Essential Camping Equipment For Your Next Trip To The Great Outdoors

Having the right camping equipment will make your outdoor experience safer and more fun. The more often you camp, the more you may want to invest in nicer equipment and supplies. Some of these items will make your camping trip more convenient and more comfortable. Shop on the Internet and at local sporting goods stores to research prices and available pieces.


Tents are the traditional means of sheltering from the environment when camping. There are many styles available with various features. Your budget and needs will determine which one is right for you. Tents can range from $100 to more than $500. Use of tarps and padding can help with waterproofing and comfort.


Sleeping bags are a minimum requirement for keeping warm and comfortable while sleeping. However there are other sleeping options and accessories that can make sleeping more comfortable. Quality sleeping bags start at approximately $50.00 and can go up depending on features. Adding a sleeping mat and sleeping pillow that are waterproof can also enhance comfort.


Campfire cooking can be a fun way to eat meals but if you want a bit more flexibility there are many tools available. Hibachi style portable grills can give you a means of grilling meats, heating sauces, and vegetables without having to build a fire on the ground. Gas powered portable stoves are also available and can range from $50 to $200. These are affordable ways to make cooking more convenient and give you more options. Coolers are useful to keep perishable items from spoiling. There are also mini refrigerators available.


Survival and first aid kits are essential supplies for every camper. They can help save lives and tend to minor ailments. Ensure you always have a fully stocked survival and first aid kit available. These should include items for bandaging, pain relief, insect bites and topical antibiotics. Survival kits should include items for warmth, light, food and water. You can purchase pre-made kits or make a checklist and purchase individual items.


Camping guides and books are useful to bring to help identify wildlife and to give tips while outdoors. They can also include recipes and ideas for fun. Kayaks can be a fun way to enjoy the water and many are available in inflatable models, making them lightweight. Binoculars can help look for wildlife and nature. Toys like Frisbees and footballs can provide entertainment while outdoors.

After deciding where you will camp, make a list of activities you want to engage in. Then, compile a checklist of all supplies and gear needed to ensure you will have a safe and fun trip. Make sure to go through the list so nothing is missed. This will ensure you have everything needed for an enjoyable camping vacation.

An Adventure to: Shanghai, Shangri-La, the Upper Mekong, Laos and Thailand

One stop to Shanghai, I was off in early November. Phoenix to Los Angeles and then Los Angeles to Shanghai.

I prearranged a private guide for a day in a city that reeks with feng shui. Having seen the city before from a stinking tour bus, it was great to have guide give me a work out. After walking from my $85 a night 5-star hotel to Yuyuan Gardens, the Bund, shopping on Nanjing Road, to Jing’an Temple is was time for lunch.

Most people hire a guide and go place to place by taxi. We walked. After passing through the People’s park, it was lunch time; the guide did not know the neighborhood. We walked a little further and ate duck, vegetables and fine Chinese beer in an upscale place. Normally I would eat where the locals do, but two places we passed were filled with cigarette smoke.

Touring some alleys, shops we succumbed to take the subway to Pudong, where I had an overpriced cocktail atop the Hyatt Hotel. I was higher than the Oriental TV tower of which I had been up before.

In the morning, I did what most tourists do not do. I saved the 100 yuan or so cab fare to the airport and took the subway for all of 5 yuan, about $0.70. Off to Kunming where the Flying Tigers were based. I arrived at the Kai Wah Plaza Hotel with its massive glass atrium for a lobby. Too bad they did not pay their gas bill because it was 50 degrees F in there, much too cold to enjoy a drink at one of few nice bars in this part of China.

Lunch the next day was duck smoked with pine needles. What a treat on the road to the Stone Forest. We wandered in rock formations all afternoon and mused at the signs “do not disturb the grass, it is napping.” It truly was a stone forest and it would have been easy to get lost among the formations.

On to Dali, where our guide said “All the tourists think this is great until you get to Lijiang and Shangri-la. The cobblestone streets, most of them blocked off to traffic were a joy to walk upon as I looked over the shops, a mixture of tourist shops and everyday shops for the locals.

After some purchases of some handicrafts we found the Monkey Bar. On “Foreigner St. we took a seat bar with actual cocktails on the menu. Usually if you can find western liquor in China, the menu will just say, “whiskey, gin, scotch, rum” etc. Or it will just list the brand names. The Monkey Bar has an assortment of cocktails by name, a bartender who knew how to mix drinks and the obligatory Chinese rock and roll band.

Outside of Dali are the Three Pagodas. Prior to the earthquake a few years back, you could climb the Pagoda that overlooks the lake. We made a stop at the local batik factory. They call it a factory. Actually it was a small three family business of dying cloth with indigo and making various items with the fabric. They used a large stencil to put wax on the cloth and then dyed it in blue solution. The design then transferred to the cloth.

Moving higher to Lijiang and its old town, our luggage was taken into town by a mini-mini-van, as regular vehicles are prohibited. The canal with ancient rules for water use was still in operation moving water wheels. The cafes were a delight after huffing up to an overlook to photograph the splendid roofs of the old town. That evening we went to a Chinese classical theater. They played music from different dynasties. My ears were ringing and an hour in an unheated theater was enough. I went to a cafe for coffee and to my warm hotel room.

On the other side of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain lies Shangri-la. We meet our new guide, Maria. She gives us a white scarf, as it is a traditional greeting for guests. On the way our minibus takes on water to cool the brakes. After a walk into Tiger Leaping Gorge, 500 steps down and 500 more steps up, we dine overlooking the valley. The delightful cafe was up three flights of steps. For dessert Maria introduced us to Naxi pears, a pear with the crunchiness of an apple.

That evening we were greeted with hot ginger tea at Songstam Retreat, Shangri-la, which reminded me Sedona with it stone construction. My room had a heavy blanket over the wooden door to keep out the draft. The bathroom was well appointed with a copper sink a hot shower with a wooden bucket, ladle and stool. The room had steam heat and a wood stove in the corner. Open the drapes and you have a wonderful view of the backside of the Monastery and Shangri-la. The views for the spa were heavenly. What a place to get a massage. Only if it had been spring time with the mountains covered with flowers!

That evening we are treated to a traditional Tibetan dinner consisting of yak prepared about 5 different ways including yak butter tea. We mingled with the locals as they performed dances in the town square after dark. Back at the Songstam Resort I had a cocktail at the bar and went off to test my woodstove. It was November, the end of the season and rather chilly outside.

In the morning we drove back to Lijiang and visited a Tibetan Village on the way. The house has the barn on the lower floor and living quarters in floor above, and loft above that for hay.

Saying goodbye to Maria, our Tibetan guide, we meet Jack upon arrival Lijiang. We stroll through a Baisha Naxi Village and have lunch in a delightful courtyard. I pick up some treats a local bakery.

We enter a park for a leisurely stroll around the Black Dragon Pool enjoying mountain vistas and the reflection of the water. There are a few shops, a small museum, small pagodas that make for a picturesque walk. After about two hours we enter Lijiang, visit the Dongba museum where we meet a 16th generation priest. Finally we get to sit down and have a cup of tea in a hotel lobby.

Off to Jinghong on Lucky Air. Yes that is the name of the airline. In Xishuangbanna we partake of a traditional Dai People’s BBQ. An assortment of grilled meats and fish prepared on sticks were unceremoniously dumped on the table. Several hot dipping sauces were served along with a delightful peanut sauce.

The weather has changed for us. It is now warm and humid. We go to a place called Wild Elephant Valley, that is a nature reserve for elephants and ride through the jungle by cable car. It was more like a zoo with huge aviaries, a butterfly cage and some other animals. On the long cable car ride the locals take pictures of us as we are the attraction because we did not see any elephants.

After lunch drive to Ganlangba, visit Water Dai Village where lunch came from the small lake our table was perched over. Afternoon visits of the Yellow Pagoda and Rubber Garden did not impress anyone. The weighing, sorting and loading of pineapples was much more interesting. We picked up a few pineapples for our evening dessert.

We leave China crossing into Laos. The river was closed to river traffic because of drug violence that occurred two months ago. China is planning to patrol the river between Burma and Laos but as of this writing, the river is still closed. The Laotian countryside is gorgeous. We dine at a delightful cafe along the way and then cross the Mekong into Thailand on a sampan.

We walk about six blocks to the Chiang Khong Teak Garden Hotel. After checking in a few of us head to a bar a few doors down and have a scotch and water at a very low price. They even had ice. That evening we dine overlooking the Mekong and were introduced to Mekong Whiskey. Actually it is dark rum made in Thailand. I ask the waiter to bring me a quarter lime, some soda water and just enjoy savored the moment. Outdoor dining and all that water, we did not see or feel a mosquito.

At this point, we have one more day of touring to get close to an airport. We take a short sail on the Mekong Sun. Hans Engberding, a German entrepreneur, has built two river ships on the upper Mekong. “The pride of Laos” they are called. Built on two long aluminum hulls the wooden ships ply these waters when the river levels permits, taking tourist first class around the Golden Triangle for four to seven night cruises. With well-appointed river view cabins, air-conditioning, a full bar and occasional smuggled prime-rib Hans feeds his European clientele a mixture of German/French cuisine and some local flavors too. He offers us a short course on Asian fruit snacks available at convenience stores.

Lunch at Imperial Hotel Terrace overlooking the Golden Triangle was unique in fact that this was the first time I saw lettuce in two weeks. In the Opium museum, we walked off our lunch and learned of the queen. Opium in Thailand has mostly been replaced with coffee.

On our last night at the Dusit Island Resort in Chiang Rai, the red carpet was rolled out for the princess as she was having a private party at the hotel. We went to the night market, picked up some trinkets and rode a tuk-tuk motorized rickshaw back to the hotel. The red carpet was gone and so was I as I began a series of flights home the next day.

Top Celebrity Chef Restaurants in London

After viewing your favourite TV Chef in action on the TV, have you ever wanted to be there to savour those delicious dishes? Why not come to London to visit the famed restaurants that the celebrity chefs run. Find here our guide to the best celebrity chef restaurants in London.

Antony Worrall Thompson’s Restaurants in London:

3 London restaurants:-

Barnes Grill, 2 – 3 Rocks, Barnes, London, SW13 0DB
Tel 0208 878 4488

Tuesday to Friday there is a set lunch menu of 3 courses for £14.95 or 2 courses for £12.50.

Notting Grill, 123a Clarendon Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 4JG
Tel 0207 229 1500

If it’s steaks you are after, this is the house speciality. Most expensive is a 9oz aged fillet that costs £22.50. Open Tuesday – Friday 12 – 2pm and Saturday and Sundays 12 – 4pm.

Kew Grill, 10b Kew Green, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3BH
Tel 0208 948 4433

Located opposite Kew Gardens you will find a relaxed dining experience. Open Tuesday – Friday 12 – 2.30pm, Monday – Friday 6.30 – 10.30pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm & 6.30 – 11pm & Sunday 12 – 10pm.

Brian Turner’s Restaurant in London:

Brian Turner Mayfair, Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 2HP
Tel 0207 596 3444

Here you will find some great British dishes such as Rib of Aberdeen Angus with Yorkshire Pudding, Roast Lincolnshire duckling with pear and apricot stuffing. Set 2 course lunch is £24.50, 3 courses £27.50. Weekday’s lunch is available 12.30 – 2.30pm and dinner 6.30 – 11pm. Not open for lunch on Saturdays however dinner is available 6.30 – 11pm.

Gary Rhodes’s Restaurants in London:

2 London restaurants:-

Rhodes Twenty Four (24), Bank, 24th Floor, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HQ
Tel 0207 877 7703

Catering for the city workers, this restaurant serves the best of British food Monday to Friday and is closed at weekends. Average meals cost £50 per person. Lunch is served 12 – 2.30pm and Dinner 6 – 9pm.

Rhodes W1 Brasserie, Oxford Circus, The Cumberland Hotel, Great Cumberland Street, Marylebone, London, W1A 4RF Tel 0207 479 3838

Restaurant serving Modern European food with a British twist. Open daily for lunch 12 – 2.30pm and dinner 6 – 10pm.

Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurants in London:

Gordon Ramsay has three sleek London restaurants.

Maze (Gordon Ramsay), Bond Street, 10-13 Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 6JP
Tel 0207 107 0000

Fine Dining restaurant that serves French cuisine with an Asian influence.

Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road, Sloane Square, 68 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HP
Tel 0207 352 4441

Probably Gordon Ramsay’s most popular restaurant, where you usually have to book 2 months in advance to get a table. The menu is typically French with a 3 course lunch costing around £40 per person and ala carte 3 course meals is around £85 per person. Open for lunch 12 – 2pm and 5.45 – 11pm.

Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, Bond Street, 53 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 5DS
Tel 0207 499 0099

Another fantastic Ramsay restaurant serving fine French cuisine. Dinner and drinks costs around £72 per person. Fixed price 3 course lunch menu £30 per person. Open midweek for lunch 12 – 2.45pm, 12 – 3.15pm Saturday and dinner served daily 5.45 – 11pm.

Jamie Oliver’s Restaurants in London:

Fifteen (15), Old Street, 15 Westland Place, Shoreditch, London, N1 7LP
Tel 0207 251 1515

This restaurant has been set up as a Charity Foundation to give 15 trainees from unpriviledged backgrounds the skills to be chefs. All profits go to the charity. Dinner and drinks will cost £35 per person. Open for lunch 12 – 3pm and dinner 6.30 – 9.30pm Sunday – Thursday, 6 – 9.30pm Friday & Saturdays.

Barbecoa, 20 New Change Passage, London, EC4M 9AG
Tel 0203 005 8555

Latest restaurant from Jamie Oliver that he has set up with Chef Friend Adam Perry Lang. The menu is centred on cooking meats, seafood and seasonal accompaniments in the new and exciting ways. Open daily 12 noon – 11pm.

Ken Hom’s Restaurants in London:

Yellow River Cafe, Highbury & Islington, 206 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 1RQ
Tel 0207 354 8833

Yellow River Cafe, St Johns Wood, High Street, St Johns Wood, London, NW8 7NG
Tel 0207 586 4455

Yellow River Cafe, Canary Wharf, North Colonnade, 10 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4EY
Tel 0207 715 9515

The Yellow River Cafes offers Chinese cuisine with some Thai and Malaysian influences.

Rajasthan – A Destination for Adventure Freaks and Wildlife Lovers

Besides adventure and wildlife tourism, Rajasthan is very popular for its historical forts and palace. There are many forts and palaces in the rustic countryside. Some of the popular forts and palaces are Amer Fort, City Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Hawa Mahal, Junagarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mehrangarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Chittorgarh Fort, Lake Palace, Samode Palace, etc. These historic building are worth visiting to see the historical regality of the state. It is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in India. It is frequently visited by the domestic and global tourists. Rajasthan tourism is also famous for showing its colorful culture and traditions. Culture of Rajasthan represents the true essence and regality of Rajasthan.

Let us know about popular options for adventure freaks and wildlife lovers:

Wildlife tour in popular national parks: There are many parks in Rajasthan. Popular parks are Ranthambhore National Park, Keoladeo Ghana, Desert, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary, etc. Ranthambhore National Parks is very popular and one of the largest national park in India. It is famous for high population of tiger. Rajasthan wildlife tour is incomplete without spotting tigers in Ranthambhore. Birding is very common in Keoladeo Ghana and Desert Park.

Tiger Safari in Jungle: Tiger safari gives ultimate adventure to adventure freaks. Tiger safari is very common in Ranthambhore National Park and Sariska Tiger Reserve. One can chase tigers sitting on open jeep or on the back of majestic elephant. Adventure lovers take the challenge to see the tigers closely. They want to threaten the tigers with their daring attitude.

Camel Safari in Desert: Camel Safari is very popular in desert region of Rajasthan. It is very common in Bikaner and Jaisalmer. Feel the adventure of a riding camel in the golden sands of the vast Thar Desert. Visit the depth of desert to see exotic and undulating sand dunes.

Trekking: Trekking is very popular adventure sport to enjoy in Rajasthan. The breathtaking trails on the lofty mountains attract lots of adventure freaks in Rajasthan.

Apart from these, passionate people can also enjoy water sports, jeep safari, elephant safari, horse polo during Rajasthan Adventure Tours. Rajasthan is really ideal for adventure tourism and wildlife expedition.