American Summer: Camping Guide
Camping is an extremely enjoyable way to get away from city life and enjoy a slower, relaxed pace in the outdoors. It is a tradition among many families in the United States, and for good reason! Camping allows us to reconnect with basic nature and live for a few days without the comforts and technologies of modern life. It can be easy to get carried away while camping, but it is extremely crucial to take certain safety precautions too. This guide will introduce you to some of the main points of camping and how to stay safe.
How to Choose a Destination
Since many campgrounds fill up rather quickly, it is best to reserve a spot a few months in advance. The destination depends on how far you are willing to travel, along with personal preferences and activities that you might enjoy. Families with small children may choose to pick a campground a little closer to home to avoid a long road trip. Prepare by printing a camping checklist and checking it thoroughly as you pack. Upon arriving, review the campground’s rules. Keep the noise levels down, do not litter, and be respectful of other campers and wildlife.
Cooking over a campfire is one of the most pleasurable experiences of camping! Do make sure to pack enough ice packs in your cooler so that any perishables are kept sufficiently cold. Items like meat or eggs should be fully cooked before eating. If the campgrounds do not provide drinking water, bring your own bottled water. Alternatively, you could also bring water purifying tablets. After eating, wash your utensils thoroughly by using a biodegradable detergent or scrub them with a mixture of cooking grease and wood ashes. Finally, pack any leftover food in the car or hang it securely over a tree to avoid attracting bears.
Among the first things you will need to do is to build a fire and set up the tent. Split up the tasks so that everything is done before it gets dark. If you need to collect firewood, look for a combination of logs, twigs, and leaves that are dry. Be aware that many campgrounds forbid campers to bring their own wood for fear of introducing invasive insects to the area. Always chop wood away from other people, to avoid accidental injuries. In general, try not to leave any traces behind at your site.
There are a number of hazards, often unseen, in the outdoors. Poisonous plants, such as ivy, nettles, and certain berries, can cause severe illnesses. Brush up on poisonous plants in the area and avoid them. Mosquitoes and bugs can also cause a good deal of annoyance. Carry an antihistamine medicine in your first aid kit to treat any superficial skin irritations or itchy bites. Never, ever feed wildlife, since it can encourage them to approach humans again in the future. Be on your guard for dangerous animals like mountain lions or bears and have a can of pepper spray or an air horn to keep them at bay. In inclement weather, cancel any outdoor activities and plans and seek shelter immediately. Stay in the car (not in the tent!), and drive up to higher ground or close to the campground’s welcome office.
Camping Games, Activities
There are heaps of games, sports, and activities to try while camping! Water enthusiasts might try their hand at fishing or boating, or cool off with a refreshing swim. Games that involve the whole group, like Capture the Flag, are equally fun. To explore the area, try hiking one of the trails or head off on a geocaching adventure. Finally, wind down the day with some spooky stories around the campfire and a round of traditional songs over s’mores and a cup of steaming hot chocolate.