The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
When using a public campground, a tuba placed on your picnic table will keep the campsites on either side vacant.
Get even with a bear who raided your food bag by kicking his favorite stump apart and eating all the ants.
A hot rock placed in your sleeping bag will keep your feet warm. A hot enchilada works almost as well, but the cheese sticks between your toes.
While the Swiss Army Knife has been popular for years, the Swiss Navy Knife has remained largely unheralded. Its single blade functions as a tiny canoe paddle.
Modern rain suits made of fabrics that “breathe” enable campers to stay dry in a downpour. Rain suits that sneeze, cough, and belch, however, have been proven to add absolutely nothing to the wilderness experience.
Lint from your navel makes a handy fire starter. Warning: Remove lint from the navel before applying the match.
You’ll never be lost if you remember that moss always grows on the north side of your compass.
You can duplicate the warmth of a down-filled bedroll by climbing into a plastic garbage bag with several geese.
The canoe paddle, a simple device used to propel a boat, should never be confused with a gnu paddle, a similar device used by Tibetan veterinarians.
When camping, always wear a long-sleeved shirt. It gives you something to wipe your nose on.
Take this simple test to see if you qualify for solo camping. Shine a flashlight into one ear. If the beam shines out the other ear, do not go into the woods alone.
A two-man pup tent does not include two men or a pup.
A potato baked in the coals for one hour makes an excellent side dish. A potato baked in the coals for three hours makes an excellent hockey puck.
In emergency situations, you can survive in the wilderness by shooting small game with a slingshot made from the elastic waistband of your underwear.
The guitar of the noisy teenager at the next campsite makes excellent kindling.
The sight of a bald eagle has thrilled campers for generations. The sight of a bald man, however, does absolutely nothing for the eagle.
It’s entirely possible to spend your whole vacation on a winding mountain road behind a large motor home.
Bear bells provide an element of safety for hikers in grizzly country. The tricky part is getting them on the bears.
In an emergency, a drawstring from a parka hood can be used to strangle a snoring tent mate.
12 campgrounds worth a visit for the novice
Yosemite National Park, California
With its breathtaking natural beauty and well-maintained facilities, Yosemite is perfect for beginners. The park offers a variety of campgrounds, many with amenities like restrooms and fire rings, ensuring a comfortable introduction to camping.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina Known for its diverse flora and fauna, the Great Smoky Mountains provide a gentle camping experience for novices. Campgrounds like Elkmont offer easy access, clean facilities, and ranger-led programs to help newcomers learn about the environment.
Custer State Park, South Dakota
Offering picturesque landscapes and calm waters, Custer State Park’s campgrounds, such as Stockade North, provide a serene atmosphere for beginners. The park also offers guided horseback rides and ranger-led programs to enhance the camping experience.
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia
With its stunning ocean views and opportunities for beachside camping, Assateague Island is an inviting destination for new campers. The island’s Oceanside and Bayside campgrounds offer basic amenities while immersing beginners in nature.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Home to the iconic Skyline Drive, Shenandoah’s campgrounds like Big Meadows cater to beginners with nearby amenities and educational programs. The picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains make for an unforgettable camping experience.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Featuring easily accessible campgrounds like Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park welcomes new campers with its stunning alpine vistas and opportunities for gentle hikes suitable for beginners.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Offering a mix of ocean and forest scenery, campgrounds like Blackwoods provide a tranquil setting for beginners. Acadia’s carriage roads offer easy biking paths and scenic overlooks that make for a memorable camping adventure.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Beginners can explore the diverse ecosystems of Olympic National Park, with campgrounds like Kalaloch providing beachfront access and scenic drives to Lake Crescent and Hurricane Ridge.
Gulf State Park, Alabama
Gulf State Park’s modern amenities, proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, and well-kept trails make it a great choice for newcomers. Campgrounds like Cotton Bayou offer easy access to both beach and forest environments.
Devils Fork State Park, South Carolina
Nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, Devils Fork State Park offers beginners the chance to camp near the tranquil waters of Lake Jocassee. Campers can enjoy kayaking, fishing, and ranger programs to enhance their experience.
Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts
With its stunning coastal landscapes and family-friendly atmosphere, Cape Cod’s campgrounds like North Truro provide a safe and enjoyable camping experience for beginners.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree’s campgrounds, such as Hidden Valley, introduce beginners to the unique desert environment while offering basic amenities. The park’s distinctive rock formations and stargazing opportunities add to the appeal for new campers.
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