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Around The Campfire, Issue #001 -- February 2009
January 20, 2009

Around The Campfire

February 2009 Issue

January 20, 2009

Happy New Year Campers!

Welcome to Around The Campfire, a monthly newsletter devoted to camping fun, safety, and of course great camping food!

From our family to yours, we wish you much happiness and success in 2009, and of course many enjoyable camping trips!

Have questions or suggestions? We love to hear from you! Please contact us with any questions or suggestions you may have.

In this issue you will find featured:

  • What's New At Your Camping Guidebook: New articles posted to in the last month
  • The Top 10: This article features 10 items your should always bring on a camping trip
  • Recipe of the Month: Mixed Up Sausage Scramble
  • Having Fun With Nature: Learn about astronomy

What's New At is now turning its attention to tents, how to choose them, what to look for, and taking a look at the different tent manufacturers.

This last month found us looking specifically at the Coleman tent line. Pages added in December include information about what kinds of Coleman tents are available, as well pages focusing on some of specific Coleman tents, including the Coleman kids tents, the Coleman Sundome tent, and the popular Coleman Family Dome tent.

In January we will continue to give you information about the Coleman tents. You can easily keep up to date by subscribing to our RSS feed, which brings the updated information to you.

Find out more by and subscribe by clicking the "What is an RSS feed?" link located on the top of the right side of the top of any page at Your Camping Guidebook.

Top 10 Items To Bring on a Camping Trip

If you are just starting out camping, knowing what to buy can be an intimidating task. Even looking at camping checklists can be overwhelming...that sure is a lot of stuff to bring or buy!

Or maybe this trip you don't have enough space and need to pare down your items.

Here is a list of ten basic items, the "must-haves" to bring on your next campout as a bare minimum.

  1. Water. First on our list is a life safety item, water. If you will not have access to potable water where you are camping, you need to bring some along. We recommend 1 gallon per person per day. An alternative would be to bring a portable water purifier rated for camping.
  2. Food. Another life safety item of course is food. Your best bet for an enjoyable campout is to make a meal plan before you go. Consider whether you will have access to a grocery store while you are camping, or will you have to bring in all of your food. Backpackers and minimalists have a whole other set of needs for camp food and nutrition...but if you are car camping the possibilities are endless.
  3. Bedding To most people, bedding when camping consists of a sleeping bag but you can also use sheets and comforters. Just make sure if the weather is cold, your sleeping bag is rated to accomodate the low temperatures....or you bring enough layers to keep you warm. In addition to our sleeping bags we pack several wool blankets that fold down small and layer those over our sleeping bags for extra insulation.
  4. Shelter, most likely a tent. Yes...there are those who camp without one, but our family and most that I know enjoy the shelter of a tent. The tent offers protection from the elements, rain, wind, and to some extent the cold...although you will have to take extra precautions to stay warm. A tent alone will not keep you warm!
  5. Clothing, with changes of clothes suitable for possible weather changes. Include raingear and something warm.
  6. Lighting. The best combination of lighting is a lantern and a flashlight. If you have to choose one I would go with the flashlight as it is more portable and can go with you from the tent to the bathroom to the kitchen. We love the Mini Maglite LED as a personal flashlight and each member of the family has their own. Going with the lantern? I prefer the propane fueled lantern while my husband is a fan of the white gas (which I don't like to go near!).
  7. First Aid Kit. This is a must on any campout. At minimum you should bring bandages, antibiotic cream or ointment, an antiseptic wound cleanser, sunscreen, insect repellant, and pain relievers such as Advil or aspirin. You can add whatever meets you and your families' needs. I always bring some form of cough and cold medicine for the kids because invariably someone ends up coughing in the middle of the night!
  8. Kitchen Gear/Mess Kit. You will need something to cook and eat off of! Even a small mess kit with the basics you can throw together from your home kitchen. A pot and pan, plates, cups, silverware. Some cooking utensils such as knives and spatulas. Don't forget the can opener!!! Being environmentally conscious campers we prefer to stay away from disposables if possible.
  9. Camp stove. You will need some source of heat to cook over. You can use a campfire...but that takes some skill and practice to get started so if you are just starting out a camp stove is more reliable and are not very expensive.
  10. Tools, including hammer, knife, and lighter. These tools will come in handy for getting firewood, putting up and taking down your tent, getting your stove and campfires started, and deal with any camping situations that might occur.

Consider this a basic list to get started with if you don't have everything already and are trying to figure out what supplies you should put together for a camping trip. If you are already well equipped, it also gives you an idea of what to bring when you can't bring the whole kit 'n kaboodle!

Recipe of the month:

Mixed Up Sausage Scramble

6 eggs (or essentially one egg per person)
1 large onion, diced small
2-3 small potatoes, cut in small cubes
1 pepper, red or green, diced (optional)
1 pound bulk sausage
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Parsley for garnish (optional)

Add sausage, potatos, and onions in Dutch Oven or skillet on your camp stove, and cook until sausage is crumbled and brown and potatoes are fork tender. While potatoes and meat are cooking, in a separate bowl, scramble eggs and add salt and pepper to your liking. Cover and set aside.

To the sausage and potatoe mixture, add diced peppers, and continue cooking until peppers have desired doneness. We prefer ours crisp, but you may like them cooked a little more tender. When peppers are done, pour in scrambled egg mixture. Cover and let mixture begin to cook. During cooking process, open lid and turn several times as eggs start to set, similar to when making scrambled eggs.

When eggs are almost set to your liking, open lid and sprinkle cheese on top. Put lid back on and let cheese melt. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Portion and serve.

This recipe is one of our favorites and is extremely flexible. Mix it up with whatever vegetables or meats you have on hand. Add garlic if you wish. Add both red and green peppers, or omit them both. Omit the onion if you desire. Sometimes instead of bulk sausage, we will dice up bacon, fry it up, and use that instead of the sausage (yum...that is my preference while my husband prefers sausage).

Enjoy Stargazing

Stargazing is a fun activity that is relaxing, educational, and opens the door to a fascinating look at nature. Who hasn't looked up at the sky and wondered about the miracle of the ancient twinkling lights they are looking at.

Winter camping offers up clear sparkling skies and the opportunity to learn about astronomy. In lieu of a campfire, spend part of an evening looking upward and enjoying the incredible light show that nature has to offer.

A Planisphere, a telescope, and an astronomy guidebook such as Turn Left at Orion or the one of the Peterson's Field Guides such as the Peterson First Guide to Astronomy will help you and your kids figure out what is where up in the sky. With younger kids, show them the picture, explain a little about the constellation as you read from the book, and let them draw it on paper. If you have older kids or teenagers, let them read in the book to the younger kids, or even you, and have them find the constellations and do the explaining. It is a great hands-on activity for all.

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Around The Campfire. Until next month's issue I wish you great camping!

Yours in Camping,

Camping Jewel

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