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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lets Go Camping

Table Of Contents


Chapter 1: Enjoy Camping All Year Round       
•         Summer Camping           
•         Winter Camping             
•         Fall & Spring Camping   

Chapter 2: Proper Equipment – Your Best Friend
•         Choosing The Best Tent 
•         Backpacks & Rucksacks 
•         Sleeping Bags 

Chapter 3: What Can I Eat – Camping Cuisine
•         The Camping Diet          
•         Freeze-Dried Meals         

Chapter 4: What To Do While Camping
•         The Classic Campfire      
•         Story Telling                   
•         Star Gazing                    
•         Board Games                  
•         Journal Writing               

Chapter 5 : Making Rules
•         Camping With Children  
•         Supervision                    

Chapter 6 : Getting To Your Location
•         Make Several Stops        
•         Navigating The Journey  

Leave Your Worries Behind And Enjoy Your Trip   


Camping is described by some as “being very close to nature” and “the next thing closest to Heaven”.  It takes away the hustle and bustle of city life and a much needed break from the monotonous state that we face daily in life. Nobody would like to miss the chance of going for camping and will grab the opportunity whether it is in their schooldays, scouts or as a family. Camping also gives the opportunity of getting to know each other better and is the place where new friendship is born. Camping is joy, camping is fun, camping is adventurous and camping is an experience to be cherished for a long time.

In light of that, It comes as no shock to hear that camping is one of the most popular recreational activities in the world, especially in the USA. It gives the everyday person the opportunity to get outdoors and really enjoy nature and all the experiences that come with it, even the wildlife!

Some people may even believe camping is too popular! When based on the ever increasing difficulty it is when trying to book a spot on a campsite, especially in the summer months as camp sites seem to become even more crowded. Camping however for some people has also become a major tradition within their families and would be considered a great choice and much cheaper alternative to booking a holiday. Even being out a few miles into the great outdoors without cars and buildings and all that stuff can make you feel like you are in a whole different part of the world altogether!

While you are camping there are loads of activities which campers can enjoy including swimming, fishing, walking trails, hunting and even sunbathing in the summer months. But every camping trip has two main purposes which  are   enjoyment and relaxation. Regardless of the season or whether it's an individual expedition or a fun family outing, safety naturally is the most important thing prior to stepping out into the wilderness.

It is vital to not just be well-organized but also well-prepared before travelling outdoors and going camping. Being prepared makes all the difference between an enjoyable camping experience and one that can turn miserable pretty fast. The following tips in this ebook will most certainly help you prepare fully to go camping, get the most enjoyment and most importantly…be safe.

Enjoy Camping All Year Round

“The fire is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer or winter, and is about as ample at one season as at another.  It is as well for cheerfulness as for warmth and dryness”. 
~Henry David Thoreau

The first part of the book will be introducing how camping is a different experience when done in all of the four seasons. It will be explaining what are the advantages and dis-advantages of the different seasons and will also give you tips and secrets to make it a success no matter what season you are in.

Summer Camping

There is a strong trend that shows that camping is always peaking in popularity during the summer season. This peak in popularity comes down to a few important reasons;

Firstly, Not only are kids out of school for a couple of months with nothing to do but the weather is exceptional. You can participate in a lot of different activities during summer as the weather pretty much allows you to do whatever pleases you. Whether it is playing golf or tennis, whether it is hiking or swimming, the summer months are the absolute best time to get outdoors and do these activities while camping.

Another advantage of camping in summer are the longer days. As the tilt of the earth brings more hours of sunshine during summer so are the days longer.

With the days being longer comes the benefit of being able to fit more in a day. So more time enjoying the different activities that come during the longer days,
and even the nights are clear.

There is nothing much better than spending a summer night camping outdoors. There are so many advantages to camping in summer that you could fill a whole book about how good it is and why you should do it, so this guide will not go into depth about the reasons for camping in summer as you should already know why its so popular during summer.  

Unfortunately there are a few drawbacks when camping in summer.

One of the more considerable ones is availability of sites. In summer, campsites and campgrounds are noticeably more difficult to reserve a spot which means that booking prior to leaving is vital to your overall camping experience.

Another drawback of summer camping is the heat inside a tent, If you were to step into a tent during the day in summer it would be sometimes over 100 degrees. Making it impossible to stay in for more than a few minutes.

When considering going camping in summer, It is important to be physically prepared for summer camping. Constant exposure to the sun can often lead to heatstroke, sunburn and even severe dehydration which means staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential along with protecting yourself from the heat using sunscreen.

As an important rule:

Remember the 3 S's

Slip, Slop, Slap

Slip- Slip on a t-shirt. Remember to cover up during the times of 11am and 2pm as these are when the sun is at its strongest.
Slop- Slop on some sunscreen. Make sure to apply sunscreen to any exposed areas to avoid being sunburnt. Getting burnt by the sun is one of the more easier  ways to develop melanoma skin cancer, so make sure to use suncreen.
Slap- Slap on a hat. Always wear a hat to protect your head from the sun  

Another piece of advise to consider is taking insect repellent. Insect repellent should be a part of your camping supplies as spending time outdoors means exposure to nature's pests, particularly mosquitoes.

Here are some additional tips to make for a better summer camping experience:

-Bring lots of water to stay hydrated.
-Try to avoid hiking and being overly active during extremely hot temperatures.
-Stay in the shade if possible and don't expose yourself to the sun for too long.

Winter Camping

Camping in the winter requires the camper to have an amazing amount of courageousness based on the various conditions you are bound to face when camping in the great outdoors during winter, particularly the sometimes icy temperatures and unpredictable weather.

A good number of people still enjoy going camping when the weather is atrocious in the winter because of the added excitement of having  to brave the rigorous winter weather, it becomes a so called “adrenaline rush” to be out in the wilderness when the weather is wild. It is called “Extreme Camping” and has grown in popularity over the years as people seek out more and more inventive ways to get fulfil the desire in their lives to be adventurous and live life on the edge .

If you do decide to go camping during the cold winter months, Here are a couple of ideas that might make those long, cold nights under the stars more bearable.

The first thing you should do is linked with the second thing, which is to buy a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag. I listed the pad first because no matter what awesome sleeping bag you might buy, you’re not going to be warm after the temperature drops below thirty since the ground will suck the warmth right out of you.

Even the greatest of sleeping bags need loft (the space inside the bag that holds in your heat, aided by the use of various insulation materials), and when the bag is being squashed beneath you, there is nothing to keep your hard-earned warmth inside.

The sleeping pad should be the number one concern of cold-weather campers!

Luckily, there are a couple of types to choose from. The first is the closed-cell kind made of foam, which can be rolled up or folded into a rectangle, depending on the style. You should carry one of these whenever you go hiking or camping, because not only do they do a great job in insulating you from the ground, but they can also have a variety of uses in backcountry emergencies.

The other type of sleeping pad is the inflatable type, and though it is more comfortable than the foam, it can also get punctured and be rendered completely useless. Most likely this will happen the afternoon preceding the coldest night of your trip, but only if you forget the repair kit or duct tape.

The sleeping bag will reflect your budget’s limitations, but usually you can buy yourself something that will work well enough, as long as you don’t get too ambitious with the projected temperatures of your camping trip. What to look for in a sleeping bag will be explained in more detail in a subsequent chapter, so stay tuned, but for now, I’ll assume you’ve got something that will do a reasonable job in keeping you warm.

I think that a lot of people make the mistake of not changing their clothing before they crawl into their icy sleeping bags. I don’t just mean shirts and pants, but underwear and socks as well. It all has to be completely new, or else you’ll find yourself shivering miserably well before sunrise. During the day, you sweat whether you realize it or not, and this moisture will rob you of your body heat as the night goes on and your temperature falls slightly with sleep.

Keep a separate change of clothing for sleepwear and allow it to dry out the following day so that it’s completely dry for the next night of camping. Avoid cotton whenever possible!

 If dry clothing, a decent sleeping bag and a sleeping pad don’t do the trick, then it’s time to move on to other options. When you are camping in temperatures around the mid-20’s, A good tip would be to boil some water right before you go to bed and would make some hot chocolate in your thermos. That way, if you woke up cold, you would have a ready-made hot drink to sip, which would warm you right up and help you get back to sleep. The sugar did its part as well, and if you didn’t feel like boiling water, you should just bring some hard candies and eat one whenever you start getting cold. It’s amazing what a little sugar can do!

When all else fails, you should heat up water and pour it into a sturdy water bottle.

Don’t use the flimsy plastic type of water bottle, as this will hurt a lot when the plastic melts! You should put your good water bottle into a wool sock and lay it next to your neck, or on your stomach. The heat can last for hours.

Something to remember when trying to stay warm on a cold night is that if you need to go to the bathroom, then go! It will actually warm you up, since your body is expending a lot of energy to keep urine warm, so no matter how little you want to get out of your sleeping bag into the biting air, just do it and get it over with. You’ll ultimately be more comfortable. This means that if you’re going to have a warm drink, consume it an hour before you intend to go to bed. You’ll decrease the chance that you’ll have to make a midnight visit to the outhouse.

 If things get really bad, and you feel like you’ll never get warm, it’s time to get drastic. I usually slog around with a fleece blanket and a silk sleeping bag liner to boost my sleeping bag’s temperature rating. These serve two purposes. The first, and most obvious, is to provide more insulation to my sleeping bag, but I drape my sleeping bag with the fleece rather than having it inside with me. The reason for this is the same reason that you shouldn’t try to go to sleep wearing every bit of clothing you brought with you. The more bulk you try to stuff into the bag, the more compressed the sleeping bag insulation will get and the less effective it will be in keeping you warm.
Do wear a hat, as a lot of heat is lost through your head.  

Now to the benefits of camping in winter, one of the major benefits of camping in winter is the beautiful scenery, If you go camping in the mountains during winter, one of the highlights is the serenity of the snow capped mountains and the exceptional photographs that come with it. Some of the most amazing scenic shots are during winter so be sure to take a lot of photos and wear your best smile!

Another benefit of camping in winter is there is less wildlife on the prowl and you should generally be safe when out in the wilderness. Although that doesn't mean you don't have to be careful, you should always remain cautious. The main things you don't have to worry to much about are seeing bears and the like as we all know the bigger animals like to stay in hibernation during the colder months

Lastly a major benefit of camping in the winter months is being able to book campgrounds without worrying too much about large crowds as is the case in warmer seasons.

Winter sports are also appealing as one can participate in fun activities including skating, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, tubing, and more.

Just like summer camping, winter camping requires a good amount of preparation. Here are some tips to help make your winter camping experience a safe one:
  • Bring lots of water to stay hydrated. Dehydration is still possible in winter just as it is in the summer. It's a good habit to drink water even when not thirsty.
  • Bring a good amount of clothes to stay warm and avoid frostbite. Rain gear is also a good idea for rainy conditions.
  • Maintain a good diet and make sure to consider proper nutrition including complex carbohydrates to help you stay warm.

Fall & Spring Camping

Camping is a year round, all-season adventure so there is no right or wrong time of year to go out into the wilderness and experience nature. More and more people are actually starting to book a spot in camping grounds during these transitional seasons because of the fact that campsites are rarely packed out and not overbooked as they commonly are in the summer season. The weather is also very mild neither too hot nor cold and the autumn season makes for  splendid scenery with the changing of the colour and falling of the leaves.

Going camping in the spring season also has its benefits as the weather tends to normally stay calm and the blooming of flowers makes for a delightful view.
Also during these transitional months there are loads of activities to participate in that make your camping experience even better. Whatever you choose to do just make sure to be prepared for whatever may come your way and remember to have fun.

What also is appealing to many campers in the springtime are the birds and ducks making their way back, allowing for hunting not to mention that hiking is a lot easier than it might be in the summer or winter because there is little fear of frostbite or heatstroke.

With the exception of winter season, campers can also enjoy a barbeque outside which consists of any number of meals such as hotdogs and burgers.

As always, every season has its benefits and drawbacks but overall, the experience of being in the great outdoors camping is an adventure which millions of people crave and seek each year. Which is why camping, as either an individual experience or a family experience, is growing rapidly throughout the world!

Proper Equipment – Your Best Friend

Choosing The Right Tent

Buying a camping tent is really not as easy as you may think. You cant just pick one up at the local sporting goods store, without knowing exactly what you are buying and the major use of it. When you get out in the field with your tent and you end up freezing or overheating you'll then realize that you should have spent more time reviewing the options when purchasing your camping tent. Camping tents are rated for use in various seasons and some tents can keep you drier than others. If you are planning a trip to a snowy region in winter, It certainly wouldn't  be recommend you drag out your 3-season tent you used for summer camping at the lake.

This chapter is a camping tent guide for helping you choose the right tent for the right conditions. These considerations will help you decide what kind of tent will be the best for your next adventure.

Tents come in a whole variety of different sizes and styles that can accommodate anywhere from a single person to a dozen people or even more. The tent that is most suitable and the best choice for you will obviously depend on your needs and your budget. Tents range hugely in price and functionality so, some of the main questions you must ask yourself before considering which tent to purchase while shopping for a tent might be:

  • What will the total number of people be that will be joining you in your camping trip?
  • Will you require a tent big enough to accommodate a large number of people?
  • Are you comfortable with a single sleeping area or would you prefer separate compartments based on however many people will be joining you?
  • Is your camping trip more hiking-based?
  • Will you be carrying it on your back or travelling by vehicle?
  • The size of the tent will be crucial if you plan on carrying it with you.

Here are the main things to consider when buying a tent:

1. Time of Year You're Going Camping

There are normally three types of camping classifications of tents and each mainly depend on the time of year that they will be utilized.

All-season tents or convertible tents - these are used predominantly year round but despite the name, these tents do not perform well in severe winter weather. The weight of the tent is generally not an issue.

The all-season camping tent is typically thought of in terms of a family or car tent. Most cabin tents are all-season tents. These are great for relaxed summer camping.

3-season - this type of tent works well for all the seasons but the harshest cold weather conditions like snow.
The 3-season camping tent is what I would consider the most versatile. Some of the smaller 2 person tents are great for hiking and some of the larger tents are great for family campouts. These are usually always a dome tent.

4-season – purpose built for extreme cold weather climates, but extremely hot during summer.
2. Staying Dry
While camping there is nothing worse than waking up in a pool of water or feeling a drip on your forehead at night. The main reason this calamity happens is the way tents are made these days, once you touch the fabric on the inside to the outside flysheet, the tent will start to leak, especially when it rains heavy, but even sometimes  from the morning dew.

Hold on, you say I could just use a poncho as a rain fly and stay dry. You're right. You could pick up a poncho as well to drape over your shelter half. But out the door goes your ventilation! The point is, technology is a wonderful thing. Camping tents can be purchased that have a water-resistant coating that still allow for ventilation. Most camping tents have a waterproof rain fly that attaches to the tent poles and still allows for ventilation. And lastly, many camping tents have floors sewn in to the bottom.

Easy Setup
Your camping tent should be easy to set up and take little time. At no time will this be more apparent to you than when it is raining or when it is dark.
So how do I know if the tent is easy to set up? A-frame and dome camping tents are generally easy to pitch. A cabin tent is not necessarily easy. The following section will deal with the designs of tents.
Lastly, when you are ready to take your tent down, or strike camp, you will want it fold into a neat, compact, easy to store package.

3. Ventilation
A must for your camping tent is the need for adequate ventilation. A mark of a  good camping tent that has good ventilation will have openings on all sides.
Most camping tents will have mesh screens on each side as well. This is to continue to have air flow though the tent even when you are trying to keep out the bugs or even debris if it is windy.
You'll want to choose a tent that has a large mesh opening if the bugs are annoying where you'll be camping.

Tent Styles

The most common styles of tents are Frame tents, Dome tents, Ridge tents, Touring tents, Vis-à-vis tents, Hoop tents, and Geodesic tents.

Frame tents are generally popular because of the headroom and overall space provided. Some of the options come with separate sleeping compartments available and also comes standard with a steel frame-structure so transporting the tent by car is far more convenient.

Dome tents- In the last 10 years dome tents have been dominating the market. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of tents available in stores these days are dome tents mainly because of their durability, ease of set-up and ease of transportation, thereby making it a popular choice among campers.

Ridge tents are triangular and quite sturdy, they offer plenty of head room however are not the most suitable in heavy winds because of lack of support. They tend to be the easiest and quickest to set up but are found lacking during not so good weather.

Touring tents are one of the rare which allow a person to stand straight up and even walk inside. Touring tents also have see-through windows with generally good ventilation.

Vis-à-vis tents offer different sleeping compartments and hoop tents which are sometimes called tunnel tents are popular amongst hikers and mountain-climbers because they are easy to carry and don't take up much room but are still very sturdy.

Geodesic tents are similar in structure to the popular dome tents and are actually even stronger, being able to resist heavier winds. They are normally more expensive also.

So now you have a bit of information on the different types of tents and the qualities and disadvantges to each. So when picking out a tent, do make sure to find one which is favourable to you based on the season you are camping in, the number of people that will be occupying it and also your budget. Weather can be unpredictable at best which means a tent which is within your budget that can handle wind and rain is your best bet.

Backpacks & Rucksacks

One of the most important camping equipment is a Backpack or as sometimes called a Rucksack. A good backpack can free your hands and make you travel light by removing the load onto your shoulders and back, which is an effective way to keep your body comfortable under burden.

Therefore, the following detail will give you some basic guidelines on how to choose a good backpack for your trip. This is probably not the most comprehensive guide but suitable for a beginner to start learning about how to choose them properly.

Firstly, identify your needs. Please also bear in mind that each individual has their own preference. Some people are minimalists, which means they usually only take something that is necessary for the trip, they don't like to take everything, especially the stuff that is not going to be used.

On the other hand some people may love to carry a lot of stuff for their trip, especially ones who love hiking and go for 2-5 day excursions for example. So it necessary for you to identify your own needs and identify which kind of backpack you need.

How to purchase an ideal backpack

When choosing a backpack, pay enough attention to factors like material, size, loading type and major features.

Choosing The Right Material

Some of the more popular materials such as cordura, ripstop nylon or nylon are the common ones to make good backpacks. When picking up a backpack, you have to check those easy-to-wear-out areas to see if measures of adding durability have taken to ensure a long-term use. The material of the hip belts indicates whether it is a good backpack. Thus, make sure the hip belts are properly-manufactured with comfortable material without compromising usability.

What type of backpack do you prefer?

External-frame packs, internal-frame packs and day packs/rucksacks are the three typical camping bags much admired by most travellers and outdoor lovers.

For freshmen of hiking and camping, external-frame packs are considered to be the ideal choice as this kind of items is able to distribute heavy and unorganized load properly. What's more, an external-frame pack usually costs less than that of internal-frame. For those fanatics of outdoor activity, internal-frame packs designed with the purpose to keep the load close to your body for comfort and flexibility are the best choice. As frame less as they are, the day packs are suitable for light loads. Therefore they are often used in short excursions and you may get one of them at lower price than that of the above-mentioned two types.

Choosing The Right Size

The bigger your backpack is, the more it can hold. It seems as if the biggest ones are always the best. But the truth is, the larger your pack is, the more troublesome it may be as you may take more unnecessary items in it and more efforts are needed to carry it around. Therefore, a large size retards your movements.

What size backpack do you like?

The size of a camping backpack matters a lot. The bigger your pack is, the more it can hold. Meanwhile, getting a bigger backpack means you have to sacrifice mobility for load capacity, because the larger your pack is, the more efforts are needed. Here are some guidelines for the pack capacity of different activities.

So to sum up, the best type of backpack is one which you would feel comfortable walking with if your camping trip requires a lot of walking. A backpack which is light and durable and also water-resistant is ideal but most importantly, a well-fitting backpack which isn't a hindrance to your body is the most important factor. One thing to remember is that weight on your back should be distributed efficiently and evenly so the shoulder area carries 30% while the rest carries 70% or so.

Sleeping Bags

An enjoyable camping trip will get ruined pretty quickly if you don't have a good nights sleep. That's the reason why having a quality sleeping bag to sleep in is essential if you want to be well rested, ready to face the day ahead and above all else have an enjoyable camping experience.

Just like tents and backpacks, there are a lots of different types of sleeping bags to choose from and finding the right one depends how much you are willing to spend and what you personally find comfortable. It's also important to note how you will be transporting the sleeping bag and whether you'll be packing it in your backpack during hikes.

A General Guide To Sleeping Bags

If you're searching for the perfect sleeping bag that will meet all of your needs, forget about it!

There is no such thing. However in saying that, there is a bag out there that will keep you warm and happy through most of your camping escapades — a three-season mummy type with a temperature/comfort rating of around 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

A nice three-season bag should be able to get you through a cold evening when camping in spring or fall and not overheat you during a warm night in the middle of summer.
If your preference is more towards winter camping, then opt for a bag rated to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter mountain climbing requires you to have a bag temperature rating of minus 15 to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mummy-shaped sleeping bags are the most efficient bag at keeping body warmth. However in some cases, some people find them tight. Also, another tip is to be sure that if you are buying bags to zip together, the zippers are compatible and you purchase both a left as well as a right zipper.  


Sleeping bags come in both a rectangular shape and a mummy shape. The style which is right for you depends on your general way of sleeping. Some people may not give much regard to how they sleep but it can play a factor in terms of having a good night's sleep overall.

A mummy bag would be suitable for those who tend to curl up whereas those who like to sleep sprawled out would find the rectangular bag more comfortable. The mummy bag's smaller size also requires less energy for heating up and also has a hood which can be pulled tightly around the head area, creating additional warmth. The rectangular bag on the other hand contains more air space and ends closer to the chest area.

Temperature & Insulation

A good sleeping bag  will greatly help to maintain the warmth of your body through insulation, but the way the bag is constructed will decide how well it is insulated. It would suit you well to choose a bag with a temperature rating based on the conditions of the climate.

When choosing a bag, you should take into consideration not just the climate but also the types of activities you will be doing which can have an effect on your level of fatigue and metabolic rate among other things.

Down is known to be the best insulator because it is small and can be compressed quite easily. Unfortunately the disadvantage of a Down bag is that they lose their insulation-capabilities when wet but a well-maintained Down bag can last a very long time. On the other hand synthetic bags can remain well-insulated regardless of being wet but weigh quite a bit more and don't have the durability of Down bags.

Things to consider when buying a sleeping bag

The majority of bags are constructed from nylon, polyester, or nylon blends inside and out. Sleeping bags with cotton insides, quilted rectangular shapes, and kids bags with cartoon characters printed on them, not surprisingly, are not recommended for backpacking or remotely serious for outdoor use.
When you purchase any sleeping bag, take a little time to really feel it out. Climb inside it, roll around in it, zip it up, etc and then choose the one that seems to best meet your needs for space, warmth, and features along with the best price tag. Although you may be looked at funny when doing this it is actually worth all that to make sure what you are buying will do the job well.

All sleeping bags generally have similar features. Check out the following from “The guide to buying a sleeping bag for dummies”:

  • A lining of taffeta or other soft non-cotton material is more comfy, warms quickly, and breathes supremely.
  • A two-way zipper offers more ventilation and flexibility options. Be sure to buy a right- or a left-side zipper that is compatible with the other bag if you desire companionship.
  • You want a differential cut — the inner lining is sewn smaller than the outer shell — which allows insulation to loft to its maximum. If there is more loft, there is more warmth.
  • An insulated draft collar helps to seal in the warmth and keep out the cold around your neck and shoulders.
  • Hook and loop tabs cover the zipper toggle by the hood, preventing unplanned unzipperings whilst you slumber.
  • A multisectioned or shaped hood cups the head naturally.
  • Ample draft tube that hangs from the top of the bag and covers the zipper to seal out cold air.
  • A windproof and water-resistant outer shell. DryLoft is the most downproof.
  • Semirectangular cut for sleepers who toss and turn. Mummy-style bag for sleepers who manage to stay put.
  • Dark coloured lining. This absorbs heat better and the sun's rays most efficiently should you need to dry out your bed.
  • One last highly desirable option: a fleece-lined stuff sack. Turn it inside out for a comfy pillow when stuffed with a parka or your extra clothes

Bags For Cold Nights

Sleeping bag designers generally agree that a cold weather bag must have the following features to keep the occupant really warm: zipper draft tubes and shoulder collars, hoods that cup the head and insulate without being claustrophobic, and a temperature rating of 0 Fahrenheit or below (in the winter it is far better to err on the side of warmth).
What insulation do designers prefer? Down, with a 650-power fill rating or above, is best for weight-to-warmth ratio and for longevity. The fill power of down indicates the amount of actual downy feather and quill. The lower the fill number, the more quill and less feather. The higher the number, the less quill and more feather.

How big should a winter bag be? Buy it long.

Most mountaineers recommend against regular-sized bags and opt for bags that offer at least an extra 8 to 10 inches of space at the foot after you are nestled comfortably inside. Those extra inches provide adequate space to store cameras, water, boots, and such items that you don't want to freeze. In addition, bags with a wider cut can offer more warmth because they give you room to add clothing without constricting the bag.

No matter what type of sleeping bag you choose, it's important to make sure it's the best choice for your sleeping needs. As long as you take care of your sleeping bag, much like your tent and backpack, it should last you a very long time.

What Can I Eat? - Camping Cuisine

The Camping Diet

Foods fit for camping tend to vary depending on the type of camping you will be doing. If you are headed to a camping ground with shops in the area, you will more than likely have a wider variety of foods available to you to choose from as opposed to camping out in the wilderness where you will need to pack enough food and be able to carry it with you to keep you going for the duration of your trip.

It's generally a good idea to carry light on a camping trip unless you're utilizing a caravan, however if you are doing a lot of hiking while camping then keeping pots and pans in your backpack isn't really a good idea. You will need to decide before you go whether or not you will be bringing  fresh meats and poultry or bringing frozen foods and canned foods.

Another thing to consider is trying to bring only the necessary foods as opposed to processed foods. It's helpful to have a bit of knowledge of the quality foods the body requires to function at its best, especially on a camping trip where dealing with nature's unpredictable conditions can be harsh on the body. What is essential to the body is a good source of  carbohydrates in the morning like oats or muesli, to sustain it throughout the day. And at lunch a moderate amount of protein like tinned fish or chicken to help the body repair itself.  

You can consider bringing foods from the 3 main food groups including meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, nuts, any type of fruits and vegetables, bread, cereal, pasta, milk, yogurt and cheese. These are basically the main foods inside the food pyramid which consists of what our bodies require to remain healthy and strong. These food ideas are general but you are fit to bring what you feel is necessary to keep your body energized and sufficient on your trip.

Freeze-Dried Meals

Freeze-dried meals can be quite expensive but they really come in handy when needing a full balanced meal in the wilderness and a very popular choice amongst campers. They have a long shelf-life, are very light to carry, and can be prepared instantly with a little bit of hot water, not to mention it's a complete meal in a box.

Freeze-dried foods are mostly nutritious despite some misconceptions about them. They contain fresh ingredients and mostly they can taste as fresh as a home-cooked dinner. Obviously with freeze-dried foods, despite being stripped of its moisture and put into oxygen-proof and moisture-proof bags, it looks presentable enough and definitely healthy enough for a camper. Most foods can be freeze-dried but freeze-dried foods are a definite advantage for campers, especially in the wilderness where stoves and microwaves aren't close by. All it takes is a little heating and you have a decent meal.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Let’s Get Organized! - Easy and Simple Strategies to Getting (and Staying) Organized

Table of Contents

Remembering to Organize
Say Good-bye to Clutter
Best Secrets to Getting and Staying Organized
The Emotional Toll of CLUTTER
Turn Clutter into Harmony
An Orderly Life
Let Good Order Reign!
Getting Rid of “Stuff”
The Art of Organization
A Few Good Organizing Tips and Tricks
Determining your Home-Style
Clever Home and Family Management
Have Time on your Side
Organize a Bit at a Time
Organize your junk drawer
Organize your laundry room
Organize your children
Organize your garage
Organize your child’s study habits
Organize your kitchen
Put the Word “Organize” Back into your Life
Timesaving Tips
12 Simple Ways to Organize
Organize your Move
Organize your Home Office
Organize your Workspace
Hire an Organizer
Take Control of Chronic Disorganization
Smart Time Management Just for Moms
A Final Home Organizing
The Benefits of Being Organized


“You can find pictures anywhere. It is simply a matter of noticing things and
organizing them. You just have to care about what is around you and have a
concern with humanity and the human comedy.”
-Elliott Erwitt

How we spend out time says a lot about who we are

If you are simply too tired or do not have adequate time to do anything in the evenings, then your daily routine is out of balance and you need to make adjustments. Your work can be too difficult or unsuitable, or you may not be making full use of your hours during your day or evening. A good balance of your time is needed for work, goals, recreation, and relaxation. Take a close look at your daily routine, examine your findings and come up with a plan. Be prepared to follow your plan and with this, you can become better organized.

Why be better organized?

Being busy will keep your mind off worry because you will not be thinking of two different things at one time. You can make good use of your time away from work to increase your knowledge of things and life, to work at a hobby or project, and then to relax and be content. This is good balance and when you are better balanced your are better organized.

Perhaps you are a single parent and in a bit of a time crunch each day. Make a point to sit and relax each day and plan. If you are careful you should be able to find just a few hours each day to apply yourself to being better organized.

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man
to elevate his life by conscious endeavor." - Henry Thoreau (1817-1862)

With a place for everything and everything in its place, you are freed up in body and mind to take on new endeavors. 

If you are under a lot of stress, a more passive and relaxing undertaking might be just what you need, at least to start with. For just one day a week, or a few hours on certain days, set aside time for your own unique enjoyment. When you do this, staying organized will not feel as much of a chore. You will naturally wish to remain organized so that you will have more time for yourself.

Take a walk in the park, listen to lovely music, read an interesting novel, leisurely work in the yard, or watch a bit of TV, these are all of the perks in time from staying organized. 

"When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)  

Remembering to Organize

Being well organized takes lots of time and effort and there is a lot to remember. Below are good tips to help you to remember it all:

1. Jot it down. With the many details that you have to remember in any given day, why should you try to keep it all in a memory bank? At the very moment that you remember something needs to be done, the very best thing to do is write it down. Then, just as you need to recall it, it will be there for you in an instant.

2. Keep it all in one place. Once you have developed the knack of writing everything down, your next step will be to keep your writing all in one place. You will remember better this way. Otherwise, you are going to spend valuable time searching for your notes.

 3. Stay healthy. A keen memory is a well-nourished mind. Eat healthy; get plenty of rest and lots of good exercise. These will all see you through to having a good memory, staying focused and being alert.

 4. Record your every thought. You might find yourself driving when a good idea about organizing comes to you or you might recall something that you really need to write down. No need to pull over and start writing, record instead! Pull off to the side of the road and use a small hand held tape recorder. This is a wonderful tool to carry around with you, to record your thoughts, or your parking space number, or even a memorable telephone number you see on a billboard as you drive by. Use your handy recorder to be your second eyes and ears.

 5. Call ahead. When you are at the office and you want to do something when you arrive back home, call ahead to your answering machine and leave yourself a message. As soon as you get home you can listen to your message and remember exactly what you wanted to do.

 6. Be confident in yourself. If you keep saying you have a bad memory, you will probably continue to have a bad memory. It is important to have a motivated, I CAN remember attitude.

 7. Handy email reminders. There are many good and free e-mail reminder services available. You can type in what you want to remember, such as a welcome party, anniversary or special event, and you will receive an e-mail reminder when the date is approaching. This is a terrific way to jog your memory by Internet.

 8. Use sticky notes. Those wonderful, little sticky notes are the next best thing to sliced bread! They are amazing as memory helpers. Want to remember something prior to leaving your home? Just mark it down on a Post-It Note and stick it to the inside of your door. The bright, neon colors will be great to catch your eye as you are leaving. You will not likely miss it! Need to make an urgent call first thing in the morning? Leave a Post-It Note on your telephone.

 9. Use timers and alarms. Take advantage of alarm clocks and timers throughout your day. Have to take the clothes out of the dryer by 12 noon? Set your alarm clock to remind you. Want to leave for the ladies luncheon by 7 p.m.? Set your timer to beep a few minutes before it is time to start to get ready.

 10. Visual memory joggers. Visual reminders will help you remember and stay focused. Use visual reminders for remembering your goals. If your goal is to take a trip to a Ireland in a few years, keep a magazine photograph of Ireland right on your desk. If your goal is to lose 30 lbs. in six months, find a picture or ornament that will help remind you of this goal each day.

Say Good-bye to Clutter

Now that you have a good system to remember your tasks at hand, the next big step will be to get rid of clutter. Clutter diminishes a smile, dampens the spirit, and so should not be tolerated.

It is very easy to find any given room in a cluttered mess, but it takes some hard work to de-clutter and organize.

Many people say that one of their favorite things to do when stressed out is to clean! Hard to imagine, right? Well, it is true. Cleaning gives order and purpose to your life, even if only in smaller chunks at a time.

We are not just talking about moving around clutter from one shelf to another. We are talking about de-cluttering every room of your home. Say good-bye to the dust, say goodbye to the junk – say hello to room to breathe and move around! Now, doesn’t that sound delightful?

Start out by drawing up a list of what you absolutely want done. Think about those leaning tower of Pisa papers in the den, then move slowly into the family room. See any piles of old photos just crying out to be placed in a photo album? Write that one down. How about those piles of clothing sitting in the bottom of your daughters closet just waiting for a mother’s touch. Write that one down, too!

By now, if you are clever, you see a list of very workable, one-at-a-time chores that can be assigned throughout a busy day. The idea is to get started and work your way around. By the end of the day, you will have a beautiful, uncluttered home as your reward!

Do not become discouraged if your attempt to enlist your husband and children runs amuck. Just write them down on your list as those who require an attitude adjustment and then save that chore for next time. One can hope!

If you are altogether frank about it, you really do not want a second pair of meddling hands anyway; some chores are best left to only one pair of hands. That way you can be sure that the chores will be done right the first time.

Best Secrets to Getting and Staying Organized

  • Tell yourself (and believe) that some degree of clutter with a child is going to happen no matter what! 
  • Begin with messes and clutter that you see every day. Work on organizing your kitchen and family room before your hallway closet. 
  • Assign everything in your house a place. This way when your family searches for something they need, they will know exactly where to find it and where to put it away
  • Use this same principle to organize your silverware, with clearly defined places for every fork and knife, or drawers for ties and socks or, underwear. Think in this same way for every aspect of your home. This will save many hours of searching for things. It will dramatically cut down on the clutter of items left out "for now" or "until I find a place for it." Develop a new mantra: everything has its place and a place for everything! 
  • Enlist a new rule: throw out one old thing for every new purchase that enters your home.
  • When using stairs, never go up or down them empty-handed. Always grab some items that belong to upstairs rooms and quickly put it away while you are there. 
  • Make a mental note to observe what things pile up in your house and where they cluster, and then come up with a place nearby that becomes the official home where those things will reside. Introduce baskets, shelves, and folders for this purpose. They work well. Set aside one basket for you and your partner for incoming mail, bills, and receipts and letters.
  • Create a number of brightly marked folders for discount coupons, invitations and directions, and other time-sensitive papers that just clutter your counters. 
  • Keep items that are used frequently in places where you can reach them without stooping or bending, and store them close to the place they will be needed. 
  • Use drawer dividers for socks, underwear, lingerie, and tiny items, to keep them separated and organized. 
  • Hang hooks for your keys and purse at the entry to your home, so each time you walk in, you can hang them up. 
  • Establish one defined place in your house for storing library books, and end a house-wide hunt when it is time to read or return them. 
  • Get rid of all junk drawers, or allow yourself just one that you clear out once a week or more. When you establish certain items are being used repeatedly, designate a drawer for those. 
  • Things you don’t need any longer:
    • Magazines you meant to read but have never taken the time for 
    • Expired medications  
    • Clothes you no longer wear 
    • Sunscreen that's expired or more than one year old
    • Extra paper or plastic grocery bags 
    • Makeup and samples you have never worn 
    • Cookbooks you rarely use. Cut out your favorite recipes only 
    • Organize your coupons and throw out all that have expired 
    • Stuff your crumpled plastic bags from your grocer inside a cardboard roll like a hand towel roll. Keep under your sink. 

Getting rid of your clutter and organizing your home top to bottom will free your mind to remember your daily chores. Be vigilant about cleaning about once a month and you will find it much easier to keep up, week-by-week. 

The Emotional Toll of CLUTTER

Each area of your home provides you with a unique form of comfort. Comfort and clutter cannot co-exist. Clutter and mess only serves to bring unbalance and will dampen any good spirit. It stands to reason that, give up the clutter and bring in the peace of mind.

De-clutter your kitchen  
Your kitchen is regarded as the heart of your home and for a good reason. Here you are nourished and provided for, even if you are dining on a frozen entrée zapped in the microwave rather than a homemade meal lovingly presented by Mom. An untidy and cluttered kitchen makes it hard to nourish yourself and others, on both physical and emotional. How you care for your kitchen is a hot clue to whether you are giving proper attention to your own nourishment and that of others. Cleaning up and de-cluttering your kitchen will open space for you to receive the support and comfort that you need in life.
De-clutter your living and dining room
These are special places where you socialize with family and friends. Here you engage with the world while being at home through watching television, reading the paper or discussing current events with old friends over dinner. Clutter can turn these otherwise special and social spaces into dens of isolation, especially if the mess is so bad that it has been a time since you have invited people over. Look carefully at your living and dining rooms to see what they say about your relationships. Are they important to you? Are you hiding yourself from others, by burying yourself in nasty clutter? 

De-clutter your hallways 
You need clear hallways to navigate through your home. Your clutter in your hallways prevents important connections between different areas of your home and your life. Look at your hallways and see what it says about the rest of your life. Do they contain good lighting and are they easily navigable, or do they cause confusion and trip you up? If you feel a disconnection between work and family, self and others, what you need to be done and your obligations, it may be time to give your hallways some good organizing. 

De-clutter your bathrooms 
Each day we use this important space to meet the world. We begin our days from this room. Clutter in the bathroom can mean your don’t take pride in how you look and feel. How can you feel clean when using a cluttered, dirty bathroom? A clean, well-decorated bathroom is a tranquil sanctuary for rejuvenation and self-care. Scented soaps, attractive accessories, and fragrant candles all take their place here. This is beauty for the mind and soul. You can beautify your life by organizing and cleaning this important room. Take the time to transform your bathroom into a place of refuge and this will bring a sense of the sacred into your morning and evening personal-care rituals. 

De-clutter the bedroom
Your bedroom is for sleeping and intimacy, and it functions as a place of renewal for self and relationships. Clutter in the bedroom is worse than in any room. It is anything but restful and peaceful. If you are feeling "wired and tired," creating order out of chaos in this most personal space will help you relax and to let go of the stresses of the day. Then you will get a good night's sleep or enjoy some special time with your partner. Of all of your rooms, this one is the most critical for being organized and peaceful. 

De-clutter your closets
Closets are everything hidden, unknown, or unrecognized. When we fill our closets with clutter, we harness our ability to be intuitive and insightful. Cluttered closets can indicate problems that you may not even be aware of but which block your progress through life, work, and relationships. Keeping the closet door closed is not an obvious solution. Organizing your closets IS! 

De-clutter your attic and basement 
A cluttered attic causes you to feel under pressure. It is not easy to feel good about the future when there is so much stuff "hanging about and over your head." Organize those boxes of yesteryear and you will feel ten pounds lighter, instantly! The basement and other below-ground storage areas are thought to be holders of the subconscious mind, so take the time and have that clutter cleaned up! 

De-clutter your garage
Think of your car as a symbol of your agility, independence, and ability to be selfpropelled in life. If there's so much junk piled high in your garage that you can barely lift the garage door, it is time to organize. Do this and be prepared to move forward in your life, as well. 

Stop thinking of de-cluttering as a terrific, and start thinking of it as one of the most effective self-improvement exercises available to you. Every magazine and piece of paper you place in the recycle and every book you give back to the library will liberate you. Just as giving those older items to charity, will. Free yourself now of clutter and open the flood gates of joy and energy into your life.

Turn Clutter into Harmony

If a primary goal is to exist in a clutter-free environment, think of devising a system in which to operate freely. With a smart system, you will have valuable free time. Having more time to spend your hours doing what you enjoy most is everyone’s goal in life. Using a system, you will have a method of doing something that might otherwise be a strain. You will have a new way of simplifying a task or operation.

Paper clutter is a very good example. We find papers thrown here, there and everywhere. Loose paper can be found in every area of your home. To transform a disorderly area into an orderly one, you will want to first clean up the area of all loose paper and put it away in a designated place or just throw it away. You can use baskets, drawers or shelving space to store away your paper. Once you have a designated place established, it is easier then to remain organized.

Think now about how your paper became so messy in the first place. What did you do with it once it arrived? Did you put the full bundle into a basket, for example? If you glanced at it and then put it down in a haphazard pile at the nearest table or desk near you, chances are that is your problem. Your goal is to designate a said place for every item of value in your entire home. That way you are organized.

The organized way to deal with all paper that crosses your hands and/or desk is to:  

  1.  Have it placed at a designated tray, basket, shelf or drawer. 
  2.  Spend the time you need to look into what the paper commands of you and, when done with it;
  3. Place it in either a file, put it in a filing basket to be filed, put it in an out basket, or simply throw it away. 

This type of paper flow system will organize you in a heartbeat and will prevent finding assorted pieces of paper everywhere throughout your home. As soon as you receive the paper, you put it in its allotted place. From this, you will create a peaceful work area. You will automatically know where to go to get your paper and where to find paper that you need. 

The same system can be applied to reorganizing a disordered environment. You can tackle a room, a closet, or a drawer by first organizing it and then taking a look at how it got that way in the first place. Here is where the new system comes into play. You need to be able to maintain the order you have applied to it for later so that the same mess does not just develop all over again. 

 The more time and effort you put into being organized, the less time you will need to apply to organizing later

You will need to acquire the necessary "tools" needed to create good order

Having good order is the building block to being better organized.

Shop the discount and specialty stores for great tools to organize. They are inexpensive and work well. If you find your bedroom is hard to keep organized then look around for something to solve your problem. The moment you find the right tool, you can begin to put things into their proper place. 

There is no easy way around trying to get your life in order and be better organized. It takes time and effort on your part. The more tools you can apply to your disorganized messes, the easier it will be to maintain order. Once you find the right approach, it will be easy to keep the same momentum going. 

Use a system to organize every area of your life. Go from room to room in your home and apply tools to simplify messy problems. You will be so glad you did! 

An Orderly Life 

There are generally two different types of people who exist in the work place; they are The Organized and The Disorganized. What characteristics set them apart and which do you aspire to be?

There seems to be lack of discipline with The Disorganized. Others around them might think The Disorganized are actually not even aware of the condition they are in, because it is a situation that appears to persist over long periods. Sometimes it can be a neverchanging view of that person's surroundings. It is common to conclude that this type of person is often stressed and must go in all directions to get things done, if they can get things done at all.

The Organized, on the other hand, are a unique breed. They seem to be able to create handy places for things. They see to it that “everything has a place and that there's a place for everything.” They are the ones you would call on first when you need help to get something important done. They can generally get more done in a relatively short period. They have a real knack for tackling work with a disciplined approach.

Now which would you rather be?  

Getting proper instruction and a sense of guidance, the Disorganized can turn around on a dime and become organized. It is often just a matter of providing them with the expertise and then working with them on the discipline it takes to move into the ranks of The Organized.

The annoyances and inconveniences of working around The Disorganized eventually takes its toll on those who know them best. If you work with The Disorganized, you tend to be annoyed by them easily. Often times, a situation creates itself so that others must work harder or bypass the individual to get certain things done. Does this scenario sound all too familiar? This hardship on others can bring about resentment and unnecessary hurt feelings.

The Disorganized are basically enemies to themselves, more than anything, so it is important to change adverse conditions in order to survive in harmony in the work place. Rather than picking up the slack, offer some guidance and direction. This will bring harmony to the relationship.

One of the challenges of The Organized is how to bring harmony between the two conflicting types. To start with, find a way to peacefully get The Disorganized to change their ways. Do this and you will teach The Disorganized to foster new and better habits in all that they do. It can be done if done carefully.

Order to The Organized, is a critical factor for optimum change. Their choice of method is to figure out ways to be more efficient. They want everyone around them to figure out how to accomplish more with the least mount of effort and/or energy. They think always in systematic terms as a way of handling work. They thrive on having everything done in an orderly fashion.

To be or not to be organized---that is the question  

The Disorganized should answer that question for him or herself and then act upon it. If they do nothing else, they can ask questions. They can observe and follow the lead. The minute The Disorganized becomes organized, the minute they have more time for themselves. This in itself should be good enough incentive.

Next comes the healing of relationships, where everyone works together in one accord, so in harmony. This is worth striving for. If The Disorganized is serious about changing their ways, they will move on from an attitude of new awareness into a new attitude of action!

Let Good Order Reign! 

 Even the most organized person can struggle with being orderly. In fact, it is often the most organized who have the most difficulty keeping on top of organization.

What makes the Difference? 
As your workload continues to increase, your environment can suffer unless you take some time to take care of administrative and organizational tasks. It does not take long for every day mail to pile up if it is not being put away in its place as you finish with it. That "place" might be a temporary home, but at least the letters are put away instead of sitting out on the desk somewhere.

Remember that whatever is not put in its place will only pile to make clutter.
Because your busy lifestyle warrants continuous maintenance to keep an orderly environment, a key to being clutter-free is to put things away when you are done with them. It really only takes a moment but, if you do not, it can take hours to sort out when it gets out of control.

 Remember that time is money. 
Your new behavior usually has to be developed, like a routine. Developing a good routine takes time. The act of putting something away right away may sound easy for some, yet, on the other hand, is not part of some individual’s basic nature. We are often too busy to be bothered with doing that, right? On the other hand, maybe you just haven’t designated a "home" for the item yet, yes? Whatever your attitude is, the best thing you can do for yourself now is change it (the attitude.)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Learn the Guitar - Beginners Guide to Playing the Guitar

By JayKay Bak

Table of Contents 

Chapter 1 – Unleashing the Guitar Hero in You!
Chapter 2 – Guitar Basics
                    Guitar Structure
Chapter 3 – Guitar Positioning and Tuning
                    Tuning Your Guitar
Chapter 4 – Ways to Tune Your Guitar
Chapter 5 – Playing Notes and Chords
Chapter 6 –Scales and Playing Your First Song
Chapter 7 – Practice
Chapter 8 – Before You Buy Your First Guitar
Chapter 9 – Purchasing Your First Guitar
Chapter 10 –Buying a Guitar Online
Chapter 11 – Earning Money with Your GuitarChapter 12 – Conclusion

Chapter 1 – Unleashing the Guitar Hero in You!

There is probably not one person who has not heard of the video game “Guitar Hero”.  You could not walk through any electronics store or Best Buy without seeing customer’s young and old, standing in front of monitors with a plastic guitar strapped around them strumming to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.”   I should know, I was one of those customers!  The overwhelming popularity of this fun game is a testament to not only the fantasy we have about being the next great rock star but the popularity of the guitar.

The guitar is among the most popular musical instruments around.   Because of how versatile the guitar is, it is a popular instrument to learn how to play.  The guitar can play any kind of music that suits your interest whether it is rock, country or jazz or any other style of music.  You may be interested in playing your favorite songs or maybe you are a budding songwriter and you would like to write your own songs.  Either way, the guitar would be the perfect instrument to learn in these cases.  Like all musical instruments, if you want to learn to play the guitar you will need plenty of practice, perseverance and patience.  Learning to play the guitar will be a very rewarding experience if you stick with it and the guitar can give you many hours of enjoyment.

Before you start on your journey to become the next guitar hero, you will need a six string guitar and a guitar pick.  You will also need to have patience and overall a desire to learn and a love of music.  You will need a chair without arms as well.

You should also remember a few other tips before you begin learning to play the guitar.  First, trim your fingernails so they are short.  You will need to do this on a regular basis if you are learning how to play the guitar.  Short fingernails will allow you to produce good sound and they assist you in holding down notes much easier.

Next, realize that your finger will hurt as you are learning to play the instrument.  This is normal and your fingertips will eventually develop calluses as you practice and the pain will soon cease.

Finally, pause between each lesson and be sure that you have mastered that section of the lesson.  Each lesson should be practices a few minutes, and then you should move on to the next lesson.

Ready?  Alright!  Let’s get you started on your way to becoming the next real guitar hero.

Chapter 2 – Guitar Basics

The guitar is an instrument with ancient roots and is used in several different musical genres.  Guitars usually have six strings but you can find guitars with seven, ten or even twelve strings.
Guitars are typically the main instrument in music such as rock, blues, country, and forms of pop.  Guitars may also be used as a solo instrument.   Traditional guitars are made of wood and steel or nylon strings. 

Guitars may be played either acoustically or may need to rely on an amplifier.  There are various types of guitars.  First there is the acoustic guitar. In an acoustic guitar, the sound is created by vibrating strings that are echoed in the hollow body of the guitar.  It does not depend on anything external to produce its sound.   It depends on a wooden piece that is mounted on the front of the guitar.  The acoustic guitar is typically quieter than the instruments you would find in an orchestra or band so it is usually externally amplified.  There are a lot of acoustic guitars that have different pickups so the player can modify and amplify the sound of the instrument.

There are different types of acoustic guitars.  They are steel string guitars, twelve string guitars, arch top guitars, flamenco, and classical guitars.  There is also the acoustic bass guitar. 

The invention of the electric guitar has influenced much of the music of the twentieth century and popular culture.  An electric guitar relies on an amplifier that helps to manipulate the tone of the instrument electronically.  An electric guitar uses what you call pickups to change the vibration of the strings into an electrical current, which is then amplified.  The electrical signal that emits from the guitar may be altered electronically before it passes into the amplifier.  This makes the final sound.  Some electric guitars have the ability to sound like an acoustic guitar with the flip of a switch. 

Unlike the acoustic guitar, an electric guitar usually does not have a hollow body and the guitar makes very little sound when you pluck the strings.  When the strings are plucked an electric current is generated.  This current is then sent through a wire to an amplifier.  The current produced varies depending on how dense the string is and how much movement occurs (how you are strumming the guitar).

The electric guitar was initially used in jazz music and is now used in many other genres of music such as rock and roll, blues, country, new-age and modern classical music. 

Some hybrids of electric and acoustic guitars are currently available.  There are some very exotic guitars available as well.  There are guitars with two three or even four necks.

Guitar Structure

The top of the guitar consists of a slim neck and the “headstock”.    The headstock’s main function is to hold the guitar strings.  The headstock is placed at the end of the guitar and is furthest from your body.    
The headstock consists of tuners that allow you to change the pitch of your guitar strings.  At the bottom of the headstock is the “nut”.  A nut is a piece of material where there are grooves carved out.  These grooves guide the strings to the tuners. 
The nut is usually made of plastic, bone, brass, stainless steel, graphite or other material.  The nut is found where the fret board meets the headstock.   A fret board or fingerboard is wood that is embedded with the metal “frets” that make up the top of the neck. 
The guitar neck will be the focal point as you begin to learn how to play the instrument.  The neck joint or “heel” is where the neck is glued or bolted to the guitar body.  The majority of acoustic guitars have necks that are glued while the majority of electric guitars have glued and bolted necks.  Your fingers will be placed on different parts of the neck and this will create various notes.  Solid body electric guitars have a neck through body construction.  These types of necks are built so the head down through the bridge is on the same piece of wood.

Next there is the body of the guitar.  The body of a guitar will be different depending on what type of guitar you use.  In an acoustic guitar the body of the instrument determines the quality of the sound.  The vibration of the strings is passed through the bridge and saddle through a sound board.  A sound board is usually made of spruce or cedar and is about 3mm thick. 
There is a sound hole in the body of the acoustic guitar.  The sound hole is designed to project the sound of the instrument.  The sound hole is typically a round hole on the front of the guitar, under the strings. The sound of the guitar is projected through the sound hole.  The air inside the body of the guitar vibrates as the guitar body and top is vibrated by the instrument’s strings.

The bodies of most electric guitars are typically made of wood.   It is rare to find a piece of hardwood that is wide enough to create the entire guitar so it is hard to find a guitar made of one piece of wood.  Most guitars are created with two pieces of wood and have a seam going down the center of the body.  Maple, ash, mahogany, basswood, alder, and poplar wood are commonly used to create the body of an electric guitar.  Many guitar bodies consist of cheap wood such as ash glued on top of a wood such as maple.  Guitars that are made in this way are called “flame tops”.  Some electric guitars are made of such materials as carbon composites, aluminum alloys, or a plastic material such as poly carbonate. 
The majority of electric guitars have bodies that are solid and do not have a sound hole.  Electric guitars instead have “pickups”.  Pick-ups are basically small microphones that capture the sound of the strings and then the sound is amplified.  

Guitar strings go from the pegs on the headstock and over the nut.  They then go down the neck and over the body and then over the sound hole or pickups.  The strings are then anchored to a “bridge”.   A normal guitar has six strings.  These strings are all different sizes and represent different notes. The bottom string is usually the skinniest and has the highest sound.  It is an E note.  The bottom string is also known as the first string.  The second string is a little thicker than the first string and is the B note.  The third string is B, the fourth string is D, the fifth string is A, and the final, sixth string is an E, just like the first string.  This sixth string is the thickest string of the set.  It has the lowest sound and is the one that is closest to you.  If the guitar is tuned correctly, the first string and the sixth string should give you the same note but in different pitches.  If you want to memorize the string position and values you can use a mnemonic devise such as Eat All Day Get Big Easy. 
Frets are strips of metal that cut the guitar in sections from top to bottom.  The combination of strings and frets form a grid.   This grid covers the guitar neck.  If you put your finger in between two frets, this allows you to play a note.  The higher you place your finger on the fret; the notes will have a higher sound.  

Chapter 3 – Guitar Positioning and Tuning

Now that you have learned a little bit about the guitar, you are now about to learn about how to position a guitar and tune it. 

First you will learn about positioning a guitar.  Begin by finding an armless chair that has good support for your back.  You should sit comfortably with your back against the chair.  Slouching is not good because you will develop bad guitar habits and a sore back.  When sitting in an armless chair, be sure that there is a lot of room on both sides of you so you can hold your guitar properly and move your arms.

Once you are seated in the chair, you should place the guitar on your lap and have the rear of the guitar facing your chest.  The guitar body should be on the leg that is farthest from the headstock.  If you are right handed, the guitar should lay on your right leg.  The majority of acoustic guitars will have curved indentations that are great for playing the guitar on your leg.  If you are holding the guitar properly than the sixth string should be close to your chest and the first string should be close to your feet.    

Your fret hand will have to be placed on the left if you are right handed and on the right if you are left handed.  You should grip the neck of the guitar gently with your fretting hand.  You thumb should be placed behind the guitar’s neck.  The other fingers should be floating on top of the strings, slightly curled.  It is very important to curl the fingers at the knuckles unless an instructor tells you not too. 

Next we are going to discuss picking.  When beginning to play the guitar, you should purchase a set of guitar picks.  A guitar pick is a small flat tool that you used to strum the guitar.  You should purchase a minimum of ten guitar picks and they are relatively cheap.  There are different types of guitar picks but it is best to start with one that is not too hard or too flimsy.  Picks are made of rubber, wood, stone, plastic, tortoiseshell, and metal.  They are usually in the shape of a triangle but other shapes are available from manufacturers.

Once you have a guitar pick and are seated in the proper position, you can begin strumming the guitar.  Your picking hand will be nearest the bridge of your guitar.  You should open up the hand you will be picking or “strumming” the guitar with.  The palm should face you.  Then make sure the thumb is next to the index finger.   Make sure that you rotate the hand so the knuckle of the thumb is facing toward you.  With your free hand you should slide in the guitar pick between your index finger and thumb.  That way, the pick is secure.  The pick should end up behind the thumb’s knuckle. 

You should hold the pick firmly and the pointed portion of the pick should be pointing away from your fist and should be sticking out about ½ inch.  The hand you are strumming with should be over the sound hole if you are using an acoustic guitar or over the guitar body if you are using an electric guitar.  Your strumming hand should be placed above the strings. 

Your picking hand should not sit on the body or stings of the guitar.  Using your wrist, not your arm, strum the lowest string downward.  If the string rattles too much, do not use a lot of the pick surface or strum softer.  Then pick the lowest string upwards. Try this a few times.  Try to lower the motion of your picking hand by doing a short pick downwards and a short pick upwards.  Now repeat the process with the rest of the strings.  

Remember that holding the pick will feel strange at first.  You will have to concentrate on your picking hand when you begin practicing the guitar.  Your downstrokes and your upstrokes should sound the same.  Also remember you will sound bad at first but this will change with practice.  It takes time to become the next guitar hero!

Tuning Your Guitar

It is very important to tune your guitar.   You need to tune your guitar on a regular basis if you want it to sound good and make practice enjoyable.  At first tuning a guitar will be difficult but this will change over time.  It is advisable that if you know someone that is a guitar player, you can have them tune your guitar for you. You can also simply learn to do it yourself.  It just takes practice and patience.
There are different methods of tuning a guitar.  All of the different methods are appropriate but some are more convenient than others.  This is especially important if you are just beginning to learn the guitar. 
Tuning a guitar involves adjusting the strings so that they play the right note.  You loosen or tighten the strings by using the tuning pegs.  If you tighten the pegs on the headstock, this will make the pitch of the string higher, while making the pegs loose will make the pitch lower.
Beginning guitar players may want to purchase an inexpensive electric “guitar tuner”.  This is a great choice for beginning guitar players.  Electronic tuners can pick up the sound of a string and let you know through a display that the note is either too low (flat) or too high (sharp). Beginning guitar player have difficulty telling when a string is not in tune by just listening so buying an electric tuner can assist in making tuning faster and more precise. 
A starting guitarist who is practicing by themselves, easy and convenient tuning methods are best.  However, as you become pickier or begin playing with other people, utilizing alternative tuning methods will become increasingly important. 
If you cannot afford or do not want to buy an electric tuner, there are a variety of ways to manually tune your instrument.  These ways are relative tuning, tuning with a piano, pitch pipes, keyboards, tuning forks, intervals and harmonics.  We will go into these types of tuning in the next chapter.

Chapter 4 – Ways to Tune Your Guitar

The easiest way to tune your guitar is by relative tuning.  Relative tuning is comparing the sound and pitch of adjacent strings.  The string with the higher pitch is tuned to match the sound of the lower string.  In this method, there is the assumption that the lower string is tuned properly.  If you use this method, you will have to tune the sixth string with a tuning fork or piano.  More details on this will be provided later. 

The process starts with the tuning of the sixth string.  When the sixth string has been tuned, you need to press the sixth string at the fifth fret and pick the string.  Next, tune the fifth string so that it matches that sound.  The sound of the fifth string should match the sixth string’s, fifth fret.  If you find that the sound does not match, turn the tuning peg for that fifth string and change the pitch. Don’t do anything to the sixth string.

If the sound of the string is too low, tighten the string.  If the sound of the string is too low, loosen the string.  Be sure that the fifth string is tuned in comparison to the sixth string because the fifth string has to be properly tuned in order to tune the fourth string.  After that, the fourth string needs to be in tune in order to tune the third string and it continues from there.  If there is a tuning mistake on any of the strings, the sound of the whole instrument will be thrown off. 

If you have a piano at your disposal and you are familiar with the notes, you can tune your instrument by matching the sound of the strings with the matching notes on the piano. 

To begin, find the E note of the piano and then play the sixth string or E note on your guitar.   Turn the tuning peg so that the sixth string on your guitar sounds like the E on the keyboard.  Do this with all the stings on the guitar. 

An electronic keyboard can help tune your guitar as well.  Keyboards give you clear, precise, and loud pitch that makes it easy to tune your instrument.  This method of tuning is a great choice for beginning guitarists who have access to a keyboard or for guitar players who will be working with someone who plays the keyboard.

You can also tune your guitar by using pitch pipes.  You should be able to find these at your local music store.  These pitch pipes will give you the pitches of all strings.  All you need to do is match the sound of each string to the proper pipe.  Pitch pipes do not cost a lot and even very young guitar players can use them.  They are small and easy to carry. 

Some more advanced guitar players would not be satisfied with pitch pipes because they do not have a clear pitch like an electronic tuner, tuning fork or piano.

Using a tuning fork is a popular way to tune a guitar and other instruments.  A tuning fork is a two prong device that has a stem and is shaped like a U.  They are usually made of steel.  The tuning fork gives off a certain pitch when it is struck against a surface, causing it to vibrate.  The sound that comes from the tuning fork depends on the length the two prongs are.

The standard tuning fork used has the pitch of an A note.  Tuning forks that emit this sound can be found easily.  Tuning forks with the sound of the E note can be found easily as well and they are very useful for guitars.  Tuning forks are cheap and easy to bring along with you. 

When using a tuning fork, hold the fork by the stem so that the prongs can vibrate freely.  Strike the prongs hard enough so that they begin to vibrate.  Be sure not to strike them on anything that will dent.  It is best to strike the fork against your knee.  Not too hard of course!  After that and without touching the prongs, place the stem lightly on the guitar body.  Now tune the string to match the sound that comes from the guitar. 

In order to use a tuning fork properly you will need to practice.  It may be hard for a young player and a guitar player with experience will not want to carry around different tuning forks.

The preferred method of tuning a guitar is intervals.  The advantage of tuning this way is that the guitar ends up having a pleasant sound that is in tune.  Intervals involve tuning strings in conjunction to other strings.  This is very easy when you have practiced this method for a little while. 

To tune by interval, begin with the sixth string and have something such as a tuning fork or pitch pipe handy.  To find the A note, press down the sixth string at the fifth fret, then tune the A string.  Next tune the D or fourth string to the D and the fifth string at the fifth fret.  Repeat this process with the G, B, and E strings.  To check your tuning, play the E and B chords and listen carefully.  Make any adjustments you need to.

Next we have harmonics.  Advanced guitarists prefer using harmonics when it comes to tuning their instrument.  Harmonics can be hard to learn, but the result is a very accurate tuning.

Instead of holding a string down, below the fret, you touch the string very lightly at the fret This is harmonics.  This is not the best tuning methods for beginners but it is mentioned here to give you a complete overview of guitar tuning.

There are many other ways to tune a guitar.  Slack key tuning is tuning some strings lower than other types of tuning.  The result is a major chord when all strings are played.  A tuning method used in rock and classical guitar is D tuning.  This involves tuning the D string instead of the E string.  No matter what type of tuning you use, it is best to tune your guitar frequently.  Strings get out of tune over time especially if you play your guitar a lot and practice a lot.  


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