When Spring rolls around, some folks clean; I organize camping gear. The annual checklist includes: a battery check, first aid inventory, salty snacks, baby wipes, eco-friendly toiletries, and tarp and line.
From April through September, I set up camp in Artemas, Pennsylvania at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary. My annual membership includes camping and activities and since there is staff onsite year-round I don’t have to worry about my things being disturbed while I’m away. The sanctuary is bordered on three sides by Sideling Creek, there are trails to hike, and a circle of standing stones in the center for meditation, yoga, or quiet contemplation. On the hilltop, there is an open field where one can stand at night and clearly see the milky way shining brightly. It is truly my home away from home.
Setting up a seasonal camp makes life easier. It’s so nice: I drive a couple of hours, then relax. I only show up with clothes and a cooler. I keep snacks in glass locking jars as well as bedding and additional clothing in rubbermaid bins onsite — this keeps out critters and moisture. The tent and screen house are firmly staked to the ground with tarps hanging above for additional protection from the elements. I stay pretty worry-free.
The basics of tenting
- Inclement weather does happen when you’re camping, so being prepared is important. I keep a rubbermaid tub of extra blankets, sweatshirts and rain ponchos — the local thrift store is a great place to snag some warm blankets or extra clothing. Even in July, it can dip into the 40s at night.
- I forgo the river shoes and don Crocs when heeding the call of the Sideling Creek on a hot afternoon.
- After a dip in the river or washing evening dishes, it is good to have a line to dry wet clothes or towels. Tying tent line between trees works well if the ground is level.
- On the days that it rains, I use a propane stove for cooking. Otherwise the copper bowl fire pit works well.
- Cast iron cookware can be used on either the stove or in the fire pit.
- When cooking for camping, it is best to pre-plan meals. Doing prep work before leaving the house for the woods can make for tasty and nutritious meals. Chopping your vegetables or meats and freezing them will help to retain the cold within the cooler longer especially in hot weather.
- Always have plenty of fresh water on hand for drinking and washing of dishes and persons — a stash of baby wipes are a great way for a quick freshen up as well.
Whether you are camping for a month, a week or just a weekend; remember NO MOOP — matter out of place. Because we share the earth with all creatures; if you packed it in then pack it out!