Stock the cooler with 25 cent pop instead of paying pop-machine prices. Keep the kids full on healthy snacks to avoid restaurants. Be an opportunistic vacationer.

Steve Gillman hit the road at sixteen, and traveled the U.S. and Mexico alone at 17. Now 40, he travels with his wife Ana, whom he met in Ecuador. For more cheap vacation ideas, and to read their stories, tips and travel information, visit:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Camping on Catalina Island

By Laura Eggers

Preparing for a Catalina Island camping trip requires some careful planning and packing, as you won't have your car or RV with you.

Since the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy owns most of Catalina, the natural beauty is well preserved, so you are in for a real treat.

There are five campgrounds on the island, not counting the boat-in campsites. Most people arrive by ferry or private boat, so you want to pack enough, but not too much.

A permit is required by all campers, which can be obtained at the Two Harbors Visitor Services or Avalon's Island Plaza. When arriving at the island, you must check in with them before going to your campground.

For Catalina Island camping reservations, call 310-510-8368. You may also be able to rent camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags and pads. All the campgrounds charge $12 per adult per night and $6 per child. They also all have a 10-day maximum stay limit. Unfortunately for campers who love to bring their dogs along, no pets are allowed.


Located 1 1/2 miles from the boat landing on Avalon Canyon Road, you can hike in or take a taxi from Avalon. It is set on a grassy field with trees, inland near Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden.

This campground has 54 tent sites. You’ll find flush toilets, showers, picnic tables, BBQs and a small store. Propane, charcoal, firewood and ice is available for sale from the rangers.


This campground is located in Two Harbors on a bluff above the beach. You can either hike 1/4 mile uphill from Two Harbors or take the Safari Bus. There are 43 tent sites and 3 group sites. Several of the sites are sheltered, which is a blessing during the hot summer days. There are chemical toilets, cold showers, a snack bar and a coin laundry. Activities include snorkeling and biking.


A third campground is the Little Harbor Campground. Located 7 miles east of Two Harbors and 16 miles west of Avalon, you can get there by hiking (for the studly), or take the Safari Bus from Two Harbors or Avalon.

This campground has 17 tent sites, of which 8 are group sites. They have chemical toilets, cold showers, picnic tables, a BBQ and a fire ring. You can snorkel and swim at two sandy beaches.

If you prefer, you can arrange in advance with Visitor Services to have your gear transported from Two Harbors for a fee.


Another of the campgrounds on Catalina Island is the Blackjack Campground. It is located near Mt. Orizaba, which is the highest peak on the island. It is inland, set amongst the trees. Located 9 miles west of Avalon and 11 1/2 miles east of Two Harbors off Old Stage Road, you can access it by a 1 1/2 mile hike to the campground. To get to the trailhead, hike in or take the Safari Bus or Airport Shuttle from Avalon. You can check in at either Avalon's Island Plaza or Two Harbors Guest Services.

This campground has 11 primitive tent sites, along with chemical toilets, BBQ, fire ring and picnic tables.


This campground is found between Land's End and Arrow Point. Located 7 miles west of Two Harbors, you must hike in or come by kayak to get there.

It has 8 primitive tent sites, chemical toilets, BBQ, fire ring and picnic tables. There is no water so you must bring your own. They may include water and firewood in the fee, so double-check this when you make your reservation. It faces the beach, which is nice, but it is advisable to bring your own shade


A unique way to experience Catalina Island camping is by boat or kayak. There are nine named boat-in camping areas in all, covering a total of 17 campsites.

All are situated around the northeast shore of Avalon. They are primitive sites with no water, toilets or moorings. You must pack out your trash and bring your own portable toilets and water. No fires are allowed. A ranger will check you in and then checks on each site daily. Kayak rentals are available in Avalon. For more information, call 310-510-7265.

If you love to camp by the beach, try getting away from the hustle and bustle and crowds of the mainland by camping on Catalina Island.

Laura Eggers operates the website, which offers visitors a plethora of information about the different beach areas to help with planning their beach vacation in sunny Southern California.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Camping in Islamorada, Florida Keys Campgrounds

By Carlos Aguaron

Camping in Islamorada and the Florida Keys campgrounds in general is a wonderful experience that provides relaxation, and breathtaking views. Imagine setting up your tent or RV in one of the many campgrounds that offer waterfront sites and you will feel like you own a portion of this beautiful Caribbean place, enjoy snorkeling in the turquoise waters, take a short trip to the reef to see the most amazing marine life or relax at night watching the stars while the marshmallows melt off the sticks, camping in the Florida Keys is an experience of a lifetime.

Islamorada has two main campgrounds nearby, the beautiful Long Key State Park and Campgrounds Oceanside located at Mile Marker 67.5, 67400 Overseas Highway, this campground offers 60 full-facility campsites in the park, all overlooking the Atlantic ocean! Each campsite comes equipped with a picnic table, ground grill, water, and electricity. Three restrooms with hot showers, are centrally located. Also provided, is a dump station for gray and black water.

There is great snorkeling just off the shores and a short trip to the reef provides an amazing adventure for your family.

Pets must be confined, leashed (not to exceed six feet in length) or otherwise under the physical control of a person at all times. Tethered pets must not be left unattended for more than 30 minutes. Quiet hours must be observed from 11:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. Pet owners must pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all pet droppings in trash receptacles. Florida law requires that pets be vaccinated against rabies. Any pet that is noisy, dangerous, intimidating or destructive will not be allowed to remain in the park.

Non-furbearing pets, such as reptiles, birds, or fish must be confined or under the physical control of the owner. Some animals may be prohibited on park property. Failure to abide by these rules may result in the camper being asked to board the pet outside the park or to leave the campground.
Pets are not allowed on beaches, along the natural shoreline, in picnic shelters, or in the bathhouses. In the areas where pets are allowed they must be on a six-foot hand held leash and be well behaved at all times.

The second campground is located in Mile Marker 70 and it belongs to KOA, Fiesta Key is targeted more towards Rv's and travel trailers, there are plenty of tent sites too.
As every KOA facility, there is a Bar-Grill, Arcade Room, Beach-Liquor Store and Swimming pool on site.

If you enjoy camping in a peaceful an quiet environment don't make reservations on holidays, it can be very crazy with the campground full.

You can choose from a motel room (several with full kitchens), pull thrus, tent sites or a variety of RV sites. Enjoy sea-and-sun fun in the Olympic-size pool and hot tubs. Take advantage of the full-service marina with boat ramp and slip rentals. Find just the right souvenir or grocery item in the Kampstore. Watch the sun set at the waterfront Beach House Pub. The Fiesta Key KOA offers special activities for campers during the holidays. Enchanting Key West lies 70 miles south, and Islamorada, the sportfishing capital, is even closer.

The Florida Key and Key West Travel Guide is the online Premium Companion for visitors to the Island Chain. Visit Travel To The Keys

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

BC Camping Guide For The Exciting Whistler Corridor Of Beautiful British Columbia

British Columbia is one of the best camping destinations North America has to offer. That being said, the Whistler corridor from Vancouver to Lillooet is the icing on the cake. This is where we offer our information as to what we found as we camped over the years.

Welcome to the BC camping information site for the Whistler corridor.

First, let's take a look at what we mean as the Whistler corridor.

The corridor stretches from Squamish, less than an hour from Vancouver, through Whistler, Pemberton, Mount Currie, Lillooet, to Lytton and Cache Creek. Arguably the most beautiful 250 km (150 miles) of camping opportunities in the world. Within the corridor you may park a quarter million dollar class A motor home in a gorgeous park like Alice Lake, or pitch a tent next to a glacier at Joffre Lakes. You can take a shower with nice hot water at Birkenhead Park or refresh yourself in the ice cold water of Duffy Lake.

The choices are many and varied. A camping heaven on earth.

There are three private campgrounds in Squamish.
Dryden Creek, Eagle Ridge and Paradise Valley. They offer full service hook ups and the rates run from $30. and up.

Riverside RV resort and campground will be found in Whistler.

BC Hydro have three campgrounds in the Lillooet to Gold Bridge corridor. These are free campgrounds and contrary to what you may think, they are very good.

BC Parks have some very nice campgrounds along the corridor. BC camping doesn't get any better.

Alice Lake is a popular place and a very busy one as well. It is located 13km (8 miles) past Squamish on the right.

Nairn Falls Provincial Park is a half hour drive past Whistler on the right. Nice big trees, roomy sites, and with a 20 minute walk to the amazing falls it rates very highly as one of the best areas to camp.

Birkenhead Provincial Park is located 17 km (10.5 miles) West of D'Arcy off Highway 99. On a scenic lake.

The Province also provide a great many lesser sites that are not maintained as pure campgrounds. A few of these are along the highway 99 Whistler corridor. At the end of Duffy Lake you will see a few picnic tables and an outdoor toilet.

Campsite at Duffy Lake

There are about 5 sites here. Further along towards Lillooet you will find a few more. These are called BC forestry sites. Most are free. If you like the sound of rushing water to lull you to sleep, this is it. Coyooshe Creek is very fast flowing as the water bounds along through the ever narrowing valley.

After a very scenic, twisting drive through very interesting mountains, you arrive at Lillooet. Watch for the BC Hydro campground sign on your right. If you are able to find a site it's yours free. Maximum stay is 14 nights. Water and pit toilets are supplied and the caretakers keep the place very clean. There is even fire wood free for the taking.

Two more Hydro campgrounds are located at Carpenter Lake on the road to Gold Bridge.

Skihist Provincial Campground is not exactly in the corridor but offers the best BC Camping along the number 5 highway between Cache Creek and Hope. If you turn left onto the number 5 highway at Lytton and drive just a few minutes you will see it on the right. This campground has a host, good washrooms, dumping station, big lots and a nice location for an evening stroll across the highway and a fantastic view of the Fraser river and the trains that negotiate the curves and tunnels of the CPR main line.

Joe and Irma have built a wonderful fact filled site with well over 100 pages of information a visitor really must know prior to visiting

Friday, March 13, 2009

Adirondack Campgrounds

By Richard Chapo

The Adirondacks are legendary amongst outdoor enthusiasts in the northeast. One of the best ways to experience them is through the plentiful campground facilities.

Adirondack Campgrounds

The popular Adirondack mountain range is located in the northeastern part of New York. It runs through the Essex, Lewis, Clinton, Franklin, Hamilton, Fulton, Warren, Herkimer and Washington counties. Geographically, it is considered part of the Appalachian Mountains. Geologically, however, it is similar to the Canadian Laurentian Mountains.

The Adirondacks are towering mountains, not rolling hills. There are over 100 peaks in the chain. They range from 1,200 to 5,000 feet with Mount Marcy being the highest at 5,340 feet. Adirondack campgrounds come in all shapes, size, quality and location. There are so many, it is really difficult to isolate a particular one. Here is a list of the notable campgrounds.

• Adirondack 1000 Islands Camping, Natural Bridge

• Adirondack Camping Village, Lake George

• Ausable Chasm Campground, Ausable Chasm

• Ausable River Campsite, Keeseville

• Bakersfield East, Warrensburg

• Barber Homestead Park, Westport

• Brookwood RV Resort, Ticonderoga

• Cumberland Bay State Park, Plattsburgh

• Daggett Lake Campsites, Warrensburg

• Deer River Campsite, Malone

• Douglas on Silver Lake, Au Sable Forks

• Happy Hollow Campground, Lowville

• Hoss's Country Campground, Long Lake

• Lake George Escape, Lake George

• Lake George RV Park, Lake George

• Lake George Schroon Valley Resort, Warrensburg

• Ledgeview Village RV Park, Lake George

• Magic Pines, Lewis

• Mohawk Campground, Lake George

• Monty's Bay Campsites, West Chazy

• Mt. Kenyon Campground, Lake George

• Old Forge Camping Resort, Old Forge

• Plattsburgh RV Park, Plattsburgh

• Rancho Pines Campground, Chestertown

• Schroon River Campsites, Warrensburg

• Shady Oaks RV Park, LLC, Plattsburgh

• Singing Waters Campground, Old Forge

• Tug Hill Campgrounds, Copenhagen

• Wakonda Family Campground, Pottersville

• Warrensburg Travel Park, Warrensburg

As you can see, you have a lot of choices when it comes to Adirondack campgrounds. The best approach is to find an area that you like and then find the closest ground.

Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of gifts for dad. Visit us to read more articles about camping.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

62 or Older? Enjoy the Best Bargain in the USA!

By Keith A. Williams

It's easy to understand the benefits of this pass. Simply stated, the benefits are free admission to many Federal recreational facilities and 50% discount on many other charges, including camping fees at U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (CoE) campgrounds! This makes it of great interest to many RVers!

It's easy to become confused by this new pass; maybe this little bit of history and background will make it more clear. In 2004, a new discount program for Federal agencies called the America the Beautiful Interagency Pass Program was enacted. This act created the new pass.

My research revealed that the pass is known by a variety of names. The full name, apparently, is America the Beautiful Interagency Senior Pass. On some government sites, it is referred to as Interagency Senior Pass, or sometimes simply Senior Pass. The best I can tell, they all refer to the same thing. It's possible that you already have or have heard of a Golden Age Passport. These passes ceased to be issued on December 31, 2006. The Interagency Senior Pass effectively replaces the Golden Age Passport. If you have one, please be assured that it will remain valid for your lifetime and that the benefits are the same as they were before its issuance was discontinued.

There are a couple of points worth noting regarding the Golden Age Passport, however. If you have a paper Golden Age Passport, you may (but need not) exchange it at no cost for the new Interagency Senior Pass. If your Golden Age Passport is plastic, you may (but need not) replace it but the cost of this will be $10.

Interestingly, the Corps of Engineers does not issue the Interagency Senior Pass but they do honor it, so if you want to use it at a CoE park, make sure you get your pass before you go! You can get them at most Federal recreation sites which charge an entrance fee or a standard amenity fee. It is not crystal-clear where they can be used and where they can not. Therefore, if you are planning to visit a Federal recreation site you can eliminate surprises by calling ahead and asking or checking their website.

Theoretically, these are not valid at any place other than Federal facilities. However, I have heard, but not personally experienced, that state parks in some states do use the card as justification for a hefty discount on camping fees. My suggestion: Ask! The worst thing that could happen would be that the attendant would say, "No, I'm sorry. We do not honor that card." While this article is about the pass and not about the specific uses of it, I will make a couple of comments which may be of interest to those who have not camped at a Corps of Engineers campground. In short, some of them are pretty nice! And sometime you can spend a night in one of those nice ones for well under $10!

We have camped at Grant River, Potosi, WI, which is adjacent to the Mississippi River. We have also camped at De Queen Lake, De Queen, AR. We consider both very nice and recommend them. We have heard reports that the CoE park near Thomson, IL, is very nice also. My suggestion: try some! If you find one which you recommend, add a comment to this article so others can enjoy it too.

The America the Beautiful Interagency Senior Pass: a big name for a great bargain! You can easily recoup the cost the first time you visit a national park or two or spend a couple of nights camping at a Corps of Engineers park. And it's good for the rest of your life!

Effective January 1, 2007, United States citizens or permanent residents of the United States age 62 or older can purchase an America the Beautiful Interagency Senior Pass. The cost is $10 and the pass is good for the lifetime of the holder.

A senior RVer's gotta love it! I know I do!

Copyright 2007 Keith A. Williams

The author is a part-time RVer who enjoys more natural settings than commercial campgrounds while enroute and needs a place to spend a night or two. Corps of Engineers campgrounds fill this bill, and with the Interagency Senior Pass are a great bargain.

County park campgrounds are also a great answer! Although incomplete, you can see his county parks site here:

He also has a couple of commercially oriented sites, and on which he offers a product in which he believes every RVer should have an interest, the RV Awning Travel Lock.

This is his seventh RV-related article, two others being "The Greatest Myth in RVing—and What To Do About It" and "RV Awning Travel Lock—Why Do I Need One?"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Beans Or No Beans in Your Chili Recipe

By Jim Wools

Chili with Beans? This is often a controversial topic. The mere thought of using beans in a chili dish brings up the ire of a lot of people. After all, chili is often referred to as Chili Con Carne (Chili with Meat) but rarely as Chili Con Frijoles (Chili with Beans). But just as there are chili recipes with no beans, there are just as many recipes that include beans that turn out very delicious.

So where did this "beans or no beans" controversy get started? To find the answer to this we need to take a brief look at the history of the dish.

According to the International Chili Society (ICS) ( the exact origin of the recipe is unknown. But many people feel the dish originated in the Southwest.

Reportedly, according to the ICS, there was a trail hand range cook, who would collect wild chiles and garlic along the cattle trail. Then at night he would cook it up with whatever meat was available and serve it to the rest of the cowhands. The "original" recipe may be tracked back to the early 19th century. This recipe contains only meat, onions, garlic, oregano and salt. And certainly no beans!

So if the dish originated with no beans, how did beans happen to end in the recipe? Well if you look around, it is easy to find chili recipes that have chocolate. It is easier to think that beans would end up in a chili recipe than would chocolate. After all, chocolate is for dessert. But I digress...

Chili with beans could have come about during the Great Depression as an inexpensive way to stretch out the dish, because by the 1950's, the controversy had began.

By the early 1950s the controversy of chili with beans or without beans had become so well known that it became the title of a book. In his 1952 book, With or Without Beans: An Informal Biography of Chili, author Joe Cooper, explored the biography of chili. In it he concluded that in all his accumulated material there was a preference for beans in chili. But in his book, Joe's provided his preferred chili recipe, which contained no beans!

Also in the fifties, chili with beans was on the mind of infamous columnist Westbrook Pegler. According to the International Chili Society, Pegler wrote, "...chili-con should be made with ground beef, beans, chili powder, tomatoes, onions and garlic..."

And so the controversy of beans or no beans was born and continues to grow to this day.

There are several good reasons why one would not include beans in chili. Tradition notwithstanding, people may not like the taste of beans or particularly the after effects. After all, beans are the "musical fruit" and this could create some uncomfortable circumstances in certain situations. And once beans are put into a chili recipe, they are not easy to remove.

But beans are an inexpensive and healthy addition to any chili dish. Beans are high in fiber, low in fat and have no cholesterol. For those on a tight budget, a pound of uncooked pinto beans is around a dollar or so. They are even less if you buy them in bulk. After cooking, a pound of beans can really stretch a chili recipe into many more servings.

If you don't have the time or inclination to cook beans from scratch, canned beans can easily be added to your chili. A large can of cooked pinto beans is not much more expensive than uncooked pinto beans.

So whether you fall into the camp of Chili With Beans, or side with the Chili With No Beans crowd, you cannot go wrong with a good dish of chili, beans or no bean.

Here is an easy chili recipe with beans. Try it and see how you like it.

Chili Recipe

The author is a native of the Southwestern United States and has been creating and cooking various chili recipes for over two decades.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Planning Your Camping Food

By Alison Stevens

Camping food for many people has come to mean granola, oatmeal, and more granola. Camping food can range anywhere from veggies or hot dogs – great for roasting over an open fire – to a steak-and-baked-potato dinner and one-pot meals. Freeze-dried camping food is great for hiking, backpacking, or camping meals because you don't have to keep it cold to avoid spoiling. Camping food such as Mountain House Brand or Backpackers Country brands can be a very convenient way to eat. Camping food benefits include your meals can be already. Camping food downsides include cost as meals can be more expensive, and you can lose your creativity for cooking while camping.

Camping Food Recipes

A search of the internet will turn up many online cookbooks and recipes submitted by people interested in camp cooking and are free for you to download. Things to consider when researching camp recipes include cooking for different travelers on different days, planning for large groups, planning for partial trip days, different guests eating different meals, large and small appetites, storage for ingredients, and much more.

Do not overlook soup recipes for camping and other meals that require only one pot or pan, so you can pack light, eat well and enjoy your camping trip.

You can create yummy gourmet meals with a little understanding of grilling and adapting recipes to the grill. You should learn how to adapt regular recipes to grill cooking, too, and you'll see that you can create some mighty tasty gourmet recipes that taste like you've spent hours preparing them.

Family Camping Food Ideas For Children

Children love to get involved, and the beauty of camping is that the recipes are usually simple, easy and fun. The kids will enjoy them even more if you let them modify the camp recipes and have some cooking fun. Before your next family camping trip, gather up some kid-friendly camping recipes. Camping dessert recipes are fun and easy for kids to make, and the whole family enjoys eating them.

Camping Meal Planning

Meals should be planned around the "core" entry but like buying a car it's the extras that make it more enjoyable. Meals should be made as simple as possible. Meals or soups in a cup are definitely convenient foods but they may be too bulky for many backpackers and campers. Meals take more time to prepare at the campground but it's also one of the jobs that everyone seems to want to help out with. Meals around the campfire are just as much the centre of camping life as meals around the kitchen bench at home.

Freeze-dried Camping Food

A quick search of the web turns up numerous companies producing freeze-dried foods for backpacking, including many vegetarian options. One of the best types of camping food is freeze-dried food or dehydrated food. Nowadays, people climbing the Himalayas, exploring the Poles, competing in offshore races, canoers and all kinds of travelers and globetrotters take very light freeze-dried food with them, which in extreme conditions can be made eatable by adding water acquired from snow or even sea water after desalination. Dehydrated or freeze-dried camping food is great for hiking, backpacking, or camping meals because it doesn’t have to be kept cold to avoid spoiling. Camping, backpacking, or hiking food that's freeze-dried or dehydrated can reduce weight by sixty to ninety percent. With a little creativity it's easy to make meals better-tasting and healthier than freeze-dried astronaut meals!

With some tasty camping food in your pack, you can make sure you won’t go hungry. Take easy to carry, high energy camping food to fuel your expeditions and outdoor adventures. If you're used to eating at gourmet restaurants, no matter what type of camping food you pack you'll probably be disappointed but you’ll still have fun. You'll also want to consider animal and/or bear resistant camping food containers especially if you're going to bear country. Please check the local area for suggestions on camping food storage and how to deal with trash. Good camping food is easy, light-weight, and served hot quickly.

Alison Stevens is an online author and maintains The Hiking And Camping Website to assist hikers, campers and backpackers to choose the right equipment and enjoy their outdoor adventure.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Family Camping Tents are bigger and better

By Jake Swingler

Back when I was a kid what we considered a family camping tent was a huge military surplus tent that was big enough for 25 soldiers and their equipment. It was olive green, poorly ventilated and very hard to set-up and stake down. The Idea of a family camping trip was not so fun for adults back then. Over the years though many improvements have been made to the family camping tent that has made life a heck of a-lot easier.

I think one of the biggest improvements is the actual size and ease of assembly of the bigger tents. The fact is the only tents that were really easy to set-up were the little four person pop-up dome tent. It took probably 5 min total to erect. Now these new family camping tents that can fit ten to twelve people easy are even easy to set-up. I own a 10 foot by 20 foot tent myself and my wife and I can get it fully set-up in about 10 minutes. It has four rooms, three doors and is well ventilated and waterproof.

These newer family camping tents also have shoe racks, removable room dividers, a rail to hang your clothes inside the tent and removable shelves. It is like not even leaving your home. Now these tents do have some draw backs. Some weigh about 25-30 pounds. Mine is in that category but it came with a wheeled case that is very easy to repack.

We have had this family camping tent that we call the Taj Majal for about five years and love it. It is still in very good shape even though we use it quite a bit. If you have been reluctant to buy something this big don't be. They are really not so bad to set-up and repack and the extra room is heaven trust me.

Jake Swingler owns an online wholesale camping equipment store, He also loves camping with his wife and kids. He tries to go once or twice a month during the summer. If you have any questions about Any other camping gear, sleeping bag or tents please feel free to drop him an e-mail at the website.