If you’re considering camping for the first time this article will help you get started. What you will need and some helpful hints so that your campout is memorable.
For first time campers prepare to get hooked on the outdoors. Just being able to unplug from the world if only for a weekend is extraordinarily cathartic. Watching a sunrise in all its majesty will be the best stress relief without a prescription. Sitting by a campfire at night roasting marshmallows, laughing and being able to truly be in the moment there is nothing like it.
So what do you need to get out and have some fun?
- ü Water; make sure you have plenty of drinking water. Don’t assume that there will be easy access to clean drinking water.
- ü Shelter, a good tent. Make sure even if your tent is brand new that you get it out and put it completely together before you venture out. A missing tent pole, a missing tie down or tent stakes can be very frustrating at the campsite. So make sure you have everything you need to secure your tent.
- ü Bedding. Check your local weather to see what temperatures are in the area you wish to camp. A common thing to forget is a pillow. If buying new sleeping bags make sure you get the proper season sleeping bag. A polar bag in a warmer climate will feel like a sauna.
- ü Food and food preparation items. Easy to make recipes, pancakes, oatmeal, hot dogs, hamburgers, fresh veggies (for healthy minded), any foods that require little preparation that can be cooked with boiling water or over a campfire. Most freeze dried food items just require water, and are pretty good eating! Be sure to have an extra days ration for emergency situations. It’s better to have a little too much than not enough. Don’t forget plates, utensils, cups, cooking pots, and ecofriendly cleaning soap for washing up.
- ü Basic camping items to include, Matches or lighter, Basic First Aid Kit, Flashlight, lanterns, Bug Spray, paper towels, trash bags, rain poncho and ecofriendly cleaning products.
- ü Clothing. Always have an extra set of clothes & shoes in case you get soaked with rain, tear your clothes or just get dirty having fun. Make sure for evenings you have long sleeves, long pants; mosquitos get very active at night. Be sure to check local weather for appropriate clothing for day and night temperatures.
Here are a few tips on staying safe while camping:
1. Never keep food open at night in your campsite. Animals can smell food from miles away. When you prepare meals make sure your campsite is completely free of food or dirty dishes. It’s best to store food away from your campsite. Your tent is the worst place to store food, don’t eat or leave crumbs of food in your tent. Stow food above ground hanging in air if possible. Use air tight containers.
2. Check the area you plan to camp with park rangers for wildlife you may encounter while camping. If you plan to camp where predator animals such as Mountain Lions, and bears, make sure you take care with food. A good fire, lots of noise will keep animals away, they are much more nervous of you and you them. When hiking to a camp site be sure if you head into heavily brushed area you make plenty of noise prior to walking into densely covered areas.
3. If you’re hiking in an area where venomous snakes maybe present. Don’t freak out! Simply make sure before you sit down on a rock or log that you visually inspect what is around, use a walking stick to prod around but be vigilant where you step and poke. Again lots of noise, a good campfire keeps critters away. Watch your step in tall grass areas, snakes like cover.
4. Keep your tent zipped up at all times. Check sleeping bags before you jump in. Bugs are not fun sleep mates so shake out your sleeping bag before you go to bed.
5. Let family and friends know where you’re going and when you will be back. Leave a map that shows your intended routes and campsites. If camping in a park let park rangers know if you intend to camp outside designated campgrounds.
6. Make sure your campfire is completely out. Embers can start fires long after you’re gone. So make sure to dowse fires completely with water.
Now it’s time to get up and get out camping! The family fun you will have will create memories for a lifetime. You will see and experience nature in ways that will truly mesmerize you. If you are planning on camping with children, they will tell their children stories of camping with you.
Camping is fun when you have a plan, let people know where you’re going, learn some basic first aid just in case, twisted ankle, blisters and just follow common sense. If something seems edgy or dangerous go with your gut and lean to the side of safety. Follow these simple rules and you will have a blast!
Check with your States park service or the National Park Service for camping sites in your area.
Last but not least take all your trash with you. Never leave behind anything that could harm wildlife or the environment. Be a responsible camper!
8B Ranch Outdoors