Camping is a fun activity but one that needs manual skills. You can’t just go out there and decide to camp. There are many things to do and know before you set out on this adventure. In fact, it is a good idea to go camping the first time with someone who is an experienced camper. Even then, there are a few basic skills that you need to master before planning that camping trip.
Setting up a tent
You should practice this before you actually head out to the wilderness. First thing to do is find a flat surface. Make sure there are no rocks, sharp objects, sticks, and any debris that would make sleeping in the tent uncomfortable. If you’re buying a tent for the first time, you’ll find that it comes with instructions. In many cases, you’ll have to learn how to stake down the corners, attach tent poles, erect the tent frame, and putt on the rain-fly. Try to set up your tent in the backyard. And if you’re renting camping gear, ask for a demonstration in the store or get it early to practice with before you go.
Finding a campsite
Beginners usually have trouble finding the right spot to pitch their tents. The ideal spot is an even surface of soft soil or gravel. Avoid rocky locations. Also, set up your tent on an elevated area where rainwater doesn’t pool in. In many cases, you need to put a cloth on the area and try to lie on it to see if it’s comfortable.
Starting a campfire
A campfire is for heat and for cooking. Starting one seems a no-brainer, but it can be irksome for beginners. You start with clearing the area of debris and gathering tinder and wood. In summer, much of what you need is a tepee fire, which is for cooking. In chilly weather, you may need a decent campfire and a lot of wood. Campfires pose hazards of wildfires. Thus, campers need to follow safety precautions. Never leave an open fire burning. A bucket of water should be at hand in case you need to put out a fire.
Camping involves a lot of hiking. You have to walk through the wilderness and cross streams before finding a suitable camping site. You may have to move from one site to another. It pays to develop your river crossing skills. Rivers can be treacherous. What looks like a gentle flowing water may prove to be difficult to traverse. One important thing to remember is to never cross the river barefoot. You don’t know what’s on the river bed. Wear sandals or boots. A hiking stick comes handy for greater stability. Watch out for rocks covered in algae; they’re slippery, so holding on to or stepping on them may either be useless or perilous. You may need to use ropes when crossing rough rivers. Heavy rains can cause streams to swell. Never cross wide streams during a rainstorm. Streams can swell and suddenly go rough in a matter of minutes during heavy downpours.
You can’t bring your kitchen with you to the campsite. Your best bet is to learn how to cook simple recipes. Many campers just bring canned goods and a simple camping stove. Many also fish or hunt animals to be grilled. Practice doing these things at home, so you’ll know what exactly to do when you’re out there with a few cooking tools. And if you need coffee each morning, look for a camping coffee maker to take with you.
Though you will likely take some water with you, it is important to know how to clean water from streams and lakes in case you run out of clean drinking water. You can read about water purification tips here. Most campers just bring iodine tablets, but the personal water filters are a quicker way of getting the water clean. You definitely need to know how to clean the water so that you do not get ill from drinking dirty water – even if it looks clear it can still be contaminated.