Cities and suburbs are home for many people living in the U.S.
They are also the areas where people spend a majority of their time commuting to and from work on highways and roads that are polluted, traffic jammed, and show little sign of nature’s beauty. There’s little wonder that so many people view camping trips as an appealing way to take in the fresh air and scenery, and escape the everyday grind. Whether a person is an adult camping with friends, or a parent camping with kids, a weekend getaway beneath the stars and a canopy of trees is a great way to relax and have fun. To get the maximum enjoyment from an excursion into nature, it is important to properly prepare for camping. This will ensure that a person not only has a safe trip, but that he or she has all of the necessary camp supplies and knowledge that is needed for an enjoyable vacation outdoors.
Preparing for a Trip
There are several ways that people may choose to prepare for future camping trips. One way to do this is to research campgrounds. If a person has never camped in an area before, he or she should research the area in order to pick the best area for the camping party’s needs. Take into consideration the campground’s location. For example, a person will need to consider if it is located in an area that experiences extreme cold or exposure to the elements. This may mean avoiding campground located at ridge tops or near the bottom of a valley. Other things to think about when selecting a campground in advance are how much sun exposure or tree coverage the area offers and how crowded it may be during the time of year that the trip is planned. Amenities, such as hot showers and picnic tables, and even a camp store should also be taken into consideration, particularly if a person is camping with kids. Even the difficulty of getting to and from any given campground should be taken into consideration before a final decision is made. Online reservations are often available and provide future campers with the opportunity to communicate with a park manager or even a ranger in advance.
Another way to prepare for a camping trip is to plan one’s itinerary before the trip. The itinerary will determine the type and intensity of activities that the campers will participate in during the outing. It should be designed with the physical abilities, age, and hiking or camping skill level of all members of the camping party in mind. Creating a camping check list is also an important part of preparing for one’s trip. A checklist ensures that a person purchases and packs all of the necessary camp supplies and equipment.
When creating one’s camping check list there are a number of essential items that must be included with one’s routine supplies. Arguably, a person can consider all of his or her gear to be of great importance; however, there are items that could affect one’s well-being and should not be left at home for any reason. These essential items range from actual camping gear to supplies for the cooking to emergency health care. At the top of the list is the camping gear. This includes the tent, a sleeping bag, pillow, and a sleeping mat. A flashlight with new batteries is also crucial, as are additional batteries, maps and trail guides, rope, a multi-purpose tool, a small shovel, waterproof matches and a lighter. In addition to the tent, a person should verify that the pole, stakes, rain fly, and tie-downs are also taken on the trip. A first aid kit is also invaluable amongst one’s camping supplies. A good kit should include antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, latex gloves, bandages, tweezers, and aspirin. A cooler, can opener, bottled water, non-perishable food, cooking ware for camping, and trash bags are also necessary items. Essentials of a personal nature include extra socks, a hat, rain gear, sunglasses, insect repellent, a bandanna, light jacket, sunscreen, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products. A whistle is another item that each camper should carry as it is a way to alert others in the party in the event of an emergency.
During a camping trip any number of things can happen that will require a person to rely on his or her survival skills. A person may become lost and separate from his or her group or an injury may occur. In the event of an emergency situation, a person should know how to survive or assist another person until help arrives. One of the most important survival skills to know is how to build a fire. If faced with a situation where matches are not available, a person should know how to start a proper fire for warmth, food, and protection from wildlife if necessary. Another important survival skill is knowing how to treat injuries. If a person falls it may be necessary to tend to scratches, strained muscles, or even broken bones. For some injuries it may even be advisable not to attempt to move the injured party until help arrives or if danger is present. Other situations to prepare for include knowing what to do when faced with a wild animal, how to find safe drinking water, and how to build shelter. Building shelter is important as experts often recommend staying in one location if lost, provided that it is safe to do so. To learn the basic survival skills, campers should take a survival course or at least research basic survival skills on their own prior to camping out in the wild.
General Camping and Outdoor Resources
- Health Tip: Prepare for a Camping Trip
- Healthy Camping Routines PDF Fact Sheet
- Survival Skills, Camping Tips, and More Great Outdoor Advice from Field and Stream Magazine
- Sunset’s Must-Have Camping Items
- Outdoor Action Guide to Winter Camping
- Camping and Wilderness Survival
- Camping Health and Safety Tips and Packing Checklist
- Leave No Trace Principles (PDF)
- Camping Basics
- Ways to Make Camping Trips Fun
- Backcountry – Safety & Travel Tips
- Planning a Camping Trip You’ll Never Forget
- Green Tips for Your Camping Trip (PDF)
- Outdoor Skills Survival Checklist
- How to be Bear Savvy When Hiking and Camping
- Six Key Emergency Survival Tips From Wilderness Experts
- Outdoor Survival Skills How to Start a Fire
- Go Camping with Bears
Jennifer McBride is a staff writer with MattressInsider. Jennifer loves to write.