With the hectic life many of us lead it would certainly be great to just “get away” from civilization and have fun in the wild outdoors. How many of us really know what to do when we get there or what to take with us in the “survival pack”? Camping can be a really refreshing lift to life, but roughing it may not come without some sort of price. Adequate preparation is a must and may prevent your trip into the wilds from becoming a disaster.
Some things to take care of before you leave:
The preparation you do may mean the difference from really enjoying your trip to actually roughing it and trying to survive. One of the primary things you should do is scout out the area you want to camp in. Look at the demands of the environment and available natural resources. The area you go to will determine what supplies and gear you will need to take with you.
When you know where you will be going you have to select the type of shelter you will need. Are you sleeping in the open or using a tent? What type of tent you select will have a direct impact on how comfortable and dry you will be if it rains. You may need to get a tent with windows and ventilation and waterproofing. Then once you purchase the tent, practice setting it up several times. This will give you an idea of what tools you will need to take with you. Doing this will also give you a great idea about the functionality and usage for your tent. You may also need to take some spare parts for the tent incase of breakage or damage to some parts.
When you have your living accommodations prepared you must next look to the provisions you will take with you. What type of food and beverages will you need on a daily basis? Will you be preparing each meal cold or hot? You may also want to pack a couple days more provisions for any emergency that may arise. Make sure you have snack foods that will provide you with a high energy source. Camping and hiking are activities that require a lot of energy, maybe much more than you usually expend in your normal activities. Ideas may be dried fruits, nuts, and high energy bars.
Next would be to look at what you would take beyond the necessities of food and shelter. Are you prepared for any cold or wet weather? When you look at the area you are going to look at the weather that may occur when you get there and be prepared for a change. Several places I have been the weather changed very suddenly and caught me off guard. Pack a variety of clothing and prepare to dress in layers if you have to. You will need to pack a hat of some sort to protect you from the sun or rain. Some type of rain gear would be advisable. You will need to take a close look at what type of activities you will be doing on your trip.
Bring along some good sunscreen. Even in the winter time a person can get a sun burn. You may want to get some type of bug repellant also. Don’t combine the sunscreen and bug repellant as sunscreen may have to be used more frequently.
The emergency kit:
A well equipped emergency kit may be as necessary as food and water on your trip. Some items to consider are: flashlights (with extra batteries), a whistle, a cell phone, a thermal reflective blanket, waterproof matches, bottled water, map and compass, extra dry food, wood cutting tool, a radio (either battery or solar powered), heavy duty bear pepper spray (1 or 2 cans), a survival knife (some have various attachments), some length of nylon rope, and a well stocked first aid kit. The first aid kit should contain (at a minimum) sterile gauze, antiseptic wipes, calamine lotion, adhesive strips and bandages, butterfly closures, sterile eye pads, adhesive tape, tweezers, scissors, several pairs of disposable latex gloves, a snake-bite kit, alcohol wipes, antihistamines, any prescribed medications that may keep you alive.
Always tell friends or family members where you are going and your expected time of return.
Safety on your trip
Having the right supplies and camping gear is a part of a good camping trip experience. You may want to keep in mind the following:
* Do not camp or hike alone–use the buddy system.
* Do not leave your camping gear unattended.
* Park in a spacious area to avoid getting blocked in–in case of emergency.
* Carry a can or two of bear pepper spray when hiking–for use on bears or other animals. It works on them just as it does on humans.
* Tightly seal all food and garbage in a double layer plastic garbage bag and suspend from a tree high enough to keep the animals out.
* Avoid bright colors clothing, perfumes, and aftershave cologne–helps stop bugs from bothering you.
* Wear light colored clothing that covers your body to help protect you from ticks.
* Avoid plants in three-leaf clusters–these may be poison ivy.
Camping can be a very enjoyable experience. It can be a remedy for the hectic life-style you lead today and lower your stress level. Advanced preparation will prepare you for many contingencies, but no one can prepare for everything. Use common sense when you prepare and your camping or hiking trip will be enjoyable and safe.