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One of the best ways for families to experience the great outdoors is to go on camping trips.
There is lots of fresh air, and it offers up the chance to get away from a high tech world for a couple of days or longer.
While camping for beginners may appear daunting, it is much easier than you think and can be an inexpensive way to go on vacation.
The possibilities are endless, and although there are many families who venture to RV parks, it is the camping sites in the National Parks that offer the best camping experience.
This camping guide goes through all the things you need for camping, the degree of which will be dependent on your budget, and if you plan on making your camping trips a new family pastime.
Essential Gear for Camping
When you go camping and backpacking, it will take you into the wilderness, so there are no comforts of home apart from what you can carry.
Car camping is different, yet this, in a way, defeats the thrill and excitement of venturing off-road.
Taking a vehicle can be a good idea to start, yet families will soon feel they are missing out on a trip into the unknown.
If you visit developed campsites, these will have bathroom facilities and running water. Some offer tables in locations close to where you will pitch your tent, but if not; you will need a table to some degree.
Here are some of the camping necessities you will need once you find you are ready to make the investment. One thing to note is cheap camping gear may not perform, or last as long as you expect.
There are endless kinds of tents, which come in all different sizes. These will be marketed as to the number of people they can sleep.
Depending on your budget, it is advisable to select a tent that is double the size than the number of people who will sleep in it.
Once you are on a trail, you will have backpacks and other gear to store. A tent that is a four-person tent offers lots of room to move about compared to a two-person tent with two adults inside the plus gear.
Another thing to check is the peak height, this means adults can stand, or move around without too much effort.
A camping tent will be the most vital piece of camping equipment, so there should not be any compromises on your comfort.
Setting up your tent can be the hardest part, so practicing at home is advised. Not only do you learn how to erect it, but also you will see how much space it takes up.
If you have children with you on your camping trips, then sleeping arrangements will be critical. Adults can suffer some minor discomfort, yet children will want to feel as if they are in their own bed.
Sleeping bags can be found from children’s sizes to adult size along with double sleeping bags, which go up to queen or king size.
These can come with included pillows or hoods for when the weather is colder. 3-season sleeping bags allow you to use them at different times of the year.
For floor comfort, the least you need to take with you will be a sleeping pad. These deliver more comfort and insulation from the cold of the floor.
Other options include air mattresses. These deliver even more comfort and insulation yet they will be a little heavier to carry.
If you are camping for a couple of days, then you will be looking to make your campground area a comfortable place to be. This means there are things you need on your camping necessities list.
Flashlights are okay to take camping, yet they don’t offer overall illumination. They also require you to hold them.
For convenience, headlamps can replace your flashlight, but around your camping area, a lantern is advisable.
Don’t forget to check campfire restrictions if you want to use a fire for additional light or cooking.
A camp stove will be vital for extended camping or hiking trips. These come in single burner varieties or in double burner varieties.
Some designs are heavy and are designed to run on propane, so carrying a gas cylinder will be no fun. Stoves with disposable or refillable gas cylinders are ideal when on a hike.
A cooler may be a luxury, and beginner campers who take their vehicle are advised to make use of one.
Perishable foods won’t last long and do need to be kept cool. More experienced campers often forgo these and hit the trails with foods that are non-perishable and may only need water added to cook.
Plates and Utensils
One thing to be sure of on your camping checklist is a means of eating and drinking. Plates, cups, and utensils will be required.
You can take things from your home kitchen, or you can search for dedicated camping utensils, which will be lighter.
Any camping trip will need to deliver some comfort once you stop hiking and return to your camp. It is possible to sit on logs or another improvised seat, yet modern camping chairs can offer more comfort.
These can be folded and lightweight, so they may not add too much to your overall weight.
Some of the above gear is vital when you go camping, yet these items are necessary as they deal with personal hygiene and safety. Any beginner’s guide to camping will place these items high on the list of priorities.
Toiletries are vital for cleanliness after bathroom breaks if you have no facilities. Not only this, but campers should follow the “Leave no Trace” methodology where they clear up after themselves and make sure everything is correctly disposed of.
Aside from soap and other toilet items, campers need to consider any prescription medications. All these are outside of a good first-aid kit.
These should include Band-Aids, gauze, bandages, insect repellent, and bite cream. Other items can be included such as pins, eyewash, sunscreen, and anything else that will suit the conditions you are heading into.
Aside from this, there needs to be a safety kit. This will include matches or lighters, spare batteries and duct tape at a minimum.
A pocketknife can also be included as a spare to a sheath knife, which is better suited to cutting wood, branches, or rope.
You must know where you are heading if you are venturing away from signed trails. You can use modern navigation tools such as GPS, yet you should still have the inclusion of a map in a waterproof compartment, and a compass.
In times of no signal, these two items can save you from wandering around in circles.
Camping Tips and Tricks
You can find lots of camping tips and tricks for beginners, yet the better option to learn is to look at typical mistakes new campers make. They may not do this intentionally, yet they happen repeatedly.
With the leaving no trace way of camping, never leave food around which can attract pests or animals.
Food should never be left in your tent because raccoons or even bears will think nothing about ripping through the fabric.
Many new campers and hikers think their trip will be full of fresh air and sunshine. They forget to prepare for hazards or mishaps. One item that can be invaluable in your first aid kit is an emergency blanket.
When body temperatures drop, these can be the best way to keep warm. This can happen in an accident or if you are hit by a sudden turn of bad weather and you find yourself soaked. A lightweight rain jacket should be included and kept handy.
The amount of food taken is often miscalculated. Each person should have around 1.5 to 2.5 pounds of food per day.
This will vary depending on your activities, but taking carb loaded or high calories foods can help with this. Trail mix, jerky, and protein bars should be consumed rather than candy bars.
The last couple of mistakes in this beginner’s guide to camping are campers who don’t take adequate clothing along with them. This is true if they are new to hiking and thing regular hiking pants and shoes are sufficient.
Adding to this are the times when it rains and not having a rainy-day plan. This needs suitable food for colder days and sufficient warmer clothing that is made for wet weather.
If kids are with you, then the last thing they want to do is sit in a tent until it subsides.
Once you are prepared, there is nothing you can the family can’t get around to enjoy your numerous camping trips.