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How to Prepare For a Camping Trip

For those new to the camping experience, understanding how to prepare for living in the great outdoors can be complicating and frustrating. Knowing what to leave and what to bring along can often be the difference between a spiritual adventure and an awful nightmare.

First and foremost, make a list and check it twice. Of all the things you can do to prepare for a camping trip making a list is the easiest way to ensure that you’re bringing everything you’ll need. The length of your list will depend on the type of camping you’re going to do, where you’ll be camping, and the duration of your trip. This can range anywhere from a 10 day survival training course to a three week, luxurious stay in one of the many national parks around the U.S.

Upon making the list, divide the items you’re taking into categories. The categories will comprise of the items you’ll need for everyday living such as food, water, shelter, and proper clothing. You’ll want to bring some soap and a toothbrush to keep from offending the other campers with the many scents the human body can produce. Also, don’t forget the biodegradable, earth friendly toilet paper.

Deciding on what food to bring is easy when you break up the days into breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Three meals a day with plenty of liquids is all you’ll need. Factor in at least two liters of water a day for each person going. More water may be needed for strenuous activities like hiking or fishing. I like to pack a cooler with good food because eating well is half the fun of camping. A tip I learned a few years ago is to use a block of dry ice to keep food chilled. A 5 pound block will keep for days in a good cooler and it won’t water log the food when it melts. The dry ice vaporizes when it melts leaving no water in the bottom of the cooler as is the case with conventional, frozen water. Don’t store liquids with the dry ice, they will freeze thus becoming useless until they thaw. The assembling and disassembling of the camping tents for stargazing will be easy for the person. The cabins will be different for the staying of the family members and children. There will be lot of space for playing of games in the camp. The spending of the night will be effective for the person. 

Being unsure of the weather is no excuse, keep an eye on the forecast for the time and location of your trip. Call the closest rangers office or get a hold of a local outfitter to get an update on the weather before you leave. Bring plenty of warm clothes for when weather conditions take a turn for the worse. If you pack a tent, bring along a footprint or tarp to keep the floor dry.

In cold weather, a sleeping pad is essential for insulating the cold ground beneath your bed. A few warm and clean articles of clothing will raise your comfort level and make your trip more enjoyable.

Keeping everything clean will save you work in the future. Wash your utensils and cookware after every meal to keep the food from drying to the surface and saving you some time on your next meal. Soap, a toothbrush, and other needed toiletry items can be stored together in a small bag for future use. Again, don’t forget the toilet paper and a small shovel to bury what you can’t take with you.

The following is a list of items you will need for all camping trips, regardless of duration:

  1. Sleeping bag, pad, and tent.
  2. Food and water.
  3. Cooking stove with pot/pan, plate or bowl, and utensils for eating and cooking.
  4. Toothbrush, all-purpose soap, and small towel.
  5. Small survival/first-aid kit.
  6. Extra pants, shirt, socks, and underwear with warm clothes for cold weather.
  7. One or more of the following; GPSS unit, compass, and/or cell phone.
  8. Hatchet, knife, or small machete for firewood.

I hope this takes the confusion out of preparing for your next trip. Until then, happy camping!

Top 10 Checklist Before Leaving for the Airport

Anyone who has left the house for the airport knows that moment of panic as you pull into the parking lot: What did I forget? Is the iron/toaster/hair dryer unplugged? Did I put those shoes I wanted in the bag? There’s always some nagging voice in the back of your head trying to shake you up with doubts.

As someone who traveled – usually by air – about three weeks out of every month for more than six years, I became somewhat of an expert on packing light, with the minimal amount of risk of getting stopped at security. I also quickly discovered the difference between essential and unnecessary items to worry about and check on before leaving home.

A list of what is essential to do before leaving for the airport requires understanding what is NOT essential. It is NOT essential to check your toiletries case five times to see if you’ve remembered your toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, and other bathroom items. Unless you’re traveling to the remotest of places, all of these items will be available to purchase, or complimentary in most hotels, at your destination. Throw what you think need in and don’t worry about it. What you DO need to be sure of is that you have any medication that you won’t be able to obtain at your destination, or that you may need while traveling.

The same holds true for clothing. If you’re traveling in the US, rest assured, virtually every town has a strip-mall row, complete with a few Targets, Wal-Marts, and K-Marts, where you can get any underwear, socks, or shoes you may have forgotten. For travel outside the US, again, unless you are going to a remote location, there will be similar stores at your destination. Pack your clothes with a list of what you want to take, but once the suitcase is closed, don’t sweat it. What you DO need to be sure of is items like prescription glasses, hearing aids, support hose, braces, or specialty items are packed.

If you are traveling for business, be sure you have what you need for any meetings, but again, in this day and age, that isn’t very much. Files and paper you’ve forgotten can be emailed from the office, copies of any paper you forgot can be printed at any office supply store, and your cell phone keeps you in constant touch.

While you can travel far without cash these days, what you CAN’T do without are travel documents – your identification, passport, and credit card. If your wallet is empty of cash, don’t worry. There are ATMs on every corner all around the world – again, with the exception of the most remote destinations.

As you can see, what you take with you – other than items that can’t be purchased elsewhere – becomes a non-issue. The top-10 things to remember are those things that you will have no control over and no ability to change once you have left. Those are items in your home. Did you leave a key with the neighbor or pet-sitter for entry into the house in your absence? Have you arranged to have mail and other signs of your absence removed on a daily basis? Are all electrical appliances not only off, but unplugged?

The following check list of ten most important things to do before leaving for the airport won’t keep you from wondering what you forgot, but they will ensure you haven’t forgotten anything too important.

Top 10 Checklist Before You Leave for the Airport

  1. You have your travel documents (drivers license, passport, ticket (although most people have e-tickets these days), and itinerary) and they’re readily accessible.
  2. All electronics are unplugged.
  3. Pets are taken care of – either at the boarders, or the pet-sitter has a key.
  4. Essential, irreplaceable medical items are packed – prescription medications, support hose, prescription glasses, hearing aids, braces, mouth guards, etc.
  5. You have confirmed your flight. This can save hours of waiting at the airport if your flight has been delayed or changed!
  6. Doors (including garage) and windows are locked.
  7. Electronic timers are set for lights, or arrangements have been made for a neighbor/friend to turn lights on/off so house doesn’t look empty.
  8. Arrangements have been made for mail, packages, and newspapers to be picked up each day to ensure house doesn’t look empty.
  9. Power cords for recharging electronics are packed. Be sure you can recharge your cell phone, camera, and computer while on the road. These items are usually brand and model specific and so may be difficult to replace or find an alternative for while on the road.
  10. Kiss your loved ones. Not that you want to panic that it could be the last time you see them every time you walk out the door, but whether you’re going to the airport for an extended absence, to work for the day, or to the store for thirty minutes, there’s nothing more important than letting those you love know it. Always kiss them and tell them you love them when you leave their presence.
  11. In addition, you should be able to make sure that all your bookings have been made properly. For instance, if you are travelling to Denver, always ensure that you have booked aspen to Denver airport shuttle or vice versa.