Top 3 Ways Outdoorsmen Camp Differently Than Non-Outdoorsmen

By: Brad Smith

Just this past week, I had the pleasure of camping out all weekend with my wife and a few good friends at a State Park located in Indiana. As it comes to no surprise to most people that know me, I’m a fairly experienced outdoorsman who has spent a lot of time alone out in the woods and on the water. I don’t normally go camping simply to camp, but every so often I find myself hunting or fishing in a fairly remote location and sleeping in a tent is the only option. For the crew that I spent the weekend with, camping was simply a get-a-way from city life. It was a very enjoyable time but I did learn that there are very stark differences between outdoorsmen and non-outdoorsmen when it comes to spending time out in nature, especially camping. In no particular order, these are the top three things I noticed.

#1. People who are not familiar with spending time in the outdoors pack way too much stuff. Now, don’t get me wrong, having what you need when you need it is paramount in being successful on a hunt, a fishing trip, or any adventure, but it can be awfully easy to go overboard. I packed my camo backpack with two changes of clothes, extra socks, a knife, matches, and a head lamp. I packed my Jeep with my sleeping bag and tent. I gave a long look at what I packed and called it a job well done. My wife did the same but also packed twice as much, just in case. Our friends, who we met at the campsite, brought so much stuff that they filled the whole trunk of their SUV and backseat. Most of it went untouched, but by God, it was there if they needed it. I even think I saw a camo Snuggie.

#2. Outdoorsmen take nature for granted. I have spent my life outdoors. I have seen more birds, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, deer, turkeys, and any other North America animals that I can shake a stick at. People who spend their lives in a city do not. My whole weekend was spent watching my wife and friends be fascinated by nature. It was pretty amazing. Even something as simple as a woodpecker was a spectacle that captured everyone’s attention. Over the years I have seen these same things so much I see them simply as an indicator of animal movement or a nuisance that is screwing up my hearing. It reminded me to take a step back next time I am alone in nature to get back to enjoying the whole picture instead of being so focused on solely catching a fish or hunting an animal. By judging my wife’s reactions to seeing a bald eagle, the double rainbow guy might have just been misunderstood. More people have something in common with him than they would like to admit when it comes to nature.  You see, she was right there with him, only saying, “It’s abaaaaaaaaaaby!”, instead of rainbow.

#3. Speaking of animals, State Parks tend to be full of them. Non-outdoorsmen see most animals as cute and innocent at a distance, but when they come near, they become terrifying, life threatening creatures. I have been around enough raccoons in the wild to know their characteristics and mannerisms. The same holds true for most animals an average hiker or canoe’er might encounter on a weekend get-a-way. However, non-outdoorsman have no idea. Like, literally none. I had to laugh at the stories of the supernatural abilities that I heard  from my camping party that deer, squirrels, and raccoons can apparently perform. For example, it has been said that raccoons can open coolers and pop the tops of beer cans. Maybe they can. I’ve never seen it happen though. Just saying.

On that note, not only are animals scary, but the dark is even worse. Again, as an outdoorsman, I have spent a lot of time alone in the woods in the dark. Long walks to my tree stand before the sun is even on the horizon followed by long walks back to the truck after the sun goes down is pretty common. It can be a little unnerving at times when coyotes sound off mid hike, but I normally find it peaceful to be so secluded in the dark when the night sounds come out. However for people that aren’t used to being in that environment, its the stuff nightmares are made of.

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Back-to-School camping special at state parks and reservoirs

A new offer from Indiana State Parks & Reservoirs makes weeknight camping more affordable during September.

Those who book a new campsite reservation for one or more weeknights (Sundays through Wednesdays) during the month will receive 20 percent off of their reserved weeknights at the time of booking.

The offer applies to all State Parks & Reservoirs campgrounds, Deam Lake and Starve Hollow state recreation areas, and Greene-Sullivan State Forest.

Reservations can be booked at or by calling (866) 622-6746.

The reservation must be booked and used by Oct. 8.

Use the promo code “CAMPIN14.”

The offer does not apply to reservations made before Aug. 27, or to reservations made in combination with any other discount or offer. The offer does not apply to walk-in registrations.

The offer excludes Labor Day weekend.

via [DNR] Back-to-School camping special at state parks and reservoirs – 8/27/2014 – State of Indiana.

Still opportunities to take advantage of the May camping discount

There is still time to take advantage of an offer from Indiana State Parks & Reservoirs that makes May camping more affordable.

Those who book a new campsite reservation for two or more consecutive weeknights (weeknights are considered Sundays through Wednesdays) will receive one of those nights for free.

The offer applies to all State Parks & Reservoirs campgrounds, and to campgrounds at Deam Lake and Starve Hollow state recreation areas. All Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in May, and Sunday, May 25, which is the day before Memorial Day, are excluded from the offer.

The promotion has been popular for campers, but with more than 7,000 campsites at 32 parks and lakes across the state, there’s room for more.

Reservations can be booked at Camp.IN.Gov or by calling (866) 622-6746. Use the promo code “MAYFREE14” when making a reservation. Reservations for camping can be made until midnight the day before intended arrival.

The offer expires May 28.

This offer only applies to new reservations, and may not be used on existing reservations, or in combination with any other discount or offer. The offer does not apply to walk-in registrations.

There is a maximum of one free weeknight per reservation.

New cabins debut at Greene-Sullivan State Forest

Want to go camping but not mess with packing and setting up a tent? Greene-Sullivan State Forest has your answer.

New few-frills cabins are available for rent at the state forest’s Narrow Lake campground.

The “Rent –A-Camp” cabins are available for $35 a night plus applicable taxes and may be reserved at or by calling 1-866-622-6746. The cabins are also available on a walk-in basis at the forest office during normal office hours.

The cabins have electricity, ceiling fans, heat and air-conditioning. Each cabin sleeps three adults comfortably and has a maximum capacity of five people. There is a full bed, one set of bunk beds and a loft area. Guests need to bring their own bedding and sleeping cushion. Cabins also have a small table, two chairs and a porch swing. Similar to tent camping, there are no kitchen facilities, and guests use the campground restrooms.

Check-in time is 2 p.m. Checkout is 10 a.m.

Other improvements at the campground include six electric campsites and the addition of available electricity to the Narrow Lake picnic shelter.