There’s nothing like going camping out in the open. Camping is the ultimate outdoor experience. For many kids, a camping trip is considered a rite of passage, signifying the transition to adolescence.
This is especially true for those who love the outdoors and are constantly looking for their own adventure. However, you won’t want to be cold, hungry, and uncomfortable while out camping.
Camping Tips to Make your Next Trip Awesome
To make sure that never happens, here are our top five camping tips you should consider before you answer the call of the wild.
Create your Camping site
The first thing you are going to need while out in the wilderness is a shelter. You will want to pick a campsite that gives you afternoon shade. It is important to note here that a campsite with southern exposure can warm up faster in the morning.
Stay High & Dry While Camping
Apart from that, you’ll also want to be high and dry which is why you should avoid setting up a camp in valleys or paths where water may flow. It’s not uncommon for a flash flood to inundate an area within minutes, so make sure your campsite is located fairly above the river level.
Camping Tips for Safety: Pick a Safe Location
You should also choose a campsite where there are no natural dangers such as snakes, termite mounds, ant colonies, or falling rocks – you get the picture. Ideally, your campsite will be somewhere close to running water (but not too close) and dry wood to make a fire. You should also take advantage of rocky formations to shield you from the elements.
Pitch a Tent
Pitch the tent as soon as you arrive. However, in cases where you have lost or damaged your tent, you will need to make a shelter that’s well-insulated. First, you will have to find a downed tree that’s resting at an angle. If you can’t find one, just set a large branch against a standing tree.
Final Camp Preparations
Now, check the direction of the wind and stack up smaller branches close together on the side where the wind is blowing. You will also need to insulate yourself from the cold ground. For your camping bed, you can use dry grass or pine needles as the ground cover. Make sure the footprint or ground tarp under your campsite is not visible since any exposed edges can funnel in rainwater underneath your campsite which will soak up the ground cover.
Start a Fire
If you’re using a frequented campsite, you will find an established ring that was used by the previous campers. If not, remove the topsoil from an area and then enclose it with rocks. You don’t want the smoke from your campfire to fill your tent. To make sure you won’t be smelling smoke the whole night, toss a dry leaf in the air and see which way the wind blows. Then, start a fire downwind.
Start with Small Kindle
You can prepare the fireplace for ignition with dry, dead sticks that are as long as a pencil at the edges. Preferably, try to find some fatwood. Then, place tinder or bundles of dry leaves or shredded newspaper in the middle. Use a log the size of a forearm as a base. Once the tinder is lit, stack up the smaller kindling against the log for oxygen to pass through and fan the flames.
Time to Add Larger Kindle
You can add larger kindling once the flames grow until you have a full-blown fire. Since you’re not always going to have a lighter with you, you can practice a few techniques that are used to build fires in the wild such as the hand drill, the fire plow, and the bow drill. Building a fire on your own takes practice, but it’s not impossible.
Finding Clean Water
One of the top five camping tips is finding clean water. While any water is better than no water, you will want to preferably have clean water to drink. Since thirst is the first thing that wants to kill you out in the wilderness, you will need to find clean water ASAP.
Just make sure to have a water purifier on hand when gathering the water. Something simple like a Lifestraw works in a pinch to clean the water.
Easiest Places to Find Water
Water sources in the wild can be freshwater streams, rain, and snow. Never drink water that’s been standing such as water that’s trapped in a puddle or in rocky cracks and crevices. You can also try to dig to find water.
Plant Indicators of Water Source
In the wild, there are certain plants which can be used as indicators of water nearby. Plants such as willows, cottonwood, and cattails are all used to identify underground water sources. All you have to do when you find one of these plants is dig a deep hole at its base until you reach the damp sand underneath.
Last Case Scenarios
In emergency situations, you can also gather dew that collects on plants and leaves. Use a piece of cloth to soak up the dew and then squeeze its contents in a container. Plants sweat too. If you happen to have a plastic bag, tie it around a leafy branch of a tree and wait for the water to collect in it.
Know Your Knots
All those who spend time outdoors need to know how to tie a variety of knots. The two most used knots by campers out in the wild is the bowline and double half hitch.
The Bowline Knot
To create a bowline, first make a loop then memorize this little trick: The little rabbit comes out of a rabbit hole in front of the tree, runs behind the tree, and back into the rabbit hole. This knot is great for trapping small animals for food since the more the rope is pulled, the tighter the rope gets.
The Double Half Hitch Knot
To make a double half hitch, tie a half hitch around an object such as a tree or a pole, followed by a second in the same direction to make it double. This is a great knot to tie when securing a tent to keep it from falling.
Build Your Own Spear
If the knots seem like too much work, no problem. You can make a spear to catch small animals.
- Pick a long and straight stick.
- Split the end of the stick to make a fork.
- Separate the fork with small wooded wedges and tie it into place.
- Sharpen each of the tips of the fork with a sharp rock.
Additional Spear Creations…
Check out this article on creative ways to make other kinds of spearheads.
So there you have it. These were our top five camping tips that will make your time in the wilderness less uncomfortable and could also save your life.