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How to Prepare for Hiking and Camping (Advice, Tips & Equipment)

Updated on January 31, 2014

An Outdoor Vacation?

People today are stuck in a jungle of concrete. Work to home and home to work is the daily routine. This has literally made people more lethargic and mentally and physically sick.

So it is important to get in touch with the nature at least once in a while. Hiking and camping in some outdoor environment can be very good for your physical and mental health.

Hiking will give some exercise to your body and being with the nature away from the daily scenes can actually relax your mind and brain.

Due to our busy schedules most of us lack the time to be spend with our families - especially with our children and spouse. So a hiking or a camping trip with the family will be a perfect vacation to get in touch with the family as well as the nature.

So now that we have established the importance of an outdoor vacation let's get you prepared for the journey.

Why Preparation is Important?

Preparation is important for anything. Be it day to day activities or a vacation, preparing will get you out of possible troubles. This could also be considered as a process of mitigating possible risks.

Specially in an instance where the family is on a hiking or a camping trip you must prepare for possible troubles. Things such as medicine, food and utensils must be with you to ease the work.

Camping and hiking activities are done to give your mind and body a relaxation and a change of daily routine and scenery, not put ourselves in even more stress than we already undergo.

If you don't prepare you would end up having a bad time and actually the expected positive result of the journey will turn into an even bigger negative outcome that staying home would have been better.

Get Packing!!!

So now that we are aware of the importance of preparedness in these activities let's just jump right into the main theme of the article. How to prepare for a camping or a hiking trip.


How to Prepare for a Camping or Hiking Trip

1) Selecting The Location

This is one of the most important things you have to consider before you leave on your trip. Of course, right? Well, not quite. You have to consider many things before you select the ideal location.

If you are camping/hiking with your family your location should be family-friendly. The place should be relatively-easily reachable. Think about your wife and little children and how they can manage the travel. Specially if it's a mountainous location think about how everybody's going to make it to the location.

Also think about the health conditions of each member in your family. Some camping/hiking areas are very cold at night and too hot in noon. Think how this is going to affect the physical health of yourself, wife and kids. If they are naturally non-resistant to cold/hot temperatures you may want to stay away from those locations.

If you have little kids you may want to camp/hike within reasonable distance from a close by village/town. Accidents can happen anytime in many ways. So it is better to be within a safe distance within reach of assistance.

Even if you are camping/hiking by yourself still the above rules apply. Don't try to push extreme limits on these causal vacations. The objective is to get a change of scenery and some physical and mental relaxation - not to create a new world record. So chose a location that is manageable on your own.

Reserved camping sites are a good choice if you don't want to take much of a risk.

Comprehensive List of Camping Sites (click on the link and browse for more regions)

Comprehensive List of Hiking Sites (click on the link and browse for more regions)

Walking & hiking in New Zealand
Walking & hiking in New Zealand | Source

2) What to Pack!

A sound awareness of what to pack and what not to pack could mean the difference between a pleasurable journey and a total disaster.

First thing to remember is "You DO NOT need Everything".

Also this is not a trip to do your office work. So leave behind all non-essential tech stuff like your PDA, laptop, Tab, etc etc. But a mobile phone is a must. Or some kind of communication device.

So there a few basic necessities when you are camping/hiking.

Depending on the days you are going to spend on this journey you will need sufficient food and water. If you are going with your family see to that specific food requirements are met as well. Don't hesitate to take plenty of water unless you are 100% sure of a safe source of water at the location. Even unspoilt river water is safe to drink after boiling and cooling down.

Some snacks are very important too. Besides the main meals you will need some snacks to keep yourself refreshed. So pack some healthy snack foods and edibles.

Also take some good reading material if you plan on relaxing. Fishing and hunting might be prohibited in some areas so you need to find a suitable pleasure activity. A chess board, a deck of cards, Monopoly for family are a few examples.

Some essential stuff for hiking and camping


An appropriate backpack is a must

  • A good torch is a must.
  • If you are wandering deep into solitary areas you must have a compass or a GPS tracking device.
  • Kitchen utensils if you plan on cooking.
  • Appropriate shoes for climbing and trekking.
  • Clothing (lightweight, easily washable and in appropriate amounts depending on the number of days planned.) Select bright colored clothes for easy recognition within the wild.
  • A mosquito spray.
  • A box of matches and a lighter.
  • A sharp, multi-purpose knife.
  • Water bottles (more than one).

First Aid Kit is a Must!!!

Anything can happen in the outdoors. From small cuts to life threatening wounds. Either way first aid is very important to reduce the risk of such emergencies. So be it a lone camping trip or a family trip you must have a good first aid kit.

A basic first aid kit should have supplies to cover up wounds, creams for scratches, itches, burns and cuts. A clean pair of scissors, some bandaids, painkillers and such.

Family camping must have equipment

Your Camping Tent

It is important to have a manageable tent. That is to say that you must decide on the tent size based on the number of people available for the journey. Don't just carry your 8-person tent on your lone camping trip just to cut down on spending. Additional weight is just dead weight and will not only slow you down but also consume your energy. Also it is a lot difficult to put up a larger tent alone.

There are tent sizes for a single person, two persons, 4 persons and eights persons. It is suggested to get a multiple number of tents if there are more than 8 persons on the journey. Also if it is two or more families make sure you take tents based on each of their personal likings.


Some Tips Before You Leave...

  • Always be prepared with the above mentioned things. Better safe than sorry.
  • Tell someone (who's not going on this particular journey) of your journey plans and your intended whereabouts. On the hike update this person at least once in a few days.
  • Avoid dangerous locations. Wild animals and extreme terrains can be fun for professional hikers and campers - not for average relaxation seeking travellers.
  • Take appropriate clothing for appropriate locations. Light clothing for hot climates and heat retaining clothing for cold climates.
  • It is advised to hike/camp with at least another person.
  • Obey the rules of camping/hiking sites.
  • DO NOT harm or destroy the environment or wildlife.
  • Always travel light. Excess weight is reduced energy.

Some hiking tips


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    • Nimesh De Silva profile image

      Nimesh De Silva 3 years ago


      Thanks a lot. Really encouraging words.

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 3 years ago

      Great tips! Thanks for the help. Nice job on the special considerations on climate , what to bring.. THanks! Voted up