Camping is a great way to maximize your opportunities for adventure. Being so close to nature will give you a new sense of self and realize the luxuries one takes for granted. When camping you have to rely on your skills and wits and Google probably won’t be there to help you. Nevertheless, there is a first time for everything. There will be times when we might struggle to survive in the great outdoors. You might have to face the howling rain outside and feel the tent give away to the mighty winds. You might be shivering the cold and hear your stomach come alive with its growling.
In the case you find yourself in such a situation, here’s our camping survival guide on how to camp like a champ, even if it’s your first time. Those who prepare, will survive anything that mother nature throws their way.
1. Planning & Prepare
The three most important things to have when camping are: Shelter, clothing and a first-aid kit. Whether you are a first-time camper or you have been to dozens before, it is important to start planning your trip early. You wouldn’t go away on a vacation without reserving a hotel room in advance. The same goes for camping. In order to assure that you don’t drive around for hours from campsite to campsite, looking for an open site, check availability and make a reservation in advance. Create a list of items that you will need when camping and start gathering them for a few days in advance to make sure that you don’t forget anything.
2. Do not overload your bag
In this trip, packing light and smart is the ultimate way to camping like a champ. No, you don’t need that super fancy tent only because the next Joe owns it. Take what is absolutely necessary and borrow/rent from someone else if it’s especially needed for that trip. It will be easier for you to have less things to keep track of and later, quicker to pack. The fun in camping comes from impromptu ideas and tricks that you get to pick up when you’re in need of something.
3. Pack everything beforehand
Rookie mistake number one: packing your bag the night before you’re heading out. Everyone underestimates the time taken to pack the bag and leave it till the last moment. That is not how you camp like a champ. Pro tip: make a box/tote/bag/rucksack (or whatever floats your boat) and put all your gear in it, your sleep bag, your food and tent. When nature calls, you’ll be all set to go.
4. Keep that belly full
Bad food and an empty stomach will destroy your camping mood. If you want to camp like a champ, learn the art of camping cuisine. Plus, a hungry belly will not complain about your concoction as long as it’s full. If you’re feeling adventurous, turn back the time and go hunting and foraging like the stone ages. The world is one big healthy fridge.
Similarly, if the hassle is too much, you can freeze pre-made camping meals in Zip-Loc bags. Prepare individual precooked meals at home before the trip and freeze them in zip-seal plastic bags. Label them for easy identification. Not only will the frozen dinners help keep other items in the cooler cold, but the packets are also easy to defrost. Just plop the bags in warm water.
5. Light That Fire & Keep Warm
Without the light emanating from neighboring cities or lamps, it gets pretty dark out in the woods. Carrying a light can give you protection from nightly beasts; it will come in handy when you need to burn something or cook. The red flames provide light, cooked food, warmth and protection from animals and pesky bugs.
Speaking of keeping warm, the woods can get chilly you know – very chilly, even if it’s the middle of summer. So gather your warm clothing and get inside your sleeping bag (if it’s insulated then that’s a bonus). Bring along an extra pair of socks or a change of clothes; in the case you get wet, you’d have something to change into. Besides, sitting there in wet clothes will make you even coder.
Keep a survival knife, or multi-tool with you at all times, because you never know when you will need it. When you do need it, it will be like attaining the Holy Grail. You have something to cut with, protect yourself and prepare food – even if all you have is a dull little knife. The Schrade SCHF36 Stainless Steel Fixed Blade Knife has been a decent survival cut for each climber and EDC users. If you want to go even more pro, check out the Buck 863 Selkirk Fixed Blade Knife; this knife is suitable for tough work and the grip provide a good hold for the heavy work into the field.
7. Use Your Watch As a Compass
A watch set on standard time can be used as a compass on a sunny day. Lay the watch on a flat surface with the hour hand pointing toward the sun. Mark a spot in the middle between the hour hand and 12. A line drawn from the center of the watch face through that mark will point south.
Bonus Tip: How to Make An Emergency Rain Shelter Using a Tarp
A tarp makes an ideal shelter against unexpected rain. Dig one corner of the tarp facing the wind and prop a pole under the opposite corner. After that, fasten a line from the top of the pole to ground or a tree. Now pull the remaining two corners tight and stake them to the ground. The resulting half-pyramid shape provides excellent drainage and stands up well to high winds.
And there! You can now go out and camp like a champ! (Even if it’s your first time)
The last unwarranted tip: be spontaneous. Checklists, planning, programming takes all the fun out of camping and burdening it with logistics will make it seem like a hassle. Satisfy your curiosity and that’s what camping is all about. Somewhere out there, there is a perfect campsite that has your name all over it.