Whether you want to hook up your RV in a full-service park or hike out to a tent-site far from civilization, there are factors that you’re going to have to consider to stay safe. The essentials of life are actually quite simple to figure out. Check out the list below to make sure that your next camping trip will be successful, fun and safe.
You’re going to need a place to escape the great outdoors. This may mean
- a shade canopy to get out of the sun
- a screen-house to get away from the bugs
- a full tent to get out of the wind
- a hard-sided camper to protect you from elements and wildlife
Carefully review the rules in the region where you’ll be camping. If tents are not allowed, it could be because bears are a concern. When you review the camping rules and regulations, understand that those rules are designed to keep you as safe as possible within the conditions of the area.
Easy access to clean water is critical to staying alive. The longer you camp, the more water you need to bring; adults need 64 ounces of water per person per day. If you’re going to be out for an extended period of time, plan to bring a water filtration tool to prevent a water emergency.
It’s quite possible to cold camp on sandwiches and fresh fruit. If you’ve never cooked over an open fire, make sure you
- check the fire restrictions at your intended campsite
- have gloves you can use to handle hot cookware
- pack plenty of aluminum foil
Another option is to pack a small camping stove fired by propane, butane or denatured alcohol. If you’re planning to cook inside your tent or RV, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector to prevent exposure to dangerous fumes.
The most important step you can take to protect yourself is to follow posted signs and available tools. If there are bear boxes, use them. If it’s hunting season, camp somewhere else. From avoiding dangerous exposure to wildlife to choosing a flashlight, it’s critical that you not make yourself a target. For example, you should opt for rechargeable LED flashlights while camping so that you are not always in the dark.
A rustic sleeping rig can be fun when you’re young and hearty, but a foam pad may not work for you anymore. Waking up stiff and sore will not be a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors.
Go back to your tent choice. If you’re taller than average, a low-topped tent may not be comfortable, but a teepee or bell tent could be ideal. For campers who are a bit older than the average camper, a foldable cot could be extremely beneficial.
Make sure that your sleeping bag will protect you from the expected temperature at your intended campsite. In addition to a sleeping bag, pack
- a cotton sheet in case it’s warmer than expected
- a fleece blanket if it’s colder than expected
- a hoodie or hat to keep your head warm
- sweats and socks
Be aware that your first night in the wild may not provide you with the best sleep. Give yourself time to adapt to all the changes in your sleeping situation.
If you’re used to rolling out of bed and taking a hot shower, camping will be an adjustment. One way to re-think the shower focus is to use your shower as a temperature control tool. Take your shower during the hottest part of your camping day and let your skin air dry to cool yourself before you put on fresh clothing.
For those who plan to hike, review your map to find the bathroom options along the way. Ladies may want to find a funneling tool to help them urinate along the trail. Carry toilet paper, hygiene wipes and a small trash bag, as well as a small shovel for cat holes if necessary for solid waste.
Camping may be a big change from your regular vacation. However, the ability to pack up and get out in nature when you need a break from the world will soon become addictive. Borrow gear for your first trip, or go with an experienced camper to see what works best for you.