With the hustle and bustle of modern day living, it can be great to escape the bright lights and sounds for a little while. People get caught up in modern technology and don’t stop to appreciate the world around them. Camping is a great way to separate yourself from your troubles. For a weekend, you can escape binging on Netflix and being bored, and even reap some long-term benefits.
Spending time in nature has a therapeutic effect. Fresh air is good for the body and soul, and spending time away from the rest of the world can do wonders for depression and anxiety. You can also explore nature, burning away Friday’s pizza and discovering some beautiful sights. With the absence of light, you’ll see the stars like you’ve never seen before. Nature can truly seem like a whole new world.
If you want to experience nature in a new way, but haven’t ever camped before, you’re in the right place. It can be intimidating to go into the forest and survive without modern conveniences. However, if equipped with enough knowledge, you can camp like a pro the first time around.
Here are some of the most important do’s and don’ts of camping. Be sure to keep them in mind to stay safe, comfortable, and to protect the environment for others.
Plan Your Trip
As exciting as a surprise camping trip may be, you’re going to want to plan out your trip. You should scout out locations and their weather conditions to know what to pack. You should also find out about any camping grounds that are available, or if you will have to make your own.
Dress for the Environment
Even though you may have some luxuries, camping can still be “roughing it.” As long as you are staying outside, the weather will be a major factor of your comfort. Be sure to dress lightly to avoid overheating, or bundle up for when the sun goes down.
Bring More than Enough Food & Water
Remember the 3-3-3 rule: 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. While the trees have you covered with the oxygen, you’re still going to need food and water. If you aren’t a survivalist, chances are you won’t be finding these yourself. Always be sure to bring enough food and water to keep you healthy and safe.
Gear Up for Safety & Comfort
Just because you’re staying outside doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. You can bring supplies like a sleeping mat to ensure you get a decent amount of sleep. Toiletries are also never a bad idea. Don’t forget to bring safety supplies, such as a knife, fire starter, and a form of emergency contact in case something goes wrong.
Bring a Friend or 3
The tranquility of nature can be great, but if you camp alone you may get bored. Camping is more fun with friends. You’ll also be safer in case something goes wrong, and you have someone to tell campfire stories to!
Tell Someone Your Plan
Never plan a trip – especially outdoors – without telling someone. If something goes wrong, time will be the primary factor in whether or not you survive, so the sooner you can get help the better.
Leave Your Garbage Around
This is the cardinal sin of camping. Many campgrounds are shared by other campers, and leaving your trash around does nothing but harm the environment and inconvenience others. Clean up after yourself.
Keep Your Food at Your Campsite
Bears can be a very real problem for campers, especially when they smell food. Be sure to cook away from your camp, and store food somewhere safe. Otherwise, you may get a surprise visit from a 600-pound monster.
Leave Your Fire Unattended
When you’re camping, chances are that you’re surrounded by foliage. In dry months especially, this makes your environment highly flammable. Leaving fire unattended poses a risk of a wildfire.
Show Up at Night
Newer campers who are setting up a camp will likely struggle with pitching their tent and other setup. Add in darkness with no city lights around you, and you’ve got a bit of a struggle on your hands. Get to the camp site early so you have enough time to prepare for the night.
Noise or Light Pollute
More often than not, you will be sharing the forest with someone else. It’s great to have a good time, but keep in mind others are likely enjoying nature as well. Keep noise to a minimum, and limit the amount of light you put out at night. It makes it harder to see the stars.
Damage the Environment
This goes without saying, but nature is fragile. The rocks, trees, and other features have likely been there for longer than you’ve been alive. Defacing them for your own amusement is just plain wrong, and trampling over plants and flowers takes away from the beauty you’re supposed to be appreciating.
That’s it! Now that you know how to be a model camper, you can start planning your next trip. Whether it’s alone or with your whole family, local or a drive away, camping is something everyone can enjoy.
Remember: Everyone who is going camping wants to enjoy nature as much as you do. A little common courtesy and respect for the forest can go a long way.