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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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