One of our more popular posts from a couple weeks ago was - Camping Hacks 101 - I wanted to revisit this topic and give you a few more camping tricks, tips and ideas. We're all looking for small ways to save money, be more green & efficient and to make the most out of our adventures. Here are five more of my favorite camping tricks - from selecting the perfect campsite to keeping your food items cold for days on end using dry ice... MYT wants to teach you a thing or two for your next camping trip.
1. The Dry Ice Hack
-Most semi experienced campers or outdoors men understand how to use dry ice > just having normal ice inside your cooler. Dry ice is the most efficient way to keep your food cold for just a few day camping trip to an entire week on the road living out of a cooler. First be aware there are some risks associated with using dry ice - handle carefully, I use garden gloves to rearrange to cooler when messing with dry ice - it will burn your hands if it directly touches your skin - so avoid this if your going to use it. Here are my recommendations for how much dry ice to purchase and normal ice to bring depending on the duration of your trip:
1 NIGHT CAMP TRIP = 1-2 lbs max of dry ice, plus 3 small bags of fridge ice
2-4 NIGHT CAMP TRIP = 3-5 lbs dry ice, plus 1 large bag of ice
5-8 NIGHT CAMP TRIP = 5-10 lbs dry ice, plus 1 large bag of ice
-Ask the person selling you the dry ice if there is a brochure on safely handling and using it - its important that you pack your cooler properly or the dry ice will not function how it's supposed to. Here's what I suggest - dry ice should be the first thing in the bottom of the cooler but leave the dry ice in a brown paper bag and in its' plastic bag but use scissors to carefully cut holes in both the plastic bag and the brown bag. The dry ice will keep your normal ice cold as long as you have a barrier in between the two - such as a brown paper bag, card board, etc. Next stack additional bags of wet ice on top of the dry ice (NOTE: DO NOT PLACE FOOD OR BEERS RIGHT ON DRY ICE - they will freeze). The dry ice will continue to freeze your normal ice creating a mobile fridge until your dry ice melts away - this system typically works very well for me from super warm Utah conditions to Colorado's alpine forests. My food has never gone bad - and the dry ice keeps the cooler neat and organized in comparison to all your food floating around in ice water. Give this a try next time, you'll be pleased with the results and you'll never waste money on bags of ice again.
2. Locate the areas' visitor center
-Sometimes when I arrive in a new area I find myself very capable of setting up on my own, finding the points of interest and adventuring around without any help. On a recent trip we took to the Blue Mesa Reservoir we had about ten different camp sites to choose from leaving me feeling very overwhelmed, confused and unsure of where to begin. Many National Parks are equipped with visitor centers (if it's nearby and makes sense) try and locate the visitor center if you find yourself stuck - the rangers in here will have the best suggestions for their favorite hikes, camp sites, walk-in camp grounds, camp ground near the lake or camping in the deep woods. Utilize these resources to experience and take advantage of capturing the most on your adventures.
3. Picking the Perfect Campsite
-Now picking a campsite can be very different person to person, and mostly based on your camping load out: will you be car camping? backpacking? or RVing? ...each very different styles of enjoying the outdoors so pick your campsite based on the needs of your family, camp gear and adventures planned. For instance I am a photographer so when I first pull up to any camp site I check view above for night photography, I check for animal activity near the camp site and prefer to be near a creek, lake or water and usually plant our tent under some bushy tree coverage. Know your in the wrong place if you pull up to tent camp and all your neighbors have RVs - there's probably a reason, that area might not be fit for tent camping so check with the visitor center or find a place where you see other tent campers. Always evaluate the drive-in distance to your campsite and never let the car's tank go below half - you never know what kind of weather may force you into the car for an hour or an entire night. This has happened to us countless times so some good luck and beautiful weather never hurt to set off the perfect camp site - don't forget you can't control the weather so try and enjoy mother nature no matter what she throws at you. While camping near Lake Powell, Utah a massive hail storm came in and leveled out camp site - collapsing tents and soaking everything we had just set up. This trip ended up being one of the best trips of my life, but we had to weather a few storms to understand the power of this beautiful lake. Remember storms typically pass, and sleeping bags, blankets, pillows will out dry out in the sunshine. Stay positive when your out there~ and keep yourself safe by pulling out of an adventure when the conditions seem to adverse to stick around - know when to leave.
4. Camping amenity: iPod & portable Mini Speakers
When staying sane out in the wilderness its important to equip yourself with some amenities that will make you feel at home - like music. Nothing is better than some simple tunes out in the middle of the woods, so bring along a charged up iPod loaded with music (don't plan on streaming anything) and some bumping portable (potentially weather proof) speakers. Be respectful of your campgrounds quiet hours but most sites won't bother you if you just have some simple background music playing. You can even download some of our travel mixes from our sound cloud page by clicking here - and then load the files onto your ipod! Be sure to bring along a few small amenities that will make you feel at home when your out camping amongst the wild, its important to stay comfortable while out adventuring. Lil_E and I love to bring our hammock along, perfect for afternoon naps, and camp fire hangs - what's your favorite camping amenity?! Leave us a comment below we would love to bring it with us on our next trip. Thanks for reading, until next time~