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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 February 12, 2019

12 Things That May Cause Breast Cancer You Should Avoid

12 Things That May Cause Breast Cancer You Should Avoid

I’m a hypochondriac. Always have been since I was a child. One of my biggest fears as an adult is getting breast cancer. I visited my gynecologist a few months ago and asked what I could do to help prevent getting breast cancer. You know what she said? Nothing. According to this recommended OB/GYN doctor, besides regular check-ups to see if I already had breast cancer, there was nothing I could do to prevent a cancer that impacts 1 in 8 U.S. women.

BS.

After heavily researching breast cancer, I found out that I was making quite a few mistakes with my everyday activities. Here are 12 things that may cause breast cancer that you should avoid.

Buying Deodorant Without Checking the Label

I actually have a good friend who is more of a hypochondriac than I am, so I went to her with my concerns about breast cancer. She took me into the bathroom and thrust her deodorant at me. While at first I was confused and slightly offended, she explained that I should start using a different deodorant because the mass-produced ones at the store have ingredients (ie aluminum –based compounds) I can’t afford to put under my armpits and so close to my breasts. Luckily, she had an extra Tom’s natural deodorant to give me.

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There might not be any “conclusive” research that links antiperspirants to breast cancer but better safe than sorry.

Using Chemical Hair Dye

I know so many people who dye their hair every few months using the cheap boxed dyes you can buy at the store. Sure, it can be fun but it’s like playing Russian Roulette because the dyes you use most likely contain carcinogens. The National Cancer Institute even warns against the practice of just picking out a hair dye willy-nilly. So the next time you do it, go to a health foods market and find the most naturally-based hair dye you can.

Smoking

Regarding my visit to the gynecologist, she did come back after our conversation a few minutes later and asked if I smoked or drank a lot of alcohol. I said no (I don’t think any true hypochondriac can do either of those things). “You’ll be fine then,” she said. But she forgot about second-hand smoke, which can be just as dangerous. Now, I won’t go near anyone if they’re lighting up, including my BFF’s boyfriend. He can get as mad as he wants; my health is more important!

Wearing the Wrong Bra Size

When an organization devoted to protecting women against breast cancer suggests you get fitted with the right bra, you take notice. Bras that are too small or big might pose a risk because they just aren’t supportive on the breast tissue or if they are too tight they will cut off drainage of the lymph fluid. Hey, it was a great excuse to head to Victoria’s Secret to get measured.

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If I had my choice though, I would go all-natural and join the bra burners of the 60s (however, my mom was a bra burner, so that might make it a little awkward).

Using Chemical Household Cleaners

If the cabinet under your kitchen sink looks like most, there are enough chemicals to make all sorts of crazy things. And yes, as you and I suspected, those chemicals are REALLY bad. Not only are they connected with breast cancer, they are connected with other kinds of cancers, as well as chronic conditions like migraines, allergies and more. So from now on, clean with vinegar, baking soda and other materials that aren’t going to give you a medical nightmare.

Using Mothballs

When I was a little kid, I learned to use mothballs. They actually remind me of my grandmother, bless her heart. Little did I know that they are filled with chemicals that have been connected with breast cancer development. Looks like I’ll be looking for an alternative, like cedar chips. Sorry, Grammy!

Putting Non-Organic Make-Up on My Face

I won’t tell you the foundation I use, but I will tell you that after I read the ingredients, I promptly threw it away. It was chock full of all sorts of nasty things like parabens, which have been found en masse in tissue samples that came from breast cancer patients. I can still wear make-up, though. A trip to my local whole foods store was all it took to come up with organic-based, paraben-free cover-up.

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Neglecting My Physical Health

In my research, I discovered losing weight is a good way to ward off breast cancer since there have been indications of a link between being overweight and being diagnosed with this type of cancer. That’s all the motivation I need to get off the couch and head to the gym.

Drinking Alcohol

Like I mentioned above, alcohol has never been my drink of choice but basically everyone else I know highly enjoys their beer. Yet alcohol is super problematic if you want to avoid breast cancer, liver cancer and heart cancer. In a global study, over 21 percent of alcohol related deaths were because of cancer. I’m hoping for a soon-to-be revolution that swaps alcohol for tea (healthier and less expensive) when it comes to social drinking. Tea time anyone?

De-Odorizing My House With Air Fresheners

I love a clean-smelling house and car, but the air fresheners I’ve been using contain phthalates, a type of plasticizing chemical. Phthalates have been found in air fresheners because they help create a long-lasting fragrance. Unfortunately, that fragrance could be deadly. Looks like I’ll be boiling some water, cinnamon sticks and cloves on the stovetop to make my house smell really amazing!

Storing Everything in Plastic Containers

I have a habit of collecting those plastic containers. Whenever I get a coupon for them, I just go hog-wild and buy a bunch. But they have a connection to breast cancer, which I didn’t know before. It’s especially bad when you use them to reheat food in the microwave. I’m going to suck it up, throw them out and use glass containers instead.

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Buying the Wrong Food

I figured that pesticides were trouble from the get-go, and I was right. They get into your foods and, in some cases, seem to foster an environment where cancerous cells feel compelled to grow within the organs and tissues, including the breasts. It’s one more reason to buy from local farmers, as long as they don’t use pesticides. You’ll have to ask them, by the way; most local food market stands don’t have signs up about the whole pesticides topic.

While everyone still makes fun of me for being a hypochondriac, I know in my heart that I’m actually just protecting myself, and maybe educating some people on the health dangers that lurk in everyday items. My wellbeing is worth being the butt of a few jokes. Yours is, too.

Featured photo credit: NA via istockphoto.com

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