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Modern Day Conveniences Make Camping More Enjoyable

Camping is one of those time-honored traditions that, like a lot of things, has matured with age. Not so long ago, serious campers would secure their bulkier supplies -- like the tent, portable stove and sleeping bags -- to their horse's saddle, then put the rest in backpacks they struggled to carry into the wilderness.

When they reached their destination, they had to deal with tired, aching muscles, sore backs and fatigue even though the horse was supposed to be doing most of the work. Not exactly modern day man's idea of fun; but these days, camping is more popular than ever. What has changed? The way people get in and out of the woods.

Rather than attempting to hike into camp
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 carrying more than they can handle, some of today's smart campers are loading their supplies onto all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) they either own or rent and driving them there. ATVs have added a new element to the camping industry. They allow people to spend more time enjoying the experience and less on worrying about how they're going to reach their destination.

With the aid of an ATV, you can easily carry everything you need into the woods without straining your back. Some people use bungee cords and rope to secure items to their vehicles, and that works to a point, but Arctic Cat (a Minnesota-based company that manufactures ATVs and snowmobiles) has come up with an easier method of transporting your gear safely.

Arctic Cat's SpeedRack system, which is standard equipment on most Arctic Cat models, is capable of carrying a wide assortment of attachments that slide into the front or rear rack for a precision fit similar to that of a receiver hitch system on an automobile. Add a pin for security and away you go with no rattles, shimmy or shakes. You can use the rack and its attachments to tote tents, sleeping bags, portable stoves, coolers, shovels, guns, and even canoes. Some people even add cargo boxes and fender bags to hold food, water and clothing they're bringing into the woods.

Once you reach your destination, all the supplies are easily unloaded and set up at the campsite. You could even use some of Arctic Cat's SpeedRack attachments to transform your ATV into a portable cooking station with fold-out work tables and portable Coleman stove attachments. Campers are bringing more than you may think on these modern day camping trips: Here's a checklist put together by the National Parks Service.

* Shelter -- tent with a waterproof floor, rain-fly and bug netting, stakes and cord to secure it to the ground, axe or hammer, mat for tent entrance.

* Bedding -- sleeping bag, sheets/blanket, pillow.

* Cooking -- large water jug , coolers, ice, thermos, gas or propane stove and fuel, matches/lighter, pots and frying pans with lids, plates, eating utensils, cooking oil, measuring cups, aluminum foil, paper towels, dish soap, containers and Ziploc bags for food storage, potholders/over mitts, canned food, can opener, seasoning, condiments.

* Clothes -- shoes, boots, pants, shorts, t-shirts, socks, hat, bandana, sweatshirt, underwear, sleep clothes, rain gear, swim suit/towel, laundry bag.

* Personal items -- Shower shoes/flip flops, towel/washcloth, soap in plastic case, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, comb, razor, feminine products, toilet paper, medications.

* Miscellaneous -- sunscreen, bug repellant, lantern with fuel, flashlight, extra batteries, compass, whistle, water purification system, candles, maps, pocket knife, binoculars, bungee cords/straps, reading material, cell phone/charger, small shovel, travel alarm clock,
scissors, etc.

Packing all these things will help ensure a great trip; loading them onto an ATV instead of carrying them on your back will give you the energy to concentrate on having fun rather than soothing your aching muscles. Please check local laws and riding regulations when operating an ATV in certain areas for remote camping use.

For more information about Arctic Cat ATV's and accessories, log on to www.arcticcat.com.

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