Camping on a Budget Brattleboro VT
West Swanzey, NH
Camping on a Budget
February 8, 2010 by Camping Life Magazine · 4 Comments
Article Courtesy Camping Life Magazine , Written by Stuart Bourdon
Having a wonderful camping experience is a combination of factors. Some of those are providential, and a few are completely out of your hands. Luckily, there are some you can control. It’s impossible to control the weather, but you can keep track of it and update your gear as conditions dictate. And the campground may not always offer many choices, depending upon its size and reservation level. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and enjoy. The good news—with proper planning, quick and accurate assessment in the field, and some flexibility, you should be able to find just the right spot in any campground.
Private and public campgrounds both have a place on the outdoor destination roster. Which you choose often has to do with your style of camping. Private campgrounds (KOA, Jellystone, etc.) offer a more controlled and manicured park-like atmosphere where the focus is often on activities (movie nights for kids) and recreational facilities (pools, etc.) inside the campground, and are more likely to have full RV-camping amenities (power, water, sewer hookups). Public campgrounds (state parks, national parks and forests, Army Corps of Engineers) tend to deliver a wilder, less controlled experience, and activity and recreation are typically more outdoor-oriented (trail hiking, fishing, boating), and are less likely to provide power and sewer hookups.
Either way, you can improve your chances of an enjoyable, rewarding stay by paying heed to some simple guidelines.
Plan Your Camping Trip Ahead
An advanced reservation is suggested for any campground, public or private, and for many, it’s a must. If you make your reservation online that’s fine; it’s convenient and almost all campgrounds—public and private—offer online reservations now. Before you do, though, make a point of contacting someone (forest ranger or park manager) by phone (best) or e-mail (second best) to ask questions about the lay of the land. Have a campground map (most have one online) and orient it so you know which direction is North, East, South and West.
When considering a campground, think about whether it’s down in a valley, on top of a ridge, or half-way in between. Campgrounds down in the bottom of deep canyons and valleys can be colder during the day (especially in the morning) because of the lack of sun, and can be damp and subject to ground fog. Ridge top sites can be more exposed to weather extremes and make for a cold blustery camp. Sometimes finding a spot in the middle is best. One that’s also sheltered from the wind, but exposed to morning sun, would make it the perfect find in our book.
Ask questions such as: Which way does the prevailing wind blow? Does it chance direction from morning to evening? Where are the trees and other prominent features in the campground?
The answers to these questions and others l...