Camping is one of those activities that is loved by some, yet hated – and feared, even – by others. But many people who think they won’t like it often love camping once they get out there and try it. Safety is a huge factor when it comes to camping, of course, but with a little planning and foreknowledge, it’s easy to have a successful camping experience. Here are some tips for camping you should follow to help your first camping trip be enjoyable, fun, and free from fear, worry or danger.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TENT
Selecting the perfect tent isn’t just a case of going to your local store and picking the most expensive one. In fact, answering the question of what are the best camping tents is a lot like choosing tires for different weather conditions. Some tents will be ideal for a particular set of conditions or environments, but next to useless in others. For example, tents with lots of mesh are perfect for summer – they allow the inside to breathe a little. But during the colder months of the year, you should be looking at heavier materials such as thick canvas to ensure you keep warm. Size is also important be mindful of how many campers will be in your tent. My biggest tip is to go lightweight if you’re hiking in – choosing a heavier tent made for some sore knees after a ten mile hike.
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
While camping is, on the whole, completely safe, it’s always SMART to remember it is you vs. the elements and nature. In the unlikely event of something happening, you will need to have routes planned in advance to get you to a major road or, preferably, access to emergency services. Weather conditions are also important to consider. Electrical storms, heavy rains – they can all occur without much notice, and it’s always best to be able to get out of harm’s way in as quick a time as possible. Don’t let this keep you from camping, just be mindful.
DON’T MAKE A MESS OF YOUR CAMPSITE
If you want to escape becoming an object of interest to wild animals, make sure you operate a good housekeeping policy. Anything you leave outside – mainly food – will draw them in, tempt them to stick around and have a snoop, and will, eventually, set your heart racing. Keep your camping area as tidy as possible, and don’t give the local wildlife an excuse to come and check you out. If you’re camping in bear country, be mindful of storing your food properly, away from your tent.
MAPS AND ORIENTATION
Don’t rely on your phone’s ability to get a signal when you are out in the wilderness. Make sure you also bring a map and compass and set up some meeting points in case anyone gets lost. The compass is a bigger deal than you would think. I had a pretty sketchy experience on one of my very first camping trips. Truly, phone signal isn’t something to rely on in the wilderness. It seems like an obvious statement, but I fell prey to my own reliance on technology.
BRING PLENTY OF WATER OR KNOW IF YOU WILL HAVE ACCESS TO IT
Don’t ignore the risks of dehydration – a lack of water can turn a pleasant camping trip into a disaster. Everyone on the journey should be drinking at least eight glasses of water daily. Camping means you’re likely to be doing more strenuous activities such as hiking, you should drink significantly more. You can last a surprising length of time without food, but your body won’t be able to operate without water. Make sure you bring plenty of it with you and maintain a drinking schedule, particularly in hot, summer months. I would also highly recommend investing in a good water filter if you’re planning on camping regularly.
These tips are a great start to keeping you safe on your first camping trip. The more you camp the easier it gets because you’ll find your own groove. My biggest tip, though, is to have loads of fun!
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