Camping is all about getting outdoors and finding some much needed headspace. Often, though, you can get caught up in a headache if you haven't prepared correctly. Make it easy, enjoy the trip, and find some peace with these quick tips.
Choosing and making up your campsite
You've got to rest your head somewhere each night! Here are a couple tips on choosing and making up your campsite:
- Find sites that are upwind, if possible. No one likes inhaling the neighboring campsite’s smoke all night.
- If you're trekking solo, a hammock may be the perfect shelter for you in terms of space, versatility, and comfort.
- In cold weather, down comforters, insulating pads, and top quilts can make a bitter night blissful.
- If you see downed branches and wooden debris around your campsite, be careful - a widow maker can fall on your tent and end a camping trip in an instant.
- Use an old area rug for your tent - it'll allow you to manage the dirt and keep some padding between your feet and the ground.
Weather, lumber, or gear, making sure you have what you need makes all the difference. Here's a few tips that may not be obvious to the lay person.
- Hot or cold weather: fill your water bottle up with hot or cold water and put it in your sleeping bag with you at night. You're welcome in advance.
- Burn rate: 12-14 split logs will give you enough fire time to cook dinner and have a fire until midnight.
- Bring a military folding shovel. It's perfect from everything to digging fire pits to cutting down small trees.
- Fire resistant gloves make campfire cooking an ease.
- Use cotton balls smeared with petroleum jelly to start a fire quick. Store them in a jar or Ziploc bag to keep them safe.
Just because you're out trekking around Big Bear Lake or the Mt Baldy doesn't mean you've got to eat poorly. Starting a good fire and making sure you've got the gear to cook up something tasty is essential for any outdoor meal.
- Build your log piles for the next few days immediately after you pitch your shelter. Organize from tinder to big logs. It'll streamline the fire making process.
- Canned recipes don't mean 1-star out in the wilderness. Even the best dish can come from tin cans.
- Utilize one-pot cooking recipes, if possible. No one likes the cleanup during camping trips.
- Don't bring non-stick pans - they can release toxins when used on a campfire. Always go for cast iron.
- Use block ice to keep things chilled. It lasts a lot longer than ice cubes.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Arguably the most important part of any adventure is making sure your body is well-suited for any task—that typically means remaining hydrated. Here's how to make the most of all the water you have.
- Don't empty the water out of your coolers when the ice melts - it keeps the temperature lower.
- Gallon jugs of water make hydration easy to carry. 2 gallon jugs with spouts make washing hands and hands-free water tasks possible.
- Handheld pump filters - it can save your life. Invest in one.
- Ultraviolet filters are also a game changer. UV-C light rays destroy 99% of viruses, protozoa, and bacteria.
- Save packing room and don't bring a pillow. Just stuff your sleeping bag cover with clothes, and presto.
- Bring your Commuter - it's the perfect bag for trekking out from the campsite, with a portable battery pack in the bottom and plenty of room to pack your necessities.
Keep it simple, and enjoy the wild.