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Welcome To Camping Essentials

Hello and welcome to Camping Essentials, where we have great camping tips, how-to’s and gear reviews to help you get the best out of your next camping adventure!

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Whether your goal is to camp in luxury with all the creature comforts that you usually have at home, or you are planning a trip out into the wilderness on your own with just your wits, strength and courage to keep you company, we have all the essential camping info you need right here.

Are you camping for the first time?

Camping is a worldwide favourite activity for families and friends as well as folks who enjoy getting away from it all just by themselves.

If you are thinking about heading out camping for the first time, or if you’ve done it before and you’re now heading up a family trip for the first time there can be a lot to get your head around to ensure that everyone has a fun and safe holiday.

Camping Essentials is here to take some of the stress and worry out of planning your trip. We have plenty of help and advice on what you need to bring and how to prepare for and tailor your camping trip.

Within our web site you will find everything you need to get started, from essentials like your tent and sleeping bags, hints and tips on safety and campsite etiquette, fun activities for the family, camping food ideas and more basic camping essentials.

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Our top 5 Camping Food Ideas

We’ve given you a bunch of awesome recipes over the past few months that you can use when out camping so we thought it would be a great idea to give you a quick rundown of some of our favourite camping food ideas in this one summary post.

Idea 1: Curly Dogs

These are a fun family dish to serve up any time or place, but especially when camping.

See our recipe here.

Idea 2: Good ‘ole sandwiches

Aahhh, the good ‘ole sandwich. How can you go wrong with this classic?

We have three awesome camping recipes for you here.

Idea 3: Campers spare ribs

This awesome recipe will go down a treat whenever you serve it up – but make sure you cook enough because the whole campsite will be asking if you have any left over when they get a sniff of this delicious meal wafting across the air!

Idea 4: Potato and sausage hash

Thinking outside the box a little bit here with this one. Check out the tasty recipe on this page.

 

So there we have it, some classics, some ideas that you might not automatically think would be great for camping – but I promise you, give them a try and you’ll be well pleased :-)

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Curly Dogs

This funnily named dish is an excellent visual treat. Essentially, it requires you to wrap a thin sheet of bread dough around a sausage in a spiral shape so that parts of the sausage show. Prepare these funky-looking bites as some after-dinner snack or as a quick lunch. For the best result outdoors, prepare it using self-raising, ready-made dough over hot coal.

Ingredients (makes 8 pieces) (30 minutes)

  • 8 hotdog sausages
  • 8 small balls of self-raising dough
  • Ketchup, mustard

Method

  1. Roll each ball of self-raising dough into a long, thin cylinder/strip
  2. Wrap a strip of dough around each sausage in a spiral shape
  3. Push a stick through each of the sausages lengthwise
  4. Hold them over the fire/hot coal and watch the dough bake to perfection
  5. Serve with ketchup or mustard as you like it
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7 ways for family bonding while out camping

Camping is a wonderful opportunity to escape the noise and stress of the bustling cities most of us live in. However, while we admittedly seek freedom from certain elements of our civilized lives, we can often find ourselves feeling lost without them at our disposal. To give you an example, those who are used to playing computer games on a daily basis will find themselves at loss on how to spend their time in nature. The tips in this article should help engage young and old alike in fun activities that shape human relationships, all in a beautiful natural setting of your choice.

1. Pitching a tent

Turn this principal task of outdoors camping into an opportunity for team building. If you are going to pitch more than one tent, make a competition out of who can set up theirs first. Of course, try to make the teams fair and perhaps turn down your own competitive spirit down a notch to draw a smile on your children’s face when they win the race. If you are just setting up one tent, use it as a way to bond with each other. Numerous studies have shown that people who work together on a task are more likely to feel a sense of belonging to one and other. Involve everyone, so that every member of the team feels important and appreciated. Have a chat about your plans and goals for the camp-out while you work.

2. Cooking food and eating together

Historically, cooking and eating have been a chiefly communal event. Some cultures to this day spend hours dining. Of course, they don’t consume food for three hours straight, but take their time to eat and chatter away whilst doing so. For a body that is used to cramming down food in as short a time period as possible, having a chance to take things slow for once will be a welcome relief. What better than to enjoy a meal together that you have all prepared together? Do not be fooled, literally anyone can be involved in the cooking process. Plus, because you are going to have a nice open field for yourself, you don’t have to worry about the stress of being crammed in a small kitchen with three or more people. Involve the smallest ones with washing the vegetables that you will use. Let the older ones handle more serious tasks such as chopping ingredients or even frying them. Be sure to thank everyone for his or her input during mealtime.

3. Campfire building

Campfires are practically a must-have element of every camp-out. There is just something cozy about sitting in the dark, huddled up by a ring of fire and watch the flames dance away. Of course, a campfire needs to be built first. Go together while it is still light outside to gather fallen branches for firewood. Be sure to stick together, especially if you are in a denser forest. Do not break branches off from trees unless you are certain that the park you are camping in permits this. You can even make a game out of who is able to collect the most amount of firewood with just using fallen branches. Once you have gathered a sufficient amount, return to camp and begin building. Explain to your children the necessary precautions and safety measures associated with campfires. Ask them about how they think a campfire could be best built and try out different designs each night.

4. Campfire treats

Finish the day around the campfire with some super sweet desserts. Don’t worry about serving the treat straight after dinner. It will be best to let the main course settle in everyone’s stomachs before the sweets appear. Remember that not everyone has the same self-control when it comes to eating tangy stuff. Divide the stash of marshmallows, chocolate bars, crackers and other goodies into daily portions and present them like that to the others. This way, nobody will be left craving that “one last piece”. Teach your children how to prepare gorgeously browned marshmallows, delicious Smores and other quintessential campfire desserts. For some ideas, check out our recipes section!

5. Teach each other some new skills

Take advantage of the fact that you all enjoy each other’s undivided attention. Use some time to teach one and other new skills. You can begin by showing your kids how to tie some typical knots that are useful for campers to know. However, don’t monopolize the role of the teacher and let the others teach you something too. It can be anything: a song, a card trick, a cool recipe or a game. This is a great way to find out new things about each other and bond as a family in general. If you come across something all of you really enjoyed, make a point of doing it again in the future. For example, if you discover that you all really like to sing, make that one of your special family moments and sing songs either in-group or solo around the fire.

6. Play some games

Don’t think that you are too old to have some fun by playing games. Rediscover your inner child by engaging yourself in having some trouble-free time with your family. If the weather is good and you have enough space, go for something physically active rather than the usual sit-down board or card games. If you all enjoy ball games, play some football, volleyball or dodge ball. Try to make the point of the game you play teamwork. For instance, you can set it as a goal to try and keep a ball up in the air for the longest period of time without it touching the ground. At night, you can play some games like flashlight tag.

7.   Go on an adventure

Whatever destination you chose for camping there is likely to be some kind of natural landmark that is especially worth seeing. Take along a compass and a map and organize a daylong trip to discover the place. If your kids are young, give them each a disposable camera so that they can each take pictures of whatever they find interesting. Do make sure that you give each kid a separate one, because children hate sharing gadgets. If you are with older ones, engage them by asking them to read the map and help you find directions. After returning back to camp for the night, share your views of the experience with each other. What was the highlight of the day, and what was the most challenging part?

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Teton Sports Mammoth 0-Degree Sleeping Bag Review


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Amazon ImageThe Teton Sports Mammoth looks like a beast of a sleeping bag (in a good way!)

This oversized (and very cool looking) sleeping bag is large enough to comfortably fit 2 adults and one small child or 4 small children.

The inner lining is a soft cotton as opposed to the slippery polyester and this is good when there are a couple of people in there trying not to slide all over the place.

The large hood can either be used to keep your family warm or to hold your pillows in place.

Another cool feature is the large inner pocket for storing whatever you want to keep in there.

At 94 x 62 inches wide this is a great option for families who love camping.

Pro’s and cons

The Good:

  • Has an average customer score of 94% across all the customer reviews we have researched
  • Great not only for families, but couples too – and large enough for larger people
  • Tall enough for 6ft 6in people
  • Many people have praised it’s warmth in cold temperatures
  • Well worth the “above average” price for a double

The Bad:

We found it very difficult to find any legitimate bad points relating to this sleeping bag. The only complaints we saw were about it being too big (duh!) or heavy. This is not really a real concern if you buy the thing for what it is intended for.

Should you buy the Teton Sports Mammoth?

This is the most popular family sleeping bag on our list of reviews and it comes highly recommended by hundreds of families who have been using it already for some time. To take a closer look, check out the links below:

 

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Kelty Callisto 15 Degree Rectangular Synthetic Sleeping Bag, Double

Amazon ImageThe Kelty Callisto 15 Degree Double sleeping bag is a great “couples” sleeping bag which is rated for 15º / -9ºC temperatures.

It s 100% polyester, from the shell to the lining and filling.

Considering it’s size, it is relatively light at under 5lbs but most people using it are likely to be camping with a vehicle since a double is not normally considered a hiking sleeping bag and therefore weight is not really an issue.

It doubles up as a duvet by completely unzipping it and laying it out flat. Really handy for those warmer nights.

Pro’s and cons

The Good:

  • Large enough for a couple and a small child
  • Comfortably fits people up to around 6ft 3in tall
  • Fraction of the price of a comparable down sleeping bag

The Bad:

  • As already mentioned, too heavy for backpackers
  • The shape does leave you vulnerable to drafts, so you’ll need to tuck yourself in tightly on cold nights

Should you buy this sleeping bag?

Clearly, a double sleeping bag is targeted towards couples or parents with kids who are going to be camping in roughly zero+ degrees. Given the brief, the Kelty Callisto 15 Degree Rectangular Synthetic Sleeping Bag is a good option that fits the bill and a very nice price makes it a really tempting offer. The downsides are not really specific to this bag, rather they would be apparent on any other bag of this type.

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