When I was a Boy Scout, I camped with Troop 207 once a month. Sometimes these trips were one-nighters. Other times, we made a week out of it at Camp Wehinahpay. And once, we even backpacked at Philmont for two weeks! Snow, rain, wind, and blazing heat were no match for us! Then I went to college and me and thirty of my closest friends made a couple of excursions to Elephant Butte Lake. It turned out that I was one of the few to have any camping experience, so I set up tents, lit fires, cooked the food, and loved every minute of it!
Since moving to Arizona ten years ago, I’ve only camped twice; but I am going with my family in a couple of weeks. It’s amazing how outdoor skills and knowledge never really go away. I’ve been hard at work the last few days preparing for the trip by replenishing my outdated gear. Let’s just say I’m a little overwhelmed at the advances made in camping technology in the last decade. While I salivate over the parachute material hammocks, I find that there are just some old school methods that can’t be beat. A quick consultation of the Internet tells me these methods are now called “hacks“.
For my upcoming trip, our group will consist of 4 dogs and 4 humans. We will be venturing to the White Mountains of Arizona at the end of August for a 3 night excursion at a hosted campground. “Hosted” generally means the site will boast fire pits, ranger stations, and other amenities.
This particular site also has running water and restroom facilities (including showers). What better way to ease the family into life outdoors? Unfortunately, hosted sites often have RV hookups as well. Let me make this clear. If you are in an RV, you are NOT camping. You are not roughing it. And you certainly are missing out on the best parts of the Great Outdoors by insulating yourself inside your rolling meth lab.
So anyway, while I stock up on the essentials (and not-so-essentials), I am going to update this blog with thoughts on what new gear might be worth the money, and which can be replaced with cheaper DIY substitutes. I’ll also update with my packing list, menus, and other thoughts that might be helpful to other people looking to get out into the wild.