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Backpacker Magazine – June 2011

Summer Camping Secrets: In Camp

From picking the right campsite to stargazing like a pro, these summer camping tips will ensure a restful overnight.

by: Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

(Illustration by Peter Sucheski)
(Illustration by Peter Sucheski)
Poison Ivy (Tim Seaver)
Poison Ivy (Tim Seaver)
Poison Oak (iStockPhoto)
Poison Oak (iStockPhoto)



UNSNAG A TENT ZIPPER
Work the fabric out by pulling it gently parallel to the slider. No luck? Try to move the slider up and down over the snagged area. If damaged zipper coils are the culprit, carefully bend the coils back into shape with the sharp end of a safety pin from your first-aid kit.

MAKE A CAMPFIRE FEEL HOTTER
Hang a space blanket from two trees or trekking poles behind one side of the blaze. It will reflect heat back. Keep the blanket a few feet away from flames to prevent its catching fire.

PREVENT TENT CONDENSATION
You can’t stop breathing, so reduce moisture buildup by maximizing airflow: Crack open one door or window at the top and another at the bottom. Hot air will rise out of the upper vent, and cool air will be drawn into the lower one, explains Nick Cross, a NOLS guide out of Tucson, Arizona. You also can reduce drips by skipping the rainfly on clear-sky nights.

HAVE A PLAN B
Freak weather can wreak havoc on your vacation. Research backup options—e.g. trails in a peak’s rain shadow in case of a weeklong storm. Also, a few days before your trip, ask rangers about current conditions, such as snow levels or water availability.


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READERS COMMENTS

LL
Jul 05, 2012

Everything I have read cautions against using soap!
Urushiol is an oil in poison ivy...and the action of soap is to disperse oil...which means spreading the problem.
You should flush with plain water.

LL
Jul 05, 2012

Everything I have read cautions against using soap!
Urushiol is an oil in poison ivy...and the action of soap is to disperse oil...which means spreading the problem.
You should flush with plain water.

Roland the outdoor man
Jul 29, 2011

To prevent blisters, every night before going to sleep I rub stag fat onto my feet. Highly recommended, as well out on the trail.

bhoodlum
Jul 22, 2011

mikey- sorry but not everyone is an "expert" hiker like yourself and these are all skills the novice might easily forget. But not you, I'm sure. I'm sure by the time you were 12 you already knew everything anyway.

Howard Hudson
Jul 22, 2011

Re: Feet and blisters-
I have also used deodorant to prevent blisters. Rub some on your feet to help keep them dry and it reduces blistering. I have also dusted the inside of my boots with talcum powder for the same effect.

Mikey
Jul 22, 2011

Wow, great stuff. All regurgitated, recycled, reused material and stuff everybody already knows. "Have a plan B." Really? As opposed to JUST having a plan A? What e gem! "To reduce moisture, open a vent." You mean air flow reduces moisture??? Tell me more, Mr. Science! "To fix a zipper, move it back and forth." Ah, the mystery of the zipper is revealed at last!

Camping Sites magazine
Jul 20, 2011

Plan B is a great tip - we came home early before a 4 day storm in France! always worth keeping an eye on the weather. Great post!

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