Technology is an amazing thing, letting us live lives of comfort and keep in contact with friends and family all over the globe. The downside is it is very easy to find yourself isolated from people who are near to you and out of touch with yourself. Camping is a great way to connect with friends and family and to give yourself a break from the LCD glow that surrounds us even while we sleep.
One of the great things about camping is that it is something that you can tailor to suit almost every taste. If you just want a change of scenery, you can go with very comfortable, well appointed campers and travel trailers. If you want something a little more traditional but still want the comfort of a hot shower, many campgrounds offer modern amenities. If you want to go totally rustic you find places suited for that as well, right down to simply stating out a spot in a State Forest and having to purify water and forage for food. Regardless of how you choose to camp, there are a few tips that are almost always useful.
Preparation – nothing spoils a trip faster than finding out you forgot something important. We like to keep our gear packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Every time we return from a trip, everything is taken out, cleaned and repacked. Depending on the style that you choose, make sure that you have a supply of the basics, stowed away to keep them protected.
Another great way to simplify your trip is to prepare your meals ahead of time as much as possible. Chop veggies and potatoes ahead of time, you save on time and space. If you plan your meals ahead of time, you can freeze the meats you won’t use right away. They will help keep the rest of your food cold and reduce your chance of food borne illness by staying cold longer.
Planning – do some scouting on where you would like to camp. Many popular campgrounds are booked months in advance, especially on holiday weekends. Make sure you pick a location with activities that your group will enjoy. Besides the obvious things like hiking or fishing, camping can be a fun way to closer to popular attractions or save money on a long road trip.
Most campgrounds have maps online, look and see how close the campsites are together. If a campground is packed in tight and very crowded, you may end up wishing you’d have stayed home if you are looking for a little solitude. Look at the services available at a particular site. If a site has large spots for RVs or campers, but no electric hookups, you may end up next to someone who is running a generator, which will spoil your ambiance.
Prevention – campgrounds attract animals and they are much cleverer than you think about getting into your stuff. If you are backpacking, if you keep your site clean and if you aren’t in a spot that is camped at a lot, a simple food cache will usually be enough. Keep your food in a separate bag, tie a long length of rope to it and hang it from a tree branch large enough to support it and keep a bear from pushing it over, but small enough that it can’t be climbed.
If you are in a campground and near your vehicle, simply put your food back into your vehicle and roll up the window. Keeping strong smelling food in a Ziploc bag can also help avoid having your meals destroyed. DO NOT put your food in your tent, not only will you have your food eaten, you will also very likely have your tents and sleeping bags destroyed as well.
Camping is one of our family’s favorite activities and properly planned it is extremely enjoyable. If you don’t plan, however, it can be a miserable experience that can spoil it for a lifetime. The time spent away from the rush of everyday life is the perfect way to bring friends and family close together and be an ongoing tradition.