Posts Tagged ‘camping’
Hi Rob & Cari!
I got back from Louisiana on Sunday. I still think I’m recovering from the drive and long week of fishing!
I met my friend Patrick Spencer in Tucson April 18th and we hit the road running! With 2 boats in tow to the Red River, we were both excited to get there. So much so, that we drove a straight 20 hours. We finally made a stop in Lindale, TX, just east of Dallas, to sleep for a few hours in the camper. It was so great to be able to crawl into a full sized bed at a moments notice!
Our campers love the spring snow!
By Darren Bush
My generation (nearly 50 years old) had an extensive range from home base. We’d disappear for a day. No helicopter parents, no cell phones. If we crashed our bikes, we fixed them as best we could and limped home. I took a nice digger five miles from home (I still have the scar on my chin), used a t-shirt as a bandage, and a Good Samaritan took me home, and from there to the emergency room. I got 25 stitches and ate small things for a few days. I picked gravel out of my chin for years after that.
The truth is that the world is no more dangerous than it was 40 years ago, but 24-hour news channels have tricked us into thinking that if a kid spends more than half an hour outside, he’ll be eaten by a puma. Lightning strikes every kid who steps in a puddle. A laceration will lead to a flesh-eating bacteria. CNN says it. It must be true.
Our family is bucking a trend. Maybe it’s because we don’t have cable and find CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the Home Shopping Network a waste of electrons. If given a chance between outside and inside, both my kids will choose outside irrespective of conditions. They know there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. Since my kids have been dirt moles and water rats since they could sit up and hold their own weight, I am often asked, “When is the best time to start taking kids on outdoor excursions?”
My answer is always the same: on the way home from the birthing center. We owe it to our kids…heck, we owe it to all kids to get them outside. Television has its place, but it is hardly an active, manly pursuit. If the only injury children experience is repetitive motion syndrome from playing X-Box, our species is doomed. We owe them scratches and scrapes, summits and snakes, sunburns and sunsets. We owe them an authentic life.
Kids are not little adults. Their needs are very different, and if you want to enjoy your time with kids, pay attention. There are five things I tell people when they ask about taking kids camping or hiking or paddling:
- They get cold faster.
- They get hot faster.
- They get hungry faster.
- They get bored faster.
- They want to be helpful.
Note #1: For the sake of ease of writing I’ll talk about kids as if they are your own. However, this information is as good for uncles, grandfathers, and other role models.
Note #2: Many of the same rules apply to taking babies camping, but we’ll tackle that situation separately down the road.
They get cold faster. It’s simple thermodynamics. Little bodies lose heat faster than big ones. They get cold before you do, so don’t assume because you’re not cold that your little ones aren’t either. This is especially true in cases where you’re active (paddling a canoe or what have you, generating heat) and they aren’t (sitting in the canoe, shivering).
The solution is easy. Take more clothing than you think necessary. Because their clothes are smaller, it’s no big deal, and after a certain age (around six for our kids) they started carrying a lot of their own clothes and gear.
The first line of defense is good outerwear. Make sure it fits: boots, raingear, hats, gloves, etc. The difference between a good raincoat and a poncho is not worth it, especially when you have a wet and tired and hungry five-year-old. Suddenly the extra $25 seems like a bargain. Rain hats are particularly important. Keeping little noggins dry goes a long way in keeping them warm.
Layer them up. Fleece is great, but a good wool sweater will work as well. A warm head is a happy head, so wool or fleece caps are great even under a rain hat.
It’s true that many kids outgrow their clothing before it wears out. Take the sting out of it by starting a kid’s clothing swap with other outdoor friends. Sometimes local outdoor stores will provide a venue for such trade.
For non-clothing items, you can tweak things a bit. An adult sleeping bag will work fine for a kid if you use a piece of webbing to tie off the bottom of the sleeping bag so their little bodies don’t have to heat up the whole bag. It works fine. Down bags are generally less desirable for little ones who may still lack bladder control. Synthetics have come a long way.
They get hot faster. Of course they do. Keeping kids comfortable in the heat is just as important as keeping them warm. Again, you may not notice because you’re not hot. A red flushed complexion is a good sign things are toasty. Make use of evaporative cooling. A baseball cap dipped in water can cool them off quickly, and a wet bandana around the neck is helpful too.
Long-sleeve nylon wind shirts are wonderful for everyone. They keep off the sun but allow air to move freely. A wind shirt is one of my key pieces of gear for paddling, hiking, or backpacking.
It goes without saying that many adults forget to apply (or reapply) sunscreen. If you forget, chances are it’s not even on your kid’s radar. Make it a point to reapply every hour, even if it’s just a touch-up. Let the kids be in charge of watching the clock. A bad sunburn can ruin a trip in an hour. Prevention is the best cure.
They get hungry faster. That’s probably not exactly true, but it is a fact that my kids would not tolerate hunger as well as we did. Rather than three squares a day, count on feeding them snacks throughout the day as well as good sized portions at breakfast and dinner. You will be shocked at how many pancakes a hungry twelve year-old can wolf down after a few days of outdoor life.
Keeping high-energy snacks handy is critical and can help avoid meltdowns. Gummi worms worked for our kids, with the added benefit that we got to chug a few once in awhile. Granola bars, GORP, etc. are best packaged in small baggies to be dealt out as needed. Bonus: the kids can help prepare it before the trip.
This is not the time to withhold calories. If your kid is overweight, don’t use the outdoors as an amateur fat camp. They’ll resent you and hate the outdoors. Feed ‘em lots of good fat and carbohydrate-rich foods. They’ll burn it off with activity, plus their bodies burn more in general to keep their temperature regulated when there’s no thermostat.
They get bored faster. This is especially true with passive activities when they’re younger, like sitting in a canoe while Mom and Dad do all the work. Again, they’re not little adults, and I’ve seen adults who are unable to grasp the opportunity to observe the world around them.
Be fair; don’t expect a kid to have the attention span of an average adult. Darren’s Rule is that for every year of age, a child can stand about 15 minutes of an activity before they need a change. It has worked every time. Just a few weeks ago I took some friends for a little river paddle with their kids, eight and ten. After two hours, the eight year-old started poking the ten year-old, almost to the minute. A half-hour later the ten-year-old wanted blood. We stopped, did something else for a while (chased dragonflies on shore) and we were able to continue. No problem.
For base camp, coloring books, plain white notebooks and crayons and colored pencils are great. After a certain age, kids can whittle, which seems to captivate all kids, even 49-year-old kids. Another sure-fire winner is an old fashioned game of mumbley peg. A good book or two is essential for my kids. A portable cribbage board is essential for our family.
We have some family games that help a lot. When Daughter 1.0 was about four we took her to the north woods for a week in a canoe. She was great, but a little fidgety after a few hours so we played Cash for Critters. A squirrel was a nickel, a gray jay or loon was a dime, a moose a quarter, and a dollar for a bear. This kept her busy for hours, she saw things we’d miss, and it cost me, if memory serves, $1.85. It’s not really about the money; that’s just a tally mechanism. You can use jelly beans if you want to. The point is to give them a goal. Wildlife Bingo. Tree Bingo. Alphabet games. Anything to stimulate their minds.
We also sing. Voyageurs used songs to keep in cadence when paddling together. We use “great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts…” We tried to make additional verses. Even the kids took it to PG-13 quite quickly, so it’s back to gopher guts.
They want to be helpful. Our kids were always helpful in camp because they had assignments that were age appropriate. At four, a kid can collect twigs for tinder; at six, pump a water filter. At eight, they can help start the fire, and at ten they can start the fire themselves. At twelve they help with dinner; by fourteen they’re cooking dinner.
Kids want to be useful. Resist the temptation to do everything because it’s faster. Hey, Einstein, if you are in such a hurry, why are you camping? Put your Blackberry away and be present. Here’s a chance to coach. It’s pretty cool to see a ten-year-old lift the lid on a Dutch oven to see his first cobbler.
About Safety and Risk
Taking these axioms and applying them without an eye toward safety is foolhardy. Clearly, you want to pay attention to safety, but realize that there is inherent risk in outdoor activities. The key is to minimize risk through education.
If you are going more than a 9-1-1 call from help, you’ll want some training. Wilderness First Aid (WFA) is a weekend course designed to give you a basic understanding of dealing with injuries and other mishaps that happen outside. If you’re hard core, the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is an eight-day comprehensive course that teaches you how to provide some pretty serious aid while waiting for the professionals. If you’re an EMT, there is specialized training for you to fill in the gaps when it comes to wilderness.
I still hear from people who question my sanity about taking my kids into wilderness areas. I have had people question my sanity for much better reasons than that. My response is that I minimize risk through planning, education and keeping my wits about me. I also tell them that the risks of not taking my kids to the rivers and woods are far higher than if I take them. They may be more physically safe sitting in front of a big screen playing Wilderness Bear Assault III, but their souls are shriveling on the vine.
Risk cannot be eliminated, but it can be managed. Only a foolish man faces the wilderness with a pocket knife, a piece of twine, and a can-do attitude. A wise man educates himself, teaches others, and shares his knowledge generously and graciously. After all, he had a mentor who taught him his skills. It is gentlemanly to pass them on to the next generation. A man who teaches children has a legacy that may stretch generations.
What are you tips for camping with kids? Share them with us in the comments!
Kistner Partners with Phoenix Pop Up Campers!
Former collegiate angler and founder of the Arizona State University Bass Fishing team, Mitch Kistner, will be partnering with Denver based company, Phoenix Pop Up Campers.
Kistner will be competing in the 2013 Bassmaster Central Opens with his lodging strapped to his truck. Having traveled thousands of miles to and from Arizona to the southern United States each season, Kistner knows the importance of comfortable and convenient accommodations while on the road.
“I am so excited to be partnering with Phoenix Pop Ups. Having a custom built pop up camper with all the amenities of home on the road with me, will give me one less thing to worry about while competing. I can simply pull over, grab a nap, and continue on to the event. Not to mention, it will save me hundreds of dollars each tournament in hotel costs alone,” Kistner stated. “For months I have been communicating with Rob & Cari (the owners of Phoenix Pop Ups) and they have been extremely helpful. They have made the whole process effortless. Knowing that the people behind the company are such great people and share the same love of the outdoors as I do, truly makes this partnership special…and I will always have a lakeside view!” Kistner points out.
Cari Rowe, Co Owner of Phoenix Pop Ups, had this to say about the new relationship, ” Rob and I are very excited to have partnered up with Bassmaster Open’s angler Mitch Kistner! Mitch is the quintessential customer. He will be able to utilize his new “Home Away from Home” for relaxing and entertaining after long days of being out on the water doing what he enjoys! We are looking forward to a long relationship with Mitch and wish him luck this up coming tournament season!”
The 2013 Bassmaster Central Opens has stops in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.
Phoenix Pop Up Campers is located in Commerce City, Colorado, just outside of Denver. They specialize in custom built, light weight pop up campers for many types of vehicles. Dry, the campers only weigh 1,000-1,500 lbs.
To follow Kistner on the Open Series, check outwww.facebook.com/MitchKistnerFishing.
Yes, you read it right. We were contacted by a prospective customer who asked if we could build a camper to fit his 6’9″ height in both the pop up height and bed length, and of course we answered YES! Of course we can! So we proceeded to build a Custom Pop up Camper for this very nice gentleman who we had only communicated with via email and over the phone. We knew his name was Nate, he currently resides in MA and was originally from right here in CO, and that he would be happy to pick up the camper out here while spending some time seeing family and friends.
When he came to pick up his camper, Nate was happy to fit into his own camper and stand up straight without hitting his head and sleep without his feet hanging over the end of the bed. We however were excited when we realized that he is the Nate Solder, 2011 first round draft pick from CU, Offensive Tackle for the New England Patriots! Nate is truly one of the most humble down to earth people I have ever met!
We are so happy we are here to be able to fill that little niche that folks need when it comes to customizing their camper to fit their own individual needs!
Are you looking for a place to go boating, caving, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, or viewing wildlife? These are just some of the activities you can search by on wildernet.com - your guide to “everything outdoors.”
Select a state and you will see the “destination locator map” sort by National Forests and Parks, Reservoirs, Scenic Byways, State Park, Historic Sites and more!
Wildernet offers valuable and useful information to read before your next visit. Check it out!
High gas prices do not have to be an issue for Pop Up Campers. If are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, this is the “greenest” camper on the market. Perfect for those cross county bike trips – whenever you get tired from hauling your camper, pull over for a nap!
Are you looking to visit great camping spots here in Colorado? Check out Family Camping in Colorado!
This is a great blog that shares locations and tips about Colorado camping. Camp often, camp once in a while, or camp at least once in your life! You may just love it.
We had the privilege of building a camper/mobile studio for one of the most renown Nature and Wildlife Artist of our day Mr Jack Paluh. Jacks art work can be found in many magazines, on calendars and enjoyed by millions including in our home and office. Check out his fantastic work for your self at www.jackpaluh.com or www.palihoriginals.com. Enjoy
If you have been following Meg and Jed on their amazing Pan Am trip and you are anything like me, you can’t wait to see all of the fun exciting adventures and people they are getting to meet in their travels!
Day 2 here at the Overland Expo and we have had a very successful and fun time so far and there is still another day to go! SO many awesome vehicles, supplies and wonderful people! Tonight we will join our friends with Equipt Expedition Outfitters at their space of an “End of the World” Party. Tomorrow we install the camper we brought to the show on to its new home a Toyota Tacoma! Take a look at pictures of all the fun
Meg and Jed have made there way into the Baja as their adventure continues! Follow their exciting experiences as they travel from Wyoming to South America in their Toyota Tacoma with a Phoenix Pop up Camper… http://adventureamericas.wordpress.com/author/adventureamericas/
- Phoenix Pop Up
- Phone: 303.286.3921
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: 866.496.0094
- 8095 Oneida Street #4
- Denver, CO 80022