Not everyone loves the idea of camping, which is pretty understandable. In the bush, there’s a lot less access to the modern conveniences that we tend to take for granted. Doing regular chores like cooking and taking a bath requires more effort and resourcefulness. You’re also a lot more exposed and vulnerable to the elements.
On the other hand, it’s exactly that exposure to nature and its elements that makes camping good for the mind and the body. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of waking up to the smell, sound, and sight of all-natural surroundings. And although living and sleeping in the bush can be inconvenient, successfully finding ways to thrive in such a situation and overcome its challenges is its own highly satisfying reward.
So how do you make sure that your camping experience ends up being totally worth it? It all starts with planning your trip as much as you can with both comfort and survival in mind. Unless your goal is to have an unpredictable adventure and survive it as best you can, it’s never a good idea to head out into the woods blindly.
Find Out Everything You Can About Your Planned Destination
Tame the woods with research and planning. Check the weather forecast so you know what to expect. If you’re going to an area designated for camping, are there nearby public bathrooms and other standing facilities that you and your family can use?
Read up on the local fauna – are there poisonous plants that you need to watch out for? How safe is your destination for campers that are allergic to certain species of plants?
Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to plan a much safer and more convenient camping trip for everyone involved. If the forecast says to expect rain, you’ll know that bringing waterproof tents are non-negotiable. You can also just choose to reschedule the camping trip to a weekend with a rain-free forecast.
If cottages or bathrooms are available to the camping public, you might not need to bring tents and other outdoor essentials. The availability of certain conveniences may also allow you to convince reluctant friends and family to join the camping trip.
If there are poisonous as well as edible plant species in the area, you can brief everyone on which plants to avoid and which plants can be made into tea or cooked along with dinner. Depending on the severity of campers’ allergies and the presence of allergens in the destination, you can bring the necessary meds and anti-allergy measures, or better yet, find a camping area with minimal to zero allergy risk.
Knowing what to expect can make the entire process – from packing to establishing camp – a whole lot easier. So before anything else, do your homework.
Nothing Tastes Better Than Campfire Cuisine
Even the most non-outdoorsy people look forward to the moment when they can just sit around a campfire and toast some marshmallows. There’s just something magical about campfire cuisine. Whether it’s just store-bought marshmallows, seasoned meats, or your own mix of bush tea, everything just tastes better when you cook it by yourself using a proper campfire.
So, make sure you have everything you need for an awesome outdoor cookout. Use iceboxes or other portable cold-storage to keep meats and other perishable food fresh for the campfire. Bring a proper kettle in which you can brew some tea; bring a tea with high caffeine for the mornings and a tea that’s more relaxing for evenings and afternoons.
Make sure to bring enough marshmallows to satisfy every camper with a sweet tooth. Take it a bit further by bringing chocolate bars and graham crackers for creating the perfect s’mores.
You can even buy extra long campfire sticks with insulated handles for a more convenient campfire cooking experience. Or if you’re feeling handy, bring a survival knife for fashioning campfire sticks out of long, thin branches. Even the most generic hotdog brand is bound to taste special when it’s cooked by campfire.
First Aid Kits Are A Must
Nothing ruins a camping trip quicker than a medical emergency you’re not equipped to handle. The woods can be highly dangerous. No matter how careful you are or how well you pick your campsite, a bunch of people camping in the middle of nowhere is a good recipe for both minor and major medical emergencies.
While such emergencies can be avoided, especially if you’re with seasoned campers, it never hurts to bring a fully-packed emergency/first-aid kit. Prepare for cuts, scratches, insect bites, allergies, coughs and colds, fevers, sprains, burns, and everything else that could happen during your camping trip.
If you or any of your camping companions are allergic to anything, bring their medication, even if you’re not expecting the presence of known allergens. You never know what you’ll encounter out there in the wild, so come prepared.
Spend As Much Time In Nature As Possible
Plan your trip around nature hikes and activities like identifying the plant species around you. If you’re intent on bringing your phone, use it only when necessary, like when you need access to an app that teaches camping/survival skills, or if you need to make emergency calls.
It might even be a good idea to convince everyone not to bring their phones and just buy/rent one or two satellite phones for emergency purposes. Camping is about spending time in nature, not sitting in the campsite and scrolling through Facebook with what little mobile data your phone can muster while you’re in the bush.
Try to occupy everyone’s time with tasks and activities related to your natural surroundings. Chop some wood. Hike to the nearby river to do some fishing. Make sure everyone gets some sun. If you’re camping for some downtime, bring a sturdy hammock and a good book. The combination of being surrounded by nature, sniffing the clean air, and a healthy amount of physical activity is bound to make any camper feel better.