Most people have not been camping or hiking since they were young, however if you’re looking for a cheap, and easy to do activity that really gets you out and about then you should give them a try. With some good information, and some advance planning, you can have a very enjoyable and rewarding experience, in the mountains or the hills, depending how ambitious you want to be.
You will need to take extra precautions if you are camping in areas that have dangerous wildlife, so be sure to contact the relevant park authority to confirm that you are going, and for any important safety announcements that they might have. One of the simplest tips I can recommend, especially if you are camping in an area that could have bears, is to wrap and package your food carefully in many layers. This stops the scent of your food drifting on the air.
Make sure you lay out all of your clothing that your planning to take on your trip. Don’t be afraid to actually have a practice pack, this way you can get a good feel for just what you will be carrying. Your clothes should be clean, and be the type of clothes that will last you the entire trip. It’s important that the clothing you take is right for the weather in the location you will be camping in. You want to make sure that the clothes are the type that even if they got soaked, could dry out in the sun in a few hours. So this excludes your favorite DKNY jeans, or woolly jumpers. You can purchase good fleece jackets and too. Remember to make sure that your shoes that you are using are also made for the terrain. I like to take a plastic bag for my shoes, so whenever you take them off, you just wrap them in the bag to keep them safe, and protected from any damp.
You will probably need to examine your existing medical insurance policy if you are camping out of state. Most insurance companies require a change or an additional policy, if you still want to have full coverage. This can be especially important if you plan on going to another country for your camping or hiking. You might not think that you need some sort of travel insurance but you will, and its better to be on the safe side.
Children love camping, but they can get easily bored if you don’t have a number of activities ready for them to do. If your driving to your destination, then be sure to pack some essentials for the journey, and you might try to avoid the latest ipad app, and opt for something a bit more practical like a coloring or activity book. You don’t want your children getting withdrawal symptoms from their electronic devices. Plus I would completely ban any gaming devices that they might want to take, except an emergency phone or GPS.
Keep your children engaged with what your doing. They can help with everything from collecting the firewood, to setting up the tent. It can be a great time to get some control over any rowdy children that you have, as they will be feeling slightly out of their depth, so they will be looking to you for some leadership, and direction.
A couple of weeks before the actual camping trip, have a go at setting up the tent, and rehearse anything else that could be tricky to do, or you might not have actually done before.
If you think you might enjoy a camping trip but have never actually tried it before, give yourself a quick test-run to make sure you like it. Set up your tent in your backyard, and you can even go as far as a practice camp session. If you forget something and need to go back into the house for it, then make a note, as Murphy’s law would have it that you actually forget this item on the real trip!
Remember to fully charge your mobile phone, and even get a spare battery for it if you need to. You never know what could happen, and you need to phone the emergency services. Also make sure that you have read the parks safety rules, and regulations, and most of the time they display this on the internet for you, or they pin them on the gates at the entrance to the park.
I did mention some safety when it comes to larger animals, however even small animals in the wild can be dangerous, so be sure that your organised, and most important of all keep your food in the tent and packaged unless your actually cooking it. Never feed any animals that you see while hiking too, as this just encourages them to follow you, or potentially bring more of their friends to investigate their new neighbor.
Fire safety is also very important to know about. You should as a priority have some water close to the fire in case of simple things like skin burns, and you need to put out a fire. Its important to never leave a fire unattended too.
You might want to take a course on first aid. This can be especially important if you are taking children with you. As sometimes the emergency services will take a little while to get to you, so if your prepared and know what to do in this type of emergency then that should be everything covered.
More than likely nothing will go wrong though and the worst you might get is a splinter, and some relaxation.