Camping With Charlie
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Camping with Charlie

Camping with Charlie is a website containing all the little tricks, tips and methods I have developed from my experiences in the woods while camping. My experiences include :

  • Finding and selecting a spot to pitch a tent
  • Different types of tents
  • Different types of tarps
  • Putting up tarps
  • Starting fires
  • Firewood
  • Cooking on open fires
  • Digging latrines and privies
  • Dealing with inclement weather
  • Finding and making water safe to drink
  • Camping equipment
  • Backpacking

How I learned to camp

Relaxing by Fire I have been camping since I was knee high. My father bought a 4 room cabin tent that slept 12. It was made of canvas and probably weighed 200 lbs. The first time we used the tent, it poured buckets. Of course, it rained almost as hard inside the tent as outside. We got saturated and ended up in a motel for the night. We slept as my mother dried our sleeping bags, pillows and clothes at the coin operated laundry next door.

We used that tent for a few years continuing to get wet every time it rained. My mother was getting disgusted with the sogginess so we bought a small Yellowstone Travel Trailer that slept six. My parents slept on the knock down table, two of my sisters slept on the knock down couch, and my youngest sister and I slept in the attic. I fell out a few times.

We camped at state and private campgrounds, usually ones that had a lake or pond so we could be occupied during the day. Back then no one took a generator camping and few campgrounds had electricity.

Background in the Woods

I grew up in the small town in Massachusetts. Down the street was a wood of about a couple of square miles. This is where I spent most of my time. My friends and I would build huts, catch animals, build roads and do reckless activities. One of my favorites to talk about is how we would climb trees and have our friends cut the tree down with us in them. As the tree fell we would scamper to the side of the tree away from the direction it was falling and ride it down.

Oakie in Chair We would also put up zip lines between trees. Our best one was made from a rope we found that was left behind by a telephone crew that replaced a telephone pole on our street. The only place we could find that had enough clearance happen to go right over our hut. We couldn't get the rope high enough or tight enough to clear the hut so we improvised. We would go down the zip line as a pair and one would let go. With the loss of the weight the trees would spring back lifting the remaining rider high enough to clear the hut.

If my mother knew what was going on she would have had a heart attack. We were young and daring. We even played cowboys and Indians with BB guns and fiberglass bows. Of course we removed the tips from the arrows but you knew when you got hit.

Dirt Road As my friends and I got older we acquired an old Dodge. We were too young to drive it on the streets so we built our own roads in the woods. Where the area was muddy we would place logs in the road to keep the car from sinking. There was a canal through the woods so to get to the other side we built a log bridge that would support the car. That is how I learned to drive and get unstuck.

My father brought me up to think. If I ran into a problem, he would show me how to figure it out not figure it out for me. I enjoy taking things apart to learn how they work. This is how I developed and honed my camping skills.

Homemade camping furniture I enjoy rustic campsites where if you want water, you fetch it out of a stream and boil it. If you have to go to the bathroom you find a tree and dig a hole. That is what camping is about. No amenities or comforts. You make your own.

Rustic camping is a combination of getting closer to nature and survival skills. After a while you learn the best way to have a relaxing camping trip with some comforts. I like to go where cell phones don't work and you don’t have to listen to someone's generator.

For our honeymoon, my wife and I went to Alaska and backpacked for three weeks. We dried our own food before we left. While on our trip we made a loaf of bread every night for the next day's meals. We also took provisions to defend ourselves from the wildlife. In Alaska you have to remember you are not the top of the food chain.

I have compiled this website to share what I have learned to help others enjoy the great outdoors safely and to make each of their camping trips memorable and safe. The links on the right will lead you to self explained categories.

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