This is a sponsored guest post.
Learning to camp and love it can significantly increase your ability to travel cheaply and enjoy the natural world. If you didn’t get to go camping as a child, it can be a little daunting to get started as an adult. However, there are some easy rules to follow on every trip that will make your enjoyment of the natural world that much more fun.
1) Borrow Gear Before You Buy
If you know someone who camps regularly, ask if you can borrow their gear before your first camping trip. According to hiking, and camping blog YesHiking.com, a seasoned camper will be happy to share gear with you and may even offer to help you practice your setup.
Be prepared to borrow from yourself as well. For example, if you don’t have a sleeping bag, you probably have a comforter and a few blankets that you can use to build a bedroll.
Lay down a tarp that’s bigger than your comforter and lay the comforter on top of it. Fold the edges of the bedroll in over the tarp to keep the comforter dry, then fold this rectangle in half the long way and roll it uptight. Wrap it in twine or a couple of bungees to keep it together. Finally, whether you use a sleeping bag or a bedroll, bring a fleece blanket with you and sleep with it close to your skin to capture heat if sleeping in the cold.
2) Practice Your Set-Up
Put all of your gear together before your trip. Grab a plastic bin and create your camp kitchen box. Practice cooking a meal over your camping stove on your patio, in your garage, or at a local park at home before you get into the wild.
Be sure to pack leather gloves that you can use to manipulate food over the fire, and make sure your kitchen includes tongs. If you find a campsite that will allow you to have a fire, tools that will extend your reach will add fun.
Make sure you pay attention to your “must-have” features of everyday living. If you have to have coffee every day, figure out a way to make it, or your trip will be miserable.
3) Research the Region for Activities
Camp as close to your home as possible. Find a fun hike or an interesting activity that’s within a couple of hours drive. This is useful for several reasons:
- if the weather turns nasty, you can go home easily
- if you really hate it, you won’t waste a lot of gas finding out that camping isn’t for you
- if you love it, you’ll have more time for camping and less time in the car
If it’s going to be warm, find a place to swim. If it’s going to be cold, don’t go places where fires are restricted. Pack in plenty of fresh water and a cooler full of easy to prepare foods. Don’t try to do anything too elaborate as you learn the steps of camping.
4) Keep an Eye on the Weather
One of the challenges of camping is that you can easily get rained out. Be as flexible as possible. Try to schedule your camping trip for a week when the weather is generally good, but be ready for some tent time if you know it will rain.
If it’s going to get cold but you still really want to go, take a good look at your vehicle. In the event that it’s too cold to sleep in your tent, can you stretch out in your car and get some rest?
Gear up as necessary. Sunscreen and a hat, as well as a long-sleeved shirt, will be needed for hot weather. Wet down the shirt and let it dry against your skin to stay cool. Fleece and a windbreaker will be needed if it’s going to be cold.
5) Clean, Before, and After
Not everyone is willing to clean up after themselves. Be prepared to pick up your campsite before you travel. Having large, heavy-duty trash bags in your kitchen kit will help manage garbage.
Review the rules of the campsite for critter concerns. Mice and other rodents love garbage, so find a spot to hang your trash. If there’s a ranger, ask for advice to keep pests out of your trash. Be ready to pack out all garbage, find a nearby dumpster and make trash hauling one of your hikes.
6) Monday to Thursday Instead of Friday to Sunday
You’re trying to spend more time in the natural world. To find peace while camping, go during the week. There are a lot of folks who go to the woods to burn off steam and party, but that’s not your deal.
If you can get to your campsite on Monday afternoon, you’ll have four nights to learn to
- sleep in a tent
- prepare food
- manage supplies
- stay warm/cool
In just four days and five nights, you can learn a new way of traveling and fall in love with camping.