When I first started this blog five and a half years ago, I frequently posted about camping. More recently, I’ve narrowed my focus to gardening and books, with the occasional rambling or rant.
However, today I’m featuring a guest post by Jamie Strand about readiness for camping. If you’ve never camped before and aren’t sure where to start, be sure and save this article! The characters in my Seed Savers series certainly had to be prepared on their many adventures. 🙂
Photo by Pixabay
The Three Ps of Camping: Planning, Preparation and Problem Solving
by Jamie Strand
Clean breezes, crisp air, starry nights around a campfire, and the sounds of stillness and quiet: for many people, camping is both relaxing and an adventure. Millions of Americans take to the great outdoors each year, taking both active and restful trips into nature.
A camping trip needs some considerable planning, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It’s a fun and affordable way for friends and families to take a vacation filled with new experiences and adventures. But like many adventures, you have to balance fun and safety. When you’re camping, you are tucked away from civilization, where phones and GPS devices may not be reliable.
That’s why you can’t just toss a tent in your trunk and take off. Camping requires planning, preparation and problem solving. Take the time before the trip to get everything in order so you can enjoy the experience with fewer obstacles.
When you chose to camp during a specific time of year, the weather could have been predictable — but don’t expect Mother Nature to listen to weather forecasters. Plan for fluctuations in temperature and weather patterns so you can pack the right clothing layers for rain and sun, and chilly mornings or warmer afternoons.
You’ll also need to plan for meals. If you’re car camping, you might bring along a grill or a portable stove. If you’re backpacking, you might rely on a campfire or a small can stove. Once you know your method of cooking, you’ll know what food to pack. Be sure to consider wildfires when planning for meals. All it takes is one burst of wind or one unattended smoldering coal to start a fire that can race through thousands of acres. Be sure to check the level of risk for wildfires before you go and if you smell smoke while camping, it’s best to pack up quickly and get back on the road.
Next, you’ll want to prepare for the activities you plan to do, keeping safety in mind. Make sure your first-aid kit is well-stocked and easy to access. If you’re going to be hiking, be sure to pack a smaller, portable kit that can help with blisters, cuts and bug bites. If you can fit an extra pair of socks in your pack, along with a map and a compass, you’ll be well-prepared for any curve balls nature might toss your way. If you plan on bringing your four-legged companion along, you’ll want to make sure he is prepared too by making sure his vaccinations are updated and his overnight bag is packed with all the essentials such as food, treats, water, bedding, waste bags, leashes, and any necessary medications.
It’s also important to research the specific wildlife live in the areas where you’ll be camping and hiking. For instance, some areas might have bears, but not all bears behave the same. Small little black bears might root around your campsite food storage, but they’ll run away if confronted. It’s a good idea to have coolers that lock and hang your garbage high in a tree. Grizzly Bears can be more aggressive, so you need to give them space. If you’re taking your canine best friend with you, it’s a good idea to research how wild animals in the area might react to Fido’s presence.
It’s been raining and you can’t find enough dry wood to get the campfire started. You accidentally kicked over your cooler and spilled more than half the trip’s drinking water. The campsite is more primitive than you thought — and you’re out in the woods doing what bears do but with no toilet paper.
It’s inevitable — you’re going to forget something. Something isn’t going to go as planned. The most important thing to do is to not panic. With the right planning and preparation, a little problem solving can go a long way. If you prepared to use a campfire properly, you might have packed firestarters. Those can help get tinder burning quickly and brightly. If you run out of water you have options for purification — like chemical tablets, filters and boiling.
Camping trip contingencies can happen. An unexpected rain or snow storm can blow through and you’re without warmer clothes. You can blow out the sole of your hiking boot and still have miles to go. Or, in those scariest of moments, you forgot the chocolate bars for the s’mores. Stay calm and think through the situation. If you’ve planned and prepared, then problem solving will be a breeze.
Find out more at Jamie’s website: http://scicamps.org