More people these days are leaving the cocktail parties behind and escaping into the woods and enjoying their campfires instead. Is it all of those never-ending Instagram feeds of weekend warriors in search of adventure? Or maybe it is Bear Grylls’ communing with nature that has tempted an increasing number of people to want to return to their ancient roots. Or perhaps in an ever increasing high tech world it is one of the rare times that we can really tune out?
Whatever the reason might be, here in America we are fortunate to have thousands of incredible campsites all across the country: lakes, mountains, islands, caves, rivers – whatever you want, there is a tent site somewhere that has your name on it. We have compiled a list of 6 important do’s and don’ts to use when you are planning your next camping trip to ensure it is a complete success:
Always keep in mind that camping doesn’t just have to consist of driving to a familiar location and setting up your temporary living quarters among crowds of other weekend warriors. Instead, think about discovering your own sweet piece of paradise for a couple of nights. When you are planning your camping trip try to inject some extra adventure into it by searching for a campsite that is more remote. Try to figure out how to access the site in a different way. Can you hike there? Can you get there by riding a mountain bike? Can you paddle along on a nearby river? With just a bit of research, you should have no problem combining camping with a mini adventure to create one of the most memorable experiences of your entire life.
What you will be filling your backpack up with will depend of course on where you are headed and how you have determined to get there. Using a dose of internet research and common sense will get you far – trying to take a gigantic ghetto-blaster on a trip requiring a 20 km trek into camp is something you will most likely end up regretting (trust me, I tried it already!). Temperature is huge. Shivering all night is definitely not fun. Make sure to pack a good head-torch no matter where you are doing and never underestimate the benefits that a water filter can provide you with when you are out in the wilderness.
When it comes to the food you eat, you don’t have to sacrifice on how it tastes just because you are out in the middle of the wilderness. You definitely want to celebrate your successful quest of making it to your new home. One thing that is always a big hit is pre-marinated meat. Have everyone in your troop share on the ingredients and plan ahead so you don’t end up with extras. Spending time under the stars with family and friends while dining like noblemen from a bygone era is always a major highlight of a weekend mini adventure.
There is nothing more irritating than to see rubbish scattered all over a campsite. That shows no respect for the environment whatsoever. Don’t be one of those people. Leave your campsite the way that you found it and make sure to take all of your rubbish with you when you leave (pack one or two plastic bags). Also, don’t do your business close to a water supply, and make sure to dig a hole before assuming the position. If we all regard nature like our mother and make a concerted effort, the world can be a happy place to live in for many generations into the future.
Always keep in mind that going into the bush is full of inherent dangers. So it is absolutely essential to take the necessary precautions. Make sure to do your homework so that you can prepare for whatever conditions you might encounter. Let someone know where you are headed in case a disaster should hit, pack plenty of water, a compass and good map, and don’t leave fires unattended -especially at this time of the year. You should also always take a first aid kit with you.
This is something else that really bothers me at times. If there are other adventures in the area, respect them. Say hello and share your trail notes, stories, firewood and food with them. If they are wanting to have an early night, don’t act like a jerk. Share your whiskey to help them have a sound sleep! Otherwise, keep it quiet. Of course, if you simply show your respect for them in the first place, this won’t be a problem!