Protect Your Skin While Camping

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Sunscreen

One of the great things about camping is spending more time outdoors and having some fun in the sun. However, too much time spent in the sun can be harmful to your skin, and the Texas sun is no joke. While the wide-open spaces of the Texas sky make for some beautiful sunsets and stargazing, it also means less shade and more blazing sunshine. Nothing ruins a fun trip like horrible sunburn!

Make sure you’ve packed plenty of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 and that you reapply it throughout the day. Remember, there is technically no such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen so be sure to reapply after spending time in the water or extensive sweating, as it can easily wash off. And don’t forget to apply even on cloudy days! To be safe, apply sunscreen any time you will be outdoors.

 

Aloe Vera

Despite lathering on sunscreen throughout the day, some people will just naturally burn more than others. Aloe Vera is a great treatment for bad sunburn, which also provides a cooling effect that can help ease the pain. Look for a spray on aloe Vera for an easier application.

 

Bug Spray

While time outdoors is wonderful, it is also full of bugs and pests such as mosquitos, chiggers, gnats, and ticks. Be sure to apply a generous amount of bug spray AFTER applying your sunscreen, to any exposed skin. You can also wear long sleeves or pants to help protect from bugs, especially on a cooler spring night. It is also a good idea to spray on a little bug spray before bed if you’re sleeping out in a tent.

Eating Healthy While Camping

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It can be very easy to slip on a diet while on vacation and for those who are still holding on to their New Year’s resolutions, the thought of eating healthy while on a camping trip may seem impossible. Typically we think hot dogs and smores when we think of camping food, but there are plenty of easy, healthy options to consider as well. Check out a few of our favorites!

 

No Bake Energy Balls

These are a super easy snack you can make a head of time that will last throughout your trip. They are also customizable so if you’re not a fan of coconut or have a peanut allergy, you can substitute ingredients.

Ingredients:

Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes. Once chilled, take scoops of the combined mixture and roll into small balls, or press into flat squares if you’d rather make them into bars. Place the balls or bars into an airtight container and place back in the fridge. And that’s it! From there you can just bring them along on your trip and snack as you go. Its best to keep them chilled if possible so that the chocolate doesn’t melt.

 

Bear Toast

An easy breakfast option is bear toast. While its nice to have toasted bread (you can always toast ahead of time if you don’t have access to a toaster at the campsite), you can also use regular bread as well. Spread on some peanut butter, berries of your choice, a little bit of honey and sprinkle with nuts or seed if you desire. These can also be made ahead and stored in ziplock bags in a cooler, or made fresh at the campsite.

 

Foil Pack Dinners

A great and easy option is cooking in foil packs. By cooking individual packs you can ensure that everyone gets a taste of their own, especially if you’ve got any picky eaters with you. Foil packs can also be made a head of time by seasoning you meat and veggies and rolling up in the foil. If someone doesn’t like carrots, make their pack without them. Maybe two people want chicken and everyone else wants steak, no problem! The benefit of foil packs is that you can customize each meal.

 

Snacks

Easy bring along snacks also include bananas, oranges which can all last without the need to be refrigerated. Pretzels, pita chips or nuts are great healthy options opposed to snacking on endless amounts of potato chips and tuna packets with crackers can give you a little extra protein in between meals.

Don’t Let Allergies Ruin Your Trip

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Allergy season has been in full swing with pollen and cedar counts higher than normal in the Hill Country. For many, a day riddled with sneezing, itching eyes and sinus headaches can all but ruin your day and cause you to stay indoors. Here are some tips, aside from drowning in allergy medicine, to help make your camping trip bearable during allergy season.

 

Know the cause

If you’re typically outdoors, be in camping, hiking, or outdoor shopping, pay attention to what it is that’s triggering your allergies. Different trees, weeds and grasses can have different effects on your allergies so knowing where the root of your problems are can help you to find the right solution. If you’re unsure, a visit to an allergist can help you figure it out.

 

Pack Accordingly

If you already know that your allergies may give you problems, make sure to stock up on some over the counter allergy medicine in your first aid kit. If asthma is a typical problem, don’t forget your inhaler or any other prescription medicine you may need during your stay.

Organic honey is also known for helping with pollen allergies. Eating a spoonful of honey each day can help your body’s immune system to build up a tolerance so be sure to start a few days before your trip and bring some honey along with you.

A good tent can also make a huge difference. There are many hypoallergenic tents available on the market. Close up your tent entirely while you’re not using it so that less allergens can make their way inside and, depending on the severity of your allergies, you may consider keeping it closed while you sleep as well.

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Check the pollen counts in the area

If you’re planning your trip during a certain season, you may check out pollen.com or weather.com to check the pollen and cedar counts in certain areas. This will help you figure out the ideal time to plan your trip as well as the times of year its best not to camp outdoors.

 

Wash up

The fabric in your clothes can hold onto the pollen and things causing your allergies. While it’s easier to just toss your dirty clothes into a laundry basket and deal with it later, having that residual allergens on your clothes can still affect the air around you. If you’re able to, toss your dirty clothes immediately in the wash and then take a shower yourself, especially after a long day of hiking or being outside. Your body and hair can be a magnet to those allergens as well causing more irritation the longer you wait to wash off.

 

Camping with Kids

camping with kids

In a world dominated by electronics and technology, many parents are looking for ways to get their children’s eyes off the screens and get some outdoor time. Camping is a great way to keep your kid’s entertained while educating them on nature and history and finding a way to bond with them as well. If you’re getting ready to take your kiddos camping for the first time, it’s sure to be a bit of a shock. So here are a few tips to get your kids ready and exciting for their first trip.

 

Practice camping at home

An easy way to get the little ones ready for outdoor life is by setting up a makeshift campsite in your backyard. Pitch a tent outside and spend a night stargazing, eating smores and focus on staying off the electronics. This will start to get your kids ready for a few days of outdoor living.

 

Remember to pack a first-aid-kit

You know your kids better than anyone and sometime they can be unexpected, especially in a new environment. Children can get excited and trip over an unseen bump in the road, get bitten by unexpected bugs and a number of other things. Be prepared for a few scrapes and bruises by packing a good first aid kit full of band-aids, ointments, bug spray and any medicines you may need. The worst thing is for a small injury to cause a short end to your trip.

 

Bring a few toys from home

Maybe you want the kids completely off of cell phones and tablets, or maybe a little use is okay, either way you want to make sure to bring a few things from home so that they have something to play with during downtime. With such a big change, the kids usually feel more comfortable when they have a few things that remind them of home.

 

Get them involved

One of the best ways to ensure your kid has a good time while camping is to let them be involved. Whether that’s gathering firewood, organizing supplies, or picking the hiking trails, kids will respond best to the outdoors when they feel involved and appreciated.

 

Most importantly, have fun! 

Most importantly, have fun! If you go into a new trip with a positive attitude, chances are your kids will too and it will make for a fun and safer trip for everyone!

How to Build a Campfire

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Campfires area a loved pastime for many campers, and for some a requirement for any outdoor experience. While we allow campfires in the designated fire pits, here are a few tips for getting your fire started.

SET IT UP

First, you want to lay some tinder in the middle of your pit. This can be anything from small twigs to leaves. Wood bundles can be purchased at the Ranger Station. You may also bring your own but keep in mind only wood or charcoal is permitted to be used in the park.

BUILD THE FIRE

Once you get your kindling laid down, you have two basic options for building your fire. The teepee option is great for making a bigger fire, while the log cabin method is perfect for warmth. To build the teepee you’ll want to stack several sticks up against each other. It works best if you use several sticks and build more of a pyramid shape and then add some more leaves and sticks to the middle of the teepee.

For the log cabin option, you will want to use large wood pieces. Start by placing two large pieces parallel to each other, with two others stacked on top forming a square. This forms the base of your fire so be sure to fill the inside with plenty of tinder. Continue building up by adding a few more layers of firewood, getting a little bit smaller with each layer. Finish by adding a layer of kindling and tinder across the top. Remember to leave space between logs so the fire can get plenty of oxygen.

LIGHTING THE FIRE

Now you’re ready to light it up. Strike your matches and light the tinder in several different places. Blowing occasionally on the fire will help give it oxygen so that it will spread quicker. As the fire burns overtime, you may need to move some of the bigger pieces to the middle so that they burn thoroughly.

When you’re done with your campfire be sure to put it out. The best way is by pouring water on all areas of the wood and tinder. You may need to stir the ashes around to be completely sure the fire is out. Never leave a campfire burning and unattended!