Monday, March 30, 2015

18th Century Colonial Market Faire at Fort Yargo State Park

18th Century Colonial Market Faire at Fort Yargo State Park
Every year in the Spring, the Fort Yargo Historical Society puts on their 18th Century Colonial Market Faire at Fort Yargo State Park. I have heard about it but had never been. This weekend we decided to go. We had half the day free and my son didn't have a ball game so we decided to go see what it was all about. Fort Yargo is one of those state parks with tons of things to do: boating, fishing, mountain biking, camping, cabins, yurts, hiking, putt putt, etc. (Fort Yargo is also one of Georgia's First Time Camper Parks which is pretty awesome since there's so much to do there.) I wish we had planned more in advance and taken "CC" over there to camp for the weekend.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Coleman Beach Shade Review (Video)

Coleman Sunshade After our trip to the beach last fall, we decided to ditch the beach umbrella and move to more of a shelter/shade. We looked around and read lots of reviews. We found a good deal at Amazon on the Coleman Beach Shade. So that became one of our Christmas gifts to ourselves. I've been waiting on winter to end and a few days of sun to set it up in the yard and make sure it's all there and that I know how to do it. (I'm a big advocate of putting up a new tent/canopy at home prior to using it on a trip.) Here's a video below of my review and setup of it. More details below the video.

It went up pretty easy. I would say it took me about 10 mins to put it up by myself. It's fairly simple with only 3 poles: 2 black ones that go front to back in a parallel manner, and 1 longer grey one that crosses perpendicular to the black poles. The grey pole took a bit more care to thread through the mesh netting. It didn't slide through like most tents do. When I took it down I had to concentrate on unthreading the grey cross pole carefully too. It's really not that bad though and the first time you do it you will see where the trouble spots that it's likely to get caught are at. I expect to put it up faster in the future now that I know where those are. Due to that, it might be easier to have 2 people to get the grey pole in place and the ends locked into their grommets.

The design seems fairly good. The ends of the poles are tapered a bit to easily fit in the grommets. The grommets seem secure in the webbing at the base. It provides a decent amount of shade considering how small it packs down. Also, you can zip it up totally to make a changing room if you need one (though it might get hot without leaving the doors/windows cracked some for ventilation).

I think it will serve us well. I will follow up with further review after our next beach trip. We might even find other uses for it at other outdoor events.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What is U-haul Camping?

Uhaul camper at 2013 Fiberglass Egg Rally in Townsend Tn
The other day there was a post by another blogger about what type of camping they do. It was an interesting and read and like most things you can categorize camping differently. This author's approach was more about camping lifestyle categories. I would've probably used a different way to categorize camping, but I like the idea of "rural camping" that the author portrayed." Now I'm comfortable with many types of camping even though the rest of my family isn't. As I thought about it more, I realized that most commonly there are three ways to categorize camping: amount of time spent, type of shelter, location.

Amount of Time Spent

So most commonly, you probably hear of campers divided into one of 3 groups:

  • Weekenders - People like us that may take an occasional week long trip. Mostly we do weekends or long weekends amounting to 2-4 nights at a time. 
  • Snowbirds - People who have a camper and move south for the winter. They typically spend a month or more at each campground and go around from one to the next for several months between Dec and March. These folks typically come from up north down to the south to avoid the cold and bad weather hoping for a milder climate.
  • Full-timers - People who live almost exclusively out of their camper. They may visit family or friends sometimes but they typically move from campground to campground all year long. A lot of full-timers do "snowbird" in the south but they don't go home when the ice/snow melts. 

Type of Shelter

Hammock Camping in North Georgia
My Hammock Camping Setup
The other common category is based on the type of shelter and loosely around location too.

  • Tent - Typically includes tent, hammock, or tarp. (I'm including ultra-light hiking/camping here)
  • Camper - Typically involves Popups and Travel Trailers 
  • RVing - Mostly bigger Motorhomes and 5th wheels and maybe some large Travel Trailers

  • Backcountry - These folks typically hike or boat or ride (horse, bike, 4-wheeler) into a remote area and camp. For shelter they carry with them either a lightweight tent, hammock, or tarp.
  • Car Campers - Typically involve a campsite and a tent setup near the vehicle. Can involve camping in vans too. Frequently at campgrounds but not always.
  • Boondocking - Typically a camper or RV in places that don't have hookups and are not a designated campsite with a nice pad, fire ring, or picnic table.
  • Campground - Camping in a designated campground with sites and hookups. 
And you thought you just wanted to go camping. It's good to remember all these differences since what I think of isn't necessarily what you think of. My idea of camping is almost all of the above. The one thing that is not my style is RV'ing. Don't get me wrong. If you want to give up your house and hit the road that's great. Especially if you like to travel and give back by volunteering at different places. But if you have an RV and a house, well that just makes your RV a condo on wheels to me. Not really camping. 

I've done backpacking, tent (car camping), and now camping with a travel trailer. I really do like them all. Right now the U-haul meets a great need for our family. When the kids are older we may add a tent back in to the equation. I'll probably take them backpacking when they're old enough also. I want them to experience all the differences (ok well not the RV with the big screen TV's and leather recliners). 

Uhaul Fiberglass Camper crossing the ford at Huntington Beach State Park, SC
So what is our type of camping? To me it's getting out there with the family. Changing up your environment and working with what you have. Meeting new people. Having great meals. Sitting around a campfire relaxing and telling stories/jokes. It's an opportunity to show my kids the great world we live in and take them to places I may not otherwise be able to take them. It's learning about history, nature, and science. Most importantly, it's about making memories as a family.

Why do you camp (or want to)?