Prior to this trip (my second western sojourn from 7/20/10 to 9/30/10) I hadn’t been camping in about 22 years. Here’s what I learned:
1 – Buy extra tent stakes. The ones that came with my tent were the cheapest pieces of junk on the planet.
2 – Spend the whopping $3.99 and buy a tent stake mallet. I used my regular hammer the first time I set up my tent and promptly bent the “good” stakes.
3 – Bring earplugs. The rather large lady in the tent next to mine at Yellowstone was snoring so loud she sounded like a rhino giving birth – to twins!
4 – If you’re debating on whether to get that extra six-pack or not at the liquor store – grab it! Beer is good. Beer is fun. And beer makes the perfect substitute for water, soda and every other beverage.
5 – I have to thank my neighbors at LBI for this one: put a tarp under your tent before setting it up. They said it would keep your tent floor dry if it rains and it works. It rained on me my second day camping in South Dakota.
6 – And when it does rain don’t get all Ansel Adams and start setting up your camera on a tripod to try and get pictures of the lightning. Get your sorry ass into your vehicle ASAP!
7 – Buy a Coleman Solar Shower Pouch. I’m a skeptical, cynical bastard but these things really work. You fill it up with water and let it sit in the sun for about three hours and you have hot water. I was amazed at how hot the water was the first time I used it (and I REALLY needed a shower that day!)