19 Apr

RVFTA #138 Finding your Campfire Mojo: Everything You Need to Create the Perfect Campfire Experience

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are going back to the basics and talking about the classic campfire experience.

Most of us crave our campfires more than any other part of RV travel, so we started to wonder…exactly what does it take to create the perfect campfire mojo? We have talked about campfires, and recommended our favorite products in many different episodes over the last few years, but never in one comprehensive episode.

So here it is. The RVFTA campfire episode. The rope lights, the Cabela’s camp chairs, the Toas-Tites…everything that people ask about after every social media post. All in one place.

Segment One: Rules of Campfire Etiquette

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02 Sep

Campfire Confessions (Or the lonely girl who hated s’mores)

I absolutely hate marshmallows. I don’t like the taste of them. I don’t like the smell of them. And I really hate brushing the boys’ teeth after they have eaten them. I have sat around close to 30 campfires this summer and haven’t had a single s’more.

So what is my evening snack of choice? At home it is popcorn. And certainly not the kind you get out of the microwave. In fact I don’t even have a popcorn maker. I do it on the stove–in a pot– and it comes out perfect every time.

So my husband really was right on key when he bought me a popcorn popper (made by Jacob Bromwell) for the campfire. Is it easier to make it in the camper? Yes. Is that the point? Of course not.

Popping corn in this contraption actually turned out to be a lot like roasting a marshmallow. It is hard to find the perfect spot in the fire (not too hot, not too cool) to end up with a perfectly toasted treat. Sometimes they go up in flames. Sometimes they are cold in the center.

My first batch was hopelessly burned. I had held it too far away from the flames, so the kernels that popped earliest were toast by the time I was done. The second batch was a bit better. I think you have to find a super hot part of the fire and shake the daylights out of the popper so the kernels pop fast. At least that is my working theory for now.

Even though I haven’t yet popped the perfect batch, the kids gobbled up what I made, and I liked it a whole lot better than a marshmallow. Teeth brushing was still a @$#%*, though.

30 Mar

My New Fireside Friend: A Good Tool Goes a Long Way

Like most of our readers out there I am just itching for that season opening camping trip.  There’s just about nothing I love more than sitting around a warm campfire under the stars with family and close friends.  To get ready for my family’s fourth season of RVing I’ve been spending way too much time in the backyard chopping firewood compliments of downed trees from Hurricane Sandy.  My Fiskars 36 inch Super Splitting Axe was doing yeoman’s work with the larger stumps–but when it came to splitting up branches for kindling I often found myself missing the mark and tearing up my lawn.

During a recent trip to Home Depot I found myself checking out their supply of Estwing camping axes and I saw their “Fireside Friend Splitting Tool.”  It was love at first sight.  Estwing makes beautiful tools that are forged in one piece which makes them incredibly strong and long lasting.  These are tools that you pass on to your kids one day.  The Fireside Friend does the job that it claims to do perfectly.  I split dozens of foot long branches today in one or two strikes and made myself a nice pile of kindling to last me the whole season through.

If you see me around the campfire this spring you’ll probably notice my new “Fireside Friend” somewhere close by my side.  I definitely plan on adding this blue beauty to my permanent camping kit.  After all, there’s always room for another friend around the campfire.

25 Apr

The Saddest Weenie Roast Ever: Rolla Roasters Backyard Debut

I am so anxious to get back out there under the stars again.  My family’s season opening trip to Western North Carolina did nothing to soothe the camping beast inside of me–instead, it only made me hungry for more. Unfortunately our next trip to Westchester PA is still three weeks away.

So when my set of Rolla Roaster camping forks arrived from L..L Bean on the front porch it felt like my destiny was unfolding before me like a whole wheat hot dog bun. I rummaged through the refrigerator and found a pack of organic weenies and headed into the backyard to roast one up.  There was only one small problem with my spontaneous weenie roast. I was completely alone–no friends or family in sight.  There was no one to share the sizzle with!

My wife had left for book club and the campers were snoozing away in their cribs. Something didn’t feel right. I faintly remembered reading a maxim from the Trailer Life Directory that commanded, “though shalt not have a weenie roast alone,” but I opened up my package of camping forks and soldiered on anyway. My evening was guaranteed to be emotionally unsatisfying but I wanted to test the product out and get a short review posted for our readers.

So here it is: The Rolla Roasters worked great. They have a telescoping fork that extends out over three feet and they have a knob that allows you to rotate your wiener or marshmallow over the fire. Pure genius! I only stuck one weiner on the end of the fork and I think that sticking two there would definitely cause it to bend. But you could easily fit two marshmellows on each prong.

L.L. Bean sells themhereand Rolla Roaster sells them directly from their sitehere. The world’s most glamourous and powerful people are using these camping forks–for proof please click here!  If you want to impress your fellow campers and be the talk of the campground then they are a must have.

These solidly built camping forks are sold in packs of two for a good price, and they are sold in packs of two for a good reason…. I wholeheartedly recommend them for your next family campfire.