It was not that long ago that camping was the vacation of choice among families. Packing up the tent, the cooking utensils and the car full of food and heading off to a natural spot to enjoy lots of fresh air, non-electronic games and sometimes a spot of fishing. If this is not a treat you have yet enjoyed, read on for some great ideas for your next camping trip.
Pre-cool your ice chest by filling it with loads of ice, at least six hours prior to departure. When you are about to leave, pack up your refrigerated cooled drinks and block ice, not cubed. Popping room temp beverages will take up valuable ice-life, and the cubes will melt much quicker than a block!
Did you know that a simple mirror can save your life? If you are camping and end up in a survival situation, a simple hand held mirror can be used to signal for help many miles away. Do not buy the standard glass mirror, many camping supply stores sell mirrors made of Lexan that will float and are practically unbreakable.
If you are traveling with children, give them the opportunity to assist you when you get to the campground. They can carry gear, support you as you set up the tent and look for firewood. Not only will it keep them busy and out of trouble, it will be fun for them as well.
Take only photos and leave only footprints. That is the rule of thumb when camping. Only use the natural resources that you need and do not leave any traces that you were camping when you leave. Pick up all trash, extinguish and cover any fire pits, bury all human waste, and make the area where you camped look exactly as it did when you found it.
When you pack up your camp site to go home, leave a few logs and some kindling for the next camping group that comes along. If you have ever arrived at your site after dark, you know how tough it can be to find firewood! It’s a very nice pay-it-forward gesture that will probably help out more than you can imagine.
A big concern with many people who go camping is the bugs. Do not get stuck in the middle of nowhere without having some sort of bug repellant. Check your surroundings before setting up camp for any wasp nests or ant hills that could cause you problems. Wear long pants and long-sleeved whenever possible and inspect yourself for ticks occasionally.
A major mistake that campers make is they will get lost on occasion. Do not let this happen to you. If you are unfamiliar with the area you are camping in or if you are in a wilderness area, do not stray too far from your campsite. A portable GPS is an excellent investment if you are planning any kind of wilderness camping adventure.
Introduce yourselves to other families camping in your immediate area, as a means of being social and more apt to help each other out. If another crew arrives after you’ve set up, offer to help with their tent or equipment. If something goes awry during the trip for anyone, it’s much easier to ask for help from somebody who was courteous enough to introduce themselves.
If you are camping and the weather is starting to rise significantly, tale the coolers that you have with you and put them somewhere in the shade. It will also help to keep them covered with some type of tarp. This will keep the temperature inside the cooler from rising too much.
Make sure you know what the weather will be before going on your trip. You can find the average weather during a season for almost any location online. If you have the correct weather information, you will be better prepared with proper equipment and clothing.
At night, create “bear bags.” Tie a rope around the bags with your food and your trash. Then, find a tree and toss bags over a branch, raising until they are at least seven or eight feet off the ground. Tie the rope around the tree so it is secure. This way, bears and other animals will not be able to get into your food and trash during the night.
Unless you are going to be spending a significant amount of time camping, buying expensive sleeping bags is really unnecessary. Even if your old and musty sleeping bag is rated for below freezing temperatures, it is excellent padding for the ground even when it is hot outside and you will feel comfortable sleeping on it.
So there you have it. A camping trip can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Once you have purchased or borrowed the minimum camping basics, the country is your oyster and you are only limited by the amount of time you have and how far you can travel. Enjoy!