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Ahhh, Camping -- Bugs, Dirt, and Rain

By Sandyra(45)

If you aren't prepared for any eventuality, camping can be a miserable experience.  However, if you follow a few simple steps, camping can be a very rewarding, refreshing experience for you and your family.

What to take can be divided into a few main categories:

1.  Shelter - check BEFORE you go that you have all the tent pegs and poles.  Also, BUY A TARP.  I have seen so many people get wet in the rain in the middle of the night and then have to dry out all their clothes in the morning.  Not a good experience, believe me.  The tarp should be big enough to stretch over the tent from ground level to ground level.  With that over your tent and something between you and the ground, you should stay dry in the worst weather.  Note: Take at least one good knife.  Without it, you'll be very unhappy.

2.  Water - Know if where you are going has drinkable water.  In any case, it is a good idea to bring bottled water, at least a half gallon per person per day.  If you are backpacking you must bring a water purifier or boil your water.  Giardia can now be found even in the most remote streams.  Don't drink out of any stream except in a life or death situation.

3.  Fire - Bring matches, a cigarette lighter, and/or a barbecue lighter.  Bring more than one way of lighting a fire.  Bring wood if possible.  Also, make sure you have more than one flashlight and extra batteries.  Take a lantern if possible.

4.  Food - Plan your meals ahead.  Bring your favorite foods.  Take extra food and snacks because campers get mighty hungry.  Be sure to take pots, a frying pan, utensils for cooking and eating, biodegradable soap, and perhaps a grill.  Take a dishcloth and scrubber for washing and a towel for drying.  Don't forget the plates and cups!  Be sure to hang your food out of reach of animals or put it in a bear-safe bin.  You can put it in your car, but bears have been known to tear cars apart trying to get at the food.

5.  Comfort - Many extra items can make the difference between a so-so campout and a great one.  Take bug repellent, sunscreen, chapstick, a comb, toothbrush, a warm jacket, good walking shoes or boots, a few changes of clothes, some books, nature guides, games for the kids, rope, air mattresses, pillows, chairs, and a first aid kit.

Remember that National Parks campgrounds need to be reserved months in advance.  Now is the time to do it, if you aren't already too late.  Many privately-owned campgrounds can provide easy access to National Parks as well.

Of course, then there's my favorite: finding an isolated (legal) spot on the ground and just setting up camp.  Your ears will ring with the silence.  This is the absolute pinnacle of camping.  Make sure you have some experience before trying this.

If you are new to camping, read a couple of books about it or go online and research it.  If you're an old-timer like me, don't get complacent.  You can forget things just like I have, no matter how much experience you have.

Happy camping!

This Blog Post has been read 12 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Monday, January 01, 2007
View other posts by Sandyra

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