Justice is a travel enthusiast that likes spending time outdoors.
Camping can be an amazing vacation experience, but it’s not always fun and games. Some people who have never gone camping before are surprised by how uncomfortable it can be, especially if they choose to camp in the summer months when it’s hot out. The right camping tips can ensure that you make the most of your camping trip and enjoy yourself, even if it’s during the summer heat. These are the 10 best camping tips you can use to have an enjoyable trip.
1) Pack essential items
Before you pack your car to the brim with gear, make a list of essential items that you'll need for your trip. This includes items like a tent, sleeping bags, food and water, cookware, a first-aid kit, and clothes. Once you have your essentials sorted, you can start packing the rest of your gear. Packing at least one set of clothes in each person's bag will save you time if anything gets dirty or wet during your trip. You should also bring plenty of snacks in case you find yourself hungry during the day or night.
If you're camping near a lake or river, fishing gear is great to have on hand as well. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes while hiking around so that you don't hurt your feet or step on any sharp objects hidden under leaves. Finally, be sure to take along some form of entertainment like books, games, puzzles, cards, and frisbees so that everyone has something to do.
2) Get a portable hammock
A portable hammock is a great way to relax while camping. You can set it up anywhere, and it's easy to pack up and take with you when you're done. Plus, it's a great way to enjoy the outdoors without having to sleep on the ground. Here are some tips for choosing the best portable hammock:
- Be sure that the straps are long enough for your height so that you don't feel cramped or uncomfortable.
- Consider how much weight the hammock will be able to hold before purchasing one that isn't rated as highly in this area.
- Get one with loops instead of hooks if you want to be able to hang it from trees, posts, or other objects outside of your campsite area.
- Check reviews for reliability. The more reviews there are about a product, the better chance you have of finding out about its strengths and weaknesses.
- Make sure the material is durable since it will be exposed to rain and wind if you leave it outside overnight.
- Ensure that the fabric used doesn't make noise at night by making sure there aren't any loose threads that might rub against each other in high winds.
3) Put on insect repellent
Insect repellent is one of the most important things you can pack when going camping. Not only will it keep the bugs away, but it will also protect you from diseases that insects may carry. Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, and be sure to reapply it throughout the day, especially if you are sweating or swimming. When choosing an insect repellent, look for one that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. These products provide varying degrees of protection; some contain a mix of more than one ingredient, such as 25% DEET mixed with 15% picaridin.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using products containing DEET on children age 2 months to 12 years old; products containing picaridin on children ages 2 months to 12 years old and adults who weigh 100 pounds or less; and products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus on children 6 months to 12 years old.
4) Put up the tent
The first step to a great camping trip is putting up the tent. If you have never done it before, it can seem like a daunting task. But don't worry, we're here to help! Follow these simple steps and you'll have that tent up in no time.
- Clear a flat area of ground where you want to set up your tent.
- Lay out all of the poles, rings, stakes and tie-down cords needed for your particular type of tent.
- Put one pole at each corner of the A frame on the ground and make sure they are all standing upright by pushing them into the ground with your foot or hands.
- Stake down the four corners.
- Place one ring (or buckle) over each stake, but do not tighten yet.
- Bring the two front poles to either side of the tent opening and place a stake about halfway between them on either side of the opening.
- Bring back two rear poles to either side of the tent opening, put a stake about halfway between them on either side of the opening, then secure those stakes as well.
- Now attach the front rings to the opposite sides of the front poles.
- Repeat this process for the rear poles.
- Tighten all straps and use stakes if necessary to keep everything securely staked down.
- Once finished, stand inside your new shelter and feel proud of yourself because you did it!
5) Keep your food safe
The first step to keeping your food safe while camping is to choose the right cooler. A hard-sided cooler is ideal, as it will keep your food cold longer than a soft-sided one. If you're only going camping for a weekend, you can get by with a small cooler. However, if you're planning on staying out for a week or more, you'll need a larger one. Fill your cooler with ice or ice packs and place it in a shady spot.
Pack raw meat, poultry, fish and eggs separately from other foods because they should be cooked before eaten. You may want to invest in reusable produce bags so that you don't have to bring plastic ones into the woods. Make sure you wash all of your fruit and vegetables thoroughly before packing them up. And remember to include plenty of fresh produce like apples, oranges, bananas, carrots and celery when packing food for your cooler! These items are high in vitamin C and potassium which help prevent muscle cramps.
Also, make sure you pack some granola bars to eat while on the trail. Protein-rich snacks will give you sustained energy rather than just short bursts.
6) Use fresh ingredients instead of canned foods
Canned foods are high in sodium and other preservatives that can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable while camping. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats will not only taste better, but they’ll also help you stay healthy and feeling your best.
If the idea of lugging fresh ingredients out to the campsite makes you cringe, consider this: Fruits and veggies freeze well, which means all of the hard work is done before you even leave home! Just put some food on a baking sheet and pop it into the freezer. Then, when it's time to pack up camp at the end of your trip, just grab what you need from the freezer! It'll keep frozen until you're ready to cook them and won't take up any extra space. Plus, since the frozen goods have already been processed, there's no chance of introducing bacteria or mold onto anything else in your cooler bag.
7) Avoid dry foods, such as pretzels and chips
When packing for your trip, avoid dry foods like pretzels and chips. These snacks are more likely to break and become crumbs, which can attract animals. Instead, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables or packaged snacks that won’t make a mess. Be sure to keep all of your food inside the car or in bear-proof containers: Bears have been known to go into cars and steal food left out by humans.
If you're bringing ice chests with you, be sure to keep them in the car or inside bear-proof containers. It's important not to sleep with food either! You should keep any wrappers near the opening of the cooler so they're easy to dispose of when they're needed. Make sure to read over everything on this list before heading out!
8) Prepare meals in advance if possible
One of the best ways to enjoy your camping trip is to have all of your meals prepared in advance. This way, you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors without having to worry about cooking. Plus, it will save you time and money. Here are some tips for preparing meals in advance:
- Make sure to pack your cooler with ice packs or a chiller bag if you don't have electricity at your campsite.
- Cook rice or pasta ahead of time so that they'll be ready when needed.
- Make a meal plan before leaving home: map out what you want to cook on each day of the trip and how much food each recipe requires.
- Do a grocery run before leaving: Buy what's needed for those recipes so that there won't be any last minute trips to the store during the trip! Check out this blog post on making spaghetti salad, which is easy to prepare ahead of time and perfect for camping trips!
- Bring along pre-cooked bacon strips to add flavor to hot dogs or other main dishes.
- Prepare cans of soup or stew by pouring them into disposable pans or pots so that they're easy to transport and heat up over a campfire.
- For items like applesauce and tomato sauce, use pouches rather than jars because they're lighter weight and easier to transport.
9) Practice Leave No Trace principles
One of the best ways to enjoy your time camping is to practice the Leave No Trace principles. This means leaving your campsite as clean or cleaner than you found it. It also means being aware of your impact on the environment and taking steps to minimize it. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
- Plan ahead and set up camp before dark so you have plenty of daylight to find firewood, choose a good spot, and avoid trampling sensitive plants.
- Use a stove rather than a campfire whenever possible. You'll need less wood, there's no smoke, it's safer (there's no chance of sparks setting something on fire), and you don't need to worry about putting out the fire in the morning because stoves can be turned off with their knobs like any other gas appliance at home.
- Clean up after yourself by packing out anything you brought into the wilderness and disposing of anything leftover.
- When using soap or detergent in streams, lakes, rivers, or ponds never pour them directly into water sources but instead dilute them first by mixing them with water in a bucket then pour them from the bucket into the water source from several feet away.
- Pack out what you bring in by carrying trash back to civilization with you when you leave; never bury trash where it will become part of nature such as near springs and waterways.
10) Take comfortable shoes
One of the most important things to remember when packing for a camping trip is to bring comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking, and you want to make sure your feet are supported. There are a few things to look for in a good camping shoe: breathability, support, and traction.
Breathability ensures that your feet stay cool on hot days and warm on cold days. Support means that your ankles and arches are protected. Traction should be non-slip so that you can confidently walk around campsites or hike down steep trails without worrying about slipping. If it rains, it's also good to have waterproof boots so that water won't seep into your shoes from the bottom up.
© 2022 Justice Ndlovu