Camping is an easy escape and one of the best ways to take a much-needed break from your daily life.
Camping may seem easy and fun, but it is not only Boy Scouts who know that trekking into the wilderness (or an hour from the nearest Target) requires some planning and preparation if you want the trip to be truly unforgettable.
1. Bring Extra Light
There is nothing like looking at the sky when you are far away from the artificial glow of street lamps. But, it gets very, very dark at campsites, and while this is great for stargazing, it can also be problematic if you drop your keys or need to make an unanticipated visit to the bathroom.
Bring another lighting option (besides your cell phone flashlight) with you to the campsite. You can bring a lantern or a string of lights to hang up around your site or even in your tent. No need for electricity, you can choose from both battery-operated lighting as well as solar lighting that charges during the sunny day and keeps the essentials visible at night.
Final Tip: Test out those lights before leaving to make sure the bulbs work, and make sure they have turned off again before packing them away.
2. Walk Further
Camping is not as rustic or as isolating as it sounds. In fact, if you go to the right campsite, it can be a high-tech social event attended by families with RVs nicer than any hotel you could find.
While those camping trips are a good time, go further by heading deeper into nature. Instead of stopping at a campsite teeming with people, try walking a few extra miles down the trail to quieter site. You might miss the laughter on sunny afternoons, but you probably will not miss the guy that slams his car door at 2:30 AM.
3. Indulge in a Good Night’s Sleep
Out of all your gear, your sleeping equipment is some of the most essential. A good sleeping bag keeps you warm even when temperatures plummet, and a solid mat means you can sleep pretty much anywhere. But, do not forget about your pillow.
At home, the state of your pillows are the difference between red eyes in the morning and greeting the day with a smile. The same is true at a campsite, and a pillow is often the last thing people think about when packing for a trip.
Hunt out a great pillow that is suitable for a good family tent which you’ll be sleeping in while camping. There are a number of options on the market from budget pillows to high-end inflatable numbers. Choose the one that is right for you so you can greet that sunrise the way nature intended – well rested.
4. Don’t Forget Essentials
It may sound impolite, but you need toilet roll. The kind you buy depends on the rules of the site and the kind of toilet available, and it is a good idea to check before you leave.
Make your natural experience easier by making a toilet paper holder out of a coffee can. A normal plastic coffee container will do the trick. Cut a long hole in on the side to pull paper from, and maybe consider adding a handle to the top to make it easier to carry. These are both easy to make and easy to use, and they will protect this precious commodity from all kinds of disasters.
5. Spice It Up
There’s nothing better than cooking over a campfire until you realize you are going to eat plain grilled meat for the next five days. Add flavor to your campfire meals by bringing spices with you on the road.
You do not need to lug around the commercial size tubs of cinnamon. Instead, take what you need and put them in smaller, re-sealable containers, like Tic Tac boxes, so they do not take up much space.
Whatever you use, make sure you label the boxes before you leave to prevent any culinary disasters.
Camping can be a relaxing and life-affirming experience, but remember, sleeping under stars is more fun with a good night’s sleep, delicious food, and enough light to go to the bathroom without running face first into a tree.
Featured photo credit: Roderick Eime via flickr.com