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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition

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Outdoor Tips from Dallas Camping Expert Wendel Withrow

Jul 01, 2014 12:06PM

Wendel Withrow, chairman of the Dallas Group of The Sierra Club, is the author of The Best in Tent Camping: Texas: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos. His favorite  parks close to the DFW Metroplex are Dinosaur Valley State Park, near Glen Rose, and Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Ray Roberts State park, north of Denton. Withrow says these areas have excellent camping and plenty of other activities for campers, hikers and bikers of all ages. Here are some of his tips for getting the most out of any camping trip.

Buy a tent big enough to not leave you claustrophobic if weather keeps you inside for a few hours  but that doesn’t look like a three-bedroom house (unless you brought the entire family for a week’s stay)

Spend the extra money to get two premium ground pads and extra-wide sleeping bags.  Remember, you’re not backpacking, so weight and size are not a concern.

Bring your own dry firewood and kindling. Avoid newspaper as a starter material. A small amount of solid fireplace starter or self-lighting charcoal will help in bad weather. Pack your stove on every trip in case of a burn ban or specific cooking need.

Food selection can be he highlight of any tent-camping experience. Fill the ice chest with goodies, but remember that this is supposed to be a vacation for everyone, including the cook and cleanup crew.

For information like this see Wendel Withrows’ book, The best in Tent camping: Texas

Book Review

The campgrounds selected for The Best in Tent Camping: Texas had to meet three criteria: they had to be accessible by car but not overrun with RVs; offer great scenery; and be as close as possible to a wilderness experience. Texas, with its extraordinary diversity of ecosystems, made author Wendel Withrow’s search an interesting one. Divided into the state’s major geographical areas, the book is based on the author's 30 years’ experience in following the back roads of Texas. Along with a detailed profile and useful at-a-glance information, clear maps show campground layout, individual sites, and key facilities. Driving directions supplemented with GPS-based coordinates for each campground entrance make getting there a snap. Regional maps and a profile numbering system make the book easy to use.

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