So, everything’s ready for your first camping trip, eh? Everything on your checklist has been prepared and you’ve already practiced with your camping equipment. The food, the drinks, even the first-aid kit is stocked. You’re set and raring to go! Well, congratulations on being well-prepared. You’ve come a long way indeed. But you still have to know a few important things before running off into the wilderness and plunking down that tent. Here are a few things that a first-time camper should know about.
Camping means working too, not just playing. Even if you really, really want to get away from it all, there are some things that you just can’t possibly avoid, like chores. When you go camping, you still have to do some of them. Picking out a good campsite, setting up your tent, unpacking your gear; these all entails some work on your part. Not to mention starting a fire, cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning up your trash.
Something will bug you. Right here and now, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. If you stay outdoors, you’ll meet bugs and insects of all shapes and sizes. There may be only a few, or there may be quite a lot, but be certain that you’re going to be bugged. What to do? Keep your campsite clean and tidy. Soda cans, food scraps, pieces of chips and cookie bits; they all attract insects, so make sure you gather and dispose your trash daily. Never eat inside your tent and don’t leave food lying around.
Don’t wear perfumes and colognes outdoors, too. They can and will attract insects. If you must, use unscented deodorant. Remember that lanterns and bright lights are like lighthouses to bugs, so if you have one, put it in a spot far away from your sitting area. Always bring along plenty of insect repellants.
Wet mornings are unavoidable. Even if it wasn’t raining the whole day or last night, chances are everything will be soaked by the time you wake up. That’s because of dew. Warm weather, coupled with high humidity, makes for an ideal environment for morning dew. This is a fact of nature and just cannot be avoided, so the next best thing you can do is to take down any dry or about-to-dry clothes off the clothesline, and cover anything you don’t want to get wet, preferably with a tarp, just before setting down for the night.
Waste not. Trash can really pile up at your campsite at a rate you wouldn’t believe, especially if you’re new to this. So you better bring along plenty of plastic bags to dispose them with. Use the campground’s garbage disposal areas for this. Avoid burning your trash in the campfire at all costs. If you’re fishing, don’t clean the fish at the campsite, too.
Never a good night’s sleep. Right now is a good time to tell you that no matter how comfy and warm and soft is your sleeping bag or air mattress, you’ll probably never sleep as good as you do when you’re at home. To make the best out of it, bring some sleeping pads along with your bag, as they add much-needed cushioning and insulation from the cold ground. They can also add more cushioning, which should make your sleep more comfortable.
Wood from the forest – not for campfires. Picking up wood that’s lying around your campsite and using it to build a campfire is not allowed. Why? This wood is essential in replenishing the nutrients in the ground for the plants and trees. So you can think of it this way: If every camper got wood from the forest for their fires, soon there would be no forest!