Tag Archives: Camping

Snowbird Season Is Here! Stay Warm With Free Camping In The Southwest

As winter moves in, it is time for many full-time RVers or snowbirds to begin the migration south for warmer climes. There are many opportunities for free camping in the American Southwest. These range from free RV parks run by the city in order to attract tourists to vast tracts of desert where you can stay for months at a time.

Quartzsite, AZ
Quartzsite is probably the most popular snowbird location in the country. Every winter, this small town in the middle of the desert explodes into something approaching a small city as hundreds of thousands of RVers arrive for the rock show and the RV show. If you want to be around a lot of other full-timers or snowbirds, then Quartzsite might be exactly what you’re looking for.

There are five BLM dispersed camping locations within a few miles of town as well as a Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA). For $180 you can stay in Arizona’s two LTVA areas from September to April. If staying put that long isn’t quite your thing, you can stay at the dispersed camping areas for free up to 14 days out of every 28.

Carlsbad, NM
Everyone knows about Carlsbad Caverns, but did you realize there is also a lot of BLM land in the area where dispersed camping is legal for 14 days at a time? Carlsbad Caverns is, of course, the big tourist draw in the area. However if you enjoy hiking, climbing or caving, there are many other recreation opportunities in the area.

The nights do get a little chilly, but the daytime temperatures are balmy and the Guadalupe mountains offer some wonderful hiking and caving opportunities. Unlike Quartzsite, you may very well camp in an area where you can’t see another camper or even a car for long stretches at a time.

Padre Island, TX
Maybe the beach is more your style. What could be better than camping on the beaches of southern Texas? The Padre Island National Seashore allows camping for up to 14 days. A vehicle pass costs $10 for 7 days, so it’s not quite free, but it’s pretty close. Padre Island is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world.

Consider that last statement. Now imagine camping on a warm sandy beach and not being able to see a high rise condominium or hotel. If you get tired of deserted beaches, you can also head north to Port Aransas and camp on the beach in the city limits for a few days!

These are just a few of the possibilities for this winter. There are many more spots throughout the southwest ranging from southern California to Texas that many snowbirds call home each winter. Sure, you could just head to a destination RV park and spend the winter in one place. Or, you could spend a little bit more money on fuel and stay at several of the wonderful free campsites on public lands instead.

Camping Sleeping Bags – How to Choose the Best Sleeping Bag For You?

Camping used to be about bulky sleeping bags. Other times, when you are really lucky, you do not have any sleeping bags to sleep on at all because you ended up carrying heaps of other things and sleeping bags are just not a priority (thinking that you can just find a nice person to share with). For many people, camping before means being at a state wherein you are uncomfortable. But now, gone are those days! Camping nowadays means feeling just like home with the best sleeping bag with you.

As camping sleeping bags vary in shapes and sizes, it is a must that you know what sleeping bag in the market suits you best. Here are my strongest suggestions on how you can choose the best sleeping bag that can make you feel just like home:

a. There is a common type of camping sleeping bag called the Mummy Bag. If you are situated in a place or country with colder temperature and you are after the warmth of your sleeping bag, you better go and look for this type of sleeping bag. A Mummy Bag is made to confine warm air on your head as it provides a hood ensuring that heat will not escape even from your head. It takes off human body shape that is why it surely maintains heat better than those other shapes of sleeping bags. As the name suggest, it really feels like you have your Mum around wrapping you with her warm embrace all through the cold shivering night.

b. If you are living or camping in a place with warm weather, you must go for Rectangular type of camping sleeping bags. Although this is not specifically designed to trap heat as good as a Mummy Bag, this bag is roomier and absorbs more body heat to warm. Other things must be considered for this sleeping bag to perform at its best such as its fabric, construction, and fill.

c. Now that you have just enough appreciation of the two most common types of sleeping bags available in the market and you find yourself in a dilemma as to which one is better, check this out: You do not need to choose at all! If you want the warmth of a Mummy Sleeping Bag at the same time the softness and coziness of a Rectangular Sleeping Bag, producers can modify their versions of sleeping bags giving you the best sleeping bag ever!

I understand that you have to be aware of other accessories that you can suggest to the producers of camping sleeping bags that is why, for your convenience, I have listed down these things that you may want to add to your personally-modified and very unique sleeping bag. Here are your options:

1.Zippers – The main purpose of zippers is to permit ventilation. You can actually have a Two-way Zippers if you wish to so that you can unzip the other one to let ventilation of cooler air through the sleeping bag from your foot or head without having to unzip it especially on summer nights.

2.Hoods – A special part of Mummy Bags, hoods are your most effective option if you want to trap heat from your head keeping you warm from head to toe all through the night.

3.Multi sectioned Hoods – Compared to just hoods, multi sectioned is made from multiple panels. This fits your head better with less chance to compact insulation.

4.Chest Baffles – The use of this accessory, from the name itself, is to provide a barrier at the top of your chest to help you keep warm as it traps warm air from breaking out at the same time preventing cold air from coming in.

5.Foot Boxes – This is designed to keep your feet and toes warm. Also found in majority of Mummy bags, you can lay your foot naturally as it traps warmer air without reducing insulation.

6.Round and flat pull cords – Part of Hoods in Mummy Bags, these cords are ideal if you want to fine-tune your sleeping bag in the middle of the night.

7.Ground level seams – These are found on the side of your sleeping bag which are vulnerable to exposure specifically during windy conditions. The only way to minimize your risk of exposure is to have well insulated ground pads.

8.Ground Pads – Commonly known as sleeping pads, this accessory makes you feel warmer against the ground surface area as well as the ground level seams.

9.Staggered Seam – Also called as off set seams, this is another type of accessory that confines heat and blocks air from breaking in your sleeping bag.

10.Zip together compatibility – This is an amazing accessory if you want to sleep and be zipped together with another person. Most rectangular camping sleeping bags zip together but for Mummy Bags, you need to have this accessory to be compatible enough to zip with other sleeping bags.

11.Insulating and/or wind stop baffle behind the zipper – Simply known as Zipper Draft Tube, this option helps keep warm air inside your bag and cool air outside through the zipper of your bag.

12.Wallet and flashlight pockets – If you want your wallet and flashlights to be secured and close to you even when you are sleeping, you may want to look for these accessories.

With all these information already available to you, I hope that in your quest in looking for the perfect camping sleeping bag, you will find both enjoyment and excitement as you are just one step away from your wonderful time at the camp with your best sleeping bag with you! Definitely no need to worry because whatever the activities at the camp the following morning, you will surely make it because you are assured of your good night sleep that will keep you going all day, all night.