Most of the time I keep my cell phone turned off when we’re on a camping trip, but there are a few apps that I like to use.
Try them out; they’re all free!
Waze is a navagation app with turn by turn directions. It will help you avoid traffic and speed traps on the way to your campsite.
Google’s Field Trip will notify you when you’re near interesting landmarks, historic buildings and great places to eat. It’s perfect for any road trip!
Chimani National Parks Apps
Chimani’s apps are a great companion for a visit to a National Park. They have apps for Acadia, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains and more. Each app contains tons of features including photos, interactive maps, audio tours, sunrise/sunset times and even ranger events.
Gorillacam allows you to shoot time delay photos, stop motion video, but my favorite feature is it’s photo timer. I can just prop my iPhone up on the branch of a tree and snap a photo of Billy and I.
I use Instagram as my personal field guide. It helps me remember the names of plants I encounter. I snap a photo of the plant, identify it and post it to my Instagram account. You can follow me here.
Microsoft’s Photosynth allows you to take amazing panoramic photos and share them with your friends.
Coleman’s Classic Camping Cookbook & Meal Planner
This camping cookbook lets you search by cooking method, meal or ingredients. It has all the classic camping recipes.
Sky View Free is really helpful for identifying stars and constellations. It uses the iPhone’s camera and overlay’s the names of the stars.
Also check out SkyView Satellite guide. It’s free for a limited time and lets you track satellites, the International Space Station and more.
This cute, simple app will help you find your headlamp after dark. (hint: it’s packed in the deepest, darkest depths of the trunk of your car)
Yahoo! Weather is easy to use and it has all the information I need: current temp, 5/10 day forecast, detailed forecast, weather radar map, chance of rain and sunrise/sunset times. Thanks to images from flickr, it’s beautiful as well.
As much as I like roughing it, adding personal touches to your campsite is a lot of fun. It really makes camping a more memorable experience. Plus, if your campsite is welcoming, then your campground neighbors are likely to stop by and visit. Last year I struck up a conversation with a couple a few campsites over because I liked their papasan chairs. Funnily enough, when we returned to the same campground this year, we ran into them again! It was fun chatting with them and hearing about their adventures camping in the Canadian wilderness.
Here are seven glamping gear ideas that I love:
1. Classic Tableware
Paper plates and plastic forks are convenient, but they’re also wasteful. You worked too hard on that gourmet meal to serve it on paper plates. Instead, opt for classic enamelware and real silverware.
This dish set from GSI is great because the stainless steel rims protect against chipping. The matching cutlery is also adorable.
When it’s time for tea (or instant coffee), you can reach for this enamelware teapot.
2. Set A Pretty Table
The best tablecloths for camping are made of PEVA. PEVA is PVC-free, chlorine-free, phthalate-free and biodegradable, so it makes a great choice for your campsite.
Opt for a tablecloth without a flannel backing. Flannel can soak up water and snags easily on a picnic table.
For an affordable, non-toxic option, try this tablecloth from Walmart or this tablecloth from Menards.
3. Sip in Style
I love these glasses made from mason jars from Anthropologie. However, the punched lid design is less than practical. There’s nothing glamorous about bugs in your beverage.
Aladdin mason jar tumblers have a closed top. They’re made of BPA free plastic and you can find them at Cabela’s, Target, Kmart and Walmart.
Or you can make your own mason jar tumbler with this DIY from A Farm Wife’s Life.
Some bunting can easily take your campsite from ho-hum to awesome. Check out this bunting on Etsy.
If you’re feeling crafty, let this DIY Bunting post over at New Wave Domesticity be your guide.
5. Snuggle Up
Whether new or vintage, a wool camp blanket is useful and beautiful. I have a vintage yellow camp blanket with cream stripes ($3 at an estate sale, yay), as well as two Pendleton camp blankets from REI. I use them in the summer for camping. Come winter, I use them for extra warmth on our beds at home.
You could go for the legendary (but pricy) Hudson Bay 6 Point Blanket.
Pendleton also has a lovely series of wool blankets inspired by National Parks.
6. Take a Seat
Though we have the plasticky chairs with cup holders, I’ve had my eye on these classic camp chairs from Byer of Maine for a while.
These camp stools are super cute and have great reviews as well! Just add a little table and you’re all set.
7. Enjoy the Comforts of Home
Well, most of them anyway. If your site has electric, you can bringing a variety of creature comforts from home. A box fan is awesome to have; it will chase away bugs and keep you cool. Bring your crock pot for easy meals. I’ve even seen someone camping with her coffee maker. I guess she couldn’t do without a perfectly brewed cup of coffee in the morning. Just one request: please leave the TV at home
What do you do to make your site extra-special? I’d love to hear your ideas. Also, be sure to check out my glamping board on Pinterest for more ideas!
We recently camped at Blackhawk Memorial Park in Southwest Wisconsin. This was our second time at Blackhawk. I first learned of the park from a great book, Best Tent Camping: Wisconsin. Blackhawk Memorial Park is perfect for last-minute camping trips. The campground is never full, even on Memorial Day weekend.
Getting to your site can take a little time. There is a one-lane gravel road to the sites that permits two-way traffic. We often had to back up to let an oncoming car pass.
The sites are beside Bloody Lake and the backwaters of the Pecatonica river, so bring your boat. We camped on the shore of Bloody Lake.
Also, don’t forget your bug spray. Even though there are tons of bats at this park, mosquitos can still be a problem.
- Location: County Road Y near Argyle, WI
- Reservations: None, pay at box when you arrive and select your site
- Camping fees: $5/day during the week, $10/day on the weekends
- Firewood: Available on-site from 5PM-7PM daily
- Picnic tables: Most sites do not have picnic tables, so you may want to bring a fold-up table.
The area around Blackhawk Memorial is abundant with wildlife.
Blue Heron in a pond just south of the park on Co. Rd. Y
Blackhawk Memorial park is ideally situated for exploring other attractions in the area.
Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area
Fishing is a popular activity at Cadiz Springs. We hiked the one mile self-guided Zander Lake Nature Trail, and then we explored the unnamed trails.
Yellowstone Lake State Park
I highly recommend the wildlife loop trail near the park office. Just don’t forget your binoculars.
We were lucky enough to spot two bald eagles.
Bald Eagle guarding a nest
We saw a large variety of other birds as well.
Male Red-winged Blackbird
Female Red-winged Blackbird
New Glarus Woods
We visited New Glarus Woods and did the 4.2 mile Havenridge nature trail. It took us through beautiful forests and prairies. I’d definitely recommend a hike at New Glarus Woods followed up by a beer at New Glarus Brewery.
Celebrating our first anniversary with a hike in New Glarus Woods.
We ran into several people who were collecting Morel mushrooms. One couple told us they collected over 600 morels this year!
I’m happy to help you plan your camping trip! Please leave your questions in the comments, and I will do my best to respond.