Tag - camping

Essential Camping Gears You Can’t Live Without

    Image courtesy of: flickr.com/emerald isle druid/

Image courtesy of: flickr.com/emerald isle druid/

Exploring the outdoors is a favorite activity for everyone yearning to be close to Mother Nature. When planning for the camp out, it is important to make a checklist of the essential tools that we have to bring. These are the very basic and most essential gears that should be on top of our list:

First Aid Kit

Safety should always be your primary concern in camping. Secure yourself and family from potential harm brought by accidental wounds by keeping a first aid kit all the time. A first aid kit is essential for immediate treatment of wounds and injuries. It is necessary that wounds are given immediate attention and treated properly to avoid infection. It is much better to anticipate accidents while camping so you can prepare well for it.  As a camper, there’s a great possibility of occasional scrapes, scratches and cuts while enjoying your camping adventure. Be prepared by filling your first aid  kit with gauze and bandages of different sizes, pain medicine, sterile wipes, antiseptic ointments and creams, anti-diarrhea medicines and even scissors and body thermometer.

Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool

A Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool is a must have item for every camper, hiker and mountaineer. This tool serves multiple purpose that are all useful to the activities performed by outdoorsmen. The Swiss Army knife has a sharp blade which is very useful in cutting ropes, tree branches, etc. It also contain various tools such as can openers, screwdrivers, mini scissors, bottle opener, etc. These tools are stowed through a pivot mechanism and are kept inside the knife’s  handle. The compact design of this Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool makes it easy for campers to bring it anytime and anywhere without hassle. The Swiss Army Knife originated from Switzerland where top-notch Swiss knives can be found. It is always smarter to buy trusted brands of Swiss knife even though they’re a bit pricier than the other ones available in the market because quality is always assured.

Water Containers

Water is the most important item for survival. No person could live without water and so, outdoorsmen should never forget to bring it. In addition, the strenous activities in camping would definitely require your body to take plenty of water.  Even though there will be available water in streams, lakes and rivers near the camping site, you cannot always trust them because of the possibility that bacteria are living there or the water is already contaminated. Bring large but easy-to-carry water containers where you can keep large volumes of water that will surely keep your body hydrated.

Waterproof Knapsack

An ordinary type of bag wouldn’t do much in camping outdoors.You need to have a waterproof knapsack to easily carry your things and protect them from being soaked into the water especially when the rains starts to fall. Keep your clothes, gadgets, foods, etc. on a safe and secured waterproof knapsack. Buy one from a trusted brand known for providing high quality waterproof knapsack that does not compromise quality and usefulness for price.


In camping, you will need fire just as much as you will need water. You’ll need fire in cooking your food, for clear vision and warmth during the night. However, starting a fire outdoors could be troublesome without using a flint. Unlike matches which easily become useless once soaked with water and lighters which are not safe to use, flint is much safer and easier to use in creating fire.  You can easily start a fire with a flint by scraping it to a rough surface. A flint is composed of ferrocerium metal which is very safe and reliable in creating spark for fire.


Geraldine Mills is an African safari enthusiast and writes travel tips and guidelines for tourists interested in traveling to the southern African Region. She is also a Community Outreach Coordinator for www.andbeyondafrica.com. Follow her on twitter @geraldinewalks.

Camping: 5 Tips for Sanity


Camping tips

My husband and I recently took our four children (all aged ten and under) camping at the beach for the first time. It was, shall we say, not the optimum trip—imagine sweltering temperatures, mutant mosquitoes that bit through clothes, and bathrooms that may not have been cleaned this year, let alone the weekend of our stay. I came away a bit traumatized, but thoughtful regarding the things that could have made our trip more enjoyable. I pen them here for your reading enjoyment and, hopefully, to make your own camping trip, wherever it may be, a bit smoother.

1.  Pick the timing of your camping trip wisely. We went camping in a southern part of South Carolina in early August. In retrospect, the outcome of our trip could have been much more pleasant had we experienced cooler temperatures. Instead, we baked inside our “tent oven” each night while trying to achieve some semblance of sleep.

2. Thoroughly research your campground and, more specifically, even your campsite choice. When we booked a campsite for our two-night stay, we were under the impression that each campsite provided the same amenities: water and electricity. We were wrong. When we pulled up to our campsite and began to unload our mountain of supplies, we searched diligently for the electric box, only to discover that our campsite was a “primitive” campsite—no electricity at all. This would not have been a huge deal, except for the fact that we had planned many of our meals around the ability to use an electric griddle. We also packed a fan for heat relief, which we were not able to use in the least.

3. Select your camping paraphernalia with convenience in mind. I am not a big fan of traveling with everything plus the kitchen sink, but there are certain items that can either make or break a camping trip. Things such as bug repellant to divert the mutant mosquitoes mentioned above, flashlights and batteries for midnight trips to the bathroom, trash bags for carting garbage to the waste disposal site, and cleaning wipes for when our son got sick and threw up in our tent (true story!) all kept us from completely losing our sanity. Think of things that you absolutely could not do without, and make sure to pack those things. Even if they stay in the car and never get used, it will be well worth the effort to take them in case of emergency.

4. Plan for the unexpected. This is a must when camping. There are so many variables with a camping trip, and many of them, such as weather, cannot be controlled. But you can greatly increase the enjoyment of your stay by preparing as much as possible for unexpected situations. In our case, as I mentioned above, the bathrooms were definitely below acceptable. I expected the camping bathrooms to be on the same level as the bathrooms at our neighborhood pool: wet, to be sure…but clean. They were not. At all. In retrospect, I should have brought some pre-moistened baby wipes for the kids to use in lieu of them taking showers during our two-day trip.

5. Don’t forget your sense of humor. This is critical: I cannot tell you how many times my husband looked at me during our camping weekend, and we just shook our heads and laughed. He asked me before we left what my hopes and expectations were for this family vacation, and I replied that I hoped we would come away from the weekend with some fun memories. We did indeed, in spite of all the challenges, and I hope this list will help make your camping trip—maybe your first one—a success that is full of beautiful memories that will last a lifetime!

Ways to stay entertained while camping

    camping, credit-hurleydust.com

camping, credit-hurleydust.com

by Stephen Mattson

Camping is great way to experience and enjoy what nature has to offer. Unfortunately, for people used to routines filled with hectic deadlines, modern technology, and the luxuries of civilization, camping can be dull and boring. How does one survive without Facebook, television, and the internet? By following a few simple tips, anyone can avoid boredom while in the great outdoors.

* Explore!

Once a person stops moving and becomes emotionally and physically stagnant, they get tired and complacent. Take the initiative to explore the wilderness around you. Be daring, and don’t be afraid to veer off the main paths and trails – create your own way! Meandering through the woods ignites a deep-rooted sense of adventure and excitement. Climb rocks, descend into ravines, traverse the rivers, and scale the cliffs. The experience will allow you to witness new scenery and wild animals, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

* Build!

If you’re next to a river, build a dam, or if you’re deep in the forest, try constructing a lean-to. By working on a project, individuals and groups get a renewed sense of purpose, inspiration, and determination. Upon achieving the task, a camper is filled with a profound sense of accomplishment and pride.  Throughout history natives, trappers, traders, and explorers depended on their industrious creativity to build shelters, paths, lookouts, traps, and various other projects in order to help them survive. Not only does doing these things teach valuable
survival skills, but it enables campers to interact with the various elements of nature.

* Hunt and Track

Camping is a wonderful opportunity to observe animals within their natural habitat. If you have the necessary licenses and follow lawful procedures, camping can offer the perfect time to hunt. Try to outwit prey by using stealth, patience, and cunning. Any outdoor trip can be transformed into a thrilling experience by employing the primal techniques of hunting, and if you’re unable to hunt, try tracking an animal. These games not only provide entertainment, but they allow people the opportunity to examine and study the beauty, habits, and lifestyles of various animals.

* Games

Sometimes the weather can make outdoor activities impossible, so always be prepared by packing games that require littlevmaintenance and are easy to play. Pack a set of cards, a checkerboard, or other forms of entertainment that are fun for everyone. If the weather is nice, have friendly competitions outside by seeing who can build a fire the fastest, throw rocks the most accurately, swim the furthest, hold their breadth underwater the longest, or tell the scariest story.

Even though camping provides an occasion to relax, rest, and benefit from the peacefulness of nature, it should also be an experience filled with excitement, adventure, exploration, and fun. Make sure the time isn’t wasted by being bored, lazy, or inactive, and make the most of every camping opportunity.

Wenderholm Regional Park

Wenderholm Regional Park, Cr-flicker

Wenderholm Regional Park, Cr-flicker

It’s a place as whimsical as its name, if its name casts the same old-world charm on you as it does me. Not that Wenderholm Regional Park, whose name means ‘Winter Home’, is old world much; rather, it lies on the coast of New Zealand, only a half hour’s drive north of the New World city of Auckland.

However, despite its situation not far from the peopled tourist attractions of Waiwera‘sThermal Resort and the increasingly cosmopolitan town of Orewa, it shrugs off urbanity and cloaks itself with an older vibe, one more akin to New Zealand’s pre-European past, and in fact, the area was a centre of Maori settlement for almost a thousand years, as overflowing as it was with kaimoana, or seafood, and this ancient echo seems to reverberate through the centuries. Huddling between outcrops of land within the embrace of the Puhoi and Waiwera Rivers, it shelters from the modern world’s intrusions, its estuary flowing to a primordial lunar rhythm without reference to human presence.

What to do, what to do…

Modern humans, however, are welcome here, but they come in numbers that avoid feeling like an invasion, and out of season, you may find yourself virtually alone, the beaches and the walks beneath trees which have witnessed the gathering of people dead over a hundred years, deserted now. A long stretch of white sand beach invites swimming and sun worship, or contemplative strolls from cliffs along the wooded spit of land which guides the Puhoi River inland. Turning in along the river’s outlet into the sea, the water laps into a series of shallow coves, each with its own personality.

Bring food along, and when hunger strikes, you can set up an impromptu picnic with your choice of surroundings, but tables are available closer to the campground, and can be booked in advance for larger groups.

Bush Trails and Walks

There are also trails through native bush with expansive panoramas out over the Hauraki Gulf and coast and inland towards the historic settlement of Puhoi. Look out for rare North Island robins, or toutouwai, which have been reintroduced into the forest, and other treasured native forest birds like kereru and tui.

History for the Buffs

On the site, historic Couldrey House in its landscaped gardens presides over the park. Built in the late 1800s by the first European landowner in the district as a wintering homestead, hence the park’s name, it is now a museum of local history, open to the public only on weekends as it’s run by volunteers.

All Out to Sea

Besides bush and coastal exploring, there is also the Hauraki Gulf and its islands, and the Puhoi River with its mangroves and local views along the Puhoi River valley across to Mahurangi Regional Park. To this end, there are boat ramps for small to medium boats, and kayaks are available for hire onsite at times during the year.

Where to stay

In terms of accommodation, there are basically two options, depending on taste and budget as always, one being tenting, or caravaning. There are camping sites for up to 40 people, with bathroom facilities and a potable water supply. The small sites lie unobtrusively under and between the native pohutakawa trees so that it feels as if nature is not subdued here, but sanctions our presence. The beach and estuary are brief strolls away on either side, and the incessant susurration of the sea on the shore lulls tired holiday makers to sleep at night.

The other option for overnight accommodation is more elusive, requiring months of foreplanning to book ahead, but so worthwhile. Wenderholm Beach House, another historic building, is unpretentious and quaint, and sits alone at the end of the peninsular, wrapping itself in tranquility and the sound of sea and birdsong. Enveloped in self-imposed isolation, it is often the haunt of artists-in-residence, some of whom have left a creative echo in work which remains at the park. Look out for one such display in the estuary; the outlines of three waka, or canoes, in semi-submerged stone, evoking the area’s seafaring past.

At the height of summer or in the gloom of winter, Wenderholm is a small wonder well worth sampling, and easily accessible from the Auckland region.

Handy Links:

Wenderholm Regional Park information

Wenderholm Beach House information

An African overland Safari part 1: Morocco

“Safari: A journey or trip: a sightseeing safari”

Fruit stalls in Marrakesh market.

Fruit stalls in Marrakesh market.

We were six: more or less retired, too bored to sit and watch the paint dry. So we decided to see Africa.

From Morocco along the west coast, with a detour into the Sahara, a visit to Timbuktu, and thendown towards the south, we spent almost five months on the road, covered almost 16000 miles,and spent around $ 20 000 per couple. A voyage to remember, memories to cherish.

We shipped our vehicles to Morocco, and were badly advised, so had to spend two weeks knocking around until we could start touring. Fortunately we had a long-suffering friend in Fez who was willing to put us up, and show us this lovely city.

Oasis in the Atlas mountains

Oasis in the Atlas mountains

Once the vehicles were delivered in Casablanca, we spent two weeks touring Morocco, crossing the Atlas mountains three times, and getting tempted by Ali Baba caves of shopping. The thought of  20 border crossings with notorious customs officials, and a severe lack of packing space made us wonder if we should not rather have ended our voyage here.

There are magnificent gorges that run into the Atlas mountains from the south. We followed the nomad invasion route up to the Telouet valley, and down into Marrakesh, where we lounged in the luxury of the imperial city for a while.

And then it was time to head south.


Travel Louisiana: Tickfaw State Park

Tickfaw State Park, Cr-Wikipedia

Tickfaw State Park, Cr-Wikipedia

When you come to visit Louisiana don’t forget to visit Tickfaw State Park. Visitors at Tickfaw State Park can explore  a bottom land hardwood forest. You can also enjoy the breathtaking and natural  beauty of the Tickfaw River. There is so much for the whole family to enjoy at  the park and admission is really cheap like one dollar per person and children 3  and under and senior citizens are admitted free.

This park has four ecosystems for you to explore on a mile long boardwalk.  You and your family will see the cypress/tupelo swamp. Visitors are offered the  opportunity of fun and excitement along with educational experiences of learning  about the wetlands and wildlife in the area.

Some fun things that you and your guests can enjoy at the park are canoeing,  night hiking, birdwatching, picnicking and more. It is more interesting because  you can learn about the culture and history of Louisiana. Vacation cabin rental is available. Tent and Rv sites are  available too. You may just decide to spend the day with your friends at the  park. It is truly beautiful. The park roadways offer a place for biking, skating  and strolling. Canoe rental is available or you may decide to bring your  own.

There is also a Nature Center and a gift shop. Tickfaw State Park offers a  great opportunity for you to spend time with your family and friends. There is  also a waterpark for children to enjoy and it is open  from April through September. You and your friends can enjoy about 5 miles of  river trails and cypress and hardwood trails.

Tickfaw State Park is located at 27225 Patterson Road in Springfield,  Louisiana or you may contact the park for more info by calling toll free  1-888-981-2020.