So you decided to go camping. Good. Camping is an experience that everyone should have and, more often than not, people need. It is usually a person’s introduction to the great outdoors. It is also the preferred bonding experience for adventurers the world over. For those who are avid campers, recalling some of the best memories often involve a tent, a fire, and the stars. But let’s say, you have never gone camping before. Where would one start? How does one actually camp? Should one learn how to use thermite? Before you get ahead of yourself, here are some basic things you need to know.
1. Plan Ahead
Rule number one of camping: always let somebody know where you are. There have been too many incidents in which overzealous and even experienced campers go out into the wilderness with high ideas and little preparedness. Tell a few people where you are and where to find your destination on the map. Meals and their ingredients should be itemized, or at least taken note of. This determines how much you’ll be packing. This becomes incredibly important if you’re packing food on your back and carrying it throughout the trip. Plan out what you’ll be wearing as well. It’s tempting to always have on your cool new gear. Check the weather and always bring extra socks (in a plastic bag, at that).
2. Is It THAT Waterproof?
I’m willing to bet you’ve loaded up on an array of waterproof products: waterproof matches, waterproof shoes, waterproof everything. More likely than not, they aren’t that waterproof. Items that are labeled as such can lose its effectiveness like anything else. Be wary of that. Place things like matches, lighters, electronics, and identification in a sealed plastic bag. Like the previous tip, it is better to be safe than sorry. Nothing ruins your plans of marshmallows and baked beans quite like wet fire-starting tools.
3. Pitch Perfect
It’s a really good idea to practice pitching your tent before doing so in less-controlled conditions, especially if it’s your first time. Depending on which tent you purchase, there may be features and add-ons that don’t make a whole lot of sense on the two dimensional drawing provided. Plus, if the wind picks up unexpectedly, your job just got ten times harder. Be sure to practice a few times and time yourself so you know what you’re dealing with when you get out there.
4. Get A Headlamp
Seriously, buy a headlamp. They’re among the handiest tools you can have. Aside from the obvious implementation of freeing up your hands, it makes finding a nighttime spot to make your own personal outhouse a lot easier. Make life easier for yourself, even while in the wild. The good folks at outdoor command have an enormous library of ideas in this category. Keep in mind that you’re going for substance over style. A headlamp may look goofy, but the utility of it goes a long way.
5. T.P. Anyone?
Having an excess of toilet paper is never a bad thing. And aside from the function, the name implies they can be used to wipe down anything. Cut yourself? Throw on some toilet paper and apply pressure. Having a hard time with your name brand kindling? Mix some twigs in with some toilet paper and light that baby up. Also, it’s important to add: properly extinguish your campfire. You can use sand, water, mud, whatever you need to ensure that the fire is completely out.
There you have it! Remember, minor details and a little bit of prep separate an enjoyable experience in nature from a miserable one. These may be basic, but it will ensure that your time is one that can be told again and again around the next great campfire. Happy trails!