Wednesday, 29 September 2021

What Do I Need to Know before Going Camping

No matter how accustomed you are to living in the city, the desire to get away from it all and go camping can strike at any time.

Camping with your friends and family can be a nourishing experience and an excellent occasion to bond with each other and Mother Nature. You see the glittering start above you and hear the sounds of crickets and frogs. You're in the great outdoors!

Whether you want to rough it with a tent or prefer the comforts of cabin camping, a good old-fashioned camping trip has numerous benefits, from stress relief to improved health.

But when you go camping, you want things to go well and have a good time. You may have to deal with a few problems because camping trips rarely go flawlessly according to plan. However, knowing the camping basics will help you deal with these problems and make your experience a memorable one.

Finding the Perfect Campsite

When organizing a camping trip, one of the first steps you should take is to look into the availability of campsites and the amenities provided (or lack thereof) in the area where you intend to go.

Choosing the ideal camping spot will depend on the kind of camping experience you want to have. There's van camping, RV camping, tent camping, and primitive camping – different types of experiences, each with its own set of requirements and considerations.

The following list will provide you some basic ideas of what to take into account when looking for a camping site that meets your specific needs:

  • Reservations

  • Camping fees

  • Pet regulations

  • Restroom facilities

  • Campfire guidelines

  • Overcrowding

  • Security

  • Trees that provide shade

  • Risks

Since there are quite a few things to consider, you'll have a better chance of finding the perfect campsite if you start looking ahead of time.

Essential Camping Gear

Camping is similar to staying in a rustic cabin but without the cabin. When you're packing, keep in mind that you're going somewhere with barely any amenities, so you need more than just a tent. If you decide to go to a developed campground, you'll get access to a community bathroom and running water.

You can save some money by renting the priciest items, especially if you don't go camping very often.

If your budget allows it, consider getting a bigger tent. Keep in mind that a four-person tent means it can fit that many people if they're average-sized and they're lying right next to each other. This means that for two people, you should get a 3-person or 4-person tent so you can have a little extra room to move around and hang out.

The cheaper tents are usually good enough to keep the rain and bugs out, but they're hard to pack down. The better quality ones are usually lighter and more reliable, meaning there's a lower risk that a pole, a zipper, or a clasp will break while you're out camping.

Now let's talk about sleeping pads. A sleeping pad's primary function is to provide cushion. It also provides insulation, so you don't lose body heat on the cold ground. You might be tempted to use an air mattress since they're easier to transport, but it's not a good idea. First of all, they don't last very long. Secondly, they don't provide very good insulation. You're better off with a closed-cell foam pad. Always look at the R-value – it shows the product's ability to prevent heat loss.

When choosing a sleeping bag, the temperature rating is an excellent place to start. But this rating can be a little misleading. You'll see a lot of cheap ones with amazing temperature ratings, which are self-reported and not strongly regulated. It's better to buy from reputable brands and read reviews.

After the tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag, you will need lighting, camp chairs, and utensils for preparing and eating food. You'll also need sunscreen and something to keep mosquitos and bugs at bay.

Meal Planning and Cooking

Spend some time planning and preparing your daily camp menu. It's quite challenging to cook while you're camping, especially if it's for the whole family.

Plus, prepping from home will give you a great opportunity to teach your children about chemistry and get them excited about the upcoming trip. You can make your own marshmallows together – there are a ton of video tutorials on the internet, and you can tell them about the roles of corn syrup, sugar, and gelatin in the recipe and how temperature transforms these simple ingredients.

You don't want an overcomplicated menu, but you also don't want to eat the same things over and over again. You can marinate pre-cut meats, put them in plastic zip bags and freeze them. Chopped vegetables and grated cheese can also be stored in zip bags or plastic containers.

Some good products to take with you are canned vegetables, meats, and fruits, non-perishable foods like rice, beans and pasta, as well as dehydrated foods like powdered eggs and milk.

Freezing any food you can ahead of time has two advantages: one is that it will last longer, and the other is that your cooler will stay cold longer.

You'll need a stove – a two-burned propane camp stove is perfect for the job, and they're not expensive. Bring a couple of canisters of fuel with you.

The cooler also doesn't have to be very expensive, although the newer models have better insulation, so the ice will last longer. What matters most is that it has enough capacity to store your perishable food with enough room left for ice.

You'll also need pots, plates, cups, and sporks. You can bring disposable items but make sure you have enough trash bags to pack everything when you go. You can also wash dishes there as long as you bring two small washtubs for dirty and clean, a scrubber, dish soap (look for something biodegradable), and a towel. In that case, our recommendation is to get some stainless steel camp dishes. They're sturdy and easy to clean.

Don't leave any food or garbage out overnight. This will keep you safe because you won't attract animals and will also keep your food safe from all sorts of critters that specialize in raiding.  

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