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Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Preparation & Readiness, State & National Parks

Get ‘em While You Can!

December 9, 2011 by · 4 Comments 


My guess is you are probably not associating the holiday decorating items displayed on merchant shelves with your summer camping adventures.

STOP!  Think about this a minute – many desirable items will not be as inexpensive or available later on as they are right now.

Most all of us enjoy putting “patio lights” on our awning, screen room or around our campers during the summer.  They not only give off a welcome light on a dark night but also give our camp site a distinct personality.

What better lights to use than colorful LED strings of Christmas tree lighting?  LED lighting is not only energy efficient but it is also cool to the touch and less likely to “burn out” than conventional incandescent light strings.  Decorative lights are also available as rope lights in clear, red, blue, or mixed colors.  These store away easily and are extremely durable – not to mention waterproof.

Those fancy ice-sickle lights with LEDs that chase up and down are great camping lights.  Who says Christmas can only come in December?  Christmas in July can also be a joyful experience.

Turning on or off those fancy outdoor lights can be a pain – especially if you are all comfy in your PJ’s or easy chair.  What better way to control your outdoor camping lights than with a remote control?  Some remotes will automatically turn your lights on at dusk, keep them on for up to six hours and then turn them off – all without user intervention.  Other available remotes can turn your outdoor lights on or off with the press of a keychain size remote button.  Just try to find these out-of-season at the current prices.

LED floodlights for flags or just finding your way up the camper steps also abound.  Again, these are cool to the touch, easy to store and energy efficient.

Are you dry camping with no 120-volt hook-ups?  Well, check out the battery powered colored light strings for only a few dollars.  These lights not only look great strung along the edge of your awning but give a comforting accent light when stuffed into a wine bottle and corked with the battery pack several inches away.

Yet another bargain on the store shelves comes in the form of battery powered clear LED lighting.  The 72 LED lights shown here operate off of 4-AA batteries and can provide hours of lighting inside or outdoors without draining power from your RV batteries.  When 120-volt power is available, they can be connected to available 6-volt DC power adapters.  I bought several of these to have handy this summer – or for those unexpected power outages that follow winter ice storms or summer thunderstorms.

The spread of the Emerald Ash Beetle has resulted in a ban on the transportation of firewood in most all of our east coast campgrounds.  As a result, we are limited to firewood either gathered or purchased at our destination campground.  An alternative is to take engineered firewood like that shown made of recycled wood chips or sawdust.  This type of firewood burns longer, carries no insects and is environmentally friendly.  Personally, I no longer use the packaged fire logs saturated with paraffin or some other accelerant.  They are not good for cooking and their smoke has an offensive odor.

Kiln dried Oak, Maple or Hickory firewood packages also provide a source of insect free fire ring wood.  The heat from kiln drying kills any insect larvae that may promote the spread of devastating forest diseases.  These packages usually disappear in our area of the country by early March – so get them now for those great campfires later in the season.

Last, but certainly not least, are “Fatwood” sticks.  These are absolutely great for starting fires without explosive fluids or newspaper.  A few of these sticks placed under some dry firewood will quickly produce a bright, warm campfire.

So, “get ‘em while you can” as they will soon disappear from store shelves.



4 Responses to “Get ‘em While You Can!”
  1. Sarti says:

    Completely logical post. This is the best time to buy equipment and store it for upcoming season. Some deals are so good that it is almost a pure bargain. LED lighting, reflectors and signal flares are on it lowest prices during pre holiday sales. Nice post and valuable reminder to go shopping :)

  2. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Randy,

    Very informative and timely article.. 5***** Hope you and yours have a wonderful and happy CHRIST-
    mas season!!!!

  3. jimJan says:

    Hi Randy,
    Great post! I’m going to watch for end of the season bargains on the shelves of our local CTC. (Canadian Tire store)
    I was in Largo FL a couple of weeks ago and visited the botanical gardens on Walsingham Rd. (can’t remember the proper name) At any rate they had some beautiful and very creative lighting displays; one of which was a sequential white LED that looked like dripping icicles hanging in the flowering brugmantsia trees and in a large willow. There were children of all ages wandering through the park trying to take it all in. All in all it was a very enjoyable evening.

  4. Dan says:

    Found a great item at the local Tractor Supply store with the winter woodburner supplies. It’s a product manufactured by Rutland called Safe Lite. A box of 24 square fire starters about 1 1/2″. Designed to start a fire in fire place or woodburner but does a great job on campfires. Burns extremely hot for about 10 minutes and will start full size logs with no kindling.The great thing is that they are less than $2 a box. Be careful though, they are $2 for a box of 24 but the “economy”box of 144 is $14. By my calculations that is no bargain. Costs more than buying 6 small boxes!

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