Planning Your Camping
Do appropriate planning to choose the right destination. It will determine what kind of experience you are going to have on your trip. You will undoubtedly have a miserable experience if you hike in a difficult place. If the site is easily accessible, then you will naturally have more time to delve into the area around your camp.
Ask yourself whether you want to drive more or hike more. If your answer is later, then you must go ahead with a place which is not too far from your home. Else you would end up wasting a lot of time driving instead of hiking. You may also want to return to the camp before sunset.
The route is one of the most critical factors of your planning. You should look for flat trails that do not have much elevation. It will take a few trips before you start understanding your physical limitations.
Some parks have campgrounds within a mile or two from the car campground. One such campground can help you transform into backpacking after your first camping.
Try to find an established campsite at least on your first few trips. The advantage of choosing an established camp is that you would be able to locate it quickly.
The facilities of such camps will make your life more comfortable in the campsite. For instance, you are in a tent that has bear-proof food storage or bear poles. Such a camp will save you from having to figure out where and how to hang the food.
Let me share the experience of my first hiking. I was so excited that I could not even realize that I had hiked a long distance. I was already exhausted when I thought of going back to my campsite for the night. I had swelling on my feet when I reached the campsite as I was not used to carrying such a huge pack.
I would recommend you not to complicate things by taking up the long hike. Try to start early in the morning so that you have an ample amount of time. Do not hike more than 4-5 miles in your first few camping.
You can prepare yourself for the best you could, but you are still likely to encounter some surprises.
So, start with just a single night if you are camping out overnight. Any minor issue will not turn out to be much terrible when you are camping for only one night.
For example, if you suddenly realize that you are running out of food, you can still manage it for one night.
Trust me; you will feel more comfortable and safer if you camp around other people. It will help you have a better sleep at night.
From the security point of view, it is always better to stay nearby to other campers. So, they can stretch out their helping hand if you run into any trouble.
Seasoned backpackers are generally very hospitable with rookies. You need to approach them. They would be more than happy to give you a bundle of tips and guidance.
The best time for camping is in mid-summer. You can maximize daylight hours unless the place is extreme heat.
Do not forget to check the weather forecasts and cancel or turn back if there is a forecast of storm. You would find the weather of the campsites intrinsically unpredictable.
Temperatures in the hills can expeditiously go down. Conditions can go from delightful to tricky swiftly than you might have thought.
Do not forget to carry a lightweight rain jacket even if the forecast is of no rain. Evenings and mornings are almost always freezing in the forest. So, it is wise to pack a warm jacket, hat, and gloves on every trip.
Do not camp in the forest if you do not like cold and wet weather. It is wise not to camp in the rain when you are just starting. Suspend your trip if the weather forecast is of rain.
Knowing back-country regulations is very important before any trip. Make it a point to read and understand the rules and regulations before your journey starts.
If you read the rules and regulations correctly, you would be able to find the answers to the following –
• What is the source of drinking water available?
• Does the water need to filter?
• Are you liable to pay any fee for the tent site?
• Do you need to dig any hole at the tent site?
• Do they allow open flames or campfire?
• Do you need bear canisters?
Such regulations will not restrict you from enjoying it. It will instead help conserve the campsite for others to experience its grandiosity.