As summer unfolds, campgrounds around the country will quickly fill up with families getting away and enjoying the serenity of nature. Before you pack up and hit the road, here are a few tips to help make your camping excursion fun and stress-free.
When packing for a camping trip, prepare for common hazards you might encounter on your trip from bad weather and ticks to poison ivy or rodents.
- Check the local weather for your destination the day before you leave, so you can be prepared with appropriate clothing and shelter.
- If you are hiking to your camping destination, it’s worthwhile to practice walking with a full pack so your body is ready for the extra work.
- Bring plenty of garbage bags; not only will they be useful if there are no garbage disposal areas near where you set up camp, but they can also be used to keep items dry in a surprise rain shower.
Regardless of your destination, there are a handful of items you should always bring along:
- If anyone in your party has medical conditions such as asthma or allergies, be sure to pack enough of the required medications. Experts recommend packing an extra couple days’ worth of medications, just in case something happens to keep you from returning home on time.
- Bug spray, poison ivy lotion and sunscreen.
- A first aid kit.
- A radio, a flashlight and extra batteries.
- It might sound funny, but bringing an extra pair or two of socks could make all the difference. If it rains or you find yourself sloshing through a puddle, you’ll be happy you have clean, dry socks to change into.
Wild animal encounters are possible and sometimes likely depending on where you decide to camp. Know what to do around wild animals and how to guard your campsite against them.
- The number one instruction regarding wild animals is don’t feed them. By feeding them, you’re encouraging the animals to get used to finding food at campsites and they’ll return for more when they’re hungry.
- Secure your food and keep it a safe distance from where you sleep. Animals have a strong sense of smell and the last thing you want is a curious, hungry creature raiding your tent for the last s’more.
Some areas of the country have specific rules regarding food storage and other wildlife related issues at campgrounds. If camping in a provincial or local park, be sure to check the management office or the park’s website for instructions. If camping in more remote areas, provincial wildlife officials can offer useful information.
Keep a safe distance from wild animals. Squirrels, chipmunks and other little critters might look cute, but they could be dangerous if they feel threatened. More important, if you see animals that are usually nocturnal, such as opossums or raccoons, out during the day, they might be sick and a ranger or other park official should be notified immediately.
In areas at high risk for wildfires, campfires may be restricted or prohibited. Be sure to check on conditions at your intended destination before you go, and read any notices posted where you are camping when you arrive.
Don’t let something as simple as forgetting a raincoat or the bug spray ruin your camping adventure.