Camping… There can be no better way to get close to nature, enjoy some time outdoors and spend a long weekend without overspending!
Camping can be an adventure of a lifetime – whether you are planning a solo trip or want your friends and family to tag along for a memorable holiday spent exploring the wilderness, there are some basic camping tips that must be kept in mind.
These simple tips not only ensure that you are well prepared for the excursion; they also assure your safety as you embark upon this adventurous journey to live the simple life and be one with nature.
So if you want to become a seasoned camper, these camping tips should be followed as strict rules for when you are headed out in to the wild to spend a few days hiking, trekking or bird watching.
1. Pitch your tent on time
Before we talk about pitching your tent, it’s also very important to get the right tent. Since tents are available in many shapes, quality and sizes, the foremost thing to consider is the weight. You want a tent that is light and compact enough to be packed up and carried with ease every morning. It should also be waterproof to offer a warm, dry shelter in wet terrain and should ideally be completely enclosed to offer protection from both winds and wild animals.
Make sure you try out the tent at home and see that you can set it up without any help, so that you don’t find yourself lost out there in the wilderness! Also, carry a spare shower curtain to spread out on the tent floor inside to keep it dry. Since most tents will require you to drive the poles in to the ground and install the covering tarp, it is a MUST to do this when there is still some light out. Don’t wait to pitch your tent until its already dark; you are more prone to make mistakes that could prove to be rather dangerous.
2. Pick the right sleeping bag
There is a wide selection of sleeping bags available. So how do you choose one that is right for you?
If you are camping in summertime, choose a lightweight sleeping bag. For camping outdoors in chilly weather, you will need a lower temperature rating sleeping bag. Your sleeping bag should be light enough to carry with ease along with your camping paraphernalia and should also dry easily incase it rains.
3. Carry all necessary food and drink
Now if you are going to camp outdoors, you already know that you need to carry your own food and water. However, many people make mistakes here. You are going to be living outdoors for a few days – so ditch anything fancy and carry only basics. You will have ample time to make a nice meal once you pitch tent before dark, so carry with you a camping stove and just a couple of pans.
Follow this simple rule – only carry food that is absolutely necessary to get a meal and refrain from over-packing. It might seem sensible now, but all that additional weight is only going to tire you out easily. For emergency, keep a couple of ready-to-eat meal packs. Water is essential to stay hydrated and also to cook and clean. So research beforehand if you will have access to lakes and springs. If the trip is long, you cannot carry enough drinking water and hence must carry either a small portable filter only for drinking water, or simple iodine to sanitize freshly available water in the wild.
4. Pack the right apparel and footwear
One of the most important camping tips – pack clothes and footwear according to the terrain and the weather. The aim is to stay warm and dry, but not get overheated. It’s always best to dress in layers; this way you can add a few layers when it gets colder towards the evening or drop a few layers when it’s bright and sunny in the afternoon. Irrespective of the weather, the top layer must be a waterproof windcheater to keep you dry. Hypothermia can set in easily when you are out in the open with wet clothes.
Shoes must be comfortable, lightweight and also waterproof. If you are going in to rough terrain, ankle length boots become camping essentials to also protect your feet against thorns and insect bites as well.
5. Minimize chances of accidents
The only way to minimize accidents in the wild – follow the simple mantra ‘Prevention is better than Cure’. Always clean out the campsite before you leave. While camping, store all food away from the reach of wild animals that could be on a lookout for an easy meal. Before you pitch a tent, investigate the site to see if there are any bee hives or ground holes /cracks in rocks from where snakes and other reptiles could come crawling out in the night.
Wear long sleeved shirts and pants to minimize exposed skin, always carry insect repellent and carry a rope with you to find a way out in a tricky situation. Also keep a survival kit, in case things don’t go according to plan. This kit could have anything you deem important for survival in case you find yourself lost, but some basics to begin with are – waterproof matches, a survival knife, water purifying tablets, a flashlight and a small first aid kit.
6. Never leave home without a First-aid kit
Even after precautions, accidents are common in the wild. Hence, a well stocked First-Aid kit must be on top of your list of camping essentials. It can come to your aid if you have nicks and cuts, burns, a rather painful encounter with poisonous plants that give you a rash, allergies from insect bites etc.
Carry painkillers, anti-histamines for allergic reactions, lotions and salves for burns, plasters, dressing tape and antibiotics for wounds and also learn a little about CPR.
7. Always plan out the route
Nothing is worse than being lost in a wild terrain. Read the map of the camping site well and try to find land-marks to help you choose a safe trail. Also, keep handy some basic tools that will help you stay on course.
A compass, maps and GPS device are a must-have, while it’s crucial to also know how to use them in times of emergency.
8. Good hygiene practice is more important than ever now
Not practicing good hygiene can not only result in nasty fungal infections or stomach infections, but will also attract bugs and wild animals to you! So make sure you have a biodegradable soap to freshen up every day. Brush your teeth and always sanitize your hands before you eat. Keep your feet clean and try to change your socks often. Socks soaked in perspiration, stuck inside heavy shoes all day long can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Do not use perfumes and colognes; the smell could attract animals and bugs to you. Also, make sure that all your toiletries are packed in waterproof zipper bags to keep the rest of your stuff in the backpack dry.
So here are 8 camping rules that will ensure your adventurous camping trip is safe and fun. Also, make sure that you don’t feed wild animals and always keep your distance from them. Have a safe camping trip!