Camping Reflections of 2015

As we enter the last day of 2015 it seems fitting to feature the highs and lows of my blogging year. This brainchild started just over a year ago and has done so much better than I expected. Here is quick summary of my blogging year.

  • 108 countries
  • Over 98000 views.
  • 200 blog post on various camping topics.
  • Most important I have met so many interesting people with similar interest. Thank you all for reading.

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Skyhooks: How to Tarp Your Site to Save Valuable Time.

imageI finally had a chance to use the set of Skyhooks that were sent to me in early August. I first introduced this product back in January when I found it online while doing research for my blog. It has since been my most searched post reaching over 7,000 viewers to date. With those kind of number I knew I really needed to try this product out and write a follow up review. Continue reading

Male Camping Rituals. One Womens View of How that Looks!.

Hang on tight, here we go!

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Back in June I did post on my “girls camping weekend” and I have always thought it would be fun to do a rebuttal post about my take on “guys camping habits”. Now this is all meant in fun so men grab a cold one and settle in….

imageFood:  Steak, bratwursts and bacon top the shopping list and not necessarily in that order. Red meat is a staple in the male camping diet and trying to tackle a 2 inch steak on an under powered, under sized propane BBQ is a necessary challenge on every mans list.  How these fat laden pieces of meat turn out is not important. What is important is that you have them at each meal, regardless of your intestinal discomfort.

imageMr. Fix it: I have noticed that whenever we camp the men must fix something. Our last trip they repaired; a camp chair, sewer hose, hot water tank and water filter. It is an interesting ritual to watch. One will start a job and soon the others have halted everything to give their opinion and offer their assistance. Even the simplest of jobs become group therapy. The camping chair they fixed this trip was in no way safe to occupy but it was left set up, as if to pay homage to their effort. It was interesting to see the even chair made its way back into the RV at the end of the trip, like an injured family member returning home.

IMG_1436Tarping: Sometimes I wonder if the men in our lives hope for rain. The joy they get when they are require to tarp a campsite is like watching small children enter Disneyland.image  They each pull out all their ropes, tarps, pegs and ladders and gather together to plan the best way to protect their families from the showers that ensue.  Questions such as; where will the low point go, how should pooling dips be avoided, and which tree will provide the most height, are all debated at great length until decisions are made and the challenge is complete. This tarpping fetish is proven when you see that my most popular post ever is one that features a gadget to make this job easier, Skyhooks.

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Campfires: Chopping wood and building a fire is another male ritual that is fun to watch. Yes, we woman are more than capable of completing this task, but why? It would be like turning off the television right before your favourite sitcom. Listening to men debate the best way to build a fire, teepee vs. log cabin, and then watch as they bring out a blow torch big enough to ignite a forest, only to beat their chests with pride as the fire burns for the evening.

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IMG_1997 (2)Bonding Time: During a camping trip men who have never golfed will golf, men who have never fished will fish, men who don’t smoke will puff a cigar, and men who only drink beer will bring out the rye. I can’t really explain why but it seems to happen on each trip. I have yet to see a fish enter the camp site but it doesn’t deter these determined warriors. Rye flows like water even when their wives complain about the snoring that will inevitably result. Cigars are smoked to rave reviews even if they are not inhaled. It is all part of the male ritual that is fascinating to watching and entertaining to listen to.

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Regardless of the differences in habits, men and women seem to survive in these small camp environments that we call home. The ritual events that occur during these trips provide hours of stories for future campfires to come. Camping is one of the most memorable vacations a family can take regardless of whether you are chopping wood or floating in the lake.  The point of the journey is to get outside and enjoy life.

For the purpose of this post we were generously provided Skyhooks to help with the male tarping tasks. These hooks help to make tarping at high level so much easier and quicker. Watch for a full review on Skyhooks shortly.

We were also provided  Cohiba Cigars available from Famous Smoke Shop to improve the quality of the male bonding time with a high quality cigar.

An unusual idea for tarping! Who knew?

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Tarping solutions are one of my most popular topics. With that in mind, I am always looking for new ideas to share on my blog. That and being from the West Coast where we find ourselves camping in the rain on a regular basis, often without tarps being set up? (See exhibit A for our recent trip in the rain without tarps.)

IMG_1435On that same trip  we came across a guy who had the ultimate tarping set up. He had tarped almost his entire site and did it using a product I had never seen in a campground, dry wall supports. He had several  placed throughout his site. Now in my opinion this was too many because they looked like a bit of a tripping or pet leash hazard but 2 or 3 would be great. I was also impressed by height you can get from these, no more ducking when you enter the tarp area.

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What is unique about this product is the flat top and bottom making them great for camping because they are not sharp or pointy and would not ruin your tarp.  The posts come in 2 different telescopic heights  5-9 foot and 6-12 foot, which adds to their flexibility and ease of storage. Place one on your picnic table and then support the edges with Skyhooks and you just might have the perfect tarping system. No trees, these would still work but then you would require 5. A tall one in the center and one on each corner to anchor. The downside of these is the price and weight. They range from $30 to $40 each and are construction site quality making them heavy.  You won’t want to buy more that you need. The model I could find are made by Task Tools but I suspect there are similar products in other parts of the world.

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I am going to try to get my hands on a set of these and I will then do a review of how they work but from the photo and discussion with the original camper who showed them to showed us, I suspect they will be great.