Tips for comfortable tent camping

As Labor Day weekend approaches, many families in central Iowa may decide to pack up tents, chairs and sleeping bags and go enjoy a night or two of camping.

There are three public areas available to tent campers: Timmons Grove and Grammer Grove county parks, run by the Marshall County Conservation Board and Riverview Park, run by the City of Marshalltown.

Regardless of where campers pitch their tents, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has offered tips on how to camp comfortably and safely.

• Pick a tent with enough room to fit all users, but not so large and complex that it takes extra time and energy to set up and take down

• Try to pick a campsite with a tree overhead to offer shade during a hot summer day, and be sure the site has enough room for the tent

• Place the tent as far from the fire pit as the space allows to minimize the wind blowing smoke toward the tent

• Sleeping bags, blow-up beds and cots are all items used by campers when it’s time to go to bed — the DNR recommends children’s foam puzzle piece-shaped tiles under a sleeping bag, using a blow-up bed or a cot for added comfort overnight

• Be sure to pack enough firewood to prevent extra trips back to town after getting settled in at the campsite

• Prepare meals ahead of time and only bring food than can safely be stored

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