Knowing how to camp properly ensures a fun, safe and enjoyable experience for you and who you're camping with. There are several aspects to consider when camping, and knowing them makes all the difference. Whether you're backcountry or front country camping, being prepared is among the biggest aspect of camping.
What you'll need to camp properly:
- Food–canned food works best because you can heat cans over a fire and don't need a cooler.
- Sleeping bags and blankets
- Bathroom supplies
- Bug repellent
- Clothes–make sure to dress for the adventure.
- Make a reservation. Although not all campgrounds take them, if they do, you'll want to have it.
- Purchase a good, solid tent. The tent is your shelter, and it needs to be large enough and sturdy enough to accommodate you and your guests. If you're camping under the stars, the tent isn't necessary, although it's a good idea. If you have a tent, make sure it is waterproof and the screens are in shape. Get extra supplies as well, such as spare tent stakes and a tarp to put on the ground under the tent.
- Make a checklist. Take enough clothes, food and supplies for the duration of your trip. For front country camping, you can take solace in knowing you'll probably have a camp store available to purchase forgotten supplies.
- Pack for the trip. If you're backcountry camping, realize you'll have to hike to your site. You'll need a sturdy backpack. Don't pack too heavily, since you'll be carrying all your clothes, food and supplies with you everywhere. For front country, you can pretty much take anything you want that will fit in your vehicle. You'll need to also bring your toiletries with you, including towels.
- Consider where you'll be. You'll need to know weather conditions for your clothing and sleeping bags and blankets. Several areas may have colder temperatures at night than in the day.
- Know the campground. Many campgrounds have rules regarding pets, firewood, alcohol and other regulations you'll need to know before heading out. The easiest way to find this out is to ask when you make your reservations.
- Follow the "Leave No Trace" lifestyle when camping. While especially true for backcountry sites, front country campers also need to remove their trash and leave nature alone. Leave your site the way you found it, or better if a previous camper forgot to throw out their beer bottles.
Some people go all out when camping. They take power inverters for their vehicles if they're not at an electric site. They'll take blenders, curling irons and other items. When you want to go true camping, such as primitive or backcountry, you'll need to take the necessities. There are several items on the market for camping, including camp coffee makers, portable toilets and showers, propane stoves, laundry lines and other items. These are great, especially if your trip is going to be more than a couple of days and you're not hiking to a backcountry site.