Ask practically anyone for a list of fun things to do, and chances are very good that at the top of many of these lists is camping. Whether it’s because of the desire to get out into nature, or just to enjoy another’s company without the distractions of home, camping rates at the top. In fact, camping is a past time that virtually anyone could enjoy. Whether you want to test your true grit or take a temporary break from the civilized world, camping has something for everyone.
Regardless of the camping trip you have planned, what follows is a list of 10 items that will help to ensure that your trip is not only fun but safe after you have wandered into the wild. It doesn’t matter whether your campsite is your own backyard or you are hitting the Pacific Crest Trail, these tips will keep you in good stead.
- Hunt, find and pitch before dark.
- Choose a sleeping bag that’s appropriate to the season.
- Pack only what is needed for meals.
- Leave no trace.
- Dress for the season.
- Avoid bugs, animals, and poisonous plants.
- Don’t get lost.
- Be prepared.
- Remember to keep good hygiene.
- Be especially careful with kids and pets.
1. Hunt, find and pitch before dark
The scenario is typical: you leave work and get home just prior to dark so you can still get to a campsite, but in many cases, it’s dark when you get there. Unfortunately, regardless of your accommodations, whether a hammock under the stars, a tent, or an RV, it’s usually no fun setting up camp in the dark. Not only does the dark make it more difficult to determine where you are, but things are also much easier to misplace when you can’t see them. Darkness also covers potential problems such as setting up a tent in a whole, that don’t show up until daylight.
2. Choose a sleeping bag that’s appropriate to the season
There are very few things that can make a camping trip miserable than trying to sleep in a sleeping bag that you can’t get warm in because it’s too light for the weather you are in. Fortunately, sleeping bags are available that are made for all types of weather, whether it’s light for summer, or heavily insulated for winter.
3. Pack only what is needed for meals
It doesn’t matter if you are backpacking or in an RV, too much preparation for meals can spoil the fun, not to mention being a big burden to carry with you. Take what you need and leave everything else at home.
4. Leave no trace
It’s never fun to find a camp that’s full of someone else’s trash. As a result, you should leave a campsite in better condition than how you found it.
5. Dress for the season
Dress in whatever kind of clothing that will protect you from the weather. One of the major keys to remember is to dress in layers, so that as things warm up, you can remove a layer at a time. And don’t forget your bad weather gear for when rain comes.
6. Avoid bugs, animals, and poisonous plants
It’s fun to get to know nature, but in the case of certain things such as bugs, animals, and poisonous plants, the best advice is to let them be.
7. Don’t get lost
Getting lost is easy, especially when you are in an area that you might not be familiar with. The good news in this is that staying found is even easier than getting lost. Not only should you keep a map, compass, and a GPS unit with you wherever you go, but also make sure that you understand how to use all of these items.
8. Be prepared
When it comes to surviving if you happen to walk away from a familiar area, remember the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Have a survival kit with you that carries all of the standard items.
9. Remember to keep good hygiene
Staying as clean as possible is smart. It’s also more pleasant.
10. Be especially careful with kids and pets
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: taking a child or a pet on a camping trip and having them end up lost. If you decide to take your child and/or pet on a camping trip, make sure that you monitor where they are and what they are doing at all times. Also keep in mind what they are wearing so that if they do become lost, you can describe their appearance to those who will be tasked with looking for them.