Advice for Women Travelers:
Camp however YOU want to!
 

 
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Relative to Henderson, Kentucky:

Farthest North I've been on Earth (by land):
Geiranger Fjord, Norway

Farthest South I've been:
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Farthest East I've been on Earth (from Kentucky):
Delhi, India
(or would it be Perth, Australia? I don't know how to judge that)

Farthest West I've been on Earth (from Kentucky):
Netarts, Oregon, USA
(or would it be Perth, Australia? I don't know how to judge that)

Closest to the equator I have been (on land):
San Andres Cholula, Mexico

Number of US states I've been to:
40
(I haven't been to Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma or West Virginia... yet...)

Number of countries I've visited or lived in:
36

  I have had a couple of female friends say this after I post a camping travelogue:

I could NEVER camp in a tent. I know you think I'm a wimp for saying that,
but I just can't do the sleeping-on-the-ground thing.


I want to set the record straight: You do not have to sleep on the ground if you camp. I camp how I want to camp - and that's sleeping on the ground. You camp how YOU want to camp. Take whatever you believe you need to camp -- if you are car camping and want to take a 6 inch air mattress and a cot, go for it! I don't judge! You aren't a wimp!

I love camping in a tent because it, and everything that goes in it, packs so small, and as a result, I can camp in far more places than a trailer or an RV can be parked. It also keeps things so simple - As I'm usually traveling by motorcycle, I can't carry lots of other things for my trip, which I'm always tempted to do when I get more room for such. Keeping it simple allows me to focus on so many, many other things: where I am, what I'm seeing, what I'm experiencing, etc. And, of course, it's the cheapest way to travel, other than couch-surfing.

But camping in a tent, and sleeping on a backpacker air mattress rather than, say, a cot or massive air mattress, has many draw backs: I'm in my 40s, and my knees are super bad - getting up off the ground is a challenge, and I have to get up off the ground after I put lay out the bedding, whenever I need to pee, when I get up in the morning, after I get dressed - that's at least five times a day. It's also so annoying to have to pack everything up so precisely and carefully - I can't just fold some things up and throw them in a box. Unpacking or packing in the rain is also a horror. There are times when we just can't deal with it all, and we stay in a hotel or cabin. And as I use a three-person tent, it's annoying to not be able to stand up completely while dressing (but if you're car camping, you can take a larger tent that's easy to stand up in).

There's also the issue of dogs and children: some refuse to sleep in a tent, or cannot quiet down enough to sleep in such, because they can hear so much outside. My first two dogs hated sleeping in the tent (even though I made them famous with my Camping with Your Dogs web page), while my third dog adored it.

You do NOT have to be so basic as us when you camp. Even if you are on a motorcycle, you can go with the Mini Mate or the Easy Camper or the Time Out something similar - these are all tent camping trailers for the motorcycle. We see them often on Honda Gold Wings and similar bikes. 

If you car camp, you have even more options:
  • Buy a big tent, big enough that you can stand up in it, and take cots or even a large air mattress that will allow you to sleep well off the ground. It's much easier to get out of such a bed than the ground. And buy a double-burner camping stove and take a big cooler, so you can cook way, way more than we can cook on our single burner backpacking stove that has just two settings: high and off. Packing still has to be relatively precise, but with a hard box in the back of your car, you could fold your tent and put it in the box quickly, rather than having to pack it precisely every time into its tight tent packaging.
     
  • Pull a small pop up trailer / caravan. These can be pulled by even a small car - no need for a four-wheel drive or an SUV. We're crazy about the Aliner trailers (we not only don't have the budget for a trailer, we don't have enough vacation to enjoy it the way we want to - but if we had both, we'd love to have one). There are TONS to choose from! And if you have trouble backing a trailer into a spot, small pop up trailers can be unattached from your car and rolled into the spot by a couple of people. Some come with a small stove - or you can buy a double-burner camping stove (see above). Some come with a bathroom, and some people go with a camper toilet - either way, you have to empty your bathroom yourself, and so some people choose to use such only in the case of absolute emergencies and, instead, use the bathroom provided by the campsite.
     
  • Buy a small camper trailer / caravan. Many of these can also be pulled by a small car and, again, if you have trouble backing a trailer into a spot, really small camper trailers can be unattached from your car and rolled into a spot. You can get a vintage trailer that's been restored, or restore it yourself, like a 1960s Aloha camper trailer. Or you can buy a new trailer, like an R-Pod or a T@B. Same cooking and bathroom stats as the previous item.
     
  • Buy a truck camping shell. These are surprisingly roomy. Same cooking and bathroom stats as above. Only downside: your camper always goes with you!
And, of course, you can buy or rent a bigger camper trailer / caravan (but you have to be able to easily back it into a spot) or a big RV, that are basically homes on wheels, and never have to step foot into a pit toilet or a shared shower, or have to be bothered by the rain.

But you can't know what's right for you just by reading here. You need to actually see your choices, first hand. Look for RV and camping shows in your area. Really big RV and camping shows will have all - or almost all - of the above on display, from a variety of dealers, allowing you to see first hand if any of these options would be right for you.

No matter what you go with, go with it and have a great time and, no, I will NOT judge you. The only way I will judge you is if you don't respect quiet hours, if you think running a generator for hours and hours is just dandy, and if you complain the entire time about the horror of not sleeping in your own bed or a hotel bed. Then I will think, and probably say, many many nasty things about you.

Also see: Traveling in the USA: Advice for Camping.
 
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Comments are welcomed, and motivate me to keep writing -- without comments, I start to think I'm talking to cyberair.

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