How to Prepare for a Camping Trip
A camping trip is definitely a great way to relax, keep your mind off work and escape from the chaotic reality of the city. Camping brings us closer to nature, which refreshes us and also relieves stress. It is also an inexpensive way to have a vacation. Whether you're planning to stay in the middle of a remote forest or at a popular campsite, remember to bring important gear, such as a first-aid kit and proper shelter, such as a tent and a sleeping bag to guarantee your safety and comfort. Before packing for your camping trip, contact the municipal office that oversees the area or campground where you are planning to stay to familiarize yourself with all laws and regulations governing camping seasons and permits. They will also be able to give you advice regarding what amenities are available (i.e. water/restrooms) and what activities are available for campers.
Packing for a Camping Trip
The wilderness can be intimidating, even with the proper gear. The last thing you want is to reach a remote destination and find that you forgot something essential. Most remote locations do not have a convenience store nearby, so if you forgot something then its time to improvise. Packing will be different depending on the season and the temperature, but here are a few tips that will help eliminate stress and make for the most enjoyable camping experience.
Don't over pack. We all want to do it; if we can get it to fit then why not bring it? Resist the temptation to do this! Packing light has far more rewards than packing that extra shirt that you are not going to wear.
Establish a staging area. Use a corner of your garage or living room and pile gear there prior to packing. If you have the space, begin moving gear to the staging area several days ahead of time. This prevents overloading your brain at the last minute.
Have an editing eye. Take a good look at your gear pile when it's complete. Spend a minute reviewing your checklist and check everything on it twice.
Pack your clothing. You want to layer your clothing to meet changing temperatures and conditions. Pack spare clothing in case you get wet. Avoid cotton unless your trip is in a very warm climate - cotton dries slowly and offers no insulation when wet. Synthetic long underwear and jackets are best. Include a warm, wool or fleece hat.
Purchase several small and medium nylon bags (stuff sacks) to divide your gear. Hiking gear can go in one bag, first aid items in another bag, cooking utensils in another and so on.
Leave your valuable jewelry at home. It is best not to bring valuable jewelry or earrings. They can get caught on things when you are hiking, or you may lose something special to you.
Buy a good sleeping pad or two. The floor in a tent is typically cold and damp and sleeping on the ground with a small blanket is not going to allow you to get much rest. Many people like to stack a full length sleeping pad on top of a shorter one. The extra warmth and comfort makes the weight and bulk worthwhile.
Pack an appropriate amount of food: Enough for three meals and an optional snack per day. Try not to pack too many perishable food items, like cheese, chicken, and milk. Basically, try to avoid dairy products and meat, because they can make you sick if you eat them when they have gone bad. Trail mix is great for snacks, fruit for breakfast, crackers for lunch and leftovers for dinner.
Plan your water supply. Consider having a large water bladder in your pack, such as those made by Camelback. In addition to offering a high capacity, water bladders have a hose that allows you to drink while you're on the move. Water purification tablets are indispensable.
Camping Trip Tips
Decide with whom you are camping. This is important because it will help you decide what amenities you need from your campsite. Will there be children? Is anyone physically impaired? Is it going to be a large or a small group? The answers to these questions will surely impact where you decide to camp.
Make sure you get insurance information and health information before you do anything else. Having your insurance information handy ensures that you will get the fastest medical attention if there happens to be an issue. If someone who is coming needs routine medication, make sure they have it. If they wear glasses or contacts, make sure they have a case and saline or a spare pair of glasses.
Put together a first aid kit. Injuries are common when out in the wilderness, so plan your first aid kit accordingly. Along with the typical Band-Aids, alcohol and cotton include bug spray, itch cream and disinfectant.
Decide how long you will stay and figure out where you will be sleeping. This is crucial for packing decisions. Are you staying in a tent and sleeping on the floor or do you need sheets for an air mattress?
Test your gear before you go. Know how to operate your camp stove, and bring the proper fuel.
Arrive early. Leave for the campsite early enough to set up all of your stuff before the sun sets.
Enjoy your trip! Take lots of photos and create lots of memories. Don't forget to look around and take in all of the nature that surrounds you.
Camp cleanup is important in order to keep our campgrounds beautiful and clean. Pick up trash, bottles, and cans around you. Toss or recycle glass, plastic bottles, cans and trash into designated areas.