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5 Ways to Improve Your Camping Trip

5 Ways to Improve Your Camping Trip

5 Ways to Improve Your Camping Trip

Every year, many families decide to enjoy some time in nature with a camping trip. But, if you don’t camp often, it can be difficult to determine exactly what you need to make your trip the best it can be. Luckily, there are a number of options that can help make your next camping adventure one to remember. To help you get started, here are five ways you can improve your camping trip.

Get the Right Gear

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Your first step toward a great trip is by picking the right camping gear. The exact items you need may vary a bit depending on the season and the location of your camp, but certain basics are required no matter what.

First, you will need a high-quality tent. Most tents are rated for specific seasons or conditions and will let you know how many people can sleep in the space. When choosing the size of the tent, take into consideration any other supplies you need to keep covered as you will need to purchase a larger size to compensate. Many tents that state they can sleep four don’t provide much room for anything else, so you may want to choose one that sleeps five or six if you have a decent amount of gear.

Next, you will need sleeping bags for every person or couple, and any other bedding you might want. You can choose to bring pillows and additional blankets, as well as air mattresses or cots, though those are often considered extras.

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Food and Beverages

You want to make sure you have enough food and beverages available for everyone who will be coming, even if you hope to find food by fishing, hunting, or gathering. Since being able to obtain food onsite is never guaranteed, it is better to bring too much than too little.

If you are staying in an area with certain predatory animals, like bears, you also want to make sure you have proper storage containers to help prevent the smell from attracting unwanted guests.

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Fire Starter

When having a campfire is part of your plan, it is smart to bring some sort of fire starter. There are many commercial options available, though homemade fire starter can also work well. If you are staying in a public park or recreational area, check any rules regarding the collection of firewood before you head out on your trip. If you want to find wood onsite, then make sure to bring some of your own.

However, if a burn ban is in place, having a fire might not be an option. Again, review the current status of the campsite you have chosen before you leave so you can adjust accordingly.

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Plan Activities

While you don’t need to schedule every moment, it isn’t a bad idea to schedule some camping activities. This can include simple options like hiking or swimming, as well as games or cooking. Plan based on how active of a trip you would like, and consider who will be going. For example, a pair of adults may be happy to sit outside and read, but active children may need more entertaining activities to keep them busy.

Keep Someone Informed

Even though cell service is widely available, you may have trouble finding a signal when out in a large park. As an added safety precaution, make sure someone else, like a friend or family member, knows where you will be and when you are due to return. That way, if something were to happen, they can inform authorities regarding your whereabouts.

While you may not want to think about something going wrong, it is hard to put a price on peace of mind. And knowing someone not on the trip is able to call for help if you need it can make it easier to enjoy yourself while you are out in the great unknown.

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Shelly Green

Entrepreneur writer and a blogger

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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