Too many people limit their idea of camping to long hikes, tent setups, campfires and awkward conversations with strangers in the wild outdoors – but let us assure you that it is so much more than that.
We all live our day-to-day surrounded by the immense traffic of a relentlessly busy life. Smog, dust, and city lights cloud our vision of the stars at night; skyscrapers and busy streets prevent us from appreciating the beauty of nature.
The solution? A vast expanse of indigo sky watching over you, with stars serving as your rooftop for the night. Camping in the midst of such natural bliss gives us a needed reminder of the beauty of Mother Nature.
Sleeping outdoors provides the experience of a lifetime: a chance to detox from daily life and all the stresses that come with it.
Nature is the perfect antidote to calm your overwhelmed mind and escape the constant flow of challenging situations that life places in our path.
Before we begin tempting you to go to camping with your friends and family, here’s a video by Nick Godsell, that will feed your camping inspiration
Camping is an ideal way to spend time with your family and friends, to escape the busy life of the city and instead bask in the quiet and fresh surroundings that nature has to offer.
Benefits like exercise and fresh air are easily recognized, but there are even more profound advantages to camping, like a long-term improvement in your mental and physical health.
The experiences, growth opportunities, and benefits of camping can even help you develop as an individual, so that you see the positive ripple effects in your personal and professional life.
What are the benefits of camping?
Camping provides you time away from the daily hustle and bustle of life. It allows you to not only socialize but even deepen bonds with your close ones, far removed from any distractions from work.
The American Journal of Public Health states that socializing can delay memory problems and extend your lifespan.
2- Personality Development
Meeting new people at your campsite, chatting, and networking – a weekend of camping could take you a long way in life in terms of developing yourself as an individual.
According to research, talking to new people increases your level of confidence, which in turn helps you to develop your personality.
3- Enhances Problem Solving Skills
Have you ever had a rough day, but realized by the end of it that you had learnt and grown ten-fold compared to a typical day?
Experiencing life outside of your comfort zone improves your capacity to problem-solve. Even beyond the moment or problem at hand, such out-of-your-comfort-zone experiences build your skill-set for solving analytical and real-life problems too.
4- Disconnect from the Outside World
Camping is a great chance to unplug from your smartphones and laptops, and spend some time with your loved ones. Research shows that having good relationships and strong social ties can help you live longer, and it certainly ensures you a fuller life.
5- Personal Well-Being
To become a well-adjusted, successful individual, one needs to possess certain social skills for developing positive relationships with others.
Several studies have concluded that positive relationships are key to a person’s happiness and well-being, and good social skills influence positive relationships.
Hence, we can conclude that activities that promote meeting new people and developing interpersonal skills will both help you develop your own well-being and will benefit your personal life and professional career.
6- Connection with Nature
While camping, you have the opportunity to get close to nature and appreciate all the beauty on this earth and in the skies above it. There is nothing quite like it, and we highly recommend taking your family along for this experience of a lifetime.
7- New Challenges
Camping takes you out of your comfort zone, and it is a challenge both for the body and the mind.
Studies from the University of Texas and the University of Michigan show that new experiences help keep the brain healthy and one’s mental health strong.
New activities that are physically and mentally taxing help maintain the health and stamina of the brain, and camping fits both these criteria.
Apart from the general benefits discussed above, camping is highly beneficial specifically for your health as well. Let’s have a look at these health benefits, both physical and mental.
Health Benefits of Camping
1- Fresh Air
The first step of any camping adventure? The tedious process of setting up a tent.
After all that hard work, you take a deep breath of clean, fresh oxygen that fills up your lungs: the feeling of the purest breath you have ever taken.
But it’s not just a feeling.
The high number of trees and low amount of pollution provide your surrounding air a high amount of oxygen.
Your brain functions better with these increased levels of oxygen and releases a chemical called serotonin, which makes you feel happy and releases stress-relieving hormones.
In addition to this, fresh air lowers blood pressure, improves digestion and boosts your immune system.
2- More Exercise
Camping involves a lot of physical activity in high range altitude.
Because of the difficult terrain and low pressure, the level of strain and stress our muscles go through is challenging and burns a lot of calories.
This is good for the body and activates your cardiovascular system. It is also beneficial to the health of your heart and lungs.
3- Sunshine and Vitamin D
Camping provides you a chance to spend extra time in the sun, and more exposure to the sun means increased Vitamin D. This allows your body to absorb calcium and phosphorous, which strengthens your bone health and teeth.
Sunshine can also regulate insulin levels and aid in diabetes management.Vitamin D also supports the health of your immune system, brain and nervous system.
4- Less Stress
Life can be incredibly overwhelming at times; do you ever feel the need to run away from your daily responsibilities and escape to the quiet? We all know this is not a viable way to live life, but camping provides a solution to catch your breath and relax those stress levels for a while before having to get back to normal.
It is also extremely important to take a break from technology every so often. There is a strong possibility that you will not get any wi-fi or mobile network at your campsite, so while this may seem an impossible way to live, even your short stay will do wonders for your mental health.
5- Decreases Depression & Anxiety
According to research, natural greenery reduces depression levels by 71%. Therefore, camping is a great way to soothe anxiety issues. Being surrounded by a vast forest or meadow of green trees and plants will alleviate your mood, help you release current stress, and aid in avoiding depression in the future as well.
While camping, you tend to eat different foods than at home. What you eat depends on what you pack (so pack items that are easy to cook, and avoid too much junk) – with one exception: fishing. If you are into fishing, you will likely consume a large amount of protein on your camping trip.
You will not intake any preservatives or unnatural ingredients in freshly caught fish, and all of the exercise from your outdoor activities will help you digest the food too.
The Mayo Clinic reports that meditation may improve a series of serious medical conditions by increasing self-awareness and bringing a sense of calm to a person’s demeanor.
Also, the fresh environment that camping provides sets the tone for tranquility, making it an ideal setting in which to improve your concentration levels through meditation in such quiet and serene surroundings.
Do you suffer from lack of sleep, or even a mild case of insomnia?
A study in 2013 by the University of Colorado found that camping can reset our biological clocks and help people with sleep issues improve their sleep cycle
A Brief History of Camping
Tents have been used for centuries by a wide range of cultures such as Native Americans, Mongolians, and Central Asian nomads. They have also been utilized by the armies of many different cultures, who used them to sleep as they moved from place to place.
The first handbook of camping was released in 1908, by Thomas Hiram Holding. His book gives a detailed account of the essentials of camping; Holding is regarded to this day as the father of modern-day recreational camping.
Early camping equipment was very heavy, so it was generally transported using boats. But despite this inconvenience, Mr. Holding was able to popularize the practice of camping in the United Kingdom.
In the United States, camping can be traced back to William Henry Harrison Murray and his 1869 publication of Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, which resulted in a crowd of campers flooding to the Adirondacks that season.
The world’s first commercial campground was Cunningham’s Camp, near Douglas, Isle of Man, which was opened in 1894.
Who Should You Camp With and Why?
Camping can be done with friends, family, or even office colleagues as a weekend gateway.
It is a good way to escape the busyness of everyday life, to unplug, and to reconnect with nature. Camping is a good way to detox from life’s toxic stress culture, and even to learn more about your relatives, spouse, or friends –whoever joins you for your camping adventure.
There are many ways to go camping:
From trying to coordinate the schedules of multiple people, to making sure everyone is bringing their gear and taking proper responsibility, camping with others can turn into a big headache.
So, how do you enjoy all the benefits of camping without all the stress? You go camping alone.
At your own pace and in your own zone, camping is great fun and there is no need to manage finances or adjust your plans according to anyone else. To camp in a group, you have to be on the same wavelength as everyone, which is no easy feat. Therefore, if the above issues sound all too familiar, or potentially stressful – camping alone is the thing for you.
Solo camping can also teach you a lot about nature, and give you a deeper introspective view on life too.
Camping with Family
One of the best things that a family can do is plan a camping trip together. Staying outdoors is a great way to deepen familial bonds while you get in touch with nature and experience the mountains, lake or campgrounds.
Camping with your family can be a very memorable experience for everyone involved; with few distractions and plenty of opportunities for bonding activities, it can bring out the best in your family.
Friends tend to bring about the best of times in your life, and are simply irreplaceable when it comes to having a good time. With friends, camping is all about going with the flow and relaxing, being your true self – which can be so beautifully stress-free.
Basics of Camping
There is a lot to know about camping, yes, but it does not have to be complicated or impossible – camping can be a smooth process if you plan ahead and use your resources well.
To ensure that your camping trip is a good experience overall, and that you know how to stay out of harm’s way, here’s a video to cover the basics
Make sure you follow our steps below to make camping a fun and interesting experience for you and your entire group:
Looking for some useful hacks? This Buzzfeed video also suggests some basic camping gear hacks that can make life a lot easier.
Where to Go Camping
An important question to answer for yourself is where you decide to go camping. How do you make that decision, with endless options of campsites?
There are plenty of factors to consider. The first of these, of course, is experience. Are you a newbie or an experienced camper? There are regions that only someone with experience can handle and it would be a mistake to try to tackle them on your first outing. Such a failed attempt may put you off the experience entirely.
Another factor that is as important as experience is your fitness level. Remember that many of the areas you might want to camp in are protected - this means that cars aren’t allowed. Be sure that you’re physically ready to take on the miles of walking these hikes require.
Weather and the general climate is something else to keep in mind. Are you interested in hiking through a cloud forest or a rain forest? Are you headed to a mountainous region? Will you be camping near a river or lake? Keep an eye on weather forecasts to make sure that your camping experience isn’t a washout.
You might also want to consider whether you want to do ‘real’ camping - sticking a tent anywhere in the woods - or whether you want to glamp - the more glamorous version of camping where you have access to a host of home comforts. If the latter is what interests you, Bustle has a list of unusual camping sites you might be interested in.
If risk or danger is your thing, Grunge has got just what you need here.
Want to get away from it all? If you’re looking to get back to nature in the most pure environment possible, backcountry camping is just what the doctor ordered.
Wondering what the heck backcountry camping is? It’s simple. This is camping in its ‘realest’ form. You’re far from civilization and its trappings such as roads and buildings. Backcountry campsites usually require hours of hiking and maybe even a boat ride or two to reach.
If you’re new to this term and this style of camping, here’s a handy guide from the National Park Foundation that tells you how to prepare.
Famous Backcountry Destinations
Excited about backcountry camping but stumped about where to go? Here are some beautiful campsites in the American National Parks that will rejuvenate your soul.
These are only a few of the many backcountry campsites that you can access in the United States. Want to expand your horizons a bit more internationally? Lostwaldo offers you backcountry destinations around the world.
Car Camping (RV)
RV is short for recreational vehicle. This is usually a trailer or a motor vehicle in which the interior has been designed as living quarters. Motorhomes, caravans, campervans, and truck campers are some examples.
Car camping goes by many different names including RV camping, caravanning, and car camping. Basically, it means using a vehicle to get to a campsite instead of hiking or boating to it, and then generally utilizing that vehicle as your shelter during your trip as well.
Since it allows for a vehicle, car camping lets you bring in extra gear for camping, cooking and just enjoying yourself. Campsites vary from a simple grassy field to a properly paved area with picnic tables, charcoal grills and sometimes even a swimming pool!
If you’re new to this or just want some tips on the best way to proceed, Howcast has this to say.
RootsRated has some interesting information for beginners that includes everything from why car camping is a good idea to destinations to basic etiquette and more.
Car Camping Destinations
Going camping with kids? Car camping is your best option. Children need more equipment and car camping is the perfect way to carry it. You can introduce your children to Mother Nature without having to worry about overexposure to her pitfalls.
If you’re wondering where to go, here are some great destinations that you and your family can enjoy.
What to Pack?
How can you make sure that your camping experience is rewarding and fun? After all, this one experience can make or break any intentions you have about going camping again. If your first brush with camping turns out to be a disaster, why would you want to return?
So how do you ensure that your camping trip doesn’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth? Well, preparation is key and this includes packing the right stuff, whether it be clothes, equipment, food or water. Let’s explore each in detail. You can view our camping checklist here
When packing clothes for camping, there are plenty of factors you have to keep in mind. Where you plan to camp, what season it is, what the weather is like and so on. It’s no fashion show. Instead, you have to plan for bugs, mud and wild flora.
Seems like a tall order, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. We’re on the case. To make things easier for you, here are some tips we’ve compiled that should help you out.
Also, here’s a list of some clothing no-nos.
For Summer Camping
Summer is the most popular time of the year to camp for most people whether they are novices or veteran outdoorsmen. The longer days and nicer weather allow you to discover stunning vistas, enjoy clear night skies and swim in cool waters. All of this is much more enjoyable when you have the right type of clothing with you.
Fabric: The first thing to consider is the type of fabric. You will need fabric that is light and comfortable, and allows for air circulation. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester do the latter but aren’t very comfortable. Natural fabrics such as linen and cotton are comfortable and light but not airy; they absorb moisture.
What should you do then? Your best bet is to go with a cotton-polyester blend that combines all the useful qualities of both those fabrics. Such a blend is durable, comfortable, dries quickly and allows air to circulate.
Now, on to the actual clothes.
Tops: The fundamental rule here is layering. You will probably experience hot days and cool nights. Two layers might be enough during the day or while hiking, but you’ll need more come nightfall or in the early morning hours.
The layer closest to your skin, i.e. your underwear, should be made of breathable material. The next layer should be of material that is light and allows air to circulate. Cotton tops and t-shirts are a good idea.
Remember: PVC traps heat whereas Gore-Tex is your friend while camping.
Bottoms: While you may not need to layer as much on the bottom as you do on top, don’t forget that your bottoms do double duty as protection.
Shorts are always the most comfortable for summer camping, due to the heat. You have a wide variety of choices in colors and patterns. However, if you’re headed towards country that has swampy areas or thorny undergrowth, pants are a better choice. You don’t want to end up with badly muddied or scratched legs!
Footwear: A pair of hiking boots or sneakers is necessary depending upon how much and what type of hiking you plan to do. You can also pack a pair of flip-flops to wear at the campsite.
Do research on snakes and bugs in the area to know how much you need to protect your feet.
But how do you protect your head? Well, in the summers, a simple hat or bandana should do it. You can use it to cover your head to protect it from the sun or you can wear it around your neck to deal with sweat.
Now, let’s see what winter camping entails.
For Winter Camping
Let me guess - the first thing that jumped to mind when you read this heading was “camping in winter? Are you crazy?” We assure you that we aren’t. Camping in winter actually has certain advantages that you may not have considered.
Here’s how you can survive and thrive while camping in winter.
Now let’s move on to what clothes to pack and wear.
Fabric: Camping in winter requires more layers. You have to look at moisture-wicking fabrics, materials that keep you the warmest, and fabrics that are windproof and waterproof.
Tops: Camping in winter is all about layering properly. You need at least three layers to ensure that you stay warm while you’re in the cold outdoors.
Bottoms: Layering matters here too. Don’t wear khakis or jeans, as they do little to keep you warm. Snowboarder pants that are insulated and resistant to water and wind are great. They preserve heat without being bulky.
Head, Hands, and Feet: You can lose heat from your head so it is important to keep it covered. Instead of knit caps, go for Yukon style hats or balaclavas. That way you can keep your head and ears warm. Mittens are always better than gloves at keeping your hands warm. And your feet are warmer inside insulated boots. If you’re going to go through slippery terrain, you might also want to add traction cleats over your boots.
There are certain supplies that every camper needs to pack. It doesn’t matter where you’re going or for how long; these things will come in handy every time you go camping, so it is worth investing in high quality gear.
So, what are some packing essentials for a successful camping experience? There are some things that each individual will want to pack and some that you will need to have for the entire group.
If gadgets are your thing, this video is a good guide for camping gadgets.
Let’s have a look at the list of essentials:
Carry a water bottle instead of a canteen. Let’s face it, water from a canteen always ends up having a peculiar taste. Plus, a water bottle allows you to cook soup! A plastic bottle with a wide mouth, often called a Nalgene bottle, is one of the most commonly used ones. Also having a hydration bladder is a good thing.
A sleeping bag offers you dual advantages - it provides you a cushion from the rough ground and, of course, it keeps you warm. You can even bring along a sleeping pad for extra cushioning and Camping pillow if you have the space for it. Check our guide to best double sleeping bag and Best Sleeping Bag for Hammock.
One of the most common examples of a multitool kit is a Swiss army knife. If you carry a multitool kit, you save space while carrying scissors, a knife blade, screwdrivers, pliers, and more, all in one compact tool.
This is a must-have for every single camper in your group. Each one of you should carry at least one flashlight. If you’re wearing a headlamp, you still need the flashlight because it is more reliable than the former.
No camping trip is safe without one. It may be tempting to carry only a few basic medical supplies, but a well-stocked first-aid kit could literally save your life. As with the survival kit, you can buy one or assemble it yourself.
No matter how well you’ve planned your trip, things can go wrong. A survival kit is a godsend if the unthinkable happens and you’re faced with a worst-case scenario. You can make your own survival kit or buy one that has already been assembled.
In addition to things that each individual camper should carry, there are items that the entire party will need. You can distribute these items amongst yourselves when it comes to packing because you will all be sharing them anyway. Of course, if you’re going solo (not recommended for a beginner) you will have to carry everything yourself.
There are a few hardy souls out there who brave sleeping out in the open when in nature. Not one of them? You have a variety of options. You can go for a basic two-person tent or you can invest in four-person tent or even six-person tent. Take the number of campers in your group into account.
You can distribute the tent parts amongst the whole group for packing. One person can carry the main shell of the tent while someone else carries the poles and so on.
In your daydream of the perfect camping trip, you’ve probably seen yourself cooking over the open campfire. Reality check? Campfires aren’t easy to cook on. Plus, in areas prone to wildfires, you aren’t even allowed to start a campfire.
A camp stove is your safest and best choice. Carry one stove per two people, to be able to cook sufficient food for everyone at the same time. That means that if you’re a party of six, you should carry three stoves. Don’t forget the fuel.
No matter how clear the water in that babbling brook or transparent lake may seem, always, always filter it before you drink it. Carry water filtration systems with you. Carrying more than one makes the process convenient and fast when you’re thirsty.
This one is vital even if you’re planning to hike along well-marked trails. A paper map is best. Digital maps or GPS like Garmin eTrex 10 have more information than paper maps but they’re dependent on a decent signal, which you may not get while out in the woods.
You’ll need to this in order to cook your food. You can buy these at most camping stores. Consider the kinds of food you’re packing when deciding upon the type of mess kit to bring.
This is just a basic list. Obviously, you will need to add and tweak items as per your needs. And, of course, the list will vary depending upon whether you’re going car camping or backpacking. Consider all these factors while deciding what gear to take with you.
What to Eat?
You’re all set for your camping trip - well, almost. One of the most important things that you will need regardless of what type of camping trip you’re taking is food. After all, you can only enjoy the great outdoors properly if you’re fed and satisfied with good food.
There are some things that you need to consider when planning the meals for your trip. Let’s take a quick look.
Freeze Dried Food
The first thought you may have upon hearing the words ‘freeze dried food’ is yuck! Isn’t that the tasteless mush astronauts have to eat in space?
Well, have we got news for you. Freeze dried food has entered the realm of camping enthusiasts. Trust us, it’s anything but tasteless. Before we begin to sing its praises though, let’s walk you through some more info about freeze dried food.
What is freeze drying Food?
The first question here is - how is food freeze dried? Well, here’s how it goes. Cooked or uncooked food is frozen quickly. Once frozen, it goes into a vacuum. This vacuum turns the ice from the frozen food into vapor and voila! Freeze dried food, at your service.
Now, this process actually has a lot of advantages when it comes to food for camping. First of all, thanks to the process, the foods have a long shelf-life (almost 25 years in some cases). There is no moisture so they don’t spoil quickly.
Second, freeze dried food retains 80 to 90 percent of its nutrition. The process only sucks out the water not the nutrients, which makes it a healthy option to deliver all the nutrients you need while camping.
Third, freeze dried foods are extremely convenient. All you have to do, when you’re ready to eat, is add boiling water to the food. It’s ready! At the end of a long and tiring day, who really wants to cook. Freeze dried foods allow you to satisfy your hunger and enjoy your trip. Plus, they’re really lightweight and therefore, easy to carry.
Fourth, did you know that there is a HUGE variety of freeze dried foods out there? You want pasta primavera? You’ve got it. In the mood for some chicken gumbo or spaghetti with meat sauce? Coming right up! All you’ve got to do is add hot water.
Can I freeze dry my own food?
Of course. However, to do so you need a freeze-drying machine. This is costly and the process takes a long time. In fact, freeze drying machines can cost thousands of dollars.
If you still want to buy one, you can get it from stores that sell cooking equipment to restaurants and eateries.
Freeze dried food isn’t the cheapest choice when deciding upon your meal plans for a camping trip. However, the convenience and the abundance of flavors makes this meal option more than worth the price.
Cooking on a Camping Trip
Cooking while on a camping trip is a different experience altogether. A certain old-fashioned charm adds a special flavor to camp food that your kitchen at home simply doesn’t provide. It is also fun to get together at the end of a long day and come up with a tasty meal from scratch.
However, since no mod-cons are available, you have to be patient. Cooking while camping requires not just time but a fair amount of ingenuity. Here are some ways in which you can make the best of the experience.
Like most elements of your camping trip, cooking also requires that you plan ahead. You don’t want to end up in the middle of the woods without necessary ingredients or equipment. Also, what if the weather doesn’t cooperate? You need to be as prepared as possible.
The best way to go about it? Make a list and check it twice. Check items off as you pack them. This ensures that you don’t forget anything important.
Decide on Cooking Supplies
Are you going backpacking or car camping? Backpacking limits the amount you can carry while car camping means you can bring everything but the kitchen sink. Either way, there are some essentials that you need to pack no matter what.
Lighter fluid and a box of matches is a must. You can buy camping cookware but also carry plenty of aluminium foil. It is a great way to cook in the outdoors, and you can also use it instead of plates so that you have less utensils to clean.
Check the Cooler Space
Cooler space is vital, especially if you’re bringing beverages. In fact, carry a second cooler if you’re planning to bring lots of drinks. Instead of ice, you can carry bottles of frozen water. They act as ice packs as long as the water is frozen and then they serve as your water supply.
You should pack items such as meat and rice in Ziploc bags or resealable bags. This ensures that no space is wasted. Don’t open the cooler any more than is strictly necessary or your ice packs will melt even faster.
Decide on Your Cooking Method
You’re going to have to weigh this decision depending upon your circumstances. Cooking over a campfire sounds fun but can be quite time-consuming. To save time, you can wrap food in aluminum foil and place this in the hot coals to bake.
It’s a good idea to carry cooking stoves too. Certain regions don’t allow campfires because of the concern regarding wildfires; you will need an alternative method to cook in such cases. Do your research before you set out.
Here are some camp cooking tips that can make your experience easier.
Provided you’ve planned well, cooking while camping can be a lot of fun and result in some surprisingly delicious meals. Breathe in the clean air, let the sounds of nature soothe you and enjoy your naturally cooked food.
What to cook?
Fortunately, you have plenty of options. You can barbecue outside, make campfire treats such as spiced nuts, heat up freeze dried foods or make simple pastas. You can even carry festival pies that can feed a whole family and last for two meals.
Want more ideas? Here are some great camping food ideas.
The most important resource you need while camping is water. Now, you may be under the impression that water at campgrounds is always safe to drink but that isn’t necessarily the case.
It is safest to carry your own water when you go camping. This isn’t a problem when you’re car camping. However, keep in mind that if you’re going backpacking, space is limited. Unless you’re only going for an overnight trip, you won’t be able to carry enough water to last you your whole campout.
What do you do in such a case? Fortunately, there are some ways in which you can make any water safe to drink. Follow one of these methods and you should be good to go.
This is the age-old, tried and tested method for ensuring that the water you collect is safe to both drink and wash with. Simply collect water in a container or pot and heat it over a fire. Make sure it boils for a complete minute. Here’s a demo.
Use Water Purification Tablets
There are two types of tablets you can use - iodine and chlorine. The method for each is simple. Take water in a container and add the tablet. Then let the water stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
Keep in mind that iodine tablets are not recommended for those who have thyroid issues and for pregnant women. Watch this to know more.
Use Water Filtration Systems
Water filters are easily available in a variety of sizes and are portable. They are great at filtering out protozoa or bacteria. However, they aren’t as effective with viruses. Filters strain water through their internal devices and also filter out mud. This demo helps provide further understanding.
If you want more detail, this is what WikiHow has to say.
How Do You Navigate While Camping?
Camping offers you glorious experiences in the wild and picturesque outdoors. However, those experiences can turn sour if you get lost in nature’s vastness and cannot find your way back. In fact, a surprising number of people are wary of going camping just because of this fear.
Fortunately, these days camping is also a lot easier than it used to be thanks to the gazillion modern conveniences we have at our disposal. One of those mod cons is GPS. Many established campsites have sitemaps that you can use along with your GPS to navigate.
Most people believe that all they really need when they set out camping is a GPS or a navigation app. If you’re going along well-established trails and using well-known campsites this is true. But what if you go backcountry camping?
Remember that phones are not invincible; they run out of charge, you can lose the signal or even drop the device and break it. And what then - how do you navigate in these circumstances?
Here are some tried and tested navigation tips that will come through for you, no matter what your surroundings.
Pay Attention to Surroundings
Always look around and keep track of where you are. Carry a regular topographic map and relate everything you see to the map. It’s a great way to identify your relative position.
If you’re new to camping, don’t go off-trail just yet. Start learning how to use your map and compass while using established trails. Once you’re proficient here, you can be adventurous and explore a bit more off the beaten path.
Study Your Route
Do this before you set out. It’s best to use a topographic map for this so you can form a mental picture of the valleys, mountains, cliffs, glaciers, rivers, ridges and so on.
Don’t bury the map and compass at the bottom of your pack. Keep them where they are easy to grab. A pocket on your backpack or on your person is ideal.
If you’re in doubt about your position, take five minutes to resolve these doubts. Do not panic and act in a hurry. Make the time to study your surroundings and consult your map. Above all, don’t start moving again until you’re clear about where you are.
Frankly, knowing how to use a map and compass is a skill every camping enthusiast, whether newbie or veteran, should possess. Things can go wrong with a GPS land having this skill to fall back on makes life a lot easier, and gives you more confidence in your camping activities.
Things to do While Camping
What do you actually do when you go camping (besides all the walking)? Never fear, boredom is hardly a possibility when you have such a plethora of activities to choose from. You can hike, stargaze, swim, cook, read, take photographs, converse with other campers, fish, setting on your camping chair to see the surrounding, meditate, and much more.
Camping is a personal experience; there is so much you can tailor to your own preferences and interests to make it rewarding for yourself. However, if you’re still not sure, we’ve compiled a short list of activities you can enjoy while you’re out there. Choose from these or take them a step further and personalize them.
Want to make your next outdoor vacation more fun? Here’s a list of things you can do.
Many campsites and car camping resorts offer you a wide variety of sports that you can enjoy with your group or family. In addition, of course, there are games that don’t require hardly any equipment. You can play soccer, football, frisbee, baseball and even lawn golf. You can also try your hand at hide and seek, capture the flag and tag.
You’re already out in the wilderness, so what better time to explore the nature around you? Find out the nearest scenic overlooks or waterfalls and hike to them. Find a swimming hole, lake or river and go swimming. There is plenty to discover and enjoy.
Comfort and Relaxation
One of the reasons any of us goes camping is to relax and breathe in the peace and comfort of nature, far from the maddening crowds and nonstop busyness. So, set up a fire (provided it’s allowed), cook your food and just gaze into it afterwards. Trust us, it’s better than TV.
Alternatively, bring along a musical instrument and have a sing-along with your friends or family. If you’re camping solo, take your dog with you. It’s a great time to bond with your best furry friend.
Card and Board Games
A single pack of cards can do wonders to stave off boredom. Indulge in low stakes poker - you can use pinecones or pebbles as stakes. A game of bush rummy can be quite invigorating. Even a pack of Uno cards can be surprisingly entertaining.
Here are some card game ideas.
If board games are more your scene, carry some along. Remember to keep in mind space when you’re deciding which ones to take. Cards Against Humanity, Chess, and Hive are just a few suggestions of board games you can enjoy while camping.
Check out more board games for further entertainment.
How to Stay Safe While Camping?
Exploring the great outdoors and getting back to nature can be both fun and meaningful. Whether you go camping alone or with family or friends, you end up creating memories that last a lifetime.
However, a lot of this fun can be marred if you haven’t paid attention to your safety and security. After all, danger and injuries are not a welcome part of any camping experience.
Simply do a little bit of research before you set out to ensure your trip is all fun and no danger. Also, don’t forget to let someone know where you’re going.
This is what the National Parks Services has to say.
One of the reasons we go camping is to reconnect with nature. However, there is such a thing as too much reconnection. Imagine waking up to a bear poking its head inside your tent to see if you have any goodies for it!
That is definitely not our idea of fun and we’re sure it isn’t yours either. Here are some ways that you can prevent animals and bugs from bothering you so you can enjoy what nature has to offer - from a safe distance.
One of the first things you have to keep in mind is the specific campsite you select. Do some research beforehand to know what kind of animals frequent the area.
Areas with water or woods attract snakes, bears and raccoons. Avoid piles of rocks or leaves and tall grasses as they are generally also home to snakes as well as insects. Marshy areas have lots of bugs and again attract bears.
It’s not possible to stay away from all of these natural elements, and odds are you may end up in one or the other of these areas. So, here are a few tips to keep the critters away from your campsite.
Want more tips? Here they are.
Mosquitoes are hands-down the most annoying insects you’ll encounter on your camping trip. Instead of enjoying the serenity, you’ll find yourself busy slapping at all exposed skin in endless attempts to kill them (which doesn’t really work).
Unfortunately, most campsites will have this problem; mosquitos are simply an annoying side effect of being out in nature. Therefore, the trick is come prepared to make them go away. Here are ways to keep the pesky bugs far, far away from you.
More details about getting rid of these buzzing nuisances.
Here’s how you can make night camping safe.
Fire prevention and safety is a major feature of keeping your home safe. But what about when you’re out camping? After all, you need fires in the wild, right?
Fire safety becomes absolutely crucial when you head out into the mountains or the woods. There is the threat of wildfires, of course. But you also have to worry about lesser-known dangers such as CO or carbon monoxide poisoning, especially if you are in an RV or trailer.
Here are a few basic tips that can help you reduce the possibility of an out-of-control fire.
Here’s a detailed list of precautions to take.
Roughing it out in the wild is a lot of fun. But the very term ‘roughing it’ implies that you will have spills, scrapes, cuts and bruises. Some even consider this part and parcel of the camping experience.
While some boo-boos are inevitable, do you really want to be seriously injured while out in the wilderness? We don’t think so. Fortunately, there are ways of avoiding injuries while on the trail. Let’s take a look.
Here’s how you can avoid some common injuries.
Having said this, it is important to note that things can simply go wrong, no matter how well you prepare. Injuries aren’t always avoidable. An absolute must-have during your camping trip is a first-aid kit. Sometimes, it can mean the difference between life and death.
A good first-aid kit should have some of the following items:
This is a good place to start. You can certainly add more items to personalize your own first aid kit. You can even buy assembled kits from a shop or online.
If this guide has taught you anything thus far, it is that before you set out camping, you need to prepare yourself for what you may experience. Part of that preparation is checking the weather reports to know what temperature and elements are out there waiting for you. With more and more people enjoying camping all throughout the year, it is essential that you keep an eye on the weather.
Here are some ways you can prepare for weather changes:
What if you’re camping in the frigid cold of winter or the overwhelming heat of summer? How do you stay warm or cool?
How to stay warm in winter?
If you’re camping in cold weather, here’s what you can do to stay warm.
How to stay cool in summer?
Want to sleep warm? Here’s how.
For staying cool during the blazing summer heat, here’s what you can do.
And that’s all for now folks! We hope you find this guide comprehensive and helpful as you prepare to go on your first camping adventure. There’s a whole beautiful world of amazing experiences out there waiting for you. Our purpose in creating this guide is to ensure you enjoy as many of them as you can. Ciao for now!
If you like it don't forget to pin it.