Camping, especially if you’ve never been tasked with planning the voyage before, can be a daunting test of man versus nature. If you are unsure about what to bring or how to keep your family and friends as safe as possible, check out this guide to conquering the outdoors.
What to Pack
Packing for a camping trip is a balancing act. On one hand, you never want to get all the way out into the wilderness and realize you forgot something vital, like flashlights or bug spray. On the other, you really don’t want to overpack and weigh everyone down, especially if you plan on hiking to the perfect spot or canoeing with all of your belongings. Use this list as a guide, determining which pieces are the most vital to your trip:
Food & Hydration
Write down what you plan to eat for each meal. To make things easier, limit the number of ingredients needed for each meal, and plan to use the campfire as often as possible. Additionally, prep as many of the meals as you can prior to leaving your home. You’ll be thankful you took the time to marinate meat and chop veggies in the comfort of a kitchen.
If you aren’t secure in your survival skills when it comes to purifying water, be sure to bring plenty of pre-purified water for the whole family. To purify water by boiling it, all you have to do is let the water boil for at least one minute to ensure any impurities are cooked out of it. Just remember, while boiling does kill all harmful bacteria, it does nothing to eradicate mud and other particles. Finally, you can pack a water purifier to ensure you never run out of clean water for the family.
If you’re bringing kids along on your camping trip, make sure to teach them the dangers of getting too close to a campfire. Start by giving your child his or her own miniature chair, and park them a good distance from the fire and within your line of sight. If your children are particularly attracted to the fire, a good form of discipline is to draw a line in the dirt, explaining that if they cross the line, the fire will be put out.
In addition to consistently applying sunscreen, consider packing a sun-blocking hat and a pair of sunglasses with high UV protection.
While it may be tempting to take shelter in your tent during a downpour, any time lightning becomes apparent, the poles holding up your tent are magnets to those surges of electricity. The best place to take shelter during a lightning storm is in your vehicle. If there’s just a call for rain, make sure to waterproof your tent and tarp prior to the weather’s arrival.
Don’t Get Lost
With the rise of technology comes a fall—for some of us—in our knowledge of the land. Especially for younger people, the task of navigating with only a map as a guide causes panic.A survey administered in the UK found over 2/3 of people 25-years-old and under cannot read a map. If you are unable to read a map, fear not! A handheld GPS may be a larger expense, but the security of having a technological guide out in the wilderness will be well worth the cost.
Once you have everything loaded into the car and your entire camping plan mapped out, don’t forget the most important thing—having fun with your family and friends in nature!