Things to Remember When Going Camping
What is your favourite camping activity?
In the summer, many choose to pack up the tent and head out into the woods with their families. Some are very prepared for their journey, while others have no idea what they are in for. This article discusses the later, tips for people when heading out into the wilderness. It includes a special section on children and extra precautions that must be taken with little ones in the wild.
Packing for Your Trip
Although everyone always wants the comforts of home, remember you are going camping. The whole point of this is to distance yourself from your technological surroundings and enjoy nature. Keeping this in mind only pack the bare essentials when it comes to electronics. Remember to protect the ones that you do pack, such as a cell phone, in waterproof cases with preference being on it being able to float. You never know when you will lose you phone in a river or lake.
Secondly you want to take into account the number of people you have to carry your items to your campsite and how much those people can actually carry. For example, your 6 year old daughter will probably not be capable of carrying a cooler 3 km on her own.
Make sure that you will have enough food and clean drinking water for the time that you are camping. Take into account any water that you will need for cooking also. Most people need at least 2 L per day, but if you are out hiking and exercising all day you will likely need much more than that.
Different types of clothing are best when preparing for your trip. Light layers are best as nights in the bush can get chilly quickly and days can get humid and hot just as fast.
Choosing a Campsite
There are a few things that you will want to do whether you have a family or not when choosing a camping location. Firstly you will want to make sure that you put your tent higher ground if it is available. Putting your tent in a cozy indent might sound like a good idea, but if it rains you will be sad to wake up in a huge puddle of water. Secondly make sure that you don't put it in a cave or near a cave. Bears are not only scary but super dangerous, especially in the spring when they have cubs around, just try to avoid places where they would sleep if possible. Lastly don't out your tent at the bottom of a rock ledge. This might seem like a good idea to protect you from rain, but there is a reason there are falling rock signs on roads we drive on. Falling rocks can crush you so just don't sleep under them.
If you have children with you there are other considerations you will want to add to the list. Don't put your tent too close to a lake or river. Kids are sneaky and might think its fun to head out for a swim while you are sleeping. Also at night when it is dark and you are looking for a bathroom spot you don't want anyone falling in the lake.
Have Activities Prepared
The idea of relaxing and enjoying a good time in the bush seems like a good idea in theory. However people, especially children will get bored of just "absorbing nature" and actually want to do things while camping. Below are a few suggested activities for you to enjoy in the wilderness.
Go an a hiking adventure while in the bush. Find a list of hiking trails in the area you are camping and enjoy a stroll through nature. Make sure that you are traveling on marked trails and not just traipsing through the brush. If you get lost it will be much harder for people to find your if you stray from the trail. Ensure that you have a carefully laid out plan, including the trail you are taking and how long it should take to hike it, and that you leave a copy either with family at home or at your campsite with someone who is staying behind. Again you want people to be able to find you if you are not back in time.
Rent or bring your own canoes or kayaks. Nothing says calm weekend like paddling down a peaceful river or thought a pristine lake. Not only is this a fun activity, it is also great exercise. Make sure that you have life jackets for everyone, even experienced swimmers. If someone goes overboard, it doesn't matter how great of a swimmer they are they are still capable of drowning.
Fishing is an excellent activity to do while out in nature. Not only can you eat your catch but you will have fun catching it too. Make sure that you review all the regulations in your area, so that you know what is in season at the time of your trip. Also ensure that if you need a fishing license that you pick one up before going. In my neck of the woods you can buy a day pass if you only intend to try it out and a year license if you want to fish more often.
Swimming is also a great thing to do while camping. If you are camping by a lake or river and plan to swim make sure that you are looking for dangers prior to heading into the water. Watch out for; large jagged rocks, sudden drop offs, slippery rocks and local wildlife such as water snakes. Make sure that an adult is always supervising children while they are swimming, it only takes a few seconds to drown.
There usually are not a lot of activities to do at night while camping. It's to dark to hike or fish, swimming in the dark is downright dangerous, and you really shouldn't take a canoe out in the dark either. The best thing to do is sit around a roaring campfire. Make smores or roast hot dogs for a yummy nighttime treat. Tell stories, scary stories if the kids will not be to frightened by them while trying to sleep later. Sing songs, if anyone has a guitar this is a great time to break it out. Have fun and enjoy the evening.
Make sure that if you have to go to the bathroom at night that they go in pairs. Take a flashlight with you and watch for wild animals, most of them are out at night.
When camping there are a few considerations when it comes to food that you will be bringing with you.
First of all is it perishable? It's hard to keep foods such as chicken, good for a few days in the bush. If you have a good cooler you might be able to pull it off but I would strongly warn against it. Food poisoning in the bush is NOT a fun time!
Secondly Make sure you have enough food, as mentioned above. If you are going to do a lot of activity you will be hungrier then usual and you will have to prepare for that. Also do not rely on fishing for you meals, especially if you have kids with you. No one wants hungry kids and it can be a long drive to get if you are in the middle of nowhere.
Finally, under no circumstances should you ever leave you food out, or beside your tent at night while you are sleeping. Wild animals such as bears and wolves will be all over your food scraps if you just leave them out to be found. Waking up to a bear tearing open your tent would be a terrifying experience that you want to avoid. Make sure to leave your food in a vehicle or tie it up high in a tree from a branch not close to the trunk. Keep you and your food safe.