Camping can be one of life’s great joys. Or it can be just about the worst thing one could hope to experience on a weekend. If you’re reading this post, it’s likely that you aren’t an experienced woodsman, but you wish to make an ambitious hiking excursion at some time in the near future. You want to prepare for the best, and the worst, so that you master the journey with health and happiness intact. We’re going to give you some great tips to accomplish just that. Let’s get adventuring!
Have the Basics More Than Covered
When you camp, you’ll need to eat and drink. You’ll also need a dry and warm place to sleep. If you plan to feed yourself in the field, fishing or hunting, make sure to carry along emergency rations so you don’t get the munching if the trout don’t bite. Jerky is a lightweight protein that can be rehydrated over a campfire. Cured meats like bacon and sausage will keep for a few hours prior to cooking, and pair well with endless vegetables.
Make sure to back wood-grade bug spray (preferably with DEET) to keep away mosquitoes and ticks. Similarly, invest in sunscreen that will protect your skin for at least an hour of time spent out in the sun, and don’t forget to re-apply, especially if you are out in the summer elements.
For water, you should bring at least a gallon to drink as you walk. Sanitizing tablets to make water from lakes and streams potable is another option, as are the world-class water filters that will make just about anything safe to drink. You may have to rely on this latter type of gear to purify the water you find in the field, especially if you are traveling alone and do not wish to be bogged down with heavy gallons of water.
Finally, ensure that you have more than enough in the way of tents, sleeping bags, tarps, mosquito nets, and pillows. If you are unaccustomed to sleeping on the ground, understand how difficult it may be to fall asleep, and bring along a sleep aid if you think you might need it.
Be Prepared for Emergencies… and Non-Emergencies
If you are journeying far away from civilization, prepare for emergencies accordingly. Consider bringing along a simple solar panel phone charger, so you can always call for help if the worst should happen. Make sure to carry along one or more fire-starting methods, such as wind-proof matches and mechanical firestarters (with flint and steel built in). Always carry a knife, whether you’re anticipating emergencies or not, and consider larger blades like a hatchet or machete if you plan to build a shelter, gather wood for multiple hours of fires, or fight through dense undergrowth.
A headlamp can be one of the best tools in the field, because it lets you see clearly while leaving both hands free. Always bring a secondary (or tertiary, even) light source, just in case one fails or is broken. Ensure you have a well-stocked first-aid kit on-hand, as well, preferably one outfitted for camping (with flares and sutures, etc.).
Beyond this, make sure you bring along any other item you need for health and happiness, because once you’re out in the field, it’ll be hard to order Amazon Prime. If you’re not going deep into nature, you can perhaps afford to carry a bit more weight to ensure you don’t forget anything, but those going on multi-hour hikes will be forced to be more selective. When all is said and done, it’s your camping trip, so bring what you think you’ll need. But if you cover what has been described so far, you should be well prepared.