How to Camp (like we camp)
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We decided to go to Panther Falls, Virginia over Spring Break because we wanted to take our new hammocks out into the woods for an overnight stay. Naturally, being Virginia, the weather wasn’t cooperating so we ended up camping in below freezing weather. Other than that, we had plenty of mini-adventures, an awesome campsite, and still managed to get some sleep.
If you’re crazy, a college student, or are seeking adventure, here are some tips to Camp Like We Camp:
Save up laundry lint for a few months, keep it in a bag. This stuff lights with small sparks and burns nicely for fire starters. We used it in the fire starting video above as a good catalyst.
Drill holes into magnesium/fire starting blocks. Keep all the shavings. Magnesium shavings catch fairly quickly (in large quantities) and burn insanely hot. Do not mix in rust¹ or pour water onto these burning shavings². If they stop glowing, blow on them. They should catch leaves on fire fairly quickly.
Go to your local junk store / wholesale store and look for Tiki torches and fuel. These provide good, cheap, festive lighting for your campsite. They also provide a safety perimeter to keep animals away (I think? I have no clue, I’m a programmer). Make sure to keep an eye on these, lest there be forest fires! (Clear all the leaves within a 3 feet radius away, so if the torches fall, they cause no harm).
If it’s going to be cold, hammocks are going to make it colder. Go for synthetic sleeping bags. Two is better than one! I set up my hammock, placed a tarp around it, placed one sleeping back on the outside of my hammock (two zippers helped with this) and then placed my other sleeping bag inside my hammock, so I had two around me. It was decently warm for thirty degree weather. When I got chilly in the night, I curled up inside both sleeping bags and pulled them over my head. It was a tricky balance of too cold vs. too hot. It worked out in the end.
Pop-tarts over a fire are tops, yo. Mac and Cheese may not be a forest food, though.
If you manage to start a forest fire accidentally, which we don’t recommend, step on the leaves that are on fire. Water puts out fires pretty nicely too (this is Austin’s tip).
Whatever you do, make sure to spent lots of money at the hiking store first so that you’re over-prepared because bears or something like that. Also, don’t blame us for loss of property / life. Have fun!