Your camping adventure doesn’t have to mean roughing it. With effective packing and the right gear, you can easily enjoy a lovely trip into the wild without feeling underdressed, dirty, or uncomfortable in your skin.
For your first layer, invest in fabrics that wick away moisture. Avoid anything too big or loose in fit. If you’re headed into a cold country, plan to layer and make sure you have a raincoat or wind jacket that will zip easily over your hoodie and fleece. This way, you can be warm, safe, dry, and still be chic. Finally, get some quality hiking shoes and break them in for a few weekends before your trip!
Speaking of hoodies, if you are camping in the cold, you will want two. One is for getting out on the trail. It should fit fairly close and have a large front pouch where you can keep your camera and some snacks. You will want a more close-fitting hoodie for sleeping. Your head will lose a lot of heat, but keeping a hat on in bed can be exhausting. With a close-fitting hoodie, you can be well-rested and keep your head warm all night.
To heat up water for your camping foods or make a pot of coffee in the morning, a small camping stove that hooks up to a single propane bottle or butane canister is all you need. If you must have your French press, consider investing in a stainless-steel press to avoid breaking a glass one in the packing process. All the caffeine with none of the risk!
A word on camping foods: There are a lot of freeze-dried camping foods that you can mix in the bag with hot water. Often, they are quite tasty. Since they are made with freeze-dried foods, they may look like dog food. In this case, enjoy the aroma and don’t look inside the bag.
You will need a tent that is big enough for yourself, your gear, and your clan. If camping in the cold, use a bigger tent. If you can’t sleep on the ground and you know it, get yourself a cot and consider using a tipi instead of a tent. This way, you’ll have more headroom and the wind won’t be so noisy.
Rest and Relaxation
Get a camp chair that suits your size. Avoid chairs with unstructured seats since they can be hard on your back. After a hard hike, you will want to sit and relax.
Carefully check out the restrictions on your intended location with regard to fires. If fires are allowed, make sure you use firewood from approved sources to avoid bringing in pests that can destroy the forests.
For your safety and peace of mind, get a backpack that has enough structure to cling well. A loose backpack can have a negative impact on your balance. Load it with:
● a small first aid kit
● sunscreen and lip balm
● a water filter bottle
● high protein snacks
● a trash bag
● bug spray as necessary
Even if mosquitoes tend to leave you alone, once you light a fire and get your heart rate up, they’ll find you.
Invest in a compact toilet that you are comfortable using. Also, consider investing in a shower tent if you are traveling with a big clan or if you plan to be out for a while. Your shower tent can serve as a bathroom, too.
Make sure you pack hypo-allergenic wipes to store with your portable toilet. A compact toilet will help you follow the leave no trace principles.
Carefully monitor your campsite for garbage, including the tiny scraps from plastic protein bar wrappers. Don’t put anything in your fire ring that won’t burn away to ash, and never leave a trash bag outside overnight. You may wake up to wild visitors, up to and including bears. If there is a dumpster near your campsite, make it part of your nightly cleanup to hike to the dumpster so you can discard all the day’s trash before bed. If not, consider getting a sealable bucket you can store in your vehicle.
Your camping trip doesn’t have to be rough, but you do need to take care of your basic needs while protecting Mother Nature. Carry plenty of trash bags, load your pack with care, and make sure your garments fit well.