One Wood Badge candidate's opinions on what equipment to take camping (or not)


The goal of Ticket 3 is to maintain a website with camping–related information, including camping equipment recommendations, lessons learned from frequent camping experiences, and recommendations on appropriate places to go camping.

Camping Website

Camping   Obviously, you are now looking at the website that is the implementation of this Wood Badge ticket. As you can see, I have tried to make it very simple to understand what items one should consider packing, and just how I arrange that gear in my own pack. I have embellished my descriptions of individual pieces of camping gear with tips and anecdotes from my own experiences camping, and from the experiences of my sons on our campouts.

Part of this ticket also involved giving advice on which camp grounds (mostly Texas State Parks) are my favorites, and why. The chart shown below (click chart for a larger version), which I put together during Wood Badge, indicates the proximity of over 25 Texas State Parks that are within a three hour drive from Austin, what features are available at those parks, and which levels of Scouting might be most appropriate for camping at each.

Austin Area State Parks Chart

Since producing the chart shown above, my family and I have, in various combinations, visited or camped at 18 of the 26 listed parks. We have even camped at some state parks that are not listed on this chart because they are more than three hours from Austin. The following is a list of my favorite parks, with brief explanations for each:

McKinney Falls State Park— This park is incredibly convenient since it is located IN Austin. It is the first place I took my own kids camping when they were little, knowing that if things didn't go well, we were just 20 minutes from home. There are eight very nice "primitive" campsites, that are really only about 100 yards from the parking lot and the restroom. Perfect place for convenient camping, and/or your kid's first camping experience.

Guadalupe River State Park— Only about an hour and a half from Austin, this is a great park to visit for river fun activities. It is also located right next to the Honey Creek State Natural Area, which can only be seen on a tour by a Master Naturalist. They even have periodic star gazing events, when numerous astronomers bring their telescopes for the public to gaze through.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area— One of the most famous state parks in Central Texas, Enchanted Rock offers convenient camping and primitive camping. The rock itself is something to behold, and there are good hiking opportunities in the park. There are even rock climbing opportunities for those who know what they're doing.

Garner State Park— For some campers in Texas, Garner isn't just a campsite, it is a family tradition. People return annually to enjoy floating in the Frio River, the hiking, and gathering for nightly dancing at the historic CCC building during summer. Although it is a huge park, it may be the most popular park in the state, so book your reservations well in advance.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park— Located a long way from Austin up in the Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is an incredible place to visit, especially if you are driving yourself up to Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico. The Canyon offers hike and bike opporunities, and the park is also famous for its outdoor showing of the musical TEXAS during the summer season.