Preparing for a camping trip can be a very stressful experience. You’ll be out in nature, with nothing but a few essential items. How can you possibly enjoy yourself when you don’t have everything you need?
Well, just because you’re on a camping trip, it doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. All you need to do is be a little smart about what you pack and how you handle things.
Being an enthusiastic camper for the past three years, I’ve had my fair share of disastrous and successful trips. But I can assure you, all of them were quite fun!
Luckily for you, I’ve decided to share a few camping tips based on my experiences. So read through the article and thank me later!
#1. Don’t Skip on the Laundry
Just because you’re out in the wild doesn’t mean your clothes have to be filthy. Of course, you should pack lightly, but make sure you catch up on washing those clothes.
Washing the clothes by hands is something you just can’t avoid in the outdoors. But you can make the process easier by using a trash bag. Just put your clothes in the bag and add some soap and water. Then jostle it around, as a washing machine would!
Afterward, empty the clothes into a bucket and rinse out the soap. Then, dry them off on ropes, and your clothes will be squeaky clean and fresh!
#2. Dig and Squat Properly
If there are no bathroom facilities in your campsite, you’ll have to make peace with doing your business in the wild. And the best way to do this is the good old “Dig and Squat” method.
Make sure you’re at least 200 feet from any water sources. Take a shovel and dig a hole that’s at least 30 cm deep. Then, do what you have to do, and cover up the hole with the dirt again.
You should also burn the toilet paper after use, instead of dropping it on the ground. Or else, the odor will just attract animals.
You can also get fold-out chairs with holes for a more comfortable experience. But you’ll definitely have to disinfect the seat later, so make sure you bring a disinfectant along.
#3. Pay Attention to the Tent
Tents are mandatory for overnight camping. This is going to be where you rest, and it should be as comfortable as possible. Make sure you get a waterproof tent that’s sturdy and has enough protection.
Before going camping, you should definitely set up your tent in the backyard. This will save you a lot of hassle when it comes to the real deal.
It’s also wise to get a tent that is one size bigger than what you need because you’ll definitely appreciate the space.
And of course, your tent should be kept as clean as possible. Don’t bring your shoes inside, or it will become really dirty. Place a sheet or cloth outside your tent to wipe your feet before you enter.
#4. Prepare Your Matches
Matches are essential for camping. But you should always stock up on them because they get damaged pretty easily. They might get soggy, or the striking pad might get worn out.
To avoid all this, simply place the matches in a water-proof container, and stick on some sandpaper to the side of the lid. It’s best if you get the fine-grain type, with a sticky adhesive. If you don’t get that, then just glue it on.
The sandpaper gives a larger surface area where you can strike and light your matches easily. And the container will keep matches from getting wet.
#5. Plan Your Meals Ahead
Planning your meals beforehand will really make your camping trip much easier. Calculate the number of people and how many meals you’ll need and plan accordingly. And make sure you get everything you need at least a day before.
You’ll need to have simple meals that provide high energy since camping involves a lot of outdoor activities. Prepare the ingredients beforehand as much as possible. And make sure you bring things that don’t get spoilt very quickly.
Get some packaged food like chips, energy bars, and dried fruits. And for meals over the fire, choose proteins that cook fast. Thin slices of steak, shrimps, and especially pre-cooked meat are really good options.
#6. Keep a Pair of Sleeping Socks
Socks do a good job of keeping you warm throughout the night. They also make you relaxed enough to sleep. That’s why I always pack extra socks and keep a separate pair just for sleeping.
But never wear the socks you have on all day because they’ll be dirty and filled with bark and dust. Set aside a fresh and clean pair of socks for the night. This will be incredibly comforting, especially when you’re sleeping in the outdoors.
#7. An Easy Way to Dry Your Shoes
When you’re out and about, wet shoes are to be expected. But drying them is a whole feat, and it’s particularly difficult if the weather is humid. You can’t really rely on other shoes either because it goes against the light-packing rule.
A good hack for this is to remove your shoes’ insoles and put some of your dirty clothes inside. Then, leave them out overnight. The moisture will be absorbed by the dry clothes, and your shoes will be perfectly dry by the morning!
#8. Take Care of Your Camp Cookware
When cooking on a direct fire, your pots and pans will definitely get some stains. Sometimes, there are persistent food scraps as well. Now it won’t be possible to scrub away for hours outdoors. So, you’ll have to take some other measures.
The best way to remove these stains and scraps is to pour some detergent or vinegar with water on the utensil. Then, boil the mixture in the pan over a fire. You’ll soon see the scraps and stains moving away.
Also, once you’re done camping, you should really store away your cookware properly for future use. Pots and pans should be stored in dry places and properly wiped down.
It also helps to add in a few silica gel packs to keep the moisture away. This way you’ll have everything in a ready state for the next camping trip.
#9. Be Prepared for Bugs
When you’re in the outdoors, you are bound to come across bugs. Bees, ants, mosquitoes, flies – the whole squad will be following you around and getting into your business. And why not? You’re in their habitat, after all!
The best thing for you to do is pack up on insect repellents. But there are also other precautions you should take. For instance, set up your tent away from water bodies because mosquitos love hanging around stagnant water.
Don’t leave food out or wash the dishes too late. These are simply invitation cards for bugs. You should also zip up your tent as soon as you get in or out.
Having a bug zapper or burning some sage is a good way to keep bugs away too. Personally, I always hang up onions and garlic outside my tent, and it works like a charm.
#10. Save Space – Don’t Pack a Pillow
Pillows certainly make your sleeping experience much better. But they also take up a lot of space. And for camping, you want to pack as light as possible, so pillows are kind of an issue.
You can always buy pillows made specifically for camping that roll up and fit in small spaces. But these are notoriously quite uncomfortable, so it defeats the purpose.
Even better is a hack I personally follow. Just stuff the case of your sleeping bag with your clothes. Unroll the sleeves of your shirts and don’t ball up the socks. Keep filling up the case until it takes the shape and softness you want.
#11. Use Gallon Jugs for Ice
In summer, camping outdoors is pretty difficult. It gets really hot and, in those conditions, a few ice cubes in your water will do wonders.
Plus, coolers work really well as fridge substitutes in the outdoors, so your food can stay cold.
But instead of just carrying ice in a cooler, consider putting jugs of frozen water in it instead. This way, when the ice melts, you’ll still be able to drink the water.
This is super useful because when you are camping, water is scarce. It serves a two-in-one purpose and reduces the load of carrying extra water.
Camping is pretty fun, but the lack of daily facilities that we take for granted can be quite tricky. It involves packing the least amount of material things to be completely in touch with nature.
Don’t worry though, because, with the right camping gear, you’re sure to have a good time. Just follow the tips I’ve suggested, and do yourself a favor.