Catch A Burro If You Can!
One of the things that makes four wheeling so much fun is seeing new and unusual places. The driving itself, while an experience in its own way, can be secondary to what you see while off road. The destination can be as fascinating as the drive.
One of the more fascinating areas in the southwest is known as the Great Basin. Encompassing parts of California, Oregon, Nevada and Utah, the Great Basin covers more than 184,000 square miles. What makes this area unique is that its rivers and lakes have no outlet to the sea (unlike other waterways). All the water stays inside the basin.
10 Rules of Trail Etiquette
Here are my top 10 rules of etiquette for four wheeling and camping. Read this list carefully. Are any of these unfamiliar to you? Do you need to brush up on any principles?
Camping Gear Repair Kit
One of the keys to a successful off-road trip is preparation. I’ve written about that many times. Understandably, the focus is on preparing your vehicle and yourself for the journey. With this article I’d like to zero in on personal items and camping gear.
You’re in the middle of nowhere stuck in the sand. Your buddy waits patiently while you paw through your car looking for the recovery strap and gear needed to get you out of your bind.
“I know it’s in here somewhere!” you scream (along with a few choice words).
Your off-road adventure is becoming a disaster because you either didn’t pack a recovery strap, or you packed it so deeply it’ll take you a long time to find it.
Set Your Tent Up Right
Camping is one of our favorite pastimes. It’s tough to beat a few days or a week in a natural setting away from all the hassles of everyday life. Many people understand that.
A 2011 study released by The Outdoor Foundation reported that almost 40 million Americans participated in some form of camping in 2010. That equates to more than 14 percent of Americans over age six. Are you part of the 14 percent? I hope so.
While some people are turned off by the rustic nature of camping and others view setting up camp as too much work. It is not, and doesn’t need to be. Once you’ve established a pattern for camping (which includes packing your vehicle), preparing for and setting up camp is actually quite enjoyable. It’s a pastime the entire family can enjoy.
In an earlier column, I offer a number of suggestions on how and what to pack.
Here I’d like to focus on setting up camp and maintaining your campsite. There are a number of factors to consider. But first I’d like to remind you of a basic tenet of camping:
The best campsites are found, not built.
By this we mean you should look for a site that’s already been used for camping. Minimize your impact on the land. Don’t tramp down pristine land if you don’t have to.
How to set up campThe steps involved in setting up camp can be broken down into two broad categories, Safety and Logistics.
Safety:Avoid setting up camp next to hazards like dead (or dying) trees, power lines, critter holes, loose rock and those areas prone to flash flooding.
If the entire area is a flood plane, pick a spot that has good drainage. You don’t want water pooling around your tent.
Speaking of water, camping ethics recommend that you not set up camp within 200 yards of streams or ponds. This is so you don’t disturb wild game that uses those sources of water.
Also, avoid setting up next to plants and bushes that could cause a problem. Some of these include poison ivy (and related plants) and cacti. While more of a nuisance, these plants can still ruin a day or weekend.
Logistics:Assuming the area is free of obvious hazards, here are some additional suggestions to consider.
Inspect the ground for pebbles, sticks and other sharp objects. You may need to rake or otherwise clear a patch of ground for your tent. If you’re camping on an incline, position your tent so your head will be uphill. That is generally the most comfortable position.
Rarely do you find flat, smooth ground outside established parks and campgrounds. You get to your camping area and find one section that’s bumpy or grooved. Another spot is smooth but at an angle. Which do you choose?
Most people select the bumpy ground because they prefer being on the level. They know their air mattress or other padding will provide a comfortable sleep. Assuming drainage isn’t a factor, this type of decision is more based upon personal preference. Give it some thought when you face this scenario for the first time.
If you’re camping near the bottom of a large hill, walk around to get a feel for the run-off pattern(s). Even light rains can generate small streams for a brief time.
Setting up camp next to a large boulder may seem like a good idea – it creates a natural wind break – but inspect the area above the boulder. Do you see loose rocks? Those could come tumbling down on your head during a storm. Wind whipping around the boulder sometimes causes howling or whistling noises. If you’re a light sleeper, you may consider placing your tent somewhere else.
Trees and shrubs provide some protection from the elements, including a beating sun. Inspect for dead limbs, beehives and critter nests or dens.
Position your tent with the prevailing winds in mind. For rectangular tents, position the narrow side to the wind. If yours is tapered, the tapered side should face the wind. You’re trying to minimize the wind load and therefore overall effect of any winds. Some people prefer to have the door face a non-windy direction.
As for the front door, I like to have it facing the east. I get to view a nice sunrise to start the day, and it seems to warm the tent faster.
After you’ve experienced it, I’m sure you’ll agree that camping out is really quite enjoyable. A few days away with Mother Nature does wonders for the soul and body. When and where are you going to set up camp?
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Related Articles from Badlands Off-road AdventuresGet Staked for Camping! Camp Cooking Use a checklist for Every Outing Break Camp Fast and Easy Cook Anywhere, Anytime With A Campbox Campbox Tips Wine Adds a Nice Touch to Your Outdoor Adventure Tom’s Tips for Tranquil Tenting Tickle The Taste Buds With A Dutch Oven Camping in The Mojave Desert
Did you miss the previous articles?12 Must Have Books for the 4 Wheeler 6 7 Reasons Why Your Spouse Should Learn to Drive Off Road. Maintain Your Edge
September & October Schedule
Customer Appreciation Event is September 30.
Death Valley NP Expedition is October 12-15.
OAUSA Borrego Fest & Amateur Radio Testing is October 19 - 21
Getting Started Driving Off-Road Clinic : LA Area is October 6.
Free Customer Appreciation Event & trail Ride
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
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Copyright 2012, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.