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Important Items to Bring On Your First Camping Trip

Important Items to Bring On Your First Camping Trip

Ah, the great outdoors.

If you’ve always wanted to go camping but never actually have, you might think it’s as simple as buying a tent and sleeping bag and heading out to the middle of nowhere. While you can absolutely do this if you so choose, you’d be better off making the transition from modern to primitive living as easy as possible.

Once you know what you’re doing as far as camping goes you can start roughing it. But for the time being, make sure you bring the following items:

Cleanliness, Safety, and Comfort Items

Maybe you want to “get away from it all,” but that doesn’t mean you need to be uncomfortable while spending some time out in nature.

A tent is never enough to keep you safe from the elements. A strong wind or a sudden downpour is enough to ruin your camping trip if you’re not prepared. Bring tarps and ground cloths to avoid leakage from above and below. As long as you know how to properly batten down the hatches, you should be able to weather the storm.

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You might think it’s silly to bring a dustpan and brush along with you on a camping trip, but think about it: At the end of a day spent kicking up mud, you’ll look forward to laying down in a comfortable and clean sleeping bag, right? You’ll want to be able to brush out any leaves, sticks, and dirt that have collected at the entrance of your tent so you can sleep in peace.

Similarly, you should absolutely bring a tablecloth and bench covers on your camping trip. Your table will undoubtedly collect a bunch of nature throughout the day, but if it’s covered it’ll be much easier to brush off when you sit down to eat. And since it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, you can feel free to eat as sloppily as you want!

Extra Food and Drink

Speaking of eating, make sure you bring enough food.

You’re probably thinking “I know that, I’m not stupid.” But when I say “bring enough food,” what I mean is “Think of what you imagine to be ‘enough food’ and bring much, much more.”

Think of all that could go wrong – food dropping on the ground, getting burnt, or going bad before your trip is over. When these things happen at home, it’s easy to reach into the cupboard and grab something else or head to a fast food joint. When you’re out in the middle of nowhere with a finite food supply, the hot dog you just dropped in the fire might be your only option.

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Think of all the other things that go with eating, too. You know you’ll need disposable silverware, cups, and plates, along with napkins and paper towels. You’ll also need cooking utensils, bottle and can openers, and storage containers for leftovers, to name a few things. You don’t have to bring literally everything but the kitchen sink, but you might want to come close to it.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, do not forget about water. Whether you bring cases of store-bought water or a jug to fill with potable water from the campground’s source (using filters, of course), you’ll need water to drink, cook with, and wash up throughout your day. Water is one of those things that often goes overlooked until you don’t have any of it. Don’t let that happen.

Toiletries

Even though you might want to leave your razor at home and grow out a Mountain Man beard, there are definitely a few toiletries you should bring with you to stay comfortable while camping.

You’re obviously going to want to bring the basics: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. You use these things every day, so it’s unlikely you’ll forget them on your camping trip.

But think of the toiletries you really only use when you need them, such as chapstick, lotion, and sunscreen. These aren’t exactly necessities, but it’s always when you don’t have access to them that you end up needing them the most. And if anything can ruin an outdoor excursion, it’s a scorching case of sunburn.

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Extra Clothing

As with food and toiletries, you’re likely to realize you forgot a specific article of clothing right when you need it the most on your camping trip.

The worst thing you can do is not pack warm clothes because the forecast calls for sunny skies and 90° weather. Whether you believe in the spirit world or not, by leaving your hoodie and sweatpants (not to mention raincoat) at home, you’re jinxing yourself and everyone around you.

You don’t have to pack a lot of clothes – you’re just going to get them dirty, so don’t feel like you’ll need to put on clean clothes every day. But you should definitely bring one of everything.

Okay, so you might not need a winter jacket in July. But you’ll probably need wool socks and long johns at night.

Don’t overestimate the weather, or your ability to make it through a cold night with a T-shirt and shorts. Just bring the extra clothes. If you need them, they’re there.

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Recreational Items

Camping is a lot of work, but once you’re all set up you should spend the majority of your time relaxing and having fun.

Use this time to do all the things you always say you love to do but never actually spend time doing. Bring a coloring book and some colored pencils. Break out your old baseball glove. Restring your acoustic guitar and practice playing some campfire songs.

One of the best parts of camping is you’ll have to unplug for a little while. Bring a deck of cards or some board games that you only take out at home when you lose power during a thunderstorm. If you’re bringing your kids, teach them the importance of finding something to do that doesn’t involve electronics.

The most important thing to remember when camping is to enjoy yourself. You deserve it.

Featured photo credit: Camping / Wim Bollein / Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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