Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Preparation & Readiness, State & National Parks
Get ‘em While You Can!
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.
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.
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.