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Not too many years ago, campers, with few exceptions, were hardy males who claimed to relish leaky tents, frequently sodden blankets, insects, under or overdone food, and assorted hardships. To the non camper, this experience seemed nothing short of barbaric self-torture.
It was a rare sight indeed to see the lady of the house heading for the outdoors, packing camping gear beside her mountain-climbing mate, or taking to the woods with her youngsters and husband. Camping certainly was not for the average family, but it was a rewarding experience for those who braved the out of doors and temporary life in a tent.
New and exciting sights, sounds, and smells filled the air. The friendly crackle of a campfire, tang of wood smoke, the special wilderness brightness of the stars, the incomparable aroma of campfire coffee outweighed any discomforts for "pioneer" campers. These pioneers came back to share adventures with friends and relatives. Soon more and more families began to take to the woods and to taste for themselves that extra-special flavor of camping.
Join a group of camping friends for a weekend - a jaunt to a wind-swept beach, a mountain meadow, or a nearby state park. You'll discover firsthand the magic attraction of camping. One word of warning: expect your family to start on the plans for their next camping trip immediately.
New and better equipment slowly developed as a result of the suggestions from campers of yesteryear. More and better campgrounds were constructed in our state and national parks to accommodate an America suddenly awake to unique pleasures that were offered by camping.
Here was a recreation which provided a fresh experience; a recreation that challenged the pioneer heritage in a modern way. Best of all, camping was possible at a modest cost.
For a relatively small investment, a family can take to the outdoors in a comparative comfort. Individuals were given the opportunity to develop, test, and improve their self-reliance and their woodsmanship, and enjoy their vacation at the same time. Each new camping family became an enthusiastic promoter of what is now the fastest growing family recreation.
There were several things besides curiosity that encouraged the American family to try vacations camping outdoors. The day of the inexpensive "tourist cabin” was past. Large families learned that it was difficult to travel inexpensively. These families turned to one-night camping and found it fun and easy on the budget. The popularity of camping soared.
This popularity, in turn, produced better equipment for campers. Lighter tents, easier to erect and take down, appeared on the market. New camp stoves were designed to take the uncertainty out of outdoor cooking. Many other camper conveniences appeared quickly.
Each new item made camping for the family so much easier and simpler. The complete program snowballed in a pleasant circle.
Blankets gave way to sleeping bags, and the hard ground turned soft with air mattresses and well-designed cots. Insect proof shelters gave the campers relief from pests, and the sewed-in floors kept small animals and the occasional snake from scaring the daylights out of ladies in the party. If campers wished, they could select a car-top sleeping unit that put outdoor bedrooms high off the ground. One ingenious equipment improvement followed another.
Soon, many who had tried camping earlier and heartily disliked it came back for another try. This time, they found it to their liking.
This healthy upswing of camping popularity sparked the building of additional campgrounds. It became possible for
more campers to find an ideal space to pitch camp.
A camping family no longer has to hunt for a place to pitch. They can drive to an established camping area and pitch their tent beside the car or wagon, with only a minimum of gear essential. New campgrounds provide benches and tables, and complete sanitary facilities for the convenience of campers.