1. WHEN I WAS A BOY, besides our tent & our pots & pans & our cots we slept on, the most important thing that we had was our camp stove. It was a two-burner gasoline stove about two feet long, a foot wide & six inches thick. But it made a very hot fire if you knew how to carburet it & light it. The gasoline lanterns worked great too!
2. BUT MOST OF TODAY'S CAMPERS NOW USE BOTTLED GAS for all this: Bottled-gas stoves, bottled-gas lamps, bottled-gas fridges, etc. You can get little one-or-two burner stoves—even three-burners with oven!—Whatever you need. A lot depends on the size of your vehicle & how much you can carry‚ how many you have in your family, what you can afford & how much you are going to camp out, etc. But a camp stove is just about the next most important thing that you can have in your camping equipment besides your sleeping equipment. You need some means of cooking.
3. THEN OF COURSE YOU NEED A FEW COOKING & EATING UTENSILS: A few pots & pans‚ at least one skillet & one pot, if nothing more. A skillet to fry bacon or ham or eggs or whatever you like to fry the most, hamburgers, pancakes, etc.—it's making me hungry just talking about it! The pot's to cook vegetables, boil potatoes or maybe a one-dish, everything–in-one-pot meal.
4. WE USED TO BE STRONG ON THE ONE–DISH MEALS, some kind of potluck supper that was made of rice & chicken, or rice & tuna, or a stew of some kind with cut–up meat & potatoes & carrots & things that you could cook all together in the same pot on the same single–burner fire, a real time & work-saver! You also need a long–handled metal fork & a long-handled metal spoon & a long–handled metal spatula for cooking over an open fire, especially if you cook over an open campfire.—It's usually pretty hot & you can't get too close, so you need a long metal fork to turn your meat, or a long-handled spoon for stirring the stew, or a long-handled spatula for turning the hamburgers, home-fries, eggs‚ bacon‚ pancakes etc. It's making me hungry just to think about it!
5. THEN YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE SOME KIND OF DISHES to serve & eat it on, & eating utensils to eat it with. I remember Mama Eve was very delighted when she finally found these very light cheap plastic-covered paper plates that she could even wash & re-use! We started out using paper plates, but then had to throw them away after each meal, so that was a little costly, but of course it saved having to wash dishes. So then we got these real cheap little plastic knives, forks & spoons that you can wash & re-use, & these little plastic-covered paper plates that you can use several times—or you can buy little thin sheet-plastic plates, very light-weight, the best kind to use for travelling & camping‚ & some little very cheap, lightweight tin or stainless steel "silver," or just plain plastic, that is washable & re–usable, to eat with.
6. EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY NEEDS HIS OWN PLATE, HIS OWN SET OF EATING UTENSILS & HIS OWN CUP. We've always tried to get some kind of cups that are usable for both hot & cold drinks, preferably the kind that would stack inside of each other to save space, dishes & bowls that stack inside of each other to save space, & pots & pans that stack inside of each other to save space.
7. EVERY SPACE-SAVER & WEIGHT-SAVER IS A GREAT SAVER when you are travelling & camping & cooking out. It's great to have things that fold up into a small space or stack inside each other & are not hard to carry or stow away. So‚ those are all important tips on how to camp out.—And of course‚ you have to have faith to do it, you have to have that first, & then you can camp.
8. WHEN CAR-CAMPING OR TENT-CAMPING, WE ALWAYS LOOKED FOR CAMPS WITH PICNIC TABLES where we could set up our stove & do our cooking, eating & even sleeping!—Preferably sheltered tables. They have a lot of these in the States—I don't know about in Europe. But they have a lot of picnic grounds in the States with covered tables‚ so that if it rains, you don't get rained on, which is quite an advantage, especially if you are living out of your car. Then when cooking & eating time is over, Mama & Daddy can sit in the car & read while the kids sit out at the table under the shelter—especially if it's rainy‚ it's a handy place to have!
9. OUR USUAL DAILY SCHEDULE WHILE CAR-CAMPING: We'd be up early in the morning from our little overnight campsite, eat our breakfast on the picnic table, then I'd fold up our little station wagon porch in about one minute, close the tailgates, load up & pile in, & off we'd go! Sometimes even while I was loading up & breaking camp, Mom would already be making the sandwiches for lunch, or would make them in the car as we rode.
10. BREAKFAST WAS OFTEN, IN THE HOT SUMMERTIME, SOME KIND OF A COLD CEREAL THAT WAS QUICK & WE DIDN'T HAVE TO COOK. You can eat very healthful cold cereal. You don't have to buy the expensive, processed cereals in boxes. You can take wholewheat bread or leftover toast or biscuits & break them up with shredded wheat, nuts, & raw oatmeal, yeast, wheat germ, cut-up bananas or berries etc., & it's delicious, with lots of powdered milk & honey or black molasses! I used to count about 14 different things that I used to put in my morning health-food cereal!
11. FOR THIS OF COURSE, YOU NEED A BOWL FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY. Some of our campers decided they didn't even need dishes, but all they needed was bowls—they figured they could eat all their meals out of bowls! Well, if you're that short of space, OK. Anyhow, we had to have cereal bowls‚ so we each had our own cereal bowl‚ & Daddy had his own great big cereal bowl. I always made my own cereal in the morning & got everybody to make their own.—It saves time & work, & all got what they like.
12. THEN, IF MOM HAD TIME BEFORE WE LEFT, SHE MADE SANDWICHES FOR LUNCH ON THE PICNIC TABLE. If not, we crowded in the car & Mom made the sandwiches on her lap up front. So by lunch time, we had lots of nice cold sandwiches & fruit & bottled drinks to help wash it down, even while we were travelling, if we were still going along on the road. If we had time to stop & spread out our lunch on a picnic table, it was a welcome relief from the road & travel & the car, so we would stop for lunch & fix our lunch on the picnic table & the kids played.
13. WE USUALLY HAD OUR BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER ON PICNIC TABLES along the way. For dinner, we'd be sure we stopped before dark with a couple hours of daylight to go, so we could have plenty of time & light for dinner on another picnic table. The only hot meal we had all Summer was our nightly dinner. There we'd set up our little camp stove & cook our one-pot meal, stew, rice & chicken, jumbalaya, curried chicken, creamed tuna, or spaghetti, chop suey or whatever it might be.
14. WE USUALLY TRIED TO MAKE DINNER A ONE-DISH MEAL, if we could‚ with everything in that one pot, because we usually only had one fire, & couldn't carry too many pots & pans or waste too much Sterno or gas. Sometimes we'd have hamburgers & baked beans in one frying pan!—And when the new mashed–potato flakes came out, we had mashed potatoes too! These were a great boon, because I always loved mashed potatoes, & we could easily make mashed potatoes right there over our fire with a little hot water. So we sometimes had a nice easy meal of hamburgers, baked beans or green beans, & mashed potatoes—all very easy to cook on one little burner—or two burners when we had them. It didn't take long, out there on the picnic table in the fresh air, & we all really enjoyed it!
15. SO THAT'S CAR-CAMPING—especially if you are on the road travelling continually at some job, like a travelling salesman like I was, & you have to keep moving—that's one way to do it. Of course, when we could, like weekends, we'd camp out in the same place all weekend. Usually in my TV work, I had to keep moving from town to town all during the week, during business days & hours.
16. BUT ON WEEKENDS WE HAD A NICE LONG CAMPING WEEKEND from Friday evening to Monday morning or afternoon, because I couldn't work on Saturdays & Sundays, because those guys I was dealing with didn't work those days. So we had a nice long, three–night, three-day weekend on which we camped out from Friday evening to Monday afternoon or evening. So for weekends we usually chose a good genuine campground. They won't always let you camp out even overnight by a picnic table! So we would choose a good regular campground where they had picnic tables. At first that was an essential‚ that picnic table!—Because we didn't have our own at first.
17. LATER ON WE BOUGHT OUR OWN FOLDING TABLE WITH CHAIRS & ALL & carried that along. They now have the kind of big picnic tables that fold up with chairs inside it‚ very handy‚ light & compact. But picnic tables or fold-up tables & chairs are essentials for car-camping! Just pull your car up along side the picnic table, or set up your own, & unload the stuff you need for your meal, cook your dinner & camp out for the night! Eat cold-cereal health-breakfast in the morning, cold sandwiches for lunch & a hot dinner for supper & spend your nights & days & weekends camped out! It's lots of fun!
18. MY KIDS ALWAYS LOVED TO SWIM IN THE SUMMERTIME when we camped out, so they always wanted to camp near a lake—our kids had already learned to swim at an early age, & it was usually Summertime when we camped out, so they always wanted to be somewhere near a lake or a stream or a swimming pool or some kind of a swimming hole or the ocean where they could swim.
19. A PLACE TO SWIM IS A GREAT ADVANTAGE IF YOU ARE A CAMPER, because you don't always have fancy bathrooms, hot showers etc., although some camps do. But in some of the cheaper or free camps & wild forest camps etc., they don't have all these luxury conveniences of hot showers, wash tubs & fancy restrooms & all that. You're thankful if you have a little one-holer outhouse to use for a toilet & even one faucet to get your water from! So‚ taking a bath can be a problem, unless you are camped someplace near water where the kids can go swimming & you can all take a dip—that solves that problem!
20. ALWAYS TRY TO BE SURE YOU ARE SWIMMING IN WATER THAT IS FAIRLY CLEAN & not full of sewage & garbage & contaminants that are going to make the kids sick! Watch out in these popular crowded camping areas about contaminated water to swim in, or even contaminated drinking water, if they don't have proper sewage disposal & they get their drinking water out of a well from the same ground near their cesspool or their outhouse! It's apt to be contaminated, & some campgrounds can be careless that way.—C'MON!—Let's go camping!—Amen?—For Jesus!
(To be continued.)