Get Out Camping & Hiking

It's time to just get out.



Camping equipment we love.

Best camping purchase of the year (according to the dog)

Our dog is getting up there in years. He is in good shape, but doesn’t quite get in and out of things as easily as he use to. With a lifelong preference for a human camp chair over anything else, I wondered what he was going to do now that he would have trouble getting in one without help. And besides, his trusty blue chair was falling apart. It just wasn’t going to make it through the summer. He needed a dog bed for camping.

After reading a few reviews, we quickly bought the K&H PET PRODUCTS Original Bolster Pet Cot Elevated Pet Bed on Amazon. It came quickly and was super easy to put together. It seemed sturdy enough, even though the legs and corners were plastic. We sat it in the kitchen and the dog only sat in it when he was promised a treat. Reluctance at best. A losing proposition I thought.

This handsome boy is about 75 pounds and we bought the large-size cot.

Then we took it to camp and placed a light blanket on it. After his initial sniffing around he strolled right over to it and plopped down like it was meant to be. He barely moved for hours. He went back to it every chance he got. Other dogs would pass by the site and bark at him, bikes would pass, kids would run and he never moved, sometimes barely looking up. This was good. This is how old dogs do it. This is camping at its best.

Old dog lying on a cot bed outside.

He really doesn’t like to get out of it. It has become the first thing out of the truck when we arrive and the last thing in the truck when we depart. It is easy to take apart and slide into the backseat on the floor. He even likes you to fold the bumper so he can continue to rest his paws and head on it in the truck. No problems after several uses. I have hosed it off and let it dry in the sun with no issues, but I was careful not to soak the bumper.

Lounging dog outside on a cot.

The dog votes this as the single best camping product of the year, perhaps his lifetime. Just so he has someone to shift it to follow the sun path, he is one happy camper.

The K&H Pet Products Bolstered Pet Cot has been given the Campsite Essential seal!

Internet Access at Raystown Lake

While remote work is a thing, can you reliably get Internet access at Raystown Lake? We recently tested this using a Verizon MiFi for several days. Here’s how it worked…

It was a spur of a moment decision…feeling a bit stir crazy and knowing the weather was only going to be friendly to be outside for a short period of time, a Sunday discussion turned into a spontaneous remote work week. Our first step was to secure an Internet connection. We headed to our local Verizon Wireless store and walked out with a Verizon 
JetpackĀ® MiFiĀ®
and an unlimited data plan. Forty-eight hours later, our camper was packed with just our essentials and we headed out to one of our favorite spots, Seven Points Recreation Area in Huntington County, Pennsylvania, lucky enough to snag a reservation for a lake-front site.

With the sun out on a nice fall day, I settled in for a long day of online meetings in my old REI Zero-Gravity recliner (which didn’t make it home by the way) with a view of the lake.

Lake view while working from camp.

We also had the table in the Aliner set up as a desk and between two of us, we moved back and forth between working spots based on noise levels and task at hand.

Lake view while working from Aliner Classic at campground.

The day went off without issue! Two laptops stayed connected the entire day without the MiFi being plugged in. By 5 o’clock, it was ready to be charged. In the evenings, we were able to freely access streaming services.

Day two was a repeat of the positive experience including the wonderful weather.

Completely loved the change of scenery! It was a great mental health break from our walls of home and opens up lots of opportunities for spring. Now, about the packed parks and struggles to even get a spot… not sure that is getting better any time soon.

Coleman 30-inch Propane Distribution Tree Equipment Review

91SkmQ+946L._SL1500_It was the year of propane accessories. This one was the Coleman 30-inch Propane Distribution Tree. If only we were in Texas, we would have bought from Hank Hill. But instead, we bought from Pittsburgh’s very own Dick’s Sporting Goods, since they are only up the street.

When we first connected the pole to the propane tank, both my husband and I thought it would be taller. Remember, 30-inches is under 3 feet. With the height of the tank added, most people are still looking a bit down at the lantern on top. However, the Coleman gas lanterns (which we’ve used for many years with the small propane tanks) give off nice light, so we thought it would work fine. Also, on first connection, the gas takes a bit to push out the air in the post. It will sound like it is flowing, but wait for the smell. Turn it off for a few minutes for safety and then light. Don’t risk an explosion if too much gas has built up in the lantern before you smelled it and turned it off.

The post has a distribution system so you can use other propane devices such as the cook stove at the same time. The hose to connect these is not included! You will need to buy that separately.

Thanks to Amazon reviewer Jester64 for recommending that the valves be dried after each use. It makes perfect sense that rust could be a problem, as the condensation can really build up.

You can also find the Coleman 30-Inch Propane Distribution Tree on Amazon. This may be a good item to add to your camping kit if you already have large propane tanks available and need a source of light.

Our take:

Since we bought this in 2016, we have since stopped using it, as the plethora of LED lanterns out now are easier, safer and no longer eat batteries the way old ones did. It just didn’t makes sense to continue to drag this along on our trips. Now we keep our propane attached to CampChef tucked under its cover and don’t need to move it to add the light. We’ll look at a few of our favorite lanterns in an upcoming post.

The Drinking Water Problem

Let me start by saying we don’t use our sink in the A-liner. It is small and since we live in a climate the freezes, we don’t find it worth the extra work it takes to drain in for the off-season. For clean water, we look elsewhere.

In the past, we would stock up on gallon-sized jugs of water from Costco before camping to ensure that we would have clean water for just about everything, from filling the dogs’ water bowls to cleaning dishes. These took up considerable space in the vehicle and also created bulky trash. But you need clean water.


Continue reading “The Drinking Water Problem”

Two Books for Summer Camp and Hike Planning

We love to hike and to photograph nature on those hikes. I picked up two books that I am using for planning our 2013 trips. Continue reading “Two Books for Summer Camp and Hike Planning”

SunRight Gas-Fired Infra-Red Tank Top Heater Equipment Review

By Mr. Heater

After looking at the weather forecast for the week before our last camping trip, we thought the evening would be a bit cold in the screenhouse while we played games (something we do for hours on every camping trip). We like to sit outside late and don’t want the temperature to force us into the Aliner. Continue reading “SunRight Gas-Fired Infra-Red Tank Top Heater Equipment Review”

Mountain Pie Iron Equipment Review

Mountain Pie Iron, C. Palmer Mfg.

We have used many, many different mountain pie makers – double ones, fluted ones, round ones, and we were recently even gifted with a panini maker one. For awhile, we took them all to camp to keep everyone cooking. But, we noticed that people would wait to use a certain one (or two, because we had two of the same model). And, they were our favorites as well. Continue reading “Mountain Pie Iron Equipment Review”


Columbia Northwest Aliner Classic

Well, we did it. We took a step towards organized camping by investing in a camper. After years of tent camping, we were reached a point where we wished we could go more often, but knew it was just not possible because it was just too much work. As two busy people with full-time jobs, a house, and just life in general, the process of cleaning-packing-camping-packing-cleaning-packing again, was just too much. We seemed to always have rain and when you have rain, you have to let things dry out, which can add another week of work before you can go back to life before camping. Continue reading ““A” IS FOR ALINER”

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