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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)

PLAN SMART
Avoid these mistakes
1. Forgotten gear It’s easy to do, even for veteran hikers, so print out a packing list from backpacker.com/checklists and tick items off as you load them.
2.  Painful blisters Break in stiff boots with at least 40 miles of dayhikes before big trips. Keep feet dry with wicking wool or synthetic socks. Stop the second you feel a hot spot and cover it with moleskin, duct tape, petroleum jelly, or Bodyglide (lip balm works in a pinch).
3.  Wrong partner Hiking with someone who doesn’t share your goals, skill level, and attitude can cause conflict. Talk honestly pre-trip to confirm compatibility.

Score a permit
Asleep at the wheel when reservations for primo campsites were up for grabs? It doesn’t mean you have to stay home:
>> Call the backcountry office. Many parks reserve a percentage of campsites and/or trailhead permits for walk-ins. Find out how they’re handed out (usually the same day your trip starts), and show up early, with a preferred route and alternatives at the ready.
>> Start at a remote trailhead. At parks with quotas for popular trails—like Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows routes to Half Dome—start from a more distant trailhead (like Saddlebag Lake, in Inyo National Forest, for Half Dome) and take an extra day to reach your location.
>> Rough it. Instead of camping in a designated spot, backpack into a dispersed camping zone (where you’re free to choose your own site within the zone’s boundaries), which casual campers tend to overlook.




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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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