Camping for some people is an all year thing, for others, it’s a summer only adventure. For those of you that are getting into camping and you’re at the start of a new grand adventure, there’s lots to learn, no matter what time of the year you’re venturing out.
Here at Outdoor Revival HQ, the general preference is spring and fall. Personally, I tend to hammock or just use a tarp, but for many, it’s a tent all the way.
Going on a camping trip is not always an easy thing to do, especially if you have never been before and you don’t know how to prepare for it. Don’t worry though, it’s an easy thing to do and once you’ve been camping it’s way easier to go again.
There are a number of items that you need to take with you and things that you need to prepare before you go, good planning will be a huge help in making sure your trip runs smoothly and everyone has a great time.
So, if you are a camping enthusiast or you would like to be one, you’ve come to the right place for some pointers on how to be safe and enjoy your camping.
When going on a camping or hiking trip, it is vital to stay hydrated all of the time, suffering from dehydration is a common condition for people that walk around and are active while not making sure they take in enough liquids.
When outdoors you will spend a lot of time being active, running and climbing, so it is crucial to have a bottle of fresh water with you all the time.
The general rule is that we drink eight glasses of water each day, if you’re being very active you might need to drink more.
2. First aid kit
No matter how proficient you are in the outdoors, you will at some time find yourself in a situation where you need to clean a cut or get a bandage on it to stop bleeding.
So make sure you always have a first aid kit with bandages and antibacterial spray and make sure you know how to use your FAK, there’s little point having it if you’ve got no idea how to use it.
3. Map and Compass
Using a GPS device or a mobile phone is great, but it is not always the best way to find your way in the wilderness since there are many places where the signal is terrible.
So, having a topographic map and a compass with you is always the right way to go camping or hiking. But, before going on a camping trip, make sure you know how to read a map and use a compass.
Here is an OR article on the Basics of Map and Compass that’s worth reading, it will give you the basic knowledge of using map and compass.
4. Fire safety
The campfire is one of the essential components of the trip and the whole camping experience since it provides heat, place to cook food and a place to gather around after a long day of walking. But you should be careful when starting a campfire, and take some precautions, like:
- Always watch the fire
- Put the flames out before bed
- Avoid low trees and branches
- Have water close to the fire
- Make a fireproof pit if the area around is flammable
- Have some way of treating burns
5. Water safety
When going on a camping trip near a lake, river, or any kind of water structure, it is important to know a few safety guidelines, such as:
- Check the weather for possible rain or thunderstorms, since you do not want to swim in bad weather and you do not want to get caught in any flash flooding.
- Read signs around the waters you are in. They will tell you the speed limit if you are boating, deep water and currents if you are kayaking or just swimming.
- Do not jump in the water without checking for its depth first.
- Do not drink alcohol before doing anything in any water.
- You should be able to swim.
6. Clean site
It is very crucial to keep your camping site clean, without dirty dishes, leftovers, and trash, since it may attract wild animals that may ruin the whole camping trip. Animals are drawn to any kind of food and can detect it many miles away.
The bottom line here is that if you don’t want to wake up to a Bear deciding all you’ve got is his, keep a clean campsite.
7. Wild animals
Going on a hiking or camping trip means that you will be in the same area as wild animals who are not always friendly, sometimes even hostile and since you are in their territory it means that you have to play by their rules.
So you should travel only during daylight, observe the behavior of an animal carefully if you encounter one, and whatever you do, do not approach a wild animal.
A great thing to do before you leave is to find out what animals you’re likely to encounter and learn a bit about them and what to expect from them, that will help you handle any encounter correctly
8. Poisonous plants
One of the reasons that we go out into the wilderness and for hikes is to see the beauty around us, flowers and plants are awesome, but some plants may harm you, your friends, or your pets on a camping or hiking trip.
So always be careful and avoid making contact with suspicious plants, especially the small ones like poison ivy or oak, and whatever you do, do not eat any plant in the wild unless you’ve positively identified it as edible.
It is worth learning some edible plants if you’re regularly going to be going into the backcountry or even just for walks in your local area, the knowledge helps you find food and also how to avoid trouble.
9. Bug spray
I hate biting bugs, I react badly to them, and I’m a biting bug magnet so life can be horrid. So, take this seriously when I say “make sure that you alway carry anti-bug spray, or cream, and make sure you put it on all exposed areas of your body whenever you’re going to be exposed to the little critters.
You don’t want the mosquitoes to ruin your well-deserved sleep and bugs to bother you while hiking.
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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.
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