There's a lot to keep in mind when going camping. What to pack, what to wear, what to watch out for, it's enough to make your head spin. We've put together some guidelines to help:
What to wear:
- It can turn pretty chilly at night, so it's a good idea to wear layers, that way you can easily add or remove, depending on the temperature. And make sure to wear things that dry quickly.
- Keep in mind, dark colors absorb heat, so if it's super hot during the day, you may want to consider wearing light-colored clothing.
- Accessories: hats and sunglasses are important for fighting against the sun.
- Bring a poncho in case it rains.
If you plan to hike, long pants and shirts made of lighter fabrics are a better choice than shorts. They help protect against everything from ticks and mosquitos to poisonous and thorny plant life (not to mention sunburn).
What to pack:
- Tent: Make sure it's easy to assemble.
- Sleeping bag: Keep in mind where you're setting up camp, higher elevations will be colder (especially at night) so you'll want to make sure you get a sleeping bag that's appropriate.
- Food, water, flashlight, batteries, waterproof matches, blankets, pocketknife, first aid kit, sunscreen, bug repellant.
- If you plan on cooking, make sure you have the essentials to start a fire, as well as any items needed to cook.
What to watch out for:
- Educate yourself on poisonous plants in case you come across them.
- Keep your food stored safely, and make sure you don't leave trash out in the open, hungry bears and other wildlife will find it appealing.
- Wild animals are just that, wild. Leave them alone. Yes, Mr. Raccoon is cute, but he's not going to be so cute when he bites you. Just watch nature from a safe distance.
- Never go out hiking by yourself. If you (and a partner) do go hiking, make sure you designate a spot to go to should one of you get lost.
- Unless you know exactly what you're doing (and no, watching Man vs. Wild does not count), don't eat any berries, mushrooms, or roots you find along the way.
- Plan your site. It's best to pick a clear spot on a hill or slope, that way if it rains, your safe from unexpected flooding.
- Don't cook where you sleep. U.S. National Park Service recommends people sleep about 100 yards uphill or upwind from where they cook. Again, we don't want Mr. Bear showing up as an unwanted guest.
- Be sure you know fire safety.
- Before the trip, go through your first aid kit to make sure it's fully stocked.
Do you and your family go camping? What are your tips?