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What You Should Know Before Going Camping

Updated on January 24, 2014

Camping can be a wonderfully exhilarating experience be it your first outdoor endeavor or your 100th, but regardless of how much knowledge an individual camper possesses there are things you need to know before going camping to maximize the endeavor to it's full potential. Once these basic outdoor realizations are embraced the real fun of camp life can begin in earnest and can make something as simple as tent camping fell like a week in a five-star hotel.

The 6-P Principle

The old adage "prior planning prevents p**s poor performance" otherwise known as the 6-P principle is one every camper should hold dear before heading outdoors. A camping checklist needs to be made in as much detail as possible outlining necessary camping supplies, travel information and the exact position of good camping site locations within a designated geographic location. Included in these preparations it becomes critical that every single piece of camping equipment be inspected to ensure it is in working order. Go over the list frequently before departing and odds are that with each new look you'll find some item that was absent that is a necessity. Most people are bound to forget something on every camping trip - strive to ensure that you have all of the mainstays included. Let someone at home know where you are going and the exact location and duration of your trip so in the event of an emergency outdoors at least eventually someone will launch a search to provide assistance.

Consider Yourself A Steward Of Nature

Camping does not require that every camper be "nature-boy" or "nature-girl", but rather each of us has a responsibility to be a good steward of nature when we are a guest in the wilderness. This means that natural resources such as water, plant life and native animals be put at the forefront of consideration - ahead of our own narcissistic need to satisfy a momentary desire. Use firewood that has been gathered from the ground, conserve water, be extremely careful with camp fires, and maintain a clean campsite. Leave your camping site the exact way it was discovered if possible, remove all trash and encourage other in your party to do the same. Take the time to use camping with kids as a teaching tool on the environment and hopefully this knowledge will be passed to future generations.

Have Realistic Expectations

No matter what may be believed at home tent camping comes along with an inherent share of associated discomfort at some point in time, so it is prudent to be realistic in your personal expectations of how each excursion will play out. Remember, you are not staying at the Hilton so all of the cool camping gadgets in the world are not going to remedy a 95 degree day with no air conditioning. Make a mental note of precisely what it is you want to experience on each trip and as goals are accomplished take pride that you have achieved success. When in the great outdoors it can be the little victories that make the entire trip worthwhile.

Mother Nature Is Not Your Friend

The same Mother Nature that provides us with temperate weather, a magnificent bounty of plant and animal life and amazing views can turn on you in an instant causing great injury or even death. Respect Mother Nature, fear her, do your very best to understand her ways and she might just allow you to get back home unscathed. The very best camping tips ever shared become useless when ignored - the laws of nature are unwavering, they are what they are and regardless of your personal wishes and desires they will in the end be the deciding factor in your safe participation in all camping endeavors.

Set Yourself Up For Success

It is possible to enhance your odds of camping success and enjoyment considerably by performing due diligence in obtaining the proper camping equipment and supplies to go along with valid knowledge before a trip starts. Think of these aspects as putting good tools into your camping toolbox so that when the exact tool is needed it is right there for the taking. A good example of this is to carry with you three or four ways in your backpack to start a fire - if one fails you still have a few shots at success. Have a backup plan for your primary task and then formulate a backup plan for your backup plan. Head scratching and confusion is never a good thing when camping!

"Lazy And Stupid Is No Way To Go Through Life Son"

This advice is among the very best even given - supplied to me by a hardened boot camp drill instructor. In any camping activity common sense should always rule the day, and if an action causes a momentary hesitation follow your gut instincts and avoid it like the plague. What this translates to in reality is to put in the extra 15 minutes of hiking to avoid camping in a dried river bed even though it doesn't look like rain - when a flash flood comes the extra effort will be a life saver. Use your energies when camping to provide safety and comfort in a controlled manner.

Don't Sweat The Little Things

Unless an aspect of camping has some real significance in terms of safety, comfort or the necessities required to stay alive don't sweat it. Nothing goes right for anyone all of the time and screaming at your wife because she forgot the paprika you like to sprinkle on your powdered eggs is foolish and behooves no one. Maintain a level temperament and the camping trip will be much more positive for all involved.

See It - Fix It

It makes no real difference if you are at the camp site, out on the trail or in the bush - when you see a potential issue correct it immediately before it gains momentum. The scope of this can range from making a quick repair to camping tents to tying a loose shoelace, if it's wrong make it right

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    • thom w conroy profile image

      thom w conroy 3 years ago

      Good luck on your trip - stay safe, have fun and absorb the moment!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      This one simply jumped out at me. We're heading off for a caravan trip to the Lake District tomorrow, this hub is timely and very useful. I'm using a check list so fingers crossed, all should be well. :)