Camping is a unique experience. Most people either love it or hate it, there’s not a lot of ground in between these two extremes.
But let’s just suppose for a moment that you don’t have a lot of experience with camping, but someone near and dear to you does, and he or she wants to take you along for the event.
Keep in mind, there’s a big difference between how to survive regular or summer camping and how to survive winter camping. With that said, some basics will hold true for both.
How to Survive Winter Camping or Summer Camping
Here’s how you can survive camping in all seasons:
1. Pack a Good First Aid Kit
This includes any medicines you habitually take.
Other items should include medication for insect bites, anything you need for allergies, antiseptic, band-aids, bandages, surgical tape, disinfectant, sunscreen, and something for burns. Bandage scissors.
2. Take a Sewing Kit
Needles and a good grade of thread can double as part of your first aid kit. However, your first aid kit should not double as your sewing kit.
In addition to the needles and thread, bring a good pair of small sewing scissors, assorted sizes of safety pins, a small paper of straight pins, and a spool of heavy cord. If the weather is cold, a wardrobe malfunction is more than an embarrassment.
Another way to save yourself the trouble of having to sew on your camping trip is to get yourself a few good quality patriotic t-shirts, that are not only functional pieces of clothing for any camping trip but a way to assert your love for the country and its wonderful nature.
3. Pack Plenty of Water
It will get lighter as your day goes by. Too frequently, you’ll wish you had more.
4. Select Lightweight Food That Can Be Eaten Cold or Hot
MREs are good, dried camping food, beef jerky, or survival bars. Avoid items that are extremely sweet or salty, unless you are packing emergency sweets for someone with a blood sugar condition.
If there will be children at the party, include easy-to-eat familiar foods. Avoid traditional picnic/cookout foods as these are often loaded with salt and sugar.
5. Wear a Wide Brimmed Hat
In summer, it will keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes. In spring, fall, and winter, it can act as a small umbrella. You can add a scarf or stocking cap for warmth if needed.
6. Wear a Bandana as a Neckerchief
It can act as a filter for smoke or dust, or a facemask when going to the store if social distancing is in effect. Pack several extras, and/or several large, white men’s handkerchiefs.
They can be used to mop perspiration, act as a strainer, or used to wipe noses. They can be laundered and reused, even at your campsite.
7. Coffee Pot or Tea Kettle for Heating Water
Also, a pot of suitable size to cook soup or stew for the number of people in your party.
Lightweight, inexpensive metal plates, cups, and flatware are easier to carry than large stacks of paper plates. Be sure to include at least one good, sharp knife.
The dishes can be washed and reused. If you’re short on water, scour your cookware with ashes, sand, or leaves after use; then wipe with a damp cloth.
8. Pack a Seasonally Appropriate Sleeping Bag or Bedroll
This includes an insulated sleeping mat, for each family member. Avoid inflatables, instead, go for the dense foam mats that resemble a yoga exercise mat.
The bedding can be placed side by side if security and comfort are an issue. A large plastic tarp makes a good ground cloth, and can be made into a wind-resistant tent, if necessary.
9. A Tent is a Plus
Size it for the number of people who will be using it, and practice putting it up in your backyard before you go.
A tent defines an area for young children, helps provide one bug-free space, and is warmer than sleeping in the open.
10. If You Are Camping with a Baby or Young Child
Consider how you will carry your little one. Body wearing or backpacking baby is usually a better choice than carrying your child in your arms.
Consider a safety harness for mobile under-threes. Toddlers move faster than thought when you are distracted.
11. Take a Sit-Upon with a Strap Supported Back
Your backside and back will thank you. You cannot always count on a campsite to be furnished with seating and tables.
12. Only Use Tent Heaters Inside a Tent That is Rated as Fire Resistant
A small, weatherwise tent with the right number of people in it will be reasonably warm in most situations. Avoid sleeping with any kind of heater in operation.
Camping can be a lot of fun, but it’s more fun when you have the right equipment. When planning, consider how you’ll get to your campsite.
If you’ll drive a car right to your set-up location, you can bring almost anything you like. If you must pack your equipment even so much as a quarter of a mile, you will want to be careful about how much your gear will weigh, balancing camp comfort against hiking comfort.
For families with young children, car camping, that’s camping where you can drive right up to the site, is probably a more practical choice than hiking and backpacking.
Your vehicle provides a place to retreat in the event of inclement weather, excessive bugs, or safety issues such as unexpected wildlife. Families or groups that include older children or no children, might find the adventure of hiking away from the beaten path more attractive than car camping.
Regardless of who’s going or how experienced the members of the party are, good planning goes a long way toward making going camping fun. Since fun is usually the goal of a camping expedition, keeping the likes and dislikes, as well as physical requirements in mind, will go a long way toward creating a pleasant experience.