Yamaha Outdoors Tip of the Week - Wilderness Comfort Camping
By Bob Humphrey
The term “camping” means different things to different people. Some folks like roughing it, true back-country camping where you stuff the bare essentials in a back-pack and hike far enough away from the nearest road that you can actually enjoy a little wilderness. At the other end of the spectrum are folks who want to spend time in the great outdoors without sacrificing the creature comforts of home. They drive their plush RV, tow-behind or truck camper to a numbered campsite replete with a fire pit, picnic table and perhaps full electrical and waste disposal hook-ups.
There is however, a third group that likes to get away from the crowds while still bringing along some of the amenities. And one of the more popular means of conveyance for this group is ATVs. They can take you, and enough gear to make you quite comfortable, into areas many folks would never think of spending the night.
As far as what you can bring, the list is limited by your own desires and imagination. The additional storage space in a Side-by-Side vehicle bed or on four-wheeler racks allows for more, bulkier and heavier gear. That includes things like cookstoves and fuel, lanterns, larger tents and mattresses and coolers for food and beverages and the very essence of life itself, water.
In addition, the battery power of an ATV offers all sorts of advantages. You can bring along a small compressor to inflate air mattresses for sleeping and float tubes for remote pond fishing. DC-powered coolers eliminate the need for heavy and ephemeral ice. You can even plug in a radio and listen to the ball game or some soothing music as you sit out under the stars. What you won’t have to listen to is barking dogs, screaming children, the din of traffic and the hum of air conditioning from the motor home next door.
Before you go, make sure you check local regulations regarding ATVs. More places are not only allowing them, but establishing back-country campsites for ATVers. However, word is getting out fast and with the popularity of ATV camping on the rise, demand will increase for designated sites, where applicable. You may need to reserve in advance.
In areas without designated sites, you should still check local regulations. Some agencies may charge a fee, or merely ask that you register so they can keep track of users. Or, you may need a permit for an open fire.
Where cargo space is less of a concern you can also be more comprehensive with your essential gear. Replace your backwoods emergency kit with a full-sized first-aid kit. Don’t forget the sun block to protect from harmful rays and ThermaCELLs to keep away the mosquitoes. Bring along extra fuel and water and you can go even farther into the wilds.