There’s nothing that beats the experience of camping. Breathing in the fresh air, roasting marshmallows by a campfire, and sleeping under the stars at night—what more can one ask for? Unplugging and simply enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of nature provides countless benefits, such as reducing stress, boosting your mood, and improving sleep.
At the same time, being in the great outdoors provides an excellent opportunity to be physically active, allowing you to learn and develop new skills and improve your overall health. Yet another boon of camping is being able to bond with family and loved ones.
However, camping can also be challenging. There’s the risk of bad weather, animal attacks, and even stranger danger. If you’re new at this activity, you may also be unsure about the camping basics. Either you forget to bring a few important things or lug along too many non-essentials, hampering your movement. If you’ve been doing this for a while, you may still keep making the same mistakes that can be disastrous to your whole outdoor experience. Whether you’re a newbie or need a refresher for your next adventure “in the wilderness,” we recommend a few tips to help ensure that your next camping trip is as comfortable as you would like it to be.
Top Tips for a Comfortable Camping Trip
1. Check the weather forecast
This should be a no-brainer. But often, campers can be happy-go-lucky. Keep the weather from literally raining on your party by checking out local weather forecasts. You may also want to remember that though valuable guides, such predictions are not cast in stone. Because they can change from moment to moment, keep a close watch on any weather changes. At the same time, also prepare for possible extreme conditions. For instance, even if the forecast is sunny, pack in a few warm clothes to be sure.
2. Prepare for emergencies
When you’re out camping, you’re usually in a location far from assistance, medical supplies, and other essentials. One thing to always bring with you is your first aid kit, so you’re well equipped to face any emergency. This life-saving pouch should include the following:
- Bandages, including sterile gauze pads, medical adhesive tapes, and eye patches
- Antiseptic wipes and solutions, like hydrocortisone cream (1%), hydrogen peroxide, calamine lotion, alcohol, and insect bite ointment
- Tools: scissors, tweezers, mini flashlight with extra batteries, sharp scissors, and a thermometer
- Medicine: acetaminophen, lozenges, other prescription meds
- List of emergency phone numbers, including your physician’s and the contact numbers of your local poison control center and police station
Store all these in a sturdy waterproof container. When you go on short walks, you may want to leave the full-sized first aid kit behind and bring a mini version instead. This way, you won’t have to go all the way back when someone scrapes their knee.
Also, with all the camping excitement, it can be pretty easy to lose track of your monthly cycle. Avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment of feminine leaks by always bringing period underwear.
Lastly, make sure you bring enough food and water to last you the duration of your trip.
3. Protect yourself from the elements
While it can be thrilling to feel like you’re a participant in a reality TV survival show like “Man vs. Wild,” reality content is far from real life. Without any cameras that can give you visibility, camping can quickly evolve from a fun outing to a life-threatening event. Outside of your homes, you face many potential dangers, from sunburn to animal attacks.
Protect yourself from these extreme scenarios by watching out for warnings on bears and other wild animal sightings. Because garbage can be attractive as a possible food source, dispose of your trash properly to keep animals at bay. To be sure, bring some bear spray with you. This repellent works well against most wild creatures, including cougars, wolves, coyotes, and bobcats, even aggressive domestic dogs.
Brush up on information about poisonous plants and first-aid instructions on dealing with rashes, swelling, and itching caused by contact with these plants. They may seem harmless, but plants can produce some of the deadliest poisons known to man. Put on skin-barrier cream and wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved pants and shirts. Although it can be tempting to do so, burning brush piles to keep a fire going can expose you to fumes from such poisonous plants as poison ivy and poison oak, possibly causing allergies and respiratory problems.
Of course, your skin is at its most vulnerable outdoors. Prevent sun damage by wearing sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Re-apply every two hours, especially if you’re swimming or have prolonged exposure to the sun. Taking the necessary precautions makes it possible to enjoy your camping experience without getting a nasty sunburn.
4. Practice setting up your tent
The mindset one should have when out camping is this: you have no one to depend on but yourself. This way, you’re sure to make an effort to learn everything you need to know to make it and “survive” the great big outdoors. Even if your tent comes with an instruction manual, it’s possible to misunderstand the directions. This can be incredibly frustrating when you’re already tired or if someone depends on you to get that tent up. Avoid the stress by practicing setting up your tent at home. If you experience some difficulty, you will have access to helpful friends or family who may be more experienced or are more familiar with the instructions.
5. Familiarize yourself with the route
We can’t stress this enough. Getting lost is a common danger for both inexperienced and expert campers. However, with proper planning, you can avoid the stress, not to mention the fright of losing your way. One helpful must-do is to familiarize yourself with the route, especially if you’re the more adventurous type who’d like to stray off the beaten paths. Equip yourself with basic navigation tools such as a GPS, a compass, signal mirror, torch lights, and whistles.
Camping can be one of the most memorable adventures one can have. By watching out for potential dangers and hazards and by applying the tips we shared, you can help ensure that you and your loved ones are constantly safe and comfortable even as they experience the amazing beauty and wonders of the wilderness.