So, you’re feeling Mother Nature’s pull — ready to take to the trail or campground for a getaway in the great outdoors. The right preparation can help make the most of your trip.
First, Pack the Camping Essentials
Before you take off on your adventure be sure to pack all the necessary tools, clothes, and food you need for your trip. Equip with all the essentials, but also prepare for the worst — flash storms, bad bug bites, rashes, and the surprises Mother Nature may have in store. A few ideas include:
- Whistle (for hiking to warn animals you are coming)
- Bottled water
- Sleeping bag
- Sunscreen and bug repellent
- Waterproof matches
- First aid kit
- Warm clothing and rain gear
RELATED: How to Stock a First Aid Kit
When Camping, Expect the Unexpected
We all know to watch out for poison oak, mosquitoes, and bears when we are in the woods, but there are many other hazards we may not think about before taking the wilderness plunge:
- Frequently look for ticks (especially if you are going to take a family pet along)
- Do a quick internet search and study up on what poison ivy looks like
- Wear boots — they help against ankle sprain and possible snake bites
- Avoid cliff areas
- Always travel with a companion
- Stay hydrated — it is best to drink bottled water to avoid contaminated streams
- Keep foods in air-tight containers located where wild animals cannot reach them
Create a Camping Strategy for Safety
Most of the time, you’ll stay at a site or campground with many other campers nearby. Some people, however, like to rough it and stay in more remote locales.
If you’re heading off the beaten path, take time to review your campsite and surrounding environment. Be mindful of these factors:
- Set up camp before nightfall. Setting up camp initially helps to establish a base of operations for the rest of the trip.
- Get your tent set up and supplies organized inside.
- If you are expecting wet weather build drain-off ditches around the tent.
- Establish an area to create your campfire. The campfire not only provides light, but the smoke will help to keep bugs away.
- Set foods that can be smelled by bears to the outside of the camp, and if possible, hang them high where they cannot be reached.
- Watch your surroundings when hiking. Hiking can be fun, but there are many obstacles in the woods that you may not notice. Watch out for heavy brush areas or rock areas that can cause you to lose your footing. Be aware of your location and remember landmarks so you can find your way back to camp.
- Be a little loud or blow your whistle occasionally to let wild animals know that humans are around: They will likely run.
- Wear the right clothing. It can be nice to wake up in the morning and feel the brisk cold of the morning air, but plan accordingly if you are planning on going out in the wild. The clothes you put on in the morning may become very warm later in the afternoon after a mile or two of walking through the woods.