Fun Sleeping Bags for Summer Camp

sleeping bagsSearching for new gear is the best way to make the days until summer camp fly by and sleeping bags are a necessity that can be used all year long.

Starting the moment you arrive at camp, you can use your sleeping bag to brighten up your cabin while also staying warm on your wilderness adventures.

Since your sleeping bag must show off your personal style while also keeping you comfortable, use these ideas to get inspired for bringing a bag that will get you noticed.

Explore Different Textures of Sleeping Bags

Old polyester sleeping bags may be great for parents but luckily kids have more options. Now, you can find faux fur bags that are soft enough to snuggle on top of as you stay up late with your cabin mates telling stories about your day.

Or if fur is not your thing, corduroy, velvet and smooth silk all offer alternatives to turn your bunk into a luxurious sleeping space.

Consider Convertible Sleeping Bags

When you just can’t decide which bag to get, a convertible style expands your options. These bags have an awesome print on both the outer cover and inner liner so that they can be turned inside out whenever you want to change your style.

Many of them also come with zippers that allow for you to attach more than one bag together. Just think of the cabin forts you can make when several of your friends also go for a convertible style.

Show Off Your Wild Side

Wilderness adventures are so much more fun when you pack a sleeping bag in a fun shape. Scare away the wildlife by snuggling into a bear-shaped bag around the campfire. Or add a touch of irony by sleeping in a shark bag. Either way, an animal theme will add an element of fun to every adventure.

At camp, your sleeping bag is one of the most important pieces of gear you bring. Make sure yours is made to survive the wilderness while also brightening up the days by matching your personality.

Whether you’re the type to go bold and bright or prefer something to show off your sense of humor, searching for the right bag gives you another thing to look forward to as you prepare to reunite with your camp friends this summer.

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Cold Weather Camping: How to Stay Warm

cold weather campingCold Weather Camping: Waking up to a sparkly frost-covered landscape transforms summer camping into a magical experience during the winter and nothing can beat snuggling up to an outdoor fire during cold weather. While many families plan camping trips for the summer, they often overlook winter due to concerns about the cold. Yet, the holidays offer tons of time to get outside and enjoy nature. Use these tips to stay warm during cold weather camping, and enjoy the opportunity to teach your kids to see the world from a different perspective.

Start with Your Shelter For Cold Weather Camping

Lightweight tents are preferred during summer when you plan to hike to your camping spot. However, you may need a four-season tent that is designed for snow or freezing conditions if you live in a cold climate. In addition to checking the rating, make sure your tent has a fly that covers the biggest part of the tent and can be secured with stakes in the ground. This will give an extra layer of protection from the wind.

Choose Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

In addition to your tent, you may need to upgrade your sleeping bags. Down is a preferred material for providing good insulation, but you will need to go with synthetic fillings if you will be staying in a moist climate. Your sleeping bags should also be rated for temperatures at least 10 degrees below what you expect for the overnight lows in your camping area.

Dress in Layers

Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothing when you can for cold weather camping. Because cotton tends to retain moisture. It is also important to begin with a base layer such as long johns or leggings beneath your clothing, and add additional layers to stay warm. When sleeping, stick with a base layer, but go ahead and leave off your bulky outerwear since this can interfere with your sleeping bag’s insulating properties. Instead, wear a hat, socks and mittens if necessary to keep your extremities warm.

Staying active will keep you warm during the day, but you will need to carefully prepare your camping equipment to keep you warm during the night. Since most heaters are not safe to use in tents, it is best to focus on putting natural barriers in place between your family and the cold air. While it does take a little extra planning, the effort is worth it when your family enjoys amazing opportunities to explore the beautiful winter landscape.

Expensive vs. Cheap Camping Equipment

camping equipmentCamping offers families a wonderful opportunity to bond while teaching kids how to love the outdoors and respect natural environments. When planning an overnight trip into the wilderness, one of the first things people notice is that there is a huge price difference among different types and brands of camping equipment. While it may be tempting to go for the priciest tent, it is not always necessary or practical financially. As you build up your camping equipment, use these tips to know when to splurge and when to be frugal.

Consider the Purpose of Camping Equipment

Buying the most expensive equipment can backfire when it has a limited purpose. For example, camping bags for kids often have height and weight requirements that render them useless once your child has outgrown it. Alternatively, a huge tent will not be necessary for a family of three. Spend some time thinking about how long you need each piece of equipment to last, and avoid spending too much on items that your family won’t be able to use next season.

Know the Weather Conditions

It is always good to be prepared for anything when you venture outdoors. However, camping in mild climates offers more freedom for choosing your equipment. For example, a lightweight tent and warm weather sleeping bags might be all you need to get through the night. However, cold climates with winter precipitation will make you happy you splurged on the expensive tent and sleep gear.

Check for Quality

Purchasing the highest priced camping equipment does not always mean that you are getting the best. This is because pricier gadgets sometimes sacrifice quality to fit in with the current trends. To avoid falling into this trap, read reviews, inspect store models and research brands before making your purchasing decision. Choosing equipment with multiple purposes is also an effective way to get more use out of your investment. Buying multi-tools and convertible camping cookware allow you to save space and money while still choosing quality gear.

When it comes to protecting your family’s safety or comfort, it is worth it to buy the best equipment you can afford at that time. However, camping is one outdoor activity that offers plenty of flexibility for fitting any budget. By assessing your family’s needs and buying only what is required, you can venture out into the wild with confidence that your camping gear checklist is complete and budget-friendly.

Which Type of Camping Do You Prefer?

campWhile camp mostly calls to mind nights snuggled around a campfire surrounded by moonlit woods, there actually are at least four distinct type of camping. Whether you want to just wake up to some birdsong while still enjoying all the comforts of home or yearn for a journey far into the wilderness, you’ll find all this and everything in between in today’s wonderful world of camping.

Types of Camp

Rustic Camping

Cabin camping, whether you rent or own your own little spot in the forest, puts you in an outdoor setting while you still have the comforts of living inside. There’s a nice sturdy roof over your head in the rain, cozy bedrooms and full kitchen facilities just a step from the glories of the great outdoors. This kind of camping is especially easy if you own your own place, as you won’t need to pack too much. However, staying in a cabin doesn’t carry the back-to-nature cachet of tent camping or backpacking.

Camp Grounds – Tents

From KOA to a myriad of private campgrounds, these camping areas are what many people today think of as camping. You’ll drive up to your campsite in a car loaded with all the week’s necessities and set up camp in a nicely cleared area that may have a picnic table, fire pit or barbecue setup. Campgrounds usually have bathrooms, showers, piped in water and a general store. Amenities vary, but if you do your research, you’ll find whatever you and your family would like in a vacation, including swimming pools, mini-golf, planned events and game rooms. These family-friendly escapes are perfect for groups that want to enjoy nature with little fuss while also having extra activities for the kids.

Camp Grounds – RVs

A step up in comfort from tent camping in an established campground, RV camping lets you sort of bring your home out into the woods with you. RVs range from little portable pop-up campers to full-on multi room mini-mansions, complete with high-definition TVs, air conditioning and fancy kitchens. While this kind of camping does get you a spot in the woods, it does take away some of the closeness to nature experienced in a tent, and you certainly aren’t sleeping (directly) under the stars.

Backpacking Camping

For those who want to really get out there and immerse themselves in nature, backpacking is just the ticket. Backpackers pack up the necessities for the length of their planned excursion, from ultra-light food supplies to tent, sleeping bag, lights and all manner of other clever camping supplies, often heading out into state and national parks. Backpacking is all about hiking, so if you’re planning to go, you’ll need to gauge your itinerary on your basic level of fitness and the terrain. Key elements are a good pair of hiking boots and light, efficient packing.

Horse Camping – Give It a Try!

horse campingCamping has long been a favorite summertime activity among kids and adding horses to the experience creates a new level of excitement. Horseback riding is a cool way to travel the trails and it gives kids a new perspective on spending time in the wilderness. If you have never tried horse camping before, then here are just a few of the benefits you will glean from the experience.

 

Horse Camping: Learn Basic Safety Skills

It is always important to use caution when you are spending time with animals. Horses, although their size can sometimes be intimidating, are very gentle animals provided they are well-trained. It is, however, equally important for kids to learn a few basic safety guidelines that teach them to be respectful around horses. For example, kids will spend time interacting with their horse before their camping trip so that they can learn how to approach, mount and dismount them correctly.

 

Provide Care and Grooming to Horses

 

Learning how to take care of their horse helps kids develop responsibility. Preparing a horse for a saddle, brushing their coat and giving them food and water on the trail are all essential activities of horse camping that help kids form bonds with their animal. In fact, many kids build such a rapport with their horse that they request the same one on future excursions.

 

Extend Your Wilderness Adventures

 

Horseback riding offers opportunities to delve further into the wilderness than it is possible to walk on foot. This is especially true for kids who may not be able to hike some of the longer trails. On a horse camping adventure, kids can enjoy the scenic route and take in breathtaking views such as mountain streams and majestic trees. Since campers can pack in further than they would on foot, a horse camp trip also offers the chance to spend the night at choice locations.

 

Riding atop a horse gives kids a bird’s eye view of the beautiful outdoors and it frees campers from the burden of carrying all of their gear. While horse camping does require a little preparation since it is important to understand animal safety and care, it is the ideal way to enjoy an adventure while forming amazing bonds with the horses and fellow campers.

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