Taking your Guitar Camping

Bringing a guitar along on a camping trip can be a most rewarding experience for a group or a family. Just think of the memories to be had from adding music to quiet moments in the forest, the mountains, or by a river. Or even if you're camping alone: what better and more inspirational surroundings for composing music, or experimenting with chord variations. YES - take your guitar camping!

Camping can subject your guitar to wide temperature swings. Even in the summer, mornings can be frosty-cold, and sunny afternoons can be searing hot. Protect your guitar from these extremes! In general, your guitar is comfortable and happy in the same range of temperatures that you are comfortable and happy.

The black Voyage-Air guitar case is padded and provides a good degree of heat protection. Kind of like an insulated picnic cooler. But the dark color of the case can also be a problem: if the case is left exposed to direct sunlight, it can get hot and cook the contents (your guitar) FAST! NEVER leave your guitar case (with the guitar inside) exposed to direct sunlight on a hot day.

Likewise, the trunk of a car can become an oven on a hot day. Temperatures of over 180 degrees have been recorded in car trunks! Here's the problem: the special glues that are used to build guitars can soften when they are warmed. At a point, the glue becomes so soft and pliable that the guitar can start to come apart: in particular, the bridge where the strings are attached. The bridge is under a lot of tension from the strings, and it is common for the bridge to actually pull away from the guitar body when it gets hot enough!

Dirt and dust is another enemy of your guitar. Airborne dust accumulates on the neck, and abrades against the strings and the frets. Not only does this cause abrasive wear on the frets, the dust and dirt gets into the winding of the strings, and dulls the sound of the strings. A good idea is to get a 2" wide soft paintbrush, and store it with your guitar. When camping, use this paintbrush to 'brush off' the fretboard and the strings. Do this first thing before you play the guitar, and then again when you finish, before you put it back into the case. In a camping situation, this will make the strings last a lot longer - and the difference is not slight... this is a huge difference in sound and life for the strings.

Quick Reference Points for Camping with a Guitar:
• Do NOT leave your guitar in the trunk of your car - either day or night.
• KEEP the guitar in the shade, at about the same temperature you are.
• At NIGHT - take the guitar into the camping tent with you.
• NEVER leave the guitar case exposed to direct sunlight - it can cook the guitar!

Stories From The Road