Enjoying the simplicity of nature is the essence of what camping is all about. First-timers can have as much as fun as a seasoned outdoors person, but it is important to remember camping skills will improve with experience. The key is starting with a one to two-night excursion and learning how to best utilize your gear in a variety of conditions.
Detailed preparation will always help ensure a successful adventure. Paramount to a camper’s safety and comfort is staying warm and dry in any weather. A quality tent and a sleeping bag are a must, and on chilly nights it is recommended that campers wear a stocking cap and use a pad between the sleeping bag and the ground to avoid losing too much body heat.
Meals in the backcountry are a big part of the fun, and while some campers like to catch their dinner, it is always prudent to pack a few groceries. Items like breakfast burritos, oatmeal, sandwiches, and chili are popular and practical. A good camping stove is highly recommended, both for convenience and to reduce the risk of forest fire, but when enjoyed responsibly, cooking over a campfire can’t be beat.
Backcountry campers must also have an ample water supply. One can bring fresh water in bottles or boil water from lakes and streams. A water filter, and purification tablets, are always prudent items to have on any camping trip, as in unforeseen circumstances, they could be vital to your survival.
Be sure to check if you’re headed into bear country as that will require specific gear and a more thoughtful plan. Bear spray is essential, and since bears can be attracted by the scent of food from miles away, bear-proof storage containers make good sense as well. Changing out of the clothes worn while cooking, suspending food high up in a tree, and ensuring all campers sleep in tents, are also considerations that could play a role in reducing the possibility of an unwelcome encounter.
Other indispensable items include a first aid kit, firestarter, a flashlight, and insect repellant. While it may be tempting to bring all sorts of items that may add pleasure to your trip, one must also strike a balance to keep the weight of their pack light enough to carry comfortably. In case of an emergency, a camper’s itinerary should always be left with a responsible party before departure. If something goes wrong, having a solid plan in place will prove invaluable!