Exploring the great outdoors is not only fun, but also offers many health benefits. It can reduce stress, provide exercise, help you sleep and boost your vitamin D. In fact, millions of people in America go camping every year, while others enjoy outdoor hiking trails and nature parks. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a camping trip.
Choose Beginner Camping Gear
Before you go out and buy camping gear, ask yourself if you plan to share your tent with others, what your budget is, and if you want to grow your camping skills.
A tent is the single most important purchase for your first outdoor camping experience. Choose one that is larger than you need, so you have extra room inside. Also, buy a quality sleeping pad to provide cushioning between you and the ground.
The next item on the gear list is a sleeping bag. Buy a down-filled bag to keep you warm in colder temperatures. In warmer weather, unzip it or sleep on top with a light blanket.
Get a camp chair. You will need it to sit around the campfire. Also bring flashlights, a lantern and a headlamp to see your way around at night.
Bring or purchase kitchen items. Invest in a propane camping stove. Inexpensive, unbreakable dishware, cutlery, a few pots and pans, a couple of mugs, and a reusable water bottle are other items you will need. A cast iron skillet is also useful if you have one.
Wear Proper Clothing
Make sure you dress for the weather. Put on layers and wear odor-resistant, quick-drying clothing made from merino wool or polyester blends. Stay away from heavy, moisture-absorbing materials like cotton and denim. Also, invest in a good pair of hiking boots. Throw in a rain jacket, too and a pair of long underwear for cold nights.
Don’t Forget to Pack the Food
Plan your meals. There are many great camping recipes to choose from. Opt for one-pot meals that don’t require too many perishable ingredients. Bring an insulated cooler for eggs, meat and dairy. Bring fresh food, snacks and prepackaged food as well. Don’t forget the marshmallows to roast over the fire. If you are a coffee drinker, bring some along with hot cocoa to warm up.
Keep Bears Away
To Bear-proof your campsite, store all your food in a bear vault or food locker to keep the animals from invading your stash. Make sure you are familiar with the bear situation at the campground you’re at and how to react if you see one. Here are a few other tips that can help you.
Do not run. Stand your ground. Try to appear large by holding up your arms and jacket, or stand on a rock or stump. Back away only when the bear stops approaching you. Make noise to intimidate the bear and scare it off. If you have bear spray, spray it directly at the bear.
Other Camping Essentials
A first-aid kit is a must to have while you are camping in case of an injury. Also, bring bug spray and stay hydrated. Take a look at the weather forecast before you head out.
Being outdoors is a great way to enjoy fresh air and nature, spend time with family and friends, and just relax. With a little planning and preparation, you can ensure your first camping trip is one to remember.
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