Camping! An American pasttime

As the weather warms (it is supposed to be 75 degrees today) our minds start to look toward the summer and its leisure time activities. One of the favorite leisure activities of our family is camping. I grew up spending our family vacations in the summer time camping out and our family has continued the tradition. Camping is an inexpensive, and (for us) very enjoyable way to spend some quality family time together. The majority of our trips are filled with food, fun and friends. Many a summer’s evening is enjoyed by our family sitting and cooking around an open campfire. Camp cuisine for us includes the traditional camp classics like pie iron pizzas and dessert pies, s’mores, and hot dogs as well as some less conventional family traditions like home made ice cream, Skyline Chili, and “walking tacos”.

Regardless of your budget, there are lots of degrees to which you can get into camping. Many families enjoy camping out of the trunk of a car with a dome tent, others prefer the ease and comfort of a full size travel trailer. But for us, our family of 5 is comfortable in our pop up camper. It is about the largest pop-up (some call them tent trailers) that is available and the model we have now has a slide-out dinette that serves to enlarge the space inside the camper. This is especially nice when you are faced with spending some time inside the camper due to inclement weather. A trip to a camping expo is all that is required to see the width and breadth of the camping trailer designs available on today’s market. There are literally hundreds of options ranging from the bare bones basic “You want me to sleep WHERE!? tent camping approach to the plush and comfortable “That’s not REALLY camping” Approach taken by the inhabitants of a class A motor home.

One of the benefits of camping that our family enjoys is that it provides a useful outlet for purchasing some pieces of gear that are really helpful in the event of an emergency. Anyone who has read more than a couple of my posts knows that I am always scanning the horizon trying to forecast what may be to come and to be prepared for it when it gets here. Call it paranoia, call it a “prepper” mentality, but I like to be prepared. I might even say that I enjoy being prepared. Battery powered lanterns, a small propane powered stove, water jugs, sleeping bags, and the like are useful not only when you’re out for a weekend at the campground, but also if the power goes out and remains out for an extended time. One piece of gear in particular that I got recently is an ingenious little item called a “Kelly Kettle“.

English: Storm kettle in operation (this one i...

Kelly Kettle

It is a device that allows you to heat water to boiling in a matter of minutes using anything that will burn. Whether camping or in an emergency, boiling water is a real asset and it is what this device was designed for. It can boil water literally in minutes, taking only¬† 3-5 minutes to bring 1.5 liters of water to a boil — our stove at home can’t even do that! The kit that I got (thanks to my family) as a birthday present includes attachments that will allow you to cook over the unit at the same time. I won’t go into greater detail right now as I may spend the time to do an in depth review some time soon. Suffice to say it is an ingenious little device.

But by far the biggest asset that is found by camping is that of the time and memories spent with family and friends. The memories that are made sitting around a crackling fire are etched forever into our memories. (Would it be too cliche to say that they’re “burned” into our minds?) The first time the kids were old enough to remember going camping as a family they pretended they were camping for weeks after we had returned home.

So fuel up the truck, check the trailer lights and load up the food. Camping season is just around the corner. I for one can hardly wait!