Why Should You Go Camping?

June 24, 2016

Although the amount of accessible, more luxury based trips has risen, camping remains a popular pastime because it offers benefits other vacations don’t. Most importantly, camping is a particularly easy way to rest and relax with the whole family. Indeed, getting the kids started on camping at a young age is a great way to help them make the environment and physical activity a bigger part of their lives. Among current camping participants, 85% took their first trip between birth and age 15.

However, there are many more great reasons to go camping. Check them out here before you start planning your next trip:

It’s Cheaper

Camping tends to be much cheaper than other activities — especially if you choose to drive or rent an RV instead of flying and staying in hotels. And, much of the traditional vacation luxury can still be preserved. This freedom and convenience will allow you to take more trips. The overwhelming majority of surveyed campers said they’re planning an average of 4.9 camping trips, with two-thirds planning three or more trips. Relaxing in beautiful, wooded campgrounds can be just as therapeutic as any other type of luxury vacation.

It’s Healthier

In a survey, 87% of campers participated in multiple outdoors activities. The very nature of camping vacations is that you will get a good amount of physical exercise, without it seeming like a chore. Many people prefer hiking and water sports to traditional exercise regimes because concentrating on the task at hand can make one forget that they are exercising. Not to mention exposure to wooded campgrounds and babbling brooks is good for the mind and heart.

It’s Better For Your Soul

It’s hard to deny how plugged in we really are — many of us spend eight or more hours a day staring at a computer screen. Then, we unwind in front of a different screen at night. It can be very hard to unplug, even when you are on vacation, but camping offers you a unique opportunity to have a happy medium. Although there’s Internet access at many campsites, the outdoors activities provided will make you want to put down your phone and exercise both your body and mind.

The emotional and mental benefits of exposing yourself to nature has been proven time and time again. You will feel healthier and happier after your camping vacations.

How to Choose the Right Tent for Your Camping Vacation

June 24, 2016

So, you want to go camping. It is a wonderful idea really — camping is an affordable, easy, and extremely enjoyable way to enjoy the great outdoors, your time off, and your family and friends. Indeed, in 2010 alone, approximately 40 million people went camping for a total of 515 million outings.

Once you’ve made your decision to go camping, it’s time to figure out exactly what that means. For some, it means roughing it along the trails, and for others, it means staying at a camp resort with many modern amenities. Most camping — about 70% — is done in public campgrounds, but there is still a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing where and how you will camp. If you forgo cabin camping and instead opt for tent camping, keep these things in mind when looking for your new tent and tent sites for camping!

Sleeping Capacity

How many people are you camping with and what will your sleeping arrangements be? If you have small children, it might be best to get a large tent that can sleep the whole family, whereas with older kids, it might be nice to have a kid tent and an adult tent. Make sure to use this as your guiding standard when looking at the many tent options out there.

Seasonality

Early spring or early fall camping trips are different than camping trips in the middle of the summer. Make sure to note what seasons your tent was designed for, and purchase accordingly. Regardless of when you go camping, it is a good idea to bring sleeping pads or easily inflated air mattress so that you don’t get too much contact with the ground — it can be chilly at night all year long.

Doors

You’ll want a tent with well-designed entrances and exits, especially if you end up doing a lot of going in and out. Make sure that there at least two, so no one has to do complicated maneuvers to get out to go to the bathroom at night.

More than one in 10 adult participants (12%) first went camping with their immediate family. Take the opportunity to teach your children to love the great outdoors and tent camping.

3 Things to Focus on When Camping With the Family

June 24, 2016

Camping is one of the most time honored, cost efficient, and family friendly ways to vacation. In 2010 alone, approximately 40 million people went camping for a total of 515 million outings. Indeed, campers get physical activity (evidenced by the fact that 87% of campers participated in multiple outdoor activities), the opportunity to travel (evidenced by the fact that campers traveled an average distance of 186.7 miles for camping trips) and of course, time to spend with friends and family.

But, it can be hard to focus your attention and prioritize everyone’s activities, especially when traveling with kids. Check out these tips for camping mindfully:

Learn Through Hobbies

Use your family camping vacations as a way for the whole family to learn a new skill or develop an old one. For instance, birding, fishing, or foraging can make your family vacations much more goal oriented and overall structured. Plus, if you come away from your trip having seen a couple species of birds you’ve never seen or caught a particularly large fish, you and your family will feel quite positive and triumphant.

Hiking Goals

Don’t underestimate your children, especially if they are slightly older and share your love for the outdoors. For some people, vacation time simply means that the schedule is clear for pursuing loftier goals — literally. Why not use some vacation cabins as base, and take on the tougher trails by having overnight camping trips. Some families in New York might have their eyes on the ultimate prize of becoming 46ers — folks who have climbed the 46 highest peaks in the state — but every state in the country has its own unique landscape upon which goals of height and endurance can be reached.

Let Your Creativity Rein

Before you go on your trip, have everyone in your family select an artistic medium to explore while you immerse yourselves in nature, with one piece of equipment each. This might include a palette and sketchbook for a painter, a journal for a writer, a camera for a photographer, and an instrument or tape recorder for a musician. The natural world has inspired art for many millennia — why should your family take any exception? Share with each other what you have created and encourage one another to explore new mediums.

From vacation cabins to tent camping, there is no reason why a camping trip with the family shouldn’t be the best time of the year.

How to Have Fun With the Whole Family

June 12, 2016

Think there’s no such thing as “fun for the whole family”? That’s understandable — after all, in-between working, school, and other activities, it may seem as though there isn’t even a time when the family is together, let alone having fun together. Not to mention the fact that each member of the family has his or her own idea of what “fun” even means.

Enter family vacations, which are the one time that you and your family have the chance to relax, bond, share valuable experiences, and create memories. Fun for the whole family is possible — even on a low budget. Check out these tips for having a successful family vacation that will show everyone a good time:

Compromise

It’s unreasonable to expect everyone in the family to be excited about everything on a trip, so compromising is the way to go. Camping is one of the most popular family vacations — American families spent about 534.9 million days camping in 2011 alone, when approximately 40 million people went camping for a total of 515 million outings. Not everyone likes sleeping out in a tent, however, so if you want the pleasures of the great outdoors but also the luxury and convenience of having a roof over your heads, you can compromise by staying in family vacation cabins instead.

Spend Time Alone

Yes, the point of the family vacation is to spend time with one another, but 24/7 living with the same people is never going to have a happy ending — make sure that everyone gets the chance to do the activities they want, see the sights that they are excited for, and have some time alone to unwind and rest.

Come Prepared

This goes especially for family camping trips — even cabin camping. Indeed, 82% of cabin campers spend one to two nights outside. Make sure to do meal prep and prepare an itinerary, even if you don’t end up following it. Have a backup plan for rainy days, and be aware of your surroundings on your trip so that you won’t be stuck in the event of an emergency or any special circumstances.

Your family vacation can be truly amazing, as long as you put some thought into how exactly it is executed. Whether you are on a road trip or renting family vacation cabins, make sure to take the time to bond with your family members and enjoy the ride.

8 Great Gifts for the RV Dad

June 3, 2016

It’s almost Father’s Day, and the last thing your dad needs is another tie. But what to get for the guy who has everything? We have compiled a list of great gear for the RV dad or granddad in your life. Read on to find that gadget that Pop can’t live without…

 

  1. Truma LevelCheck, $69.99. Want to save dad the hassle of lifting and shaking the propane tank to guess how much gas is left? A quick swipe with the Truma LevelCheck will show exactly how much propane is still in the tank.

 

  1. TastePure 25’ Heated Drinking Water Hose, $67.50. Give your dad the gift of an extended camping season with this heated hose. Even if the temperatures dip below freezing, the water will still keep flowing into the RV.

 

  1. RV Lock 4.0, $239.99. Let’s face it…the standard RV door lock doesn’t provide the security we all want for our precious cargo. This RV lock fits all standard travel trailer and 5th wheel doors, plus comes with keyless entry and remote fob.

 

  1. Weber Q1000 Grill, $169.00. This is an RV dream grill since it’s small enough to fit in the storage bin, and big enough to cook steaks for the whole family.

 

  1. Bristle Free Grill Brush, $16.95. You may think your dad has all the grill accessories he needs. But if he’s still using a bristle brush, it’s time for an upgrade. A bristle free brush will guarantee the only thing added to that burger is awesome flavor.

 

  1. Anderson Camper Levelers, $39.99. Do you hear your dad huffing and puffing as he piles up the wood in an attempt to level the RV? That means it’s time for levelers, which magically take the stress out of this frustrating task.

 

  1. Igloo Freestanding Ice Machine, $139.00. No one said that dad has to rough it when traveling in the RV. There’s nothing like a cold drink after setting up camp, and this ice machine will help him chill out and relax.

 

  1. Camelback Forge 16 oz. Travel Mug, $29.99. This is a serious travel mug for a serious coffee drinker. It will keep your beverage hot for hours, whether you are taking a morning hike, or swinging the hours away in a hammock.

 

  1. Estwing 4 lb Special Edition Fireside Friend Wood Splitting Axe, $50.00. The campfire just got a bit more authentic with this beautifully crafted axe, perfectly for splitting up big logs and getting that flame roaring.

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful camping dads out there. We hope you are lucky enough to unwrap a new RV gadget this month!

The Camper's Guide to Zika

May 25, 2016

With spring in the air, many camping fanatics are switching off their television sets and hitching on their hiking boots in hopes of making their first tent camping endeavor of the season. Indeed, camping is somewhat of a pastime for Americans: in 2013 alone, over 40 million people went camping, and almost 99% of campers report that they were likely to camp again within the coming year.

And while 87% of those campers are eager to engage in multiple outdoor activities on their family camping trip, perhaps they shouldn’t turn off their television news program just yet — especially if the Zika virus is the hot topic that’s trending.

What is the Zika virus?
Zika is an illness caused by the Zika virus. Typically, it is usually mild, with the most frequent symptoms being fever, joint pain, rash and red eyes. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a week. It’s rare for someone to have to be hospitalized because of the Zika virus.

Who is vulnerable?
While anyone can contract the Zika virus, those who spend a lot of time outdoors are of course at a slightly greater risk. Pregnant women and campers should be especially cautious of the Zika virus, as it can cause very serious negative birth outcomes as well as birth defects of the brain.

How does it spread?
The Zika virus is typically spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes normally lay their eggs in and near standing water. They also occupy shady areas, like wooded campgrounds and shaded campgrounds. They will also come out at night, so be sure to prepare yourself if you are tent camping.

Where is Zika now?
Currently, no one in the U.S. has been locally infected by the virus. Check your local news station for outbreaks and warnings. However, do not live in fear of Zika. Regardless of where you are, it’s important to take precautionary measures.

How do I protect myself.
Stocking up on permethrin and EPA approved bug repellent sprays is one of the biggest and best lines of defense. Spray your clothing in permethrin and let it sit overnight. Additionally, cover exposed areas of your body with Deet. If possible, try to wear long sleeves.

There’s no family vacation like a family camping vacation. That being said, don’t be afraid to get out there and enjoy yourself. With education and awareness, it’s possible to protect yourself from Zika and have a good time.

3 Essential Survival Trips For Your Inaugural Summer Camping Trip

May 25, 2016

As summer rapidly approaches, families across America are gearing up and getting ready for their first weekend camping trip of the summer. After all, family camping vacations are one of the most popular vacation choices for Americans; in 2011 alone, Americans spent a total of 534.9 million days camping! That’s a whole lot of smores!

And while camping can provide ample opportunities to bond with nature and loved ones, a weekend trip can easily be spoiled by a lack of foresight and poor planning. Even when cabin camping, you’re still forced to confront the downsides of nature every now and again — especially when you consider that 82% of those who are cabin camping spend one to two nights outside.

In order to ensure that you have the most optimal, enjoyable, and as safe of a time camping as possible, be sure to follow these three survival tips for your next summer camping trip:

Pack for all temperatures.
Even if the forecast looks warm on the particular weekend of your family vacation, do not neglect to bring clothing suitable for a range of temperatures. Your best bet is dressing in layers and having convertible clothing on hand.

Prepare for Zika (and other pest prevention)
With the Zika virus working its way across the country, it’s imperative that families — pregnant women especially — protect themselves. Dress in long sleeves when possible and equip yourself with an effective bug/mosquito repellent such as Deet. If camping in a tent, take care to invest in mosquito nets.

Protect your family and your food.
Wildlife that’s privy to your family’s food supply are not only a pain, but a real danger. Be mindful when munching on snacks, being sure to always seal them securely. If possible, keep items that give off a strong scent in your car.

Recent surveys show that campers are planning as many as 4.3 camping family vacations this very year. By Following these three safety tips, you and your family are guaranteed to have a fun and safe time.

Tips For Family Vacation Camping

May 23, 2016

Camping is a time honored tradition, especially for families. Indeed, family camping vacations are one of the most popular choices for Americans, with families spending about 534.9 million days camping altogether in 2011. Camping is a formative experience for many young people, especially for those who don’t get the chance to experience much of nature in their homes. Among current camping participants, 85% took their first trip between birth and the ages of 15 — after 15, chances of being introduced to camping were small. In order to foster an appreciation and respect for the great outdoors, many families choose to camp with their children during vacation times.

Of course, camping can also be labor intensive, especially with kids in tow. Check out how to make your family vacation camping trip a little for relaxing for everyone:

    • Food Prep: Make your vacation feel more like a vacation by doing as much food prep before hand as possible, while you have a sink, cutting boards, and space at your disposal. Marinate meat, prepare kebabs, pack sandwiches, and chop vegetables with dip. Don’t forget the watermelon.

 

    • Come Prepared for Rainy Days: Even though you may be all geared up for some summer outdoor fun, rain happens, and when it does, it is best to have activities planned so the little ones (and their parents) don’t go tent-crazy. Bring board games, coloring supplies, and books to pass the time until the sun shines again.

 

    • Take Advantage of the Ranger Stations: The ranger stations or visitors centers at parks are chock-full of untapped resources for camping families. During busy seasons, rangers will often hold learning sessions and nature activities for kids. Plus, they’ll provide maps, interesting facts, wildlife identification checklists, and suggestions for activities to do together.

Camping has a high rate of return for a reason — 99% of camping participants said they were “likely” or “very likely” to camp next year, according to the 2014 American Camping Report. Whether you and your family go cabin camping or tent camping, tenting or family cabin camping provides a valuable chance for families and groups to spend time in nature, take a break from work or school, and spend your family vacation together with those who matter the most.

5 Easy Ways to Personalize Your RV

May 20, 2016

Many new RVs are decorated in a neutral color palette, making it simple to add your own personal style highlights. But where do you start? We recommend some easy and affordable additions that will make your RV truly feel like a home away from home.

  1. Pick a single pop or highlight color and then use it throughout the RV. Choose a color that you love and one that blends with the textiles already in the RV. Maybe blues help you feel relaxed and peaceful. Or perhaps reds bring you excitement and energy. Whatever highlight color you decide on, use it in every room to make the space feel roomier and unified.
  2. Splurge on bedding. A good night’s sleep is so important when traveling in your RV, so don’t overlook the bedroom. A mattress topper, quality sheets, and a fluffy comforter will make sure you get your beauty rest, even when you are on the road.
  3. Add some pillows and throw blankets. Using your chosen highlight color, find some patterned throw pillows for the couch and dinette. A couple of cozy throw blankets will also go a long way to making your RV feel like your own personal happy place.
  4. Put up some custom wall hangings. You do not have to put any holes in your RV walls to display treasured family photos or collected prints. Adhesive squares and sticky Velcro will hold up great if attached properly. Some RVers create a feature wall by framing and hanging postcards from their travels.
  5. Only introduce items you love. A new RV is clutter free, and keeping it that way will ensure that you enjoy all the time you spend in your home on wheels. Choose every item that you add with care, and at the end of every trip, remove items you didn’t use.

Your RV is your home away from home, and you can to feel as comfortable and relaxed while traveling as you do in your sticks and bricks. These five tips will help you personalize your RV in a simple and affordable way so you can focus on the fun part…the amazing adventures ahead.

 

Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the co hosts of the weekly RV Family Travel Atlas and Campground of the Week podcasts, as well as the creators of the RVFTA Podcast Network. They are also the authors of The Idiots Guide to RV Vacations and the Acadia National Park Adventure Guide. After buying their very first pop up camper six years ago, Jeremy and Stephanie caught the RV bug in a big way, and now spend over 70 nights a year in their travel trailer with their three sons, Theo, Max, and Wes, and sweet Maggie the pup. You can follow along on their adventures (and misadventures) at rvfamilytravelatlas.com.

Tips for Finding the Right Campsite For Your Family

May 17, 2016

Family camping trips are some of the most fulfilling, affordable, and rewarding ways to travel with a family. With various levels of camping amenities, and throughout many seasons, spending some time in nature is truly a great way to unplug and reflect, together. Indeed, it can also spark a family tradition — 12% of adult campers first went camping with their immediate families.

The first step of any camping trip is deciding on a location. Campers across the board spent an average of 14.9 days camping, meaning that the location you choose for your summer camping trips should be optimal for the length of time you stay there.

Consider the Accommodations

Campgrounds come in many different shapes and sizes and have varying degrees of accommodations. Some families prefer to rent a cabin and go cabin camping while others enjoy tent camping. Still more have RVs, which are especially convenient when the campsite has full hookups, providing electricity, gas, and waste disposal. Consider the needs of your family and your camping choices when looking at different campgrounds.

What Kind of Nature do You Like?

Some families dedicate themselves to climbing all of New York State’s 46 highest peaks while others prefer tumbling over boulders in the beautiful desert of Texas. Some families specifically camp to experience a destination like the Grand Canyon of Arizona or the Badlands of South Dakota. What kind of nature are you set on experiencing?

Accessibility

Do you want to be fully immersed in a state or national park, or would you like easier access to certain amenities? For family camping, it can be nice to have all of the advantages of a scenic campground, but be able to run to a store for emergency supplies. For more seasoned families with older children, a more isolated campground with fewer amenities might make it easier to embark upon serious hikes and explorations.

Whether you choose summer camping trips or autumn camping trips, make sure to choose a memorable and practical camping ground! If you find the perfect spot, don’t let distance deter you — many campers travel an average distance of 186.7 miles for a camping trip. Let the search begin!

FIND A PARK NEAR YOU