Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Camping Tip Tuesday: 8 ways to make your next camping trip a success

Camping Trip Tuesday: 8 Tips for Getting Rid of Bugs, Leveling your RV, and Battling the Elements While Camping

Welcome to week 2 of  Camping Tip Tuesday at Life is Great in a 31 by 8!
Stay tuned for some great camping tips and tricks to make your next camping vacay more of a vacation and less of a headache!

First of all, let's talk leveling. RV campers, you know what a headache getting your rig leveled can be! This ranks just behind dumping the black water tank as one of the drawbacks of RV-ing. Well, maybe not just behind...
Our first two tips will help make leveling your camper easier:

1. Save scrap lumber around the house (or camper) from projects. Use blocks of wood or pieces of plywood to place under your scissor jacks before you lower them. The farther you have to run your jacks down, the more wobbly your camper will be. Ergo, the less you have to run your jacks down, the sturdier your RV will be!

2. Take a close look at the level of your campsite before you set up your RV. If one side of the RV is lower than the other, don't try to jack your camper way up (see tip above!). Grab one or two 2 x 6 or larger boards, (depending on how out of level your site is), cut the ends off at an angle to make a small ramp, and lay them in position. Drive your RV up onto these boards. Bam! Instant leveling without the instability of jacks!

3. Speaking of jacks, weather is another major headache of camping. (Yes, I know, from jacks to weather. I'm getting there, I promise. Follow the rabbit trail for a minute!) If you are tent camping and are worried about rain flooding out your campsite, a little preparation will save your trip! Check with a local store or newspaper and get some shipping pallets. Most of the time, companies will give them away for free. The size of your tent will determine how many pallets you need- four or six will probably be sufficient for most tents. Arrange the pallets on your campsite in the location you plan to set up your tent. Lay a tarp over the pallets, then set up your tent on top. Voila! Your tent is jacked up and out of the water, with zero cost and little headache! You can also set an extra pallet or two in front of your tent for a "porch" to wipe off your feet or leave shoes.

4. Camping in any sort of extreme weather can be quite difficult. But don't let the cold zap all the fun out of your camping trip! If you find yourself tent camping in frigid temperatures, the following trick will cut the wind and insulate your tent. Remove your tent's rain cover. Drape a tarp over your entire tent, then replace the rain cover. The extra layer of insulation will protect you from the wind and keep the temperature inside your tent a little warmer. The rain cover will secure the tarp to your tent with no need to stake the tarp down.

Another downside of camping is the bugs! I know it's nature, and some experiences with little biting pests are to be expected! But, sometimes, those little buggers are eating you alive... and a camper's gotta do what a camper's gotta do! Next time the bugs are making you buggy, try these four tips:

5. Throw some dried sage or rosemary into your campfire. Both will repel mosquitoes, at least in the immediate proximity of your fire. Generally, if we have a campfire, we are all out sitting around it. So this works for us!

6. Don't want to sit around the campfire all day just to avoid mosquitoes? Make your own bug spray by putting Listerine Mouthwash in a spray bottle, 50% water to 50% mouthwash. You can spray it on people (the smell will go away in about 10 minutes, I promise!) or spray it around your campsite. Bye bye buggies!

7. Want to also repel ticks? I know they are bad in my neck of the woods. Add some tea tree oil (only a few drops) to your listerine mix.  No skeeters, and no ticks!

8. Want to smell good and still repel bugs? Grab a box of cheap dryer sheets! You can either just keep a dryer sheet in your pocket or rub it on your clothes. (Not sure if I'd do skin, especially sensitive skin!) Something in the dryer sheet bugs the bugs.

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