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I attribute my love of the outdoors and of camping gear to my mother. I was the oldest of five kids, and was 12 years old when my mother started taking us all on two or three week camping trips to beaches, mountains, rivers, lakes from North Carolina to Canada and everywhere in between.

Every summer my incredible, nature-loving mother would pile us all into the family’s 1951 Mercury “Woody” station wagon and drive out of sweltering suburban Washington DC, headed out to the sun-burned beaches of South Carolina, the cool and tranquil state parks of Upstate New York, and everything in between. We would spend the summer camping, cooking and cleaning fish and learning about nature. My mother and younger brother and sisters slept in big old umbrella tents and I slept in my WWII army jungle hammock that I found in an Army surplus store.