Your Top Camping Questions Answered!

Posted by Whole Earth | 08.12.2021

A family gathered at a campsite under tall trees



Your Top Camping Questions Answered!


We're answering your top camping questions! They include what amenities can I expect at most state parks? What types of food should I bring, and how do you keep perishables fresh? How do I charge my phone? Can I bring my dog? And more!


Texas State Parks Official GuideWhat amenities can I expect at most state parks?

In general campsites can be divided into several categories:

- Drive up campsites with full hookups for water, electricity and sewer.

- Campsites with electricity

- Campsites with water

- Campsites with no hookups including walk-in and primitive campsites


Some camping areas have shared bathroom facilities and water spigots. Picnic tables, fire rings and grills may also be available. Before you go, visit your state parks' website to learn what is available at your destination.


What types of food should I bring, and how do I keep perishables fresh?

If this is your first time camping, keeping it simple may be a good idea.


- Breakfast could be cereal and milk. For lunch sandwiches, chips and fruit. Dinner can be as simple as boiling water for a dehydrated dinner or heating up some soup on a camp stove with smores by the campfire for dessert!

- Snacks should be healthy - fruit, nuts, granola bars - for added energy.

- Consider how much room you have in your cooler to keep perishable foods safe and if there is a convenient source for extra ice.

- Camping and hiking can build up an appetite. Plan for more food than you think you might need.

- Don't forget kitchen gear, a knife, cutting board and pan to heat up food or water, and plates and bowls, cups and utensils for eating.

- Be sure to clean up and dispose of your trash in designated places or carry it back home.


How do I charge my phone?

A BioLite Campstove 2+ charging a phone- Carry a portable charger. They come in several sizes and can charge a variety of electronic devices. Charge them up before leaving home and use as needed.

- Or consider a BioLite Campstove 2+ that can charge your phone while you cook!




Can I bring my dog?

- Check the rules or FAQs for your destination. You may have to keep the pup on a lead or leash at all times.

- Would your dog rather stay home? Not all pups are cut out for adventure.

- Check out our blog on Camping and Hiking with Dogs for more information.



Camping Texas by Tom Behrens Does Whole Earth have any books to help find camping spots beyond state parks?

We have two book for finding campsites in Texas - 

- Camping Texas by Tom Behrens which includes a few Texas State Parks and many other public campgrounds.

- The Best In Tent Camping: Texas 2E by Wendal Withrow focuses on Texas State Parks, National Parks and includes a few public campgrounds.


Any advice for newbie campers who are on a budget?

- In Texas, sign up for Texas Outdoor Family. It's a weekend program run by Texas State Parks where you can learn how to set up a tent, cook outdoors, build a campfire and have fun!

- Texas State Parks provide most of the gear you'll need for your first camping experience. After your initial camping trip, you'll know what gear you need to head out on your own.

- Not from Texas? Check out your state parks' webpage for a similar program.


Kelty Kush Queen Air Bed with PumpAny recommendation for older campers who can no longer comfortably sleep on the ground? Are cots still a thing?

- Yes, cots are still a thing, even for backpackers!

- Extra thick inflatable sleeping air mattresses are another way to be comfortable and get a good night's sleep.


What is a good environmentally friendly mosquito or bug spray?

Look for insect repellents containing Picaridin, a synthetic compound that replicates the effects of piperine, a derivative of black pepper plants. It protects against mosquitoes, ticks and flies and is safe for people and gear. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.


I have a really old Coleman lantern and stove. Should I reinvest in new gear?

- If they work well, no. If there are problems with the stove such as flames not spreading around the entire ring or if the flame continues to burn for too long a period after the fuel has been turned off, you may want to consider replacing or repairing the stove.

- Does your Coleman lantern flicker, have a dim light, or flat out refuse to light? It may be time for repairs or replacement.


Where can I camp for free in Texas?

- You can camp for free in some of the Wildlife Management Areas run by Texas Parks & Wildlife. However, amenities are minimal to non-existent. Your planning and primitive camping skills should be at a high level to make the most of experience.

- Check county and city websites in Texas for free camping options. Again, if they exist, they are usually primitive campsites with few or no amenities.


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