a tent recommended for use in summer, spring and fall.
a sturdy tent designed to handle any weather conditions, all-seasonal, including winter.
A style of tent that has a pole supporting the middle of the tent while the tent walls drape over the pole, the cross section of which resembles an “A” shape. A-frame tents require staking and are generally inexpensive.
The period of time required for the body to adjust to changes in altitude and trail conditions.
a summer camp where kids learn about the outdoors and participate in adventure-like activities such as backpacking, camping, canoeing, hiking, kayaking, sailing, and skiing.
an instrument that measures elevation by using barometric (air) pressure.
a waterproof hooded pullover jacket that helps retain body heat.
“appalachian Trail”, a long distance footpath extending 2,178 miles from Georgia to Maine.
an isolated geographic area of public lands, national parks, and forests – generally land that has been “untouched” without any marks of civilization (or cell phone service!)
hiking into the backcountry with all of your camping gear and supplies on your back (in a backpack).
in camping, a quilt-like insulation technique where fabric panels are sewn to the inner and outer shell of a sleeping bag.
a traditional trail bread that is usually made in a skillet by a combination of frying and reflective baking.
the see-through plate of a compass, onto which the compass housing is mounted.
a seamless one-piece tent floor where the outer edges come a few inches up the sides before connecting with the tent walls.
a strong, waterproof bag that campers use to safeguard their food and cooking utensils, usually tied to a rope and suspended out of the reach of bears.
the direction of travel from your current position to a specific landmark or destination, expressed in degrees of a full circle (360 degrees), Bearings are measured in the number of degrees east or west of a north-south line.
: a permanent object that is either natural or man-made with a known elevation that can be used as a reference point when navigating.
a small cooking pot (or coffee can with a handle on top) used to boil water or cook food over a campfire.
soap that decomposes naturally and is not harmful to the environment.
a temporary or makeshift shelter meant to protect hikers from inclement weather.
a small one-man tent or bag of sleeping bag proportions often used for emergency shelter.
a sign, painted symbol on a tree or a rock cairn used to mark a trail. Blaze: A sign, painted symbol on a tree or a rock cairn used to mark a trail. (Double blaze: Two painted blazes or markings on a tree that announce a change in direction or junction along a trail.)
in the campground description, “yes,” indicates the presence of a developed and maintained ramp suitable for campers to launch a power or non-power boat into a body of water within a campground or recreation area. A “no” indicates the absence of a boat ramp.
boondocking (or dry camping) is used to describe a type of camping by an RVer. Camping in this manner involves using all the self-contained facilities of an RV – fresh water, electric (battery powered) and waste disposal.
refers to the porosity of fabrics. Breathable materials are not waterproof.
a fabric mesh jacket that’s impregnated with insect repellent.
off-trail travel through brush where no cleared path exists and hikers have to force their way through the branches. Bushwhacking: Making one’s way through bushes or undergrowth without the aid of a formal trail.
to store or stow away food and supplies intended for future use.
a manmade pile of stones used as a navigational aide in locations with little to no vegetation.
a portable light with one or two mantels that are fueled by propane or some other fuel.
the inner wall of a double-walled tent. The canopy is breathable; the outer wall, or fly, is waterproof. Canopy: The inner wall of a double-walled tent. The canopy is breathable; the outer wall, or fly, is waterproof.
the four main points of direction on a compass–North/360 degrees; East/90 degrees; South/180 degrees; and West/270 degrees.
a 6- to 8-inch-deep hole to poop into, dug off-trail and out of sight, at least 50 yards from the nearest water source.
a tool used outdoors to start charcoal for the grill.
what to expect when you arrive at the campground, and what to do before you leave.
a way to attach a tent to the poles.
a designated site in a National Forest campground that can, in the author’s judgement, accommodate either a tent or an RV.
this type of tree has needle-leaves which it retains year round. Examples Balsam Fir, Ponderosa, Sitka Spruce, Juniper, and Redwood trees.
a place for kids to enjoy outdoor events and recreation with other kids under parental supervision.
small backpack that holds enough gear for a one-day outing.
a log or rock buried in the ground to provide a solid point for anchoring a tent in ground that is too soft for stakes.
a type of tree that will will lose its leaves on a seasonal basis either in fall or during the dry seasons. Some examples are Maple, Elm, Sycamore, and Cottonwood trees.
excessive loss of water/body fluid that can result in headaches, fainting and more severe symptoms
(den-year) a weight measurement used to refer to the fineness of a yarn or thread used in some backpacking and camping equipment. The lower the denier, the more thin the thread. The higher the denier the more durable the fabric will be.
represents camping in undeveloped areas throughout a National Forest. These areas can be accessed by various means of transportation, i.e., automobile, hiking, horse, bike, canoe, etc. Dispersed camping is usually very primitive – no fresh water, sanitation or refuge facilities – pack it in, pack it out. Check with the Supervisor or Ranger District Office for rules that may apply to dispersed camping.
a drawstring bag used to carry items.
a tent shape where the poles create a dome shape by curving over each other
two painted blazes or markings on a tree that announce a change in direction or junction along a trail.
A double wall tent uses a rainfly over the tent, whereas a single wall tent does not.
two or three small rocks piled one on top of the other to be used as a trail marker.
a cast-iron cooking pot (with a lid) that you cook with outdoors over charcoals.
when the flames from a camp fire have died down – the embers are the part-burnt wood that glows orange or white, the most efficient heat to cook on.
refers to the steepness of terrain and the level of risk involved while hiking in the backcountry. The scale ranges from Level 1 (almost flat) to Level 5 (vertical and possibly life-threatening).
external frame pack
a backpack supported by a rigid frame (aluminum or carbon) on the outside of the pack.
the side of a cliff, escarpment, or other mostly vertical rock structure.
factory taped seams
many quality tents come from the factory with taped seams that have a waterproof material placed between overlapped seams, which are then double stitched.
A tent that is large enough to accommodate your entire family.
A small zippered nylon pack that’s attached to a waist-belt.
Towable RV that is designed to be coupled to a special hitch that is mounted over the rear axel in the bed of a pickup truck.
An iron ring with a grate used to contain campfires.
A sudden flood of water resulting from a cloudburst.
A meal that is wrapped in foil and cooked or reheated on a grill or next to a campfire.
The rounded end of a sleeping bag, also called a footbox.
A custom sized ground cloth for your tent. Footprint: The shape and square footage of a tent floor.
a pack with an exterior aluminum or fiber framework.
foul weather gear
garments designed to keep hikers warm and dry during inclement weather conditions.
free standing tent a
tent that requires no ropes or stakes to support the tent.
Skin that is damaged by exposure to freezing temperatures. Frostbite – A medical condition caused by extreme cold that could eventually result in amputation – See more at: http://www.camping-gear-outlet.com/camping-information-29.html#sthash.nVofOxci.dpuf
Electric, water and sewer connections are provided for an RV.
— protective gear designed to fit snugly over hiking boots meant to keep mud and debris from fouling socks, thereby keeping feet dry and comfortable. Gaiter A water-repellent, internal sleeve that can be tightened around boot and lower leg to keep out snow. Gaiter: A water-repellent, internal sleeve that can be tightened around boot and lower leg to keep out snow.
A gear loft is a piece of mesh cloth or net that ties to loops suspended from the top of a tent and serves as a small storage area for lightweight items.
A bacteria that contaminates water in the backcountry and can cause severe stomach cramps and other symptoms.
A water-repellant, breathable material that allows body vapor to pass through while keeping rain out.
An electronic device known as a global positioning unit that uses satellite triangulation to detemine your longitude and latitude.
Water that has been used in the sink, shower, or laundry.
A wire brush used to scrape and clean grills.
A reinforced metal eyelet used to secure the ends of tent poles. GROMMET Little round metal sewn-in rings found on corners of so-called post & grommet type tents – usually 2 or more per pole point/corner, on better tent models. These make for durable, fast set-ups, and easier adjustments when temps change fabric and pole lengths. Also found on generic tarps, and some custom tent footprints.
A sheet of waterproof material such as woven PE or PVC that is on the ground under the tent and intended to keep out moisture
Anchors that hold a tent to the ground.
This is a campground, designated by the Forest Service, for groups only. Normally, these campgrounds are reserved by contacting the appropriate Ranger District Office.
A length of cord used to secure or reinforce the walls and rainfly of a tent.
These are used to attach guy-lines for securing your tent.
The handle of an axe
A piece sewn around the hood of a sleeping bag to keep in warm air.
A severe form of heat illness caused by excessive heat and dehydration.
a long walk usually for exercise or pleasure
the main support device on a backpack. Large padded belt that buckles around the waist and is fully adjustable.
a sunken path worn down due to foot traffic, rain and erosion that has fallen significantly below the vegetative banks on each side. holloway — a sunken path worn down due to foot traffic, rain and erosion that has fallen significantly below the vegetative banks on each side.
A condition where your body loses more heat than it produces. hypothermia — a dangerous physical condition possibly leading to death, in which body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, impeding brain and body functions.
internal frame pack
A backpack supported by stays on the inside. The stays give the pack shape and make it more comfortable to carry than a traditional soft pack.
A fee collection box used at campgrounds that do not have full time attendants.
a narrow strip of land bound by water on two sides.
— a planned trip or intended route of travel used to estimate miles traveled and destination.
the point at which two trails intersect.
highly flammable materials used to start fires, such as pine cones, twigs, dry bark. Kindling Small, thin, dead wood (1″ around or less) used to start a fire.
bent, stunted trees found in mountainous and artic regions, twisted by steady winds and short growing seasons.
the distance in degrees north and south from the equator. These lines run laterally (horizontally) around the globe and parallel the equator. One minute of latitude equals one nautical mile.
leave no trace
It simply means that you should clean up your campsite before you leave. Leave No Trace–a camping/outdoor concept that adheres to a strict “pack in/pack out” policy which means visitors will not leave trash along trails or at their campsites to minize the impact on the natural area.
The height and thickness of insulation in a sleeping bag.
the distance in degrees east and west from the prime meridian established in Greenwich, England. These lines run vertically (lengthwise) around the globe and connect each pole.
The geographical region towards which all magnetic needles point. This point is approximately 1,300 miles south of true north.
A large tent, often used as a dining or meeting tent.
A tableland; a flat-topped mountain or other elevation bounded on at least one side by a steep cliff; a plateau terminating on one or more sides in a steep cliff. Seen in many areas of the southwest.
brand name of soft-surfaced bandaging material used to protect blisters. The sticky side of Moleskin is placed over the unbroken blister; the cushioned surface absorbs the friction from socks and boot.
In the Southwest, a seasonal outbreak of localized severe thunderstorms that deposit large quantities of rain often resulting in flash floods, especially in canyon country where there are narrow slot canyons and little vegetation to help absorb the sudden rush of water.
A large pile of stones used to mark a trail or often found at the summit of a peak.
— an accumulation of debris (rocks and dirt) formed by glaciers.
A sleeping bag that is tapered at the ends to reduce air space and to conserve heat. Mummy bag A close fitting, shaped, hooded sleeping bag very efficient at conserving body heat. Mummy bag: A close fitting, shaped, hooded sleeping bag very efficient at conserving body heat.
A type of “plastic” bottle that holds up well under the harsh conditions of hiking and camping. Originally designed to store chemical reagents, the plastic resists taking on the smell of the liquid or ingredients it contains. A very popular type of water bottle, especially the wide-mouthed variety. They hold up for years.
“Congress established the Forest Service in 1905 to provide quality water and timber for the Nations benefit. Over the years, the public has expanded the list of what they want from National Forests (and Grasslands). Congress responded by directing the Forest Service to manage national forests for additional multiple uses and benefits and for the sustained yield of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood, and recreation. Multiple use means managing resources under the best combination of uses to benefit the American people while ensuring the productivity of the land and protecting the quality of the environment.”
national Recreation Area
A Congressionally identified “special place” within the National Forest Service System. These “special places” are recognized and managed in a special way by the Forest Service.
Normal mosquito netting has 200 holes per inch, whereas noseeum netting has 625 holes per inch.
Noseeums are nasty little bugs typically found near the ocean and around rivers, lakes, and swamps.
The National Park Service preserves the natural resources of the US for the enjoyment and education of current and future generations. NPS — U.S. National Park Service, the federal agency responsible for the care and management of America’s national parks and national monuments. Tasked with the preservation and conservation of public lands and protecting wildlife for the benefit of current and future generations.
— using a map and compass to determine a route through unfamiliar terrain. Orienteering Using a map and compass in the field to determine your route of travel.
a thigh-length shell garment with integral hood. Parkas may be lined or filled with down, polyester or other insulation for use in cold weather.
peg / Stake puller
a tool used to remove the tent pegs / stakes from the ground at the end of your holiday.
A relatively elevated area of comparatively flat land which is commonly limited on at least one side by an abrupt descent to lower land. Sometimes called a table or tableland.
Obnoxious plants that can cause a nasty skin rash.
Durable material coating used to waterproof a tent floor and rainfly.
A hooded water-repelling garment used for a raincoat. poncho a rectangular, hooded rain garment. Ponchos provide good ventilation and can be worn over a hiking pack. They do not supply reliable protection from rain.
post and grommet
A hooded water-repelling garment used for a raincoat.
— water source that poses few health hazards to humans without prior treatment.
A campground without any amenities like bathrooms, electric, and water.
A campground that is a privately owned business.
— a campsite that offers few basic amenities to hikers, such as shelter, pit toilets or running water.
A portable container that holds about one pound of pressurized propane, which is used to fuel campstoves and lanterns.
A drinking water system that removes contaminates and eliminates viruses with a combination of specialized filters.
a knot which can be removed by a simple pull of the tail. The most common quick-release knot is the “bow” used for tying your shoes.
— the outer shell of a tent used to shed water and blunt the wind, protecting occupants.
— to walk the countryside without a predetermined destination.
a deep narrow cleft in the earth’s surface usually caused by runoff.
Recreational vehicle (RV) is a motor home, travel trailer, slide-in or pop-up tent.
A fray-proof material used in tent walls. rip-stop nylon a lightweight nylon fabric that has heavier threads sewn in at approximate one-quarter-inch intervals. Rip-stop is less likely to tear than taffeta but it has less resistance to abrasion.
A type of knapsack or backpack, usually made of canvas with two shoulder straps.
A camping site in a National Forest campground that has been designated by the Forest Service for RVs only or, in the authors’ judgement, accommodates only an RV.
A campfire treat made by placing a piece of chocolate and a roasted marshmallow between two graham crackers.
An outdoor structure made of tent material and noseeum screening that provides shade relief from the sun and refuge from bugs.
The outermost material in a sleeping bag or outdoor clothing, consisting of a fabric used to meet a particular demand such as abrasion resistance, water repellency or suppleness.
Tent poles that come in sections and are held together by an elastic cord that runs the length of the pole.
A tent without a fly and walls made of non-breathable materials.
A roll-up bed used for camping that is made of various insulating materials.
An insulating cushion used beneath a sleeping bag.
Generally a smooth, weathered sandstone surface that becomes slippery due to the presence of sand grains. Can be dangerous to walk across.
Electricity supplied by an external power source, such as a campground outlet.
A deep, narrow, steep-walled canyon, most often cut through sandstone, and often with water running along its bottom. Sometimes referred to as narrows.
ear-like flaps which are sewn to the perimeter of a tent floor. Snow-flaps are folded outward then piled with snow. This eliminates the need for staking the tent. Snow-flaps are an extra-cost feature of special purpose winter tents.
a Mylar-coated “blanket” used in survival kits. Space-blankets are waterproof and are very warm for their size and weight.
A tool used to remove tent stakes from the ground.
The backbone of aluminum or plastic material supporting an internal frame backpack.
a short nylon strap which connects the shoulder straps of a hiking pack. A properly adjusted sternum strap transfers some of the pack load to the chest.
a panel of material which backs the zipper of a parka prevents “the storm” from getting in.
A cloth or nylon bag used to carry a tent or other piece of camping gear. stuff sack traditionally, a nylon sack in which a sleeping bag is stored. The term now defines any nylon bag with drawstring closure.
A place where kids go to enjoy supervised recreation.
— an established hiking trail that zigzags across steep terrain. Switchback A zigzagging trail up the side of a steep ridge, hill or mountain, which allows for a more gradual and less strenuous ascent.
The loose rock of all sizes that falls from a cliff and accumulates at the base. The distinction between scree and talus is generally that talus is large enough not to move underfoot.
A flat sheet of fabric material. Sometimes the generic name for groundsheet material. It is also the name for the fabric sheet that is used with poles / guy lines to create a dining tent or sheltered exterior space
a designagated area within a campsite designed for tent set up. Tent pads are usually covered in sand or small gravel for comfort. The fill material of choice is a fine gravel that creates excellent drainage to keep the tent area from becoming muddy.
Aluminum or fiberglass poles that are used to erect tents.
A piece of wood, metal or aluminum pointed at one end for driving into the ground to hold a rope supporting a tent.
small twigs, wood shavings, dry leaves or grass, dry needles, bark or dryer lint (ultra-fine dry material).
This should start to burn immediately with a lighted match.
the starting point of a trail, usually marked with a sign.
the pattern on the outer soles of hiking boots or trail running shoes.
a multi-day hike in remote and exotic locations, often requiring the assistance of a guide.
also known as geographic north-the North Pole.
A tent floor made from one piece of material, which continues up the walls about six inches before being sewn to the walls.
— U.S. Geological Service, the federal agency tasked with monitoring and accessing the overall health of America’s ecosystems. Publishes highly detailed topographical maps frequently carried by hikers in the backcountry.
A tent designed for one or two people, weighing five pounds or less and designed to carry on or in a backpack.
A means of removing body moisture to prevent condensation buildup inside your tent.
a thin coating of ice that forms on rocks overnight, or when snow melts and then refreezes.
A covered area outside a tent door. Vestibules are usually found on backpacking tents and are used to store wet clothes or extra gear. vestibule — a covered chamber, usually an extension of the rainfly, designed to stash wet gear in before crawling into a dry tent. Vestibule A covered area outside of or connected to a tent, usually created by an extended rain-fly or a special attachment.
The amount of space in a backpack measured in cubic inches.
an accessible mountain peak requiring no technical gear or advanced climbing knowledge.
treated with a finish that is resistant but not impervious to penetration by water
The ability to resist, but not completely repel, water.
a specially formulated fuel designed to burn in camp stoves.
A tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, essentially undisturbed by human activity, together with its naturally developed life community, generally an empty pathless area.