Camping has different meanings to different people. For some, it’s driving an RV to an RV park that has a lot of trees and well stocked pond for fishing. The first thing other people think about is taking a backpack and tent and hitting the back country where there is maybe a one in a million chance of anyone finding them, if they get hurt. Most people fall somewhere in between and hit the campground in a National Park or find a friend or family member who has a lot of rural property and camp there.
Whatever a person calls camping, there are some universal things one has to do to prepare for a camping trip. Some of them are common sense reminders and things that will make any camping trip more convenient and fun, but other can literally mean the difference between life and death. Depending on where a person goes anyway. It’s unlikely a camper will be risking life and limb at a popular trailer park.
1. Learn About Where You’re Going
Get a general sense about what the area you want to camp is like. Depending on how far you go, the seasons can play out quite different than the way they do at home. Also, look into whether or not there any festival or events going on during your trip. It’s hard to get away from it all, if you find yourself in the middle of a crowded music festival. Conversely, a nice music festival might be your idea of a perfect camping trip. This also includes understanding the wildlife of the area you’re going to.
2. Mind the Weather
Keep an eye on the local forecast and heed any weather warnings. Sudden temperature changes can be dangerous, if a camper didn’t prepare for them. And remember that dangerous weather isn’t always a national disaster level cyclone. Severe thunderstorms and flash floods kill thousands of people world wide because they get caught off guard.
3. Tell Friends and Family Where You’re Going
Don’t become a sensational news story by suddenly disappearing without a trace. Tell your friends and family where you plan to go camping, what you’ll be doing there, and when you expect to return. Do this even if you’re only planning on going to a popular tourist campground, and taking a turn on the hiking trails. Just because a place isn’t exactly the wilderness doesn’t mean it’s risk free. It’s just as easy to fall into a ravine in a well-traveled trail as it is in the middle of nowhere.
4. Have an Emergency Plan
Have a contingency plan for yourself and anyone who is with you, in case the worst happens. Remember, that no one ever plans on getting injured or snake bit. That’s why they’re called accidents. Make sure you and your friends know what to do, if the worst happens.
5. Have the Right Equipment
Having the right camping equipment is a no brainer. If you followed the previous steps, this should be easy. There are some extra things to keep in mind though. Bring a coat or jacket. We all know how wrong the weather person can be sometimes, so be prepared. If it’s warmer than expected, it’s easy to deal with that by taking off some clothes. If it’s colder though, that extra jacket will come in handy. Keep things like a first aid kit with you, and pack an extra day or two’s worth of food and water, in case you get lost or stuck. Don't forget to pack the best backpacking pillow you have and a good sleeping bag too. And finally, keep a charged phone with you. Sure, you may be wanting to get away from it all, but if you need emergency help, having that phone could literally be a lifesaver – once you get it into a service area.
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