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Cold Weather Camping for the Novice

A beginner at camping can still be comfortable in a tent on frozen ground by observing a few basic precautions. The most important of these is to stay dry. Even the light moisture of human perspiration will make the clothing seem cold. Hypothermia, the unsafe lowering of body temperature, is a real threat, and it can happen in the most seemingly benign circumstances.

Proper Clothing in Layers

Keeping dry begins with the choice of clothing. Cotton is the enemy of a winter camper. It holds moisture and is hard to dry out. Wool will offer some warmth even when wet. Polyester sheds moisture and will dry much faster.

Begin by purchasing or borrowing synthetic base layer clothing or long johns. At least two sets of close-fitting leggings and long sleeve crew neck or turtle neck shirts are necessities. Any polyester base layer items will work, but thicker is better if the weather forecasters are predicting temperatures below zero Fahrenheit.

Two sets are necessary, because they must be changed each day and not worn to sleep. Many sufferers have found that changing clothes each morning may be an unpleasant way to start a cold day, but wearing clothes all night and then outside in the day will cause the moisture in the clothing to freeze and swiftly become uncomfortable. Bring sleeping clothes that are loose fitting and warm.

The second layer above the base layer should be wool or synthetic fleece. A fleece hoody makes a great second layer on top. Fleece lined nylon athletic pants make a good second layer on the legs. If a third layer of nylon ski pants or bibs is planned, the second layer might safely be denim jeans, as long as they are tucked up and don’t drag in the snow to become wet.

The third layer must shed water. That means polyester, nylon or a fabric coated in a waterproof substance. Coats should be made with synthetic insulation, or down-filled. If it looks like rain, some sort of poncho or rain gear that will fit over the coat are needed. Nylon snow or ski pants or bibs are the best third layer on the legs.

Head, Hand and Foot Gear

Cover the head. Ninety per cent of heat lost from the body is lost from the head. Take a hat and wear something with a hood. Sleeping gear should include a head covering of some kind. Even in a mummy bag, a hat or hood is a good practice.

In particular, wool socks are an excellent investment. Wool or polyester sock liners and wool socks inside snow boots with some rubber above the sole will keep the feet dry and warm. Nobody likes cold toes. Extra boots are a good plan if they can be borrowed or purchased inexpensively.

Plenty of gloves and mittens are needed, because these will be the most likely to become wet from snow or cooking. A farm store or other store that sells work gear will have a large variety of light weight, insulated gloves that are very reasonably priced.

Other items that might be useful to a novice camper include hand warmers found in most camping and hunting departments. Placed inside gloves or mittens, they can help keep fingers toasty. Be sure to follow the directions to keep from overheating skin. Scarves, face masks and balaclavas are also useful items to protect the face from freezing.

Tent, Sleeping Bags and Pads

Beyond clothing, the choice of tent and sleeping bag are key. Large summer tents with a lot of mesh and head space are not likely to be very comfortable in the snow and cold. A smaller tent with more wall fabric and vents near the top is needed. Tents in cold weather tend to become saturated with moist air from the breath of the sleepers. Vents near the top minimize the condensation of the moisture in the air by allowing it an escape to the outdoors. It seems counter-intuitive, but letting warm air out keeps one warmer overall.

Sleeping bags are available for various temperature ratings. It isn’t necessary to have a forty below zero bag, only layer the sleeping bags as one layers clothing. A forty degree bag inside a twenty degree bag will keep one warm down to zero degrees and combining a wool or fleece blanket with a zero degree bag will keep one warm below zero. Experiment for best results.

Make sure the sleeping bag is not in direct contact with the tent floor. Packing blankets or extra tarps on the floor inside of the tent in addition to a self-inflating mattress pad or foam pad will insulate the sleeper from the cold ground. Always shovel snow away from the site before setting up the tent.

Try to borrow as much as possible to keep the cost down. Grandpa’s old wool army sweater will be very useful. Almost everyone has a sleeping bag or two in the attic or basement that can be borrowed for a weekend. Camping equipment need not cost a bundle to keep one bundled up.


Oceanfront Camping at State Parks in California, USA

For an inexpensive family vacation with gorgeous scenery, try reserving a spot at a State Park campground near the ocean in California.

A lot of families think of camping in the woods, but beaches are also an option. There are several State Parks in California that offer oceanfront camp sites. Rather than going for a traditional hike in the forest, you can frolic in the waves and spend the afternoon building sandcastles before retiring to your tent.

Moro State Park Campground

In Orange County, California, check out the new Moro State Park Campground. Located between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach in the Crystal Cove State Park, the campground has spectacular ocean views and miles of hiking trails that lead through the coastal brush.

For only $50 to $65 a night, campers can pitch a tent or hook up their RV. The newly built 35-acre park is a bit sparse and edges the often noisy Pacific Coast Highway, but access to the beach is readily available and the picturesque sunsets are breathtaking.

With the recent threat of State Park closures, this $15 million dollar project which took nearly three years is quite a feat.

Campground Amenities

The following details apply to all campers:

  • Check in is at 3:00 p.m.
  • Check out is at 1:00 p.m.
  • Pets are allowed
  • No open fires are allowed, propane only
  • Maximum of 8 people per site
  • Reservations can be made online

Those looking to rough it in a tent need to make sure it can stand without stakes. If you’re interested in a bit more comfort, the RV sites offer the following amenities:

  • There is an electricity and water hookup
  • There is no sewer hook-up
  • There is a picnic table on-site
  • Tents are not allowed on RV sites

Hike-In Campsites

For a more secluded camping experience, the park offers three hike-in campsites located on 2,400 acres of undeveloped land. The hike is a strenuous three-mile uphill climb. The campsites are located inland, but the park does include 3.2 miles of beach.

Beach Cottages

Located on the beach in Crystal Cove State Park’s Historic District are 14 renovated beach bungalows. The charming area also includes the oceanfront Beachcomber Cafe that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The park also offers an extensive educational program that includes things like plein air painting classes and nature hikes.

Other camping spots in Orange County include Regional Parks and Catalina Island. For a complete list of campgrounds in the Orange County area and to make a reservation, visit


Making Camping Reservations in State and National Parks in the US

Park reservations can be made online, however a staff of qualified agents are a phone call away. These agents take reservations and can assist a customer in making them online. Since holding times for making reservations are long, being prepared to make a reservation saves time.

Some circumstances require making reservations while on the road. When doing so, try to pick a quiet place from which to make the call. Sitting on the beach may be a comfortable place to make the call, but wind noise can make accuracy difficult to achieve. Further, cell phone reception is often poor when camping and may not last long enough to complete the transaction in which case the process will have to be repeated.

Tips to Making Quick and Accurate Camping Reservations by Phone

  • Know the actual name of the campground/park.
  • Popular names often differ from the actual name.
  • Plan the trip and have alternate campground and/or dates in mind.
  • Consult maps of the campsite on line to pick the most desirable.
  • Prepare all contact Information.
  • Interagency Senior and Access Pass, or Golden Age Passport card number.
  • A credit card is required.
  • Paper and pencil.
  • Do not put the reservation agent on hold since the software may cancel the call.
  • Make the reservation several months or at least several weeks in advance.

Yosemite Camping Reservations

Obtaining reservations to any of the campgrounds in Yosemite National Park is difficult. If reservations are desired within the coming two months the best solution is to find a cancellation on line. Yosemite campsites go on sale the fifteenth of every month at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

  • All campgrounds sell out very quickly.
  • Establish an account online.
  • Search and reserve any site in any park.
  • Refresh the web browser often.
  • Do not get discouraged.

Online Camping Reservations

Making online reservations at a National or State Park is quicker than waiting for an agent on the phone. Although great effort has been made to make the process easy, many find the process confusing. Be sure to verify your choices before placing the order. If you make an error a fee will be charged to correct it when you call an agent to correct the error. The agent does not have the authority to waive a fee.

Either site requires an online account before a reservation can be made. Both sites will show availability, however they default to searching only for sites available for reservation. They will not show the first come first serve sites (designated by “W”) unless the search is adjusted to do so.

Clicking on the “Book Now” tab removes the campsite from available status to allow time to complete the reservation. After providing a credit card number, the screen will show the reservation number and an email confirmation will be sent within 48 hours. If no confirmation/reservation number appears on the screen the transaction has failed. The campsite will be returned to inventory in about a half hour.

Interagency Senior Pass

The Interagency Senior Pass is available to US citizens and permanent residents 62 and older. The pass allows a 50% discount on user fees such as camping, swimming, boating and guided tours.

Interagency Access Pass

Available to US citizens and permanent residents that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability regardless of age. There is no charge for Interagency Access Pass lifetime pass. The pass allows a 50% discount on the same user fees as the Senior Pass.

Increased demand for campsites required a reservation system to fairly allocate sites to everyone. Of the two ways to reserve a site the online option is quicker, however a phone call to the US based agents allow direct conversation and advice from a knowledgeable person.


Best Budget Hammocks

Many people have a hard time affording the expensive hammocks out there. They begin searching for cheap hammocks online and are overwhelmed with the offerings. Not every hammock is made the same, and it is difficult to tell if they are looking into trash, or hidden gems. I have taken the time to compile a list of budget hammocks for both camping and hiking so you can easily find the best hammock for your budget right here. Whether you are interested in camping hammock reviews or backpacking hammock reviews, these should help you.

As with most of my other larger review articles, I start with the list first. If you want to see the actual reviews scroll past these links:

The Best Budget Hammocks

1. Farland Lightweight Nylon Parachute Hammock

2. Farland Outdoor Camping Hammock

3. Hukoer Hammock

4. Augymer Double Portable Camping Hammock

5. Mersuii Double Camping Hammock

6. Trofong Double Hammock

7. Richka Double Camping Hammock

8. MalloMe XL Double Parachute Camping Hammock

9. Gold Armour Camping Hammock – XL Double Parachute Hammock

10. Rusee Camping Hammock

There we go, quick list of what we have reviewed below. Looking for the reviews? Read below to find out how I came up with this list.

hammock for camping

Camping Hammock

PictureHammockWeightBuy Now!Rating
Farland Lightweight HammockUnder 2 pounds4.7
Farland Camping HammockUnder 2 pounds4.9
Hukoer Double Camping HammockUnder 2 pounds4.2
Augymer Double Portable Camping HammockUnder 2 pounds4.5
Mersuii Double Camping HammockUnder 2 pounds4.8
Trofong Double HammockUnder 2 pounds4.5
Richka Double Camping HammockUnder 2 pounds4.6
Mallome XL Double Parachute Camping HammockUnder 2 pounds4.4
Gold Armour Double Camping HammockUnder 2 pounds4.2
Rusee Camping HammockUnder 2 pounds4.4

Budget hammocks are a daunting thing to get into. You do not want to get a hammock that is subpar, will not protect you, or keep you comfortable while camping. Where can you save on some money, and increase in other places? It is hard to figure out. The most important things to look for is durability of material during extreme conditions, safety and durability, ease of set up, and proper size. If the hammock checks those boxes it will be a decent hammock on a budget.

Farland Hammocks

Farland hammocks are a quality designed hammock for a fraction of the cost. They are not a cheap hammock by anymeans, rather an inexpensive hammock. These hammocks are perfect for begginers to the hammock world who are concerned about the prices of name brand hammocks, and have a place in the loadout of an experienced hammock camping as a backup or loaner hammock. Farland offers 2 options. A lightweight nylon parachute hammock, which is ideal for backpacking, and day trips. They also have an outdoor camping hammockwhich is more suited for more rugged adventures. As a bonus you can check out their Lightweight Waterproof Mummy Sleeping Bag to keep you warm on those cold nights.

The Farland lightweight nylon parachute hammock is a perfect hammock to get into hammock camping. It is inexpensive, easy to set up, and can hold up to 250 pounds. It is a spacious hammock, and can work as a double hammock for smaller individuals. It fits well into its compressing bag, and is easy to carry around on backpacking trips and as a spare or backup on more rugged trips.

The Farland outdoor camping hammock is more rugged than the previous one in the list. It comes in several different colors, and has size options for a single hammock or a double hammock. The hammock tree straps are rated at 500-800 pounds, so they are more than sturdy for the largest of campers. All of this in a compact 1.8 pound package! The inexpensive price makes it the perfect entry point hammock for those looking for a cheap hammock.

Hukoer Hammocks

Hukoer Hammocks are a premium product at a budget price. These hammocks are inexpensive and well made. They offer a Double Camping Hammock with 3 color and gear variations. These hammocks are lightweight, but suprisingly resilient. Hukoer also offers a set of Hammock Tree Straps to supplement their hammocks with a higher quality tree strap solution.

The Hukoer Hammock is a doulbe camping hammock with a 550 pound capacity. It was designed for backpacking and camping. it is lightweight, and comes with Hukoer’s guarantee. The hammock weight 2.84 pounds, and is easy to carry. If you are looking for an entry level hammock take a look at the Hukoer.

Augymer Hammocks

Augymer has one hammock offering available in the budget hammock category. The Augymer Double Portable Camping Hammock. This hammock is a lightweight hammock designed for for hiking and backpacking. It is made of parachute nylone, and with sturdy, strong construction. It is inexpensive, and an easy lightwiehgt hammock to throw in the back of your pack for a nice hammock camping trip.

The Augymer Hammock is a double camping hammock with a capacity of 600 pounds. It is designed for 2 people, has plenty of extra room, and is easy to transport. It weighs just under 2 pounds, and folds up to under 6.5 inches long. For a budget hammock or a backup hammock, the Augymer Hammock is an excelent choice.

Mersuii Hammocks

Mersuii hammocks are on the upper end of the affordable hammocks available online. They have one offering, the Mersuii Double Camping Hammock. It is a lightweight parachute hammock designed for two people while backpacking or camping. It is lightweight, and easy to pack.

The Mersuii Hammock features a parachute nylone fabric for strength and durability. It can support 500 pounds, and offers a staggering 20 attachment points. It weighs in at a staggeringly low 1.1 pounds, and should be almost unnoticeable in anyone backpacking gear. Bring as your primary, and order a second one as a backup backpacking hammock.

Trofong Hammocks

The Trofong Hammock is an ideal hammock when an enclosed hamping hammock is needed. The Trofong Double Hammock comes equiped with a built in mosquito net. Designed for more adventurous hiking locations the this hammock is bound to keep you safe and warm throughout the night.

The Trofong Hammock is an all in one solution. It comes with everything, including a mosquito net, that you would need to start hammock camping. It is a double hammock, supporting two people, and up to 450 pounds total. It is lightweight, a total weight of 1.43 pounds. So it could very easily be packed into a backpackers pack without much additional weight concerns. This hammock is worth a look if you are interested in areas where a mosquito net is a must.

Richka Hammock

The Richka Hammock is truly in a class of it’s own in the inexpensive hammock category. It’s main claim to fame is the 70d nylon which it uses. This nylon far outclasses the standard parachute nylon most other hammocks use in durability, and comfort. Richka only has one hammock on offer, the Richka Double Camping Hammock, which has a large weight limit, and supports 3 people.

The Richka Hammock is strong and durable. It is a double hammock, but is large enough to support 3 people, and has a staggering 800 pound weight capacity. This hammock is one of the unsung gems of the hammock world. It is ideal for more rugged camping, and comes with everything you need to start hammock camping at a budget price. It weighs in at under 2 pounds, so it is still easy to transport. Make this one of your main hammocks for comfort and durability alone.

MalloMe Hammocks

The MalloMe Hammock is a perfect budget hammock for larger people, or those wanting more room. They offer the MalloMe XL Double Parachute Camping Hammock which can support a whopping 1000 pounds. There is no real concievable way to overload this hammock.

The MalloMe Hammock is a doubvle camping hammock that when packed down only weighs 1 pound. It is well designed, and can support up to 1000 pounds. That is enough for 2 people, and plenty of gear. This hammock is perfect if you like room, and like to have your gear handy with you inside the hammock.

Gold Armour Hammocks

The Gold Armour Hammock is a great budget friendly hammock. They offer a single hammock, Gold Armour Camping Hammock – XL Double Parachute Hammock. This hammock is an extra large size, and comfortable fits 2 people. It is light weight, and simple to set up.

The Gold Armour Hammock is an amazing inexpensive camping hammock. It is a double hammock, large enough for two, and supports up to 500 pounds. It is 1.5 pounds when packed, so it is great for backpacking, hiking, or rugged hammock camping. Many people would benefit from a hammock like this as their first budget hammock.

Rusee Hammock

The Rusee Hammock is another premium rugged camping hammock, featuring a built in mosquito net. The Rusee Camping Hammock is lightweight, easy to put together, and keeps you safe in mosquito laden areas.

TheRusee Hammock is a great durable budget hammock made for rugged camping. It weighs in at just under 1.5 pounds, and is large enough for 2 people. This is an excelent choice for the budget minded begginer.


A Guide for Planning an Extended Camping Trip: the Details

On some of these cold, rainy or snowy mornings, planning for a camping vacation can seem a bit far-fetched. However, spring is really not that far around the corner-honest. I offer a more detailed list of pre-trip preparations and suggestions. That long awaited camping vacation will go more smoothly, and with fewer worries, with some advanced planning.

Ready Your Vehicle

A month or so before hitting the road, get your tow vehicle or motorhome’s routine maintenance taken care of. If it is time for an oil change, tire rotation, alignment, brake check, wiper blades, transmission service and such, have them completed before your vacation begins. If you have been putting off some repair work, get those taken care of also. Just prior to departure, check your tire pressures fluid levels and lights. It’s a good idea to carry with you an extra quart of oil, a gallon of coolant, jumper cables, windshield washing solution, a first-aid kit and-if you have the room-a gallon of gasoline. Nothing can put a damper on a camping trip like auto troubles. It is also a wise idea to have some sort of emergency road service coverage. We have AAA and have had to use it! A wireless phone can also come in very handy for emergencies.

Pre-Trip RV Care

As with the tow vehicle, your trailer or RV should be inspected, and routine maintenance completed on it. My RV mechanic recommends checking the brakes and wheel bearings about every 5,000 miles. Many RV dealers have pre-trip maintenance packages that include servicing the refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner, stove and batteries. If your fresh water system has not been used over the winter, running a weak solution of vinegar through the pipes will serve as a disinfectant. (Be sure to flush thoroughly with fresh water before using.) If you have a generator, you may want to get that serviced. Finally, a good wash and wax job will get your “castle” looking sharp for the road.

Home Preparations

No one wants to leave on a long anticipated trip and then worry about their home all the while they are gone. There are a number of things you can do to give some peace of mind. My wife Pam and I have a neighbor who keeps an eye on our place. Our house sitter brings in our mail and newspapers and waters our plants. While away, we hire a lawn service to cut the grass. Tom, are wonderful sitter, checks to make sure they do their job. Also, when we had a cat, he would care for her. A house sitter is invaluable when you are on an extended camping trip!


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