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Camping is a wonderful way to spend time with the family. Getting outdoors and unplugging for a few days is a great way to reconnect with each other while you have some fun. Once you invest in the right gear, it also becomes a very inexpensive way to go on vacation. You can rent a campsite for significantly less money than you can stay in a hotel. Knowing how to prepare for a camping trip can make or break your outdoor experience. Heading into the woods unprepared can leave you with soggy socks and unhappy memories! Check out my hiking tips for women and keep reading for more camping tips to make your journey a fabulous one!
How to Prepare for a Camping Trip
Once you decide to go camping you need to buy a few basic camping supplies in order to make the most of your trip. You will also need to read through my list of camping safety tips to ensure you come out of the woods safely. Hopefully, once you have finished reading this info, you will be better prepared for your trek off the beaten path!
A Few Camping Basics
There are a few basic supplies you need to invest in before you go camping.
- Get a waterproof tent that is roomy enough for all the people and gear.
- Buy sleeping bags that are rated for the appropriate temperatures that you will be camping in.
- Make sure you have a large camping backpack that is fit for your particular size so you can carry your gear to your campsite if you need to.
Make sure you ask the camp site administrators if there is drive up parking at your camp site. If there isn't, you will be carrying all of your gear through the woods! This is not easy, especially if you have young kids or are out of shape. If you are hiking with teens, they should be able to help carry your gear, even if they are cranky about it! Firewood, water, and food are heavy. If this is your first time camping, you may want to find a site that has parking, rather than a site that requires hiking to get to it. If you don't know how to prepare for a camping trip, call the park ranger at the site your will be staying at. Ask them!
Invest in the right camping clothes
While you can certainly camp in jeans and a tshirt, there are many new fabrics that offer a more comfortable camping experience. If you are camping in the summer you want materials that are lightweight and can wick the sweat off of your body. If you are camping in the winter you want those same properties but in a heavier material that will keep you warm. Buy high quality hiking boots or your feet may up very uncomfortable! Bring a hat and sunglasses for protection from the sun and mittens and thermal underwear if it is cold. Check out REI.com for a camping checklist.
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How to Repel Bugs
Bugs are a fact of life when you go camping. Invest in a good bug repellent spray that works for mosquitoes, ticks, gnats and many other biting insects. You can also burn citronella candles to keep the bugs away from your campsite. A battery powered fan that sits on the table top can help keep flying bugs away from your picnic table while you are trying to eat dinner.
Plan a few good camping meals
The most important part of knowing how to prepare for a camping trip is to learn how to feed yourself! Cooking while camping can be a lot of fun. Pack a large cooler with more food than you think you will need. Camping makes you hungry! Plan for both snacks and meals, making sure to use the most perishable items earliest in your camping trip. Make sure if you are camping in a remote area that you secure your food at night so you don't attract wild animals. Invest in a high quality camping stove and camping cookbook, then put your cooking skills to the test!
Must Know Camping Hacks
Check out this video from BuzzFeed for some seriously cool and useful camping hacks!
Camping Safety Tips
Camping can be a lot of fun, however, you do need to know a few basic camping safety tips to make sure you stay healthy and safe. I was in the Outing Club in college and we did tons of backwoods hiking and camping. Their number one rule was that you never went into the woods alone. However even groups of people can encounter dangerous situations. Follow a few of these camping rules to help protect yourself:
- Pack a first aid kit. You should never go into the woods without basic first aid supplies. Personally, I prefer a well stocked first aid kit to just bandages and antibiotic cream. I would rather have it and not need it than not have it in an emergency.
- Bring emergency supplies. That includes extra batteries, a GPS, and anything else you might need for an emergency.
- Before you leave, find out the weather report. Bring a weather radio so you can stay updated on weather emergencies. Once, my son's Boy Scout troop had to abandon a campsite at 3 AM due to flooding. It was a rough night but they made it out safely.
- Arrive early. You don't want to be traipsing through the woods in the dark looking for your campsite.
- Check for potential hazards. Look around your site. Are there nearby ravines? Are you close to fast moving water? Look for things that can be potentially dangerous, especially during a 3 AM pee break.
- Avoid areas of natural hazards. It goes without saying that you should not park your tent in a flood zone.
Camping can be a ton of fun but does take a little bit of advanced planning. Don't forget to pack a few things to do in case it rains. Books, Rubik's Cubes, puzzles and other non electronic forms of entertainment are always nice to have on hand when boredom strikes or Mother Nature forces you inside your tent! Learn how to prepare for a camping trip and stock up on the right gear. Then head into the woods and enjoy a much needed break from society!
Have any other camping tips to share?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.