travel & recreation
THIS WAS AN annual family
favorite when we went
Taming the wild
Camping, without the horror stories
By Laura Langston
THE LOCATION WAS idyllic, a waterfront campsite, complete with our own fire pit and stretch of
sand, just a few miles from the stunning Pacific Rim
National Park. We’d planned the trip months earlier.
What we didn’t plan for—but got—was rain. We
got so much, in fact, that we were almost flooded
out and ended up leaving. We hadn’t thought to
pack the tarps. It was the first and last time we ever
made that mistake.
To ensure your camping trip is memorable for
all the right reasons, get organized before you go.
“Be prepared—that’s our motto,” says Mark Stinnett,
chairman of the national Outdoor Programs
Committee for Boy Scouts of America. “Assume the
worst—that it’ll rain, you’ll get stuck in snow, the
cookstove won’t work or a tree branch will tear a
hole in the tent—and plan for it, so if it does happen,
you’ll still have a good time.”
patch a hole in a tent, to repair a boot that blows out
on a hike and even as an emergency pressure ban-
dage,” he says. “And it comes off easily later when
you’re ready for a better repair.”
Familiarize yourself with the facilities at your
destination; if you can reserve ahead, do it. If you’re
hiking in, practice carrying your gear before you
leave. Check the weather forecasts and fire restric-
tions so you know what to expect.
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half-and-half*
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or 2
tablespoons chocolate- or
1-pound coffee can with
a lid (clean)
3-pound coffee can with
a lid (clean)
8 to 10 cups crushed ice
11/2 cups rock salt (kosher
salt or sea salt can also
Preparations and packing
Before leaving, create a checklist of things to take
(go to Costco.com, click on “Costco Connection
Magazine,” and search “camping”). Check your
camping gear; see what needs to be replaced or
repaired. “Put up the tent in your backyard first,” says
Delaina Lee, marketing and communications man-
ager for Coleman, which makes camping equipment.
“Make sure you have poles and stakes, and that there
are no holes.”
Pack clothes by rolling them and stashing in plas-
tic bags to save space and to avoid rain-soaked
clothes. And always pack in reverse. The things you
need right away, such as the tent, should go in the
vehicle last. The goal is to set up camp as soon as you
arrive without having to dig through a pile of stuff.
One essential Mark Stinnett always packs? Duct
tape. “It’s incredibly versatile and can be used to
Plan for food prep
Take two coolers instead of one. “Store food in
one cooler and drinks in another,” says Lee. “You’ll be
in and out of the drinks cooler all day, and it won’t
stay as cold.”
Here are some tips for hassle-free eating.
Plan meals ahead and use up the most perishable items first.
Measure ingredients for each meal and pack
in zipper-lock plastic bags or plastic containers.
Label well. For example, pancake ingredients can be
pre-measured into a plastic container. When ready
to cook, add wet ingredients, put the lid back on and
shake to mix.
Form and freeze burger patties and let them
defrost in the cooler. Stew, soup or chili can also be
cooked, frozen and defrosted in the cooler. Note:
For food safety, perishables should always be kept at
40 degrees or colder.
Block ice lasts longer than shaved ice. Pack
each cooler with one block and nestle food around it.
Think convenience: instant oatmeal, hot chocolate mix, boil-in-the-bag rice, cups of noodles.
Take insulated mugs with lids. They keep cold
drinks cold and hot drinks, including soup, hot. Lids
keep insects out. C
In a large bowl, combine
milk, half-and-half, sugar and
optional flavorings, and pour
the ice cream mixture into
the smaller can. Cover the
smaller can with its lid and
seal with duct tape. Place the
1-pound coffee can inside the
3-pound coffee can. Surround
the smaller can with ice and
salt by layering 5 cups of ice
with 3/4 cup of salt. Put the
lid on the larger can and seal
with duct tape.
Now, put the can on its side
and kick it back and forth (or
roll it) for about 10 minutes.
Open the larger can, remove
the small one and give the
mixture a quick stir. (The
cream on the side of the
small can will set faster than
the mixture in the middle).
Reseal the small can. Dump
the water/salt mix from the
larger can, place the small
can back inside the larger one
and layer again with the
remaining ice and rock salt.
Put the lid on the larger
can, seal with duct tape and
kick or roll for another 10
Makes 8 scoops (about 3 to
The Costco Connection
Costco members will find camping gear, including
tents, coolers, sleeping bags, air mattresses, lanterns, GPS, water filtration, camp tables and chairs
and grills as well as food in the warehouse and on
Laura Langston is an author and freelance journalist
who lives in the Pacific Northwest.
* Using all half-and-half
results in a richer ice cream;
using all milk results in
something more like sherbet.
MAY 2011 ;e Costco Connection 75