Pets and Camping Trips

Spending Quality Time Outdoors With Our Four-Legged Companions

In all the years I’ve been camping, I can’t recall time when I didn’t see a fellow camper taking his four-legged friend for a morning, afternoon or evening stroll. Only a person who has a love and admiration for animals can appreciate just how much our pets really mean to us. In addition to the unconditional love and affection they provide, animals have a remarkable way of helping to reduce stress. It gives me a tremendous feeling of joy anytime I see campers connecting with animals, whether it be their own personal pets, or animals in the wild. Campgrounds have become extremely pet friendly over the years. And while many have specific rules in place regarding pet relations, campers are known to be well rounded individuals and very capable of cleaning up and looking after their beloved animals while camping.

As you’ve heard me say countless times on the show, we live in a multi-pet household. Our pets are the only reason I haven’t sold off everything I own to become a full-time camper.

A lot of times, campers will bring their dogs along for the journey. After all, they ARE members of the family. It’s not common to find campers bringing their pet cats for a weekend outing. As a long time cat owner, I know all too well that cats become easily stressed out if taken out of their familiar environment. Dogs, on the other hand, can adapt quite well outside the home and are usually found in very close proximity of their owners.

Of course, not every pet owner will bring their beloved animal on a camping trip. For folks like myself, a responsible designated house sitter will be on hand to make sure the dogs and cats are well cared for in my absence. Some owners find it convenient to board their pets at a local kennel or animal hospital. Then there are some who simply leave their pets unattended in the home, assuming they’ve left plenty of food and water to last the duration. These are the people who have no business owning a pet if you ask me. It bothers me tremendously when I hear that some pets are not receiving the proper care and attention they deserve. I live in a neighborhood where we have more than our fair share of stray cats. The good news is, most all of my neighbors are caring enough to place food out for those who have no place to call home. Not only will I help feed a hungry pet, I even go as far as to place an electric blanket out on a cold night to provide them what comfort I can. Sure, stray animals will come and go, but I’m more than happy to do my part and look out for the ones I can. It’s all about caring. And that what many of us campers are known to do.

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The Benefits of GPS Mapping Technology

How did we ever manage without it?

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to venture out of town for a few days, which is something I haven’t done in a while. As I drove south on interstate 75 toward the Florida border, I seldom had the radio on and took advantage of some quiet time to collect my thoughts on a number of pressing issues I was dealing with. Having no idea what roads would lead me to my final destination, I would trust the reliability of my Global Positioning System (GPS) to get me where I needed to go. As the electronic voice on my GPS occasionally broke the silent air inside my rental vehicle, I was minded of the many times I had to rely upon printed road maps for those long distant trips.

Like many people my age, there was once a time when printed road maps were our only source of navigation. We were lost without them. Whenever necessary, I would purchase one at a local filling station. Then, I would sit down and carefully plot a course to wherever I was heading, hoping that I selected the best possible route.

These days, I rely solely upon GPS technology anytime I venture away from my familiar surroundings. I pay roughly $4.95 a month to my cell phone provider for the convenience of have a GPS app on my smartphone. It travels everywhere I go and never once has it steered me wrong.

Long before GPS came around, I can remember the days of having my trusted road map sitting on the front seat next to me. I can also recall the number of times I had to pull off to the side of the road, just to be sure I was still on course while estimating my approximate time of arrival. I’m sure you can still find printed road maps if you really need one these days. No doubt, there are some people in this world who still like doing things the old fashion way. Not everyone is eager to embrace new technology or make changes in the way they do things. However, I do find one thing for certain…a GPS mapping system with turn-by-turn verbal commands allows me to keep my attention more focused on the road where it needs to be. I cringe at the thought of driving next to someone who is traveling 70 mph down the freeway and trying to study a road map at the same time. Not only are they placing lives at risk, they’re setting a horrible example for younger passengers in this vehicle. Imagine trying to teach a teenager how to drive while constantly explaining why texting and driving is something you should never ever do. Sometimes we fail to remember that kids are looking to us as the example. They’re constantly watching and processing a whole lot of information. If they see you focusing your attention away from the road, how can you rightfully explain that what you do behind the wheel is acceptable? Be mindful of the road ahead of you anytime you’re driving, whether your kids are in the vehicle or not.

What I really like about GPS is that you rarely need to glance at the screen. This allows you to stay focused on traffic. If you pay careful attention, the GPS voice prompts will guide you every step of the way. While some people conveniently mount their GPS or smartphone on the dash where it’s easy to see, I simply place mine in an available cup holder in the center console. It’s like having your own personal travel guide sitting there next to you.

If you don’t own a smartphone, you can purchase a GPS from your local department store or auto parts location. You’ll find them in many cases for under $100. with no monthly fee. Just remember to lock it in your glove box or in the trunk of your vehicle anytime you step away. Crooks are always looking for something to steal.

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Deluxe Camping Products

My recent interview with Michael Robertson

In Episode 137, I had the pleasure of talking with Michael Robertson of If you haven’t caught the interview, you’ll find it here.

One of the neat things about camping is having the ability to interact with others who camp around you. I’ve met some of the nicest people in the world at a campground. What a much better place this world would be if everyone took the time to explore nature and interacted with those of us who cherish the outdoors. There’s no question about it…anytime I go camping, I always find time to admire what others have and dream of ways to improve my camping experience. No, I’m not out to copy what others are doing, but I’m constantly looking to see what new items have hit the market. So much has changed over the years when it comes to camping products. Long forgotten are the days of heavy canvas tents, aluminum poles, and the struggle to set up camp. In many cases, camping products are more light weight, less expensive and built to last. Michael has some wonderful products on his website. They’re designed specifically with the camper in mind. After taking time to think about our discussion, I can see where these appliances will not only enhance your camping experience, but provide the conveniences that many first time campers may be looking for.

What makes a product like the Deluxe Camp Sink so unique is that it has the look and feel of camping. It’s something that will fit right in to any camping environment, no matter where you pitch your tent. None of us would ever think of trying to replicate a home kitchen appliance at camp. What fun would that be? With the Deluxe Camp Sink, your family can can take advantage of running water without all the mess while enjoying the convenience of a clean and sanitary dispenser to wash your hands, do dishes, or enjoy a refreshing drink.

To learn more about the Deluxe Camping product line, visit today.

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Working Outside The Studio

The Happy Camper Radio Road Show

The next time you go camping and you see this road case parked at a campsite near to you, you’ll know you’re just hours away from the next remote broadcast of the Happy Camper Radio Show. During the past few years of building what I call the ultimate studio for both radio and voiceover production, I also took time to put together a portable unit that I could take on the road. And like the in-house facility I often rave about occasionally on the program, I was not about to cut corners when it came to building the remote operation that I use in an outdoor setting.

When I first started to produce shows away from the studio, I was working with a consumer grade microphone plugged into a digital hand-held recorder. That was it. There were no microphone flags, banners, or any type promotional materials whatsoever. People around me had no earthy idea who I was or what I was up to. That was about to change. As time progressed, I came to realize that the Happy Camper Radio Show had to be more than just a guy behind a microphone. To be around people who share a passion for camping, I needed to draw them into the conversation and allow them to be a part of what this show is all about. And although some folks are shy when it comes to being around an open mic, many tend to be intrigued and fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. That’s why this show fits in so well at campgrounds, trade shows (haven’t done any of those yet), or any type of environment that promotes a camping lifestyle.

To this day it’s hard to believe that I have built the remote operation to the point that I now require a case this size to haul everything in. But it’s really no big deal. In fact, I love setting up the gear, testing the equipment, checking the sound levels, and most important of all, chatting with folks who simply drop by to watch it all come together. I even pack away a small power inverter, just in case I happen to working in an area where there are no electrical outlets. As long as the cigarette lighter in my truck is close by, we can do the show way back in the far depths of the forest. In fact, some of my better episodes were recorded in the north Georgia mountains, about one or two miles off the main road. Of course, I’m not doing as many remote shows as I’d like, but that will likely change down the road in a couple years when retirement becomes a reality.

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Those Infamous Restroom Breaks

Like it or not, you can’t resist the call of nature

While not the most pleasant topic to speak of, truth of the matter is, each and everyone of us are forced to deal with the call of nature any time of the day or night. Making use of the facilities at camp can be quite the challenge, especially if you’ve pitched your tent a few hundred feet from the bath house. As campers, we understand better than anyone that a call to the restroom is not quite as convenient and sanitary as it would be at home. Unless you’re hauling in a travel trailer, fifth-wheel, or driving a motor home with an on-board toilet and septic system, your running shoes will be put to great use each and every time you find the urge to go.

Although many campers don’t concern themselves with packing a portable toilet along for the ride, some people actually find it convenient to set up their own little outhouse right at their campsite. You won’t hear too much about it because it’s not one of those subjects that campers like to brag about. Believe me, I wouldn’t stand there with my head held high and invite fellow campers to come by and check out my portable stall. Would you?

Talking from experience, I know all too well the inconvenience of having to get up, get dressed, and take that middle of the night stroll up the hillside for the purpose of handling my business. In the winter time, I dread having to step out of a comfy warm environment and become exposed to the frigid temperatures where I know I’m sure to find myself again before the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the smell of eggs and bacon begin the start of a new day.

As funny as it sounds, portable camping thrones come in a number of styles and designs. You can spend a few bucks on a five gallon bucket and detachable seat, or, a couple hundred dollars on an elaborate outfit complete on-board holding tank.

If you’re a primitive camper, you and the family may want to consider adding one of these to your camp inventory. After all, no one enjoys a three or four hundred foot jog to the facility.

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Hangouts On-Air

Episode 135: Our First Live Broadcast

This is an idea that I had been kicking around for quite some time. Last Friday night, I produced my very first Google+ “Hangouts On-Air”. It’s available now on our homepage as well as social media. For the first time, our listeners can now “see and hear” what goes on behind the microphone inside the Happy Camper Radio studio during one of our shows.

I’m amazed at what we can do these days over the Internet. I think back to my broadcast days at a time when home computers were found on the shelf at your local Radio Shack. The World Wide Web wasn’t even thought about or talked about an any form of conversation. I can also remember purchasing my very first home computer with an massive 8 gigabyte hard drive and being told I had more drive space than I’d every need. I quickly went out and purchased a small package of 1.44 megabyte floppy disks so I could store my documents. Wow, how the digital world have evolved in such a short time, and continues to do so as each and every day.

When I left radio back in the mid eighties, I never dreamed that someday I would have a professionally equipped broadcast studio of my own, with the capabilities of delivering my show to the entire world. It’s been three years now that I’ve been entering the studio once a week to record Happy Camper Radio. With the popularity of YouTube, and the ability to invite guests on the show with a simple click of a mouse, I can definitely wrap my arms around this exciting and entertaining form of media. Having all the necessary tools at hand, and less than one week before our next episode I decided to send out a handful of invitations to Friday’s show on very short notice. In all honesty, I didn’t expect a single response before our scheduled 9 p.m. broadcast. In the end, everything transpired relatively well. In fact, I look forward to scheduling additional On-Air Hangouts, and inviting awesome people, like yourself, to join me on the show.

Campers are some of the most wonderful people you ever want to meet. What a great place this world would be if everyone took the time to engage themselves in nature, and took the time to appreciate this natural resource that’s available to us.

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Camping and Comfort

Getting The Best From Your Rest

What’s so wrong with grabbing a little rest and relaxation on a camping trip? How far do you actually go to get the comfort you need. In Episode 134, we take a look some the lengths campers go to achieve a good night’s sleep. Anytime I venture out in the forest, I try to make my stay as relaxing as possible. Before I went out and bought one of those fancy recliners, I would find myself dozing off occasionally in my camping chair next to the fire. Now that I’m able to drift back into a reclining position, I find it quite easy to tilt my hat, cross my arms, and drift off without ever giving it a second thought. There’s nothing wrong in catching a few Z’s at camp during the day, especially after you’ve finished eating. Think about how you feel right after lunch when you return to the office. Getting motivated after a wholesome meal can be quite the challenge for any of us. But then again, we’re not at work. We try not to concern ourselves with the job while we’re camping, so who cares if we doze off?

Of course, grabbing a nap or two by the fire is not the same as bedding down for the night in your tent or RV. I can’t say I know anyone who normally sleeps by the fire each night in a camping chair.

Over the years, I’ve looked for a number of different ways to achieve the ultimate level of comfort while camping. I’ve done everything from sleeping on the forest floor to crashing on a queen sized mattress in the bunk of a tent camper. Regardless of you how choose to camp, nothing beats a peaceful night’s sleep with little or no tossing and turning. Some people enjoy the RV lifestyle and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some folks live their life on the road and I can certainly understand why a tent and sleeping bag just wouldn’t cut it every night of the year. But then, not all of us are hauling in a travel trailer or pop-up into our campsite.

These days, I much prefer climbing into a sleeping bag and drifting off while taking in every refreshing breath of clean mountain air. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

However you obtain your perfect sleep, waking up refreshed and ready to take on a new day is the ultimate goal. However you manage to achieve it, you’re living the life of a camper. And there’s no greater outdoor experience than that.

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Quality Tent Heaters

Keeping warm in the fall and winter months

If you’re a fall and winter time camper, you can appreciate the thought of climbing in a warm tent when it’s time to bed down. About a month ago, I had an opportunity to break in my new “Mr. Buddy” tent heater. This is one product that truly delivers. Now, I must say…I’m not one who believes in hauling in all the comforts of home to the campsite. At the same time, I don’t venture into the outdoors for the purpose of freezing my butt off. This unit runs about 70 bucks and will definitely accommodate a medium or mid-size tent. The only downside I found was the need to place the one pound propane tank about once every three hours. That can be a bit of a pain when temperatures drop below freezing. Trust me, the frigid temps will wake you up every time that tank needs replacing. If you’re going to invest in a quality tent heater like the Mr. Buddy, I recommend you bring along a 20 pound tank and spend the few extra dollars on a quality propane hose. You’ll definitely appreciate the few nights of uninterrupted sleep. Just be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and take all safety precautions.

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Welcome to my Blog Page

It’s been about four years since I sat down with paper and pencil and thought up the idea that would later become the podcast known today as “Happy Camper Radio”. Very few people who venture into the podcast business would have gone to the extremes I have to make their dream a reality. Not only do I have a love for the great outdoors, I have invested countless hours and tremendous resources in order to deliver a quality radio show that is both compelling and entertaining to each of our listeners. If you’ve seen the pictures on our website, you’ll find that our studio is a quality, top notch, professional operation. Unlike the early days when I first got started in the open corner of a cluttered bedroom, with little or no soundproofing and voices bouncing off the walls at every corner.

Over the past couple years, with the addition of a designated studio, new equipment, acoustic treatment, and professional broadcast audio gear, I’m proud to say that the quality of our product is extremely tough to match.

Today, I stand here with tremendous pride, knowing there are many families out there that come back each and every week to hear the best in quality camping entertainment. Not only that, I am also proud to say…as long as people are camping. As long as families are taking the time to introduce their children to nature and allowing them to experience what the great outdoors Has to offer, I will graciously take my place behind the microphone to provide them with a wealth of information, in hopes that it brings a wholesome experience each and every time they venture into the outdoors.

in the weeks ahead, I hope to dedicate plenty of time to my new blog. I’m hoping that it reaches each and every person who pitches a tent, opens a pop-up, or backs their fifth-wheel or motor home into a place they’ll proudly call home…even for a few short days.

As I say at the start of each show…”Camping is what we’re about, camping is ALL we talk about“! This IS, the Happy Camper Radio Show!


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