A Camping Primer

For those of you who haven't been camping in awhile, here's a reminder of the kind of things to bring and other help hints:

First off, you're going to be camping in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It's high fashion for camping but it's not a Motel 6 situated next door to a Denny's, so here's what to expect. No toilets bring TP and a shovel. No water, bring water. The desert is a land of extremes (we call this charm) so be prepared for a windy 30 degrees at night with 101% humidity and 100 degrees in the day time with 0% humidity; and be pleasantly surprised when it turn out to be starry sky 50 degrees at night and a sunny 75 degrees in the day with an even 70% humidity. If you want to look like a really serious 4 wheeler, bring a stupid bubba hat. Sunny days at high elevations or out in the desert often add to the charm. Bring sunscreen (SPF 200 if you can find it) and clothing that will keep the sun off. Tank tops and short are great until you can't tell it is getting cold in the evening because you got fried to a crisp during the day. Bring clothing for all seasons.

Beverages and ice bring it and bring it cold. The nearest restaurant doesn't exist! Bring food! The nearest log or rock big enough to sit on is in the restaurant parking lot, so bring a folding chair. Let me introduce you now to the club chef...that's you. Everyone needs to bring what it takes to prepare his or her own food. You can stay real basic with Fritos and Pepsi, but most of us bring a stove, pans, and cooking utensils. Sometimes it gets so charming (windy) that you can't light a stove and then it's back to basics. You thought I was kidding about the Fritos. You need light to cook dinner by, not candles as they may blow out (additional charm at no extra charge), bring a lantern and a flashlight that works.

Speaking of no extra charge, we often camp on BLM land in the middle of nowhere so camping is free! Bring green money for the gift store...oh wait, there is no gift store in the middle of nowhere, but it comes in handy to buy gas. And buy that gas when the rest of the club stops for gas. We ALWAYS stop at a place we call "Last Gas" to top off our tanks.

We do this just before leaving pavement behind and any hope that the Auto Club will come to your rescue if you forget to top off your tank. Last Gas is usually located next door to "Last Ice" and "Last Bag O Fritos." Hint, Hint.

In the evening, we'll sit around the campfire with beverage in hand, chow down, and tell lies, bring a folding chair, food, and cold beverages... Notice we're starting to repeat some of the more critical items.

Camping implies a tent, tent stacks, rain fly, ground tarp, sleeping bag, and sleeping mat, or you can crash in the back seat of your car under a Whiney The Pooh blanket. Personally, I like the tent concept. Bring you tooth brush and other personal sundries, medications, water enough to wash up, and a towel to dry off. Do not bring a blow dryer, curling iron, blender, waffle iron, or other 110VAC appliance unless you are a comedian 'cause we'll laugh at you if you do.

Guns are permitted on BLM land. It is okay to bring them and use them in a responsible manner when we're camping on BLM land, just point them away from me if you want to find your way back to civilization on Sunday night. We do not shoot at critters or varmints. Up to now there has been not need to do this. Bring paper targets, shoot away from camp, and do so a safe distance from camp. Oh yah, and don't start drinking until you are done shooting! Duh.

If you bring your dog, then bring dog food. If you have a junkyard dog, leave it at home in your junkyard. There may be a change in the dinner menu if your dog bites someone (see the reference to guns above). Further, your dog should be trained to come when you call it. We always camp in middle coyotes country, unless we are camping in bear country, which is located right next door to mountain lion country. These frisky critters often come around at night to see if your dog wants to come out and play.

If there's no chance of you having any car trouble or injury, leave the you’re tools and your first aid kit at home. This implies you won't hurt yourself, or your car often enough to matter...fat chance, accidents happen. Bring some tools, spare parts, a tow strap, and Band-Aids. Be prepared for an Indiana Jones adventure and be delighted if it turns out to be a drive in the park.

The rule of thumb is, if you don't bring it you won't have it.