The National Wildlife Federation's Great American Campout is a celebration of camping as a way to connect with nature and wildlife. The benefits from outdoor play for mind, body and spirit are well-documented and help to create a lasting connection to nature and wildlife, which promotes happiness and good health.
There's never been a better time to safely and responsibly connect with nature. Pitch a tent or build a fort from the comfort of home. Grab your gear and head for the backyard or an open park. No matter where you are, take some time to enjoy the nature that connects us all!
Leave No Trace
Before we go anywhere, we need to learn about “Leave No Trace.” When camping, hiking or simply enjoying the outdoors, it is essential to leave any place you have visited as you found it. In this video, Mary Cortese, Research Assistant with the Temple Ambler Field Station and PhD Candidate in the Temple University Biology Department, provides an overview of the “Seven Tips for Leave No Trace” from the Center for Outdoor Ethics.
Camping 101: Getting Started
First time hitting the wild outdoors? Don't stress. The National Wildlife Federation has gathered some basic tips to get you started.
How to Pick a Campsite
Finding a good campsite can help you sleep well and be ready for the next day's adventures. Check out these tips to help you find a great spot while keeping Leave No Trace in mind.
Now that you have found a place to camp, set up your tent, and started roasting marshmallows, what else can you and your companions do? From “Birding for Beginners” to “Camping Under the Stars” the National Park Service has a trove of ideas suited for everyone!
Explore Nature While Camping
Sometimes spending a day in the wilderness isn't quite enough to truly capture the feeling of a special place. Sure, you see some amazing views or go on an unforgettable hike. But to get the full experience, you yearn to see the dark, starry skies. To listen to the yips of coyotes. To watch the sun rise on a silent, dewy morning. Camping in the great outdoors transforms a regular old road trip into an epic experience. So pack up your tent or hitch up the fifth wheel — adventure awaits. The National Park Service provides plenty of resources to get you started (there’s even tips for backyard camping)! You can also find more resources for making discoveries here.
No Tent Needed: Hammock Camping
Sometimes when camping, you don't even need a tent! In this video Kathy Salisbury, Director of the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University, shares her experiences with her favorite type of camping - hammock camping. Join Kathy for some tips and advice, including favorite gear, step-by-step set-up and important do's and don't when setting up your hammock.
Your Camping Checklist
Got the basic checklist items covered? By planning ahead and bringing a few extra items, you can make your campout even more fun, comfortable and easy! Here is a list of 10 Great Things to Add to Your Camping Checklist from the National Wildlife Federation.
Camping Tip: Spotting Poison Ivy
If Poison Ivy sends you walking (or running) in the opposite direction, have no fear! Kathy Salisbury, Director of the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University, invites you to learn about this important native plant during a virtual walk. She'll also share how to tell Poison Ivy apart from the lookalike Virginia Creeper.
Camping Tip: Tick Identification
Ticks are found all over North America. Of the hundreds of tick species, many live in the wilderness, feeding only on animals. Some of the more common species inhabit the same areas as humans, feeding on people and pets. Species that pose a threat to humans and pets include the deer tick (a blacklegged tick), the Western blacklegged tick, the American dog tick, the brown dog tick, and the lone star tick. While these species share many traits and behaviors, each is capable of carrying different pathogens. The Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania provides a handy Tick Identification Guide.
Camping Tip: In Case of Rain
Temple Criminal Justice graduate Tirzah Terry went hiking and camping in Allegheny National Forest to get some healthy fresh air and sun. Tirzah completed the ProRanger Philadelphia program, a partnership between Temple University and the National Park Service to train park rangers. The thing about the weather is that it is always unpredictable. Instead of sun, it rained about 60 percent of the trip. The beautiful scenery was well worth the rough trek through Millcreek Trail, however, and the entire trip was an excellent learning experience.
More Camping Ideas, Tips and Tricks from the Farmer’s Almanac(s)
Get ready to be a happy camper! These are the Farmers’ Almanac’s best little secrets to ensure your outdoor adventure is enjoyable in addition to a primer to help you make the most of your time in the great outdoors. Want to know the best days to go camping? The Old Farmer’s Almanac (yep, they are two different publications) has some ideas on that — in fact that have some ideas on the best days to do just about everything! You can also search by activity!
Planning a Seamless Family Camping Trip
One of life’s guaranteed adventures, besides having kids, is a family camping trip (visit here for car camping essentials). Because when we’re talking about that trusted recipe for fun—dirt, fire, stars, and wild places—it’s nearly impossible for kids not to have a good time. But if you're intimidated by the idea of planning your first family camping adventure, we have good news: there’s no one right way to do it. This article from Conde Nast Traveler provides step-by-step guidance on finding a campsite during high season, easy and delicious meal ideas, and games that'll turn your kids into lifelong campers.
Easy Camping Meals
With a little planning and a hot fire, you can enjoy delicious camping meals that are sure to impress your tent-mates. Camping doesn’t have to mean you’re relegated to oatmeal, freeze-dried meals, or baked beans in a pie plate, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. With a camp stove and a little planning, you can enjoy hot, delicious meals right outside of your tent. The Almanac provides four simple camping meal ideas to get you started.
Camping Essentials: How to Make S'mores
We told you there would be s'mores! S'mores and camping. Camping and s'mores. Can you really have one without the other (and would you want to)? In this video, our resident s'mores expert takes you step-by-step through the process of making the perfect s'more!
How to Build a Campfire
A good campout deserves a good campfire. But not every fire is made equal. Watch this video to discover how to build a fire that burns through the night. Teepee, log cabin or pyramid: REI experts teach you three different ways. And, of course, we show you how to choose the right spot and how to extinguish your fire after you’re finished.
How to Start and Put Out a Campfire
In this video from the U.S. Forest Service, Brian McCloud, a fire prevention technician for the Forest Service explains how to properly start and put out a campfire
If you are going to have a fire at your campsite it is essential to follow important safety tips to keep safety. Smokey Bear’s message is essential today — “Only you can prevent wildfire.”
Ever find yourself in a place where fires are impractical or not allowed? Check out Leave No Trace’s campfire alternatives to light up your next camping trip. Read their blog for more information.
How to Camp at Home
Stuck inside and looking for a fun activity for you or your kids? Try Camping at home! Here are some easy tips from Leave No Trace to keep you entertained, and help you plan ahead and prepare for your next campout.
Indoor Camping Guide
You don’t need to be outside to go camping. Throw open the windows and pitch a tent in a living room, basement, or any other open space you can find. Learn more from the National Wildlife Federation!
A Virtual Campfire
Want to add a little “authenticity” to you indoor camping experience? For about a crackling fire and the night sounds of crickets and owls? These just happen to be virtual. All you need is some marshmallows!