If you’re a fan of the mountains, camping is definitely an activity you should engage in as often as you can. You get to enjoy an environment that’s full of fresh air, and you can explore the surroundings, something that will usually get you breathtaking views to enjoy.
But before you grab your camping gear and a warm sleeping bag, it’s a good idea to know exactly what you’re getting into. Whether you’re a first-time camper, or you’re looking for a few tips to make the next trip easier, here are a few preparation tips you should keep in mind.
Make a List of Gear You Need
If you aren’t sure about what to bring when camping, it might be a good idea to make a list a week or two in advance. Check that list daily, and eliminate any items you think you won’t need. Then, go out and purchase the ones that are absolutely essential.
When it comes to essential gear, make sure you have a quality tent and a warm sleeping bag. A good idea is to not spend too much money if it’s your first time camping. However, surviving in the wild and enabling a pleasant camping trip requires a quality down sleeping bag and a sturdy tent.
To add to this, it’s a great idea to have a compact cooking stove and a quality knife. These are two items that will significantly improve your meals when you’re out in the mountains, so you could very well say that they’re essentials. Oh, and get some water purification pills, too. Not all water you’ll come across is drinkable, so better to be safe than sorry.
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Choosing Your Campsite
If you’re going to be camping in a national park, for example, you’ll find that you have a few campsites to choose from. There’s also a rather large variety of types of campsites, so picking the right one can be a difficult thing to do.
The first thing you should know is not all campsites are child-friendly, and not all campsites are pet-friendly. If you have a child or a pet that you’re taking with you, this will limit your choices, so make sure you pick a campground that can accommodate those needs.
To add to this, you should consider the availability of facilities like showers and toilets. Most, if not all campsites, will have some kind of a solution for this, but you might not get hot water everywhere, for example. If this is your first trip, a good idea would be to pick a campsite that has high-quality facilities and is located near a town. This allows you to have more places to eat and shops to get supplies you might forget.
Check the Weather
The weather can easily make or break your entire camping experience, but if you’re well prepared, there is no such thing as bad weather. The main reason to check the weather is the fact that knowing the weather allows you to prepare in terms of gear. You can’t get a summer sleeping bag if you’re heading out in the snow, can you?
If you’re camping during the summer, a good idea would be to get a lightweight tent and a lightweight sleeping bag. Some might argue that you don’t need a sleeping bag in the summer, but one, the temperatures do drop during the night, and two, it’s a lot colder if you’re in the mountains. Get a sleeping bag.
Spring and autumn do require a warmer sleeping bag, but you could probably still do with a lightweight tent. You should make sure it’s stable and windproof, though, but that’s all there is. A waterproof cover is a nice addition, in case it starts raining.
Last but not least, if you’re camping in the winter, you should get a cold-weather tent with good insulation and weather resistance, as well as a bag that’s made for sleeping in cold conditions. This will ensure that you’re warm and cozy even though it’s snowing outside, and you won’t have any problems with temperature. You could try to DIY a winter tent, but it might not keep you as warm as you’d like.
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Last but not least, you might think this isn’t necessary, but you should practice putting up and taking down your tent. This is something you can easily do at home, and it will make sure you can solve any problems with the tent at home, not at the campsite. You can do this once or twice, that’s going to be enough for you to get the hang of how your tent works, something that will save you a bit of time at the campsite, too.
And if you’ve got a backyard at your disposal, you can even do a practice camp before you go out in the mountains! This allows you to judge what kind of clothes you’ll need to wear, how to best set things up, and if you have adequate equipment for your trip. It will also give you an idea of whether or not that summer sleeping bag you’ve got will keep you warm enough, or if you should head out and get a warmer one. Happy camping!