It is your first camping trip or maybe the first trip you’ve taken in years. Camping provides an affordable and fun way to connect with the outdoors and gives everyone a chance to experience a simpler way of life. If you’re committed to going camping, there are some things you must consider including the following.

1. Go solo or go with someone else. If you’re a single person, you may camp by yourself. If you have a family, your spouse and children are the logical people to go with you. Even though single, you can usually find others that love to camp too, if you prefer not to go it alone.

2. Choose a location. Unless you backpack, you will be doing site camping. Such sites have lean-tos, places to set up a tent or an area for you to open your camper. Your choice of location may have everything to do with the surrounding area, i.e., ocean, lake, woods, you name it. It can also depend largely on how long you will be gone. The longer you are away, the more likely you will want access to provisions at some point.

3. Pack the right foods. If you are going away with your family, you will want to have enough food to last you for the entire trip. Multiply the number of family members by three meals each day, then multiply that amount by the number of days you plan to camping. Not all food is suitable for camping. Some food will spoil, other foods will grow rancid while still other foods may dry out. Pack your cooler the right way to keep certain foods cool for longer than a few days. Rely much on canned and dry goods and you will avoid food poisoning. Bring with you sufficient snacks, drinks, fruit and coffee.

4. Bring a first aid kit. No matter which camping option you choose, a first-aid kit is essential. That kit should contain bandages, gauze pads, medical adhesive toe and antiseptic wipes. You should also bring blister treatment, ibuprofen, antihistamine, compound tincture of benzene, antibacterial ointment and insect sting relief. bring with you your prescriptions (including bottles) along with eye lubricating drops, antacid tablets, hand sanitizer, poison ivy treatment, foot powder and sunscreen. You might also include splints, cotton swabs, a small mirror, duct tape, safety razors and biodegradable soap. Pack everything in a sealed, waterproof container.

5. Assemble your list. If you will be backpacking, traveling light is essential. Otherwise, you can store much of what you have inside of your locked car while you are camping. Even so, packing the necessary items takes precedence over everything else. You should create a list that includes everything that you will need such as the tent, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, clothing, food, medicines, and so forth. Consider the lighting that you will need, backup batteries for your flashlight and cell phone, and more. Encourage your friends to develop a similar list or share a list to identify who will bring what.

Camping Considerations

Before heading out to your desired camping spot, check online to determine if reservations are required and if other special considerations have been posted. You may be required to pay for your site in advance to guarantee its use throughout the trip. This provision is something you should uncover early on, not just before you leave on your trip.

If you are traveling with family, this can be a great opportunity to expose your children to their natural environment. Bring plenty of marshmallows (and hot chocolate) for campfires, plan on telling stories, and consider what other activities they will need to keep themselves busy. That means planning for rainy days when too much tent time can lead to much boredom and fighting.

See AlsoCamping: How to Keep Food Fresh