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Old 04-05-2013, 05:56 AM   #1
Queen OP
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Camping Tips and Tricks

Thought I'd stop cluttering the "Little Camper" thread and see if we could put the tips and tricks in an easy to find place.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:57 AM   #2
Queen OP
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First up, the answer to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen View Post
So, without reading through a bajillion pages of this thread... anyone have a link to some good packing tips for campers? Seems like there are a hundred things to pack and a list would be helpful.

From Hannda:
Just like having a vacation condo . . . only smaller.

I would think:
dishes - Corelle Ware dishes are cheap, lightweight and break/chip resistant - better than regular dishes
flatware
cooking utensils
pots/pans
coffee/tea pot - for use on the stove for when there's no electric
splash guard if you're into bacon
Dawn dish soap
sponge, wash rag, etc
linens
bath consumables - tp, shampoo, soap, medicine cabinet must haves
sun screen
bug spray/repellent, etc - maybe citronella candle for outside at night
paper towels
large plastic wash tub if you only have a single bowl sink
(assume something large enough to wash dishes in)
extra pillows, blankets, etc - for guests or when it's just cold
broom & dustpan
(dishwashing wash tub can double for clean up duties)
a couple of those blue 7gal water jugs if you're going to be doing any boondocking
toilet/black water tank chemicals
spare water hose - water supply hose (and maybe a water filter)
at least two lawn chairs - you'll be spending more time outside than in
small parson's table for outside for drinks, nosh, etc.
BBQ length cigarette lighter - just in case there's a problem with your stove's igniter
you'll probably want to add a second battery to the power system - they typically only come with one
small BBQ - easiest to get the ones that take the little propane bottles - for outdoor cooking
maybe even a small propane - camping style - cook stove for outdoor cooking
cooler/ice chest to augment the fridge and for outdoor use
small ac/dc inverter if your trailer doesn't already have one, so you can charge laptops, iPads, iPods, e-readers, etc.
lots of folks like to take a section of "astro turf" type stuff for outside the front door to keep from tracking in dirt and walking on gravel in bare feet

One other item. If you're going to be gone for any extended periods, lots of books take up space and add weight. That's why if you each had a Nook or a Kindle (e-reader of any description) it would be nice. Storage, and shifting of loads during travel, ceases to be an issue this way.

heavy duty extension cord
shower shoes or flip flops
headlamp(s)
carefully edited list of inmates that will loan you bikes and gear.

Edit:
I'll augment this list here if/when anything else comes to mind.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:00 AM   #3
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Another great one from Hannda:

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Originally Posted by Hannda View Post
If your camper has a 110v outlet in the wall, like you have at home, then it already has an inverter built into it. You have that, you're good to go. I mentioned it only as some of the smaller, lighter weight units don't come with them.

You might like a few of these as well:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Coleman-1...1#.UV2ao5Ozd2A

And/or a small Honda generator. I believe even just this one small unit will run your a/c.
http://powerequipment.honda.com/gene...models/eu2000i

Light weight, quite and will charge your batteries or let you do about anything else you'd want to do in your new camper. Including running the a/c.

One more thing. A heavy gauge extension cord, at least 50'. Sometimes you're at campgrounds, sometimes you're boondocking. But on your trips there's a good chance you'll be beached in inmates driveways and side yards. Being able to get 110 power from the house would be helpful. Especially on hot and humid nights when the a/c is necessary. Why run your generator when you can top off your batteries and run the entire camper for $1.00/day in juice off someone's home? I won't charge you and I'm sure we've got enough hose to top off your fresh water tank.





Last thing. It wouldn't hurt to take, at a minimum, your helmets. You never know when you'll be someplace where there are a couple of Sherpas you could borrow for the day.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:02 AM   #4
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Several more great tips. Keep 'em coming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilClown View Post
A mini Weber you can connect to the propane is handy. Everything from pizza, nachos to steaks.



We hook ours right to the rig's tanks. Set it up on one of these from Coleman as they pack small.



Then there's the dark side of RVing...



So you know.





You'll soon learn that it's like outfitting a second home - largely because it is. Good times, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonestar2112 View Post
I would add, maintenance meds (7 day supply) in case you forget when leaving the house
Build a med kit that fits your activites and keep it in the trailer. Date it on the outside. Blue tape with month/yr is sufficient. Change out meds yearly.

I ended up dumping the dishes and went with paper plates and bowls.
Add spices that are your mainstay. I cook ribs, burgers (red meat) when I camp. So I have spices that go well with that.
If items in the trailer are time sensitive, find a spot and write down the date of the items, again blue tape works very well. The inside of a compartment drawer is perfect. Example, trailer tires are time sensitive not mileage senstive. I changed mine every 3 years. You will find a bunch of discussion about this, (just like opinions about oil, etc)
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilClown View Post
Don't think it's been mentioned yet but pack stuff to change a tire or four - a spare with air (I know that sounds obvious but you'd be surprised), tire iron and a jack.

With tandem axles these work pretty good in place of a jack assuming your situation allows it.



Stack them up in any configuration you can to ride the good tire up on lifting the flat tire off the ground to remove/reinstall a good one.

They're also handy for leveling the camper while setting up. Wooden blocks do as well but don't stay in place as well if using for pitstop tire changes.

Pack a tire gage. Be religious about checking them before hitting the road heading out and heading home. A method to inflate one wouldn't hurt.

We were fortunate enough to learn of Carlisle Tire's 'bad run' of rubber a few years back. You can't get off the road fast enough when you're watching 4-5 feet of rubber flop around and beat the heck out of your camper with each revolution.

Had more than one flat before we learned what the story was but in the process we got the 'trailer tire religion' from our tire guy - check them each and every time before towing.


One more tip - store the keys to anything you take camping (camper, roof rack, trailer hitch mount, etc) in the glove box of your tow rig. That way you'll always have them where you need them.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:19 AM   #5
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A little pyro-technic trick for when you're all drinking and got the campfire going.

Get a screw cap beer bottle, and fill it about 1/5 with coleman fuel or some high powered hooch like moonshine.

Screw the cap on tight, and use a knife to make a pea-sized round hole in the cap.

Build a small shelf in your fire, and set the bottle on top of it pointing at the sky.

You'll see the liquid start to boil and eventually the fumes coming out the top will ignite and make a sweet ass afterburner shooting up in the sky. I've gotten rocket flames about 10-12' high before and sustain for up to five minutes. The noise it makes is pretty incredible too.

DISCLAIMER - don't do this because if it explodes and kills someone it's your fault ya dumbass.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:37 AM   #6
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Tip - buy the best equipment that you can afford. Err on the side of packing smaller for motorcycles. Failure of equipment on the road suck. If you can, borrow equipment for your first couple trips. This will help you figure out what YOU need to be comfortable. I went thru 7-8 tents before getting what works for me, a three man, three season ALPS Mountaineering Chaos 3.

Finding campsites -

www.recreation.gov handles all the Army Corp. of Engineers sites
www.koa.com expensive, but all the comforts of home
www.woodalls.com mostly private sites with a wide range of prices.
http://www.stealthcamp.com/tips Stealth camping tips

Good camping equipment sites -

www.campmor.com
www.rei.com
www.gandermountain.com
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:57 AM   #7
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Shelter. You want a place to sit, out of the wind, or rain, or whatever. At a minimum a wing tarp, maximum a full on screen tent. I hate screen tents, they are hard to get in and out of. I am whiter than a vampire drama, and I need me some shade.

I like a simple wing tarp. set it up with a couple of poles (sold separately ) or just tie off to trees if you have them. 9x9, 12x12. whatever you want. Light, small, and you can put one end low to cut down on wind.

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Old 04-05-2013, 08:33 AM   #8
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Shovel
Maul for splitting wood
Small hatchet
Machete
Ant and roach bug spray
Spare batteries for flashlights, etc.

Thanks,

David
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:42 AM   #9
High Country Herb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CousinLarry View Post
A little pyro-technic trick for when you're all drinking and got the campfire going.

Get a screw cap beer bottle, and fill it about 1/5 with coleman fuel or some high powered hooch like moonshine.

Screw the cap on tight, and use a knife to make a pea-sized round hole in the cap.

Build a small shelf in your fire, and set the bottle on top of it pointing at the sky.

You'll see the liquid start to boil and eventually the fumes coming out the top will ignite and make a sweet ass afterburner shooting up in the sky. I've gotten rocket flames about 10-12' high before and sustain for up to five minutes. The noise it makes is pretty incredible too.

DISCLAIMER - don't do this because if it explodes and kills someone it's your fault ya dumbass.
I used to do this, but without the hole in the cap, and using 1" of water instead of fuel. It will blow like an M-80.

The last time I did it, I threw it in the fire telling everyone what was going to happen. Another friend showed up, and I told him too. I even said "You better stand back, because that thing is about to blow." Less than 10 seconds after I finished my sentence, it did just that. He got all butt-hurt. WTF, dude, do you not understand English? I don't do it any more...

Now I have a replacement stunt!
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:08 AM   #10
tony the tiger
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Cool2 Packing tip

Put a pair of reading glasses in the cupboard somewhere...

Get one of those indoor/outdoor carpets to keep the pine needles and dirt out of the trailer - and put down an old towel or two inside for easy clean-up of the ones that get carried in anyways (just pick it up and shake it outside).

Use a cordless drill with socket to raise and lower leveling jacks instead of the handcrank that comes with your rig - don't forget to bring the charger when you go camping.

Harbor Freight for a quick & easy way to align the tow hitch and ball when backing http://www.harborfreight.com/magneti...kit-95684.html but then, that's okay, right?

Depending on where you end-up camping, hand-held radio for your ground guide to driver comms helps avoid the hassle of getting into that tight parking spot - and ruins the show for other campers watching the entertainment
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:17 AM   #11
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I'm going to give one of these a try:

http://www.iballhitchcam.com/
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony the tiger View Post
Harbor Freight for a quick & easy way to align the tow hitch and ball when backing http://www.harborfreight.com/magneti...kit-95684.html

Depending on where you end-up camping, hand-held radio for your ground guide to driver comms helps avoid the hassle of getting into that tight parking spot - and ruins the show for other campers watching the entertainment
You must have seen me try to back up to hook up a trailer. That "magnetic balls on sticks" thingy looks great. If I towed anything heavier than my motorcycle trailer, that I can move the last little bit by hand, I'd get that today. Great suggestion on the walkie-talkies as well.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Queen View Post
I'm going to give one of these a try:

http://www.iballhitchcam.com/
Sweet.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannda View Post
Sweet.
The screen is a bit small, but it seems like an excellent solution to the hitching issue. And given that my SO is completely impaired when it comes to giving directions... this could be extremely beneficial.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen View Post
One other item. If you're going to be gone for any extended periods, lots of books take up space and add weight. That's why if you each had a Nook or a Kindle (e-reader of any description) it would be nice. Storage, and shifting of loads during travel, ceases to be an issue this way.

I tend to like minimalist things, but sometimes the analog variety is still best. Not sure how many books you'd be looking to take, but if you're that kind of reader, just take a couple then just stop in various towns and find a used book store to exchange when more are needed. More of an adventure that way!

My one main rule of camping is no electronic entertainment of any kind (Digital cameras are not included with this). My wife and I will take our phones, but they pretty much stay turned off (no texts / emails, etc.). For kids / teens, that means no TV, movies, video games, etc. You can do that crap at home! Camping is about camping.
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