“The angel of the Lord encamp s around those who fear Him and He delivers them.” Psalm 34:7
David spent many nights out under the beautiful stars while he watched over his father’s flocks. The countryside was filled with wild animals but he was not afraid. He knew that the Lord was there, protecting and guarding him. The Lord still “encamps around those who fear Him.” The Lord is there whether at home or camping in the deepest woods. At night, in your tent, thank Him for His protection. In the Bible, you will find the word “camp” mentioned many times. The book of Exodus talks about the camps of the Egyptians and the Israelites.
The dictionary defines a camp as “a place where a number of temporary shelters have been set up in an outdoor area for use by a group of people.” People have been camping for thousands of years. In the time of the Bible, camping was a necessity but today most camping is done for recreation.
TYPES OF CAMPING
There are basically three types of camping:
- – Light weight
- – Medium weight
- – Heavy weight.
Backpacking is a form of light weight camping and is discussed in Hiking. Canoeing is a form of medium weight camping and is discussed in Canoeing. Most of the camping that your Lutheran Pioneer Train will do involves taking large tents, two and three burner stoves, coolers, lanterns, etc. When you take this much heavy equipment on a campout, it is called heavy weight camping.
The personal equipment you take when your Train goes camping depends on several things. It depends on the weather and how long you will be camping. The first thing you will need to take is the proper clothing. A suggested clothing gear list would include:
1 – Underwear, (two tops and bottoms)
2 – Three pair of thick cotton socks (these will keep your feet very comfortable)
3 – Several long sleeved cotton-polyester shirts (for protection from the sun and insects)
4 – A T-shirt or two
5 – A pair of jeans
6 – Cut-offs or shorts
7 – A belt
8 – A pair of hiking boots (be sure the boots are well broken in and not brand new)
9 – Tennis shoes
10 – A jacket, a hooded sweatshirt or a heavy sweater
11 – Rain suit
12 – A hat (to protect your head from the rain and sun)
If your Train is planning a Spring or Fall campout, however, you will have to rearrange your pack and bring heavier clothing and a good warm sleeping bag. Winter camping requires special skills that are beyond the scope of this topic.
For a good night’s sleep, you will need a sleeping bag (See Camping Equipment) or two blankets. The best sleeping bag for Train campouts should have two to four pounds of synthetic fiber-fill. It will keep you warm and dry out quickly if it gets wet. A full-length zipper allows the bag to be opened all the way and aired out easily during the day. For comfort, you should have an air mattress or foam pad. This will keep the dampness of the ground from getting into your sleeping bag and chilling you. If you have the room, a pillow is nice, but a lot of the boys stuff their sweatshirts with the next days clothing and use this as a pillow. Not only is it comfortable, but your clothes are warm the next morning. The type of pajamas you wear at home will also work well on a campout. Don’t forget your swimming trunks either.
For eating, you will need to bring a plastic cup, plate, and bowl, along with a knife, fork and spoon. Better yet are the compact mess kits that you can buy. They are made of aluminum or stainless steel and store away in their own case. They are easy to clean and always ready to go.
Other equipment that you might want to take along includes: a flashlight with a good set of batteries, a pocket knife and a canteen.
In some areas you might also want to take some mosquito repellent. If you are taking medicine that has been prescribed by your doctor, the leaders should be informed of this and the medicine should be given to them for safety. They can then administer it to you when required.
PERSONAL CLEANLINESS EQUIPMENT
Items for personal cleanliness include: soap (in a container), toothbrush, toothpaste, wash cloth, towel, comb and handkerchief. These can all be stored in a plastic bag or a toilet kit to keep them clean. It is important to keep yourself clean. Brush your teeth like you were taught and wash up before going to bed.
The type of equipment that your Train takes on a camping trip is also determined by where your Train is located, where you go camping and when you go camping. A typical Train would have the following equipment:
large umbrella or wall tents two or three burner stoves one or two lanterns
ice chests or coolers
an assortment of pots and pans and cooking utensils a first aid kit
two or three axes and saws
other assorted pieces of equipment.
Some Trains build storage boxes to keep everything in while other Trains build trailers. Whatever your Train uses, it is important that everyone take care of the equipment by keeping it in good repair and clean.
Camp sanitation is very important during the campout. Nothing can ruin a campout faster than a group of boys becoming ill. Keep the eating area clean and make sure that all the dishes are washed in hot water and rinsed well. If you eat food that has been cooked in a dirty dish or are eating off a dirty plate, you could become ill. Your leaders will also ask you to keep the camp clean and this includes your tents, the camping equipment and the latrine.
At the end of your campout, it is your responsibility to make sure that the entire area is clean, in fact, cleaner than when you found it. The trash should all be picked up. Your campfire should be completely out. Leave enough firewood for the next camper to start his first fire. If you had to build a latrine, be sure it is torn down and properly filled in. If you played any games, check to be sure you pick up all your flags and markers. As you are cleaning up, think about how you would like the campsite to look the next time you arrive. Camping can be an exciting adventure for boys of all ages.
Safety rules set by the leaders in charge are for the welfare of every boy in camp. They are to be obeyed by everyone. Accidents don’t just happen. They are caused when someone becomes careless. Listen to your leaders as they point out the areas where someone might get hurt. I am sure they will talk about not playing around the fire and staying away from the wood chopping area.
They might also point out some dangerous areas around camp or that there are poisonous plants nearby. Horseplay and fooling around just have no place in a Pioneer camp. You are probably many miles away from a doctor and therefore it is very important that you listen to your leader and not become involved in an accident.
Just because there is no limit on the amount of equipment that you can take with you, or its weight, heavy weight camping still requires a great deal of planning. Your Train leaders have to know when they will be going camping, where the campsite is, who will be going, how much food they will have to take, who will be driving, what equipment they will have to take along and the cost of the campout. They also must plan all of the activities for the weekend.
CHOOSING A CAMPSITE
When your Train goes camping, the
Train leaders will be looking for the “ideal” campsite. They will be
looking for a safe place to camp, one that is clear of poisonous plants, rocky
ledges, swampy ground, dry river beds and other hazards. The campsite must be
located near a good water supply such as a spring, a mountain stream or a well.
If the cooking is to be done over an open fire, there should be plenty of
firewood available. The camping site should be large enough to allow room for
all of the tents, the cooking and eating area, a place to safely chop wood and,
if necessary, a place to build a latrine and/or garbage pit.
SETTING UP THE CAMPSITE
The tents should be pitched in an area that is high and level. Ideally your tents would be set up near a group of trees that would provide afternoon shade during the heat of summer. You don’t want to set your tents up underneath a tree because after a rain storm the tree will continue to “rain” on you all day long.
The kitchen should be near the wood supply and the water. Perishable foods such as milk and eggs, should be placed in a cooler in the shade. All other food items should be stored securely away in boxes so that small rodents and other animals don’t eat up your food supply. The eating area should be near the kitchen so the food can be easily served and kept hot. The dishwashing area should be close-by also. If it is necessary for you to build a latrine or a garbage pit, make sure that they are dug well away from the camping area and at least 200 feet downhill from your water supply. When you have finished using them, they should both be filled in properly.
When the time comes for putting up the tent, choose a flat area with a gentle slope. Clear any dead branches, which may be hanging from nearby trees and pick up all the twigs and stones that would be under your tent. Make the area as smooth as possible. To keep out the morning dampness, lay a sheet of plastic on the ground before setting up the tent. The door of the tent should face away from the prevailing wind and, if possible, open toward the morning sun. Each tent sets up just a little bit differently than another. Your Train leaders will show you how to set up your tents.
Since Trains are located anywhere from Wisconsin to Texas and Florida to California, they go camping in many different places throughout the year. Developing your camping skills involves learning about camping in your area, planning a camping trip with your leaders, and practicing your newly learned skills.
Living in the out of doors, sleeping in your tent under the open sky and cooking over a campfire is a real joy. It takes a lot of work to make a campout successful. If you do your share, it will be a happy memory for you.
“For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you…your camp must be holy so he will not see among you, anything indecent and turn away from you.” Deuteronomy 23:14
Israel camped in the desert in front of a mountain. At Mount Sinai, Moses left the Israelite camp and went to meet God. He received two tablets of stone inscribed by His finger. God still camps with us and asks us to walk in His ways. Through Christ we are holy and in Him we find power to live as pilgrims and strangers in this world until our camping days are over.