It doesn’t matter if you’re heading out to your favorite lake for a fishing weekend or hiking through the forest on the lookout for Bigfoot. Going camping is the best way of getting back to nature. You experience life as you’ve never done before. Even seasoned campers still get that wow moment when you can sit staring at the stars and just listen to the world around you and be completely uninterrupted by the noise of cars, neighbours, bars – or anything else you get when living in a town or city. It’s a fantastic break away from the normal, and it makes you appreciate things more.
Read through below to learn more about everything that a camping trip entails.
The Planning Process
One of the best things when planning a camping trip is deciding where to go and who to go with. Maybe you’re heading out with your buddies, or it might be a family affair. Maybe you’re going alone or with a group of people you’ve just met.
You can camp pretty much anywhere providing you have permission, making the options limitless. So decide on what you want to do first. Are you going fishing or hunting? Because both sports require specific locations. Are you wanting to try out some water sports, rock climbing or caving while you’re away? If so, you need to choose a location that has legal and safe areas for you to try out these new activities. Your location is sorted if you’re going away just to see a certain part of the country, and if you’re road-tripping, then you can just pick your camping spots along the way.
Start by doing a quick search of possible locations near you. Surely, you’ll come across many. This can even be the beginning of creating a bucket list of the camping places that you’ll want to try out in your lifetime.
Once you have that all worked out, you need to think about what you need to take. This choice will depend on the activities that are also present in your location. Obviously, specific trips like fishing will require you to take the right gear and clothing. When it comes to hunting, if you’re carrying your own gun, you need to double-check the regulations for transporting weapons for each state you’re going to be passing through – some places are stricter than others. Or you can rent a gun when you get to your destination.
However, no matter where you go, there are certain items that you should pack–the essentials. Some items you might need, but if you do you’ll be incredibly grateful that you packed them.
The Camping Trip Essentials
Trust us – you’re going to need it. From the deserts of Arizona to the bayou of Louisiana, you will be attacked by bugs.
Do some research before you go so that you can get the right spray. You should also look into getting some itch cream to take with you. It works on bugs and plants, so you’ll be covered on both fronts.
Again, research the types of critters you are likely to encounter on your trip – you don’t want to be unprepared if it’s likely you could pick up ticks on your morning walk. Always have these in your first aid kit. If you have children with you on your camping trip, all the more that these bug sprays are needed.
Even in the wet forests of Washington DC, sunscreen is a must. It should be factored into your everyday routine anyway, so having it as part of your camping trip isn’t too much of an effort. If you’re going to be spending much time where you are very exposed, like out on a lake fishing, then make sure you take your sunscreen with you and you apply it regularly. Anything near water or snow will require extra sunscreen due to the reflecting on the UV rays.
Whether you plan to camp in a remote area for some hiking or are joining friends at a busy and popular site, you will want to be able to quickly and easily locate your tent at the end of a busy day. This is where aluminum flagpoles and an identifiable flag come in! With your favorite flag flying high in the sky, you will easily spot where your tent is pitched. To help in the evening you could even wrap solar fairy lights around the pole to help light the way.
No matter where you are, the night gets chilly. So, make sure you have an athletic fit sweatshirt or two with you. If you’re in a colder climate then you’re going to want to take a few sweatshirts with you anyway. Just don’t choose them because they look good – they also have to do the job.
It’s going to rain, because that’s sods law, and you will still need to go out of your tent, so make sure you have waterproofs stashed away. It’s also a good idea to pack an extra trap to go under your tent before you pitch it – this helps to stop any leaks, adds an extra layer between you and the ground, and can help keep the bugs out.
It’s okay to spend the day in Khakis and cargo pants, but at the end of a busy day, everyone likes to relax in something comfortable. A pair of lounge pants are perfect for just that. Yours might resemble pajamas more than joggers, or the other way around – but as long as you’re comfortable and warm, who cares what they look like? You’re in the middle of nowhere so who is going to judge?
These are a must. When you’re out in nature, you can’t even think that you can get around in a pair of loafers or even just sneakers. You need the proper shoes to deal with the different terrain. You can easily twist your ankle wearing the wrong footwear, which will pretty much ruin your trip. If you’re heading to an area where you might encounter ticks or even leeches, then get high rubber boots and boot covers to protect your legs.
Headlamps Or Flash Lights
Even if you’re not doing an overnight trip, bringing headlamps or flashlights can still be helpful as you’ll never know when an emergency will arise. You may also lose track of time. In some cases, an abrupt change of weather can make the trail darker. Having flashlights can make you more visible, in case you get lost.
Tent Or Sleeping Bags
These will come in handy if you’re doing an overnight trip. You’ll always need to have a tent or an easy to use folding marquee and sleeping bags. But check first with the campsite you’re going to. If these are available for rent, then you may not need to bring your own.
Now, there are sleeping bags that are easy to bring around, as they’re small when it’s folded up. Many sleeping bags also come with head coverings or pillows, so you don’t necessarily have to bring pillows. That way, you’re putting less heavy items on your backpack.
Camel Or Canteen
We’re not talking about the animal here. A camel is a backpack specifically designed to sit close to the spine and carry water. A pipe leading over the shoulder allows you to drink and walk. It’s a modern and less awkward canteen and perfect for going on those long walks.
If you’re not planning on going on a hike while on your trip, then make sure you have a couple of canteens handy. You’re always going to need water, and if you’re in a hot area, even short excursions will need hydration.
If you have to find water for yourself don’t ever drink water from a static pond, drink where the animals do – as this is the cleanest water around. Head up the hill or mountain to find a spring. In the desert – your best hope for water is within a cactus. But if you’re going to go all Bear Grylls, it’s best that you take a course or two first.
Camping is always a classic and fun activity to do with family, friends, and even all by yourself. But, for you to enjoy it, you must first go through the nitty-gritty of preparation so everything can go as planned.
This list above is only a few of the essentials that you’ll need. As you go through the list, think of all the other personal belongings that you’ll also want to include. Now that you’re ready, it’s time for you to search for the camping spot that you’d like to go to.