Find your destination
assume you will find a spot available when you get to a campground
without a reservation. The most popular campgrounds are booked months
in advance for any long weekend. Do a search on the web. Back when we
started, a search meant finding tourist information pamphlets and
phoning each campground. these pamphlets are still a very good resource
to find a new place. Nowadays you can do research on line for
most campgrounds or parks.
plan your gear
How many are
going? How long are you staying? What are your planned activities? How
are you getting there and back? All these questions should be answered
before heading out. The following is a list and tips of the minimum
items you will need:
- Tents can never sleep the number of
people indicated unless the occupants are all 5 feet tall and
weigh 100 pounds.
We are a couple with an 80 pound dog and we need at least a 4 man tent.
We are comfortable with a 6 man. A single normal couple needs a 3 man
tent as a minimum.
- Sleeping bag rating temperatures are offset
by at least 10C (32F). A -10C sleeping bag might be OK down to 0C if
it's nearly new. If you are doubling sleeping bags for a cozy
couples night, expect your partner to roll and grab everything. I
suggest you zip your side to prevent this.
- Coolers need
to be cooled somehow. You'll need ice or ice-packs to keep everything
cool. Don't assume that ice will be available where you are going. If
it's a long weekend and you get there late on Friday, you will probably
not find any ice. Load up with ice before heading out.
stove fuel and a way to light it. There is nothing more heartbreaking
than waking up in the morning with eggs and bacon in the cooler and no
way to cook them.
- Plates and utensils are a must, unless you want to cook
and eat with your fingers or only have liquid meals.
- Toilet paper or paper towels, need I say more.
- Garbage bags, you ARE packing all your garbage back out
food if you are bringing your pet. Otherwise you will have to feed them
from your own food stock. This is not recommended if the pet is
in the same tent as you. You will get either lots of gas or lots of
waste (coming from either end).
Gather your gear
wait until you get to your destination to find out you forgot plates
and utensils. Eating spaghetti with your fingers on the cardboard
pizza box that you brought is not the way to go. Get your gear together
a few days ahead and figure out what you are missing. Each trip can be
different depending on your destination. A -30C sleeping bag is
probably not needed if your only going for a weekend trip to a sunny
and warm region. But it would be needed for a deep woods trip at the
end of the season when snow is coming.
plan on your arrival time
first trip should be done in daylight. Setting up at night is not the
easiest way to start your first camp out. You will never see that
godforsaken root(or rock) that will rack your back out after sleeping
on it for a few hours. BTW, you do know that you are only going to
sleep for 1-2 hours on that first night don't you. And those few hours
will only come when the sun is coming up and starting to heat up the
pack out what you pack in
Every camper should
leave nothing behind. All the garbage should be brought back
or disposed of in the campground containers. There is nothing more
frustrating than getting to a beautiful spot only to find that
previous campers left all their garbage behind. I'm definitely not an
environmentalist, but I do have a lot of respect for nature. If you
don't respect nature than stay the hell out of the woods! And this goes
double to those "environmentalists" that are all on a "save
nature" trip but are the first to leave a boatload of garbage behind
thinking that nature will recycle it! A true camper that has respect
for nature will leave no evidence of his passage.