Every now and then, there are lots of Organised Camping Events happening simultaneously all over the world. Most beginners prefer organised camping events. But I confidently say that an independently camped activity turns out to be a lot more adventurous than an organised one. It is pretty easy to organise one such activity. Camping activities result in long lasting cherishable memories. I am writing this Instructable based on my personal experiences and learning. I hope it will be helpful for many beginners who aspire to camp in the future. Of course, I have myself camped a lot of times. I shall be sharing the links to some of my blogs containing my wild camping experiences in the subsequent steps.
First of all, we need to understand the sole necessity for camping. Camping in Tents is just a fun filled outdoor activity wherein an individual or a group of individuals stay outside their homes at least for a night hoping for some adventurous activities. There are lots of benefits that one can gain due to camping. Some of the benefits are that camping teaches us vital life skills like survival techniques, reduces stress, increases self confidence, gets us closer to the nature, aaand the list goes on and on. Most importantly, we can enjoy like crazily! I would suggest beginners to camp for small duration initially to gain a little experience before planning camping activities for long duration.
Step 1: How to Choose Camping Spots
Beach Side Camping
It so pleasant to sleep amidst the sound of sea waves. But, always make sure that you camp much far away from the high tide zone. In case you don't, a high sea wave might wash you away along with your tent and ruin your precious sleep. So better be careful. At most times, the lifeguards at the beaches don't allow you to camp there overnight for the very same reason of you getting washed away by the tides. So you'll have to find yourself a remote camping spot far away from lifeguards and High tide zones. Be cautious about the extra high tides during full moon days.
Camping on Hill Tops
If you know the path to the hill top very well, only then attempt the night hiking activity with all your luggage. Else, reach the peak by sunset, find a flat surface somewhere on the hill and pitch your tent. Make sure you don't booze too much and roll down the hill.
River / Lake Side Camping
The very sight of a river or a lake beside your campsite will add elegance to the camping and makes it a memorable experience. But, always make sure that there are no freshwater beasts in them. Research about the place before you go and pitch your tent there. Else you may end up being a feast to such beasts! The presence of freshwater near a camping site has a lot of advantages. If it is the riverside you are camping, then you can easily use the same water for drinking(after a little purification maybe) and bathing. You can also do fishing and water sports if you fancy any such activities.
Camping in the Woods
First obtain the permission from the concerned authorities and reserve your camp site. Of course, they will allot you a safe place which is at most cases free from wild animals. Just keep a pepper spray to shoo the wild animals away in case they approach you.
Camping in the Farms
This is by far the best camping spot to choose. It is the safest of all since there is no threat from any sort of wild animals as the farms are far away from the woods and have frequent human activities. Of course I don't own lots of farm lands throughout the world. I just trespass, camp and vacate the place early morning . It is very important to follow Leave No Trace Policy during such instances. I do on advise you to tresspass farmlands and camp. All I say is that you can do so at your own risk. You can also try requesting the farm owner if you happen to spot a farmhouse near to the farm.
These are commercial places owned by a certain company or an individual. You can rent a campsite by paying a certain amount to them. They provide basic amenities like toilet and drinking water facilities. And sometimes even food. But the only cons of this type of campsite is that it comes at a cost and a little restrictions. Also, it won't be that adventurous.
Step 2: The Camping Checklist?
Camping gear can be costly because they focus on weight and packing ability. In the below paragraphs, I've explained the necessity for the most essential camping items.
I would suggest you to choose dome shaped tents like the ones from Coleman or Quechua. They are bug free, durable and resistant to all seasons. Moreover, they are light weight, easy to carry, easy to pack and unpack. The main advantage is that any layman can pitch such a tent within few minutes. If one has seen some tutorials or manuals on the procedure to pitch the the tent, then the process of pitching can be done even faster. Since these tents are small in size when packed, they can be easily stuffed inside our rucksacks/bags.
Good camping tents are obviously costly. So the best way to get them initially is by renting them. Renting camping gear has its own advantages. Some times your team strenght may be two, some times it might be ten. So, when you are renting the tents, you can choose the tents the can accomodate your varying team size. There are lots of rental companies that provide camping gears with zero security deposits. A little research can result a list of rental companies that you are looking for your first camping activity.
If you plan to hike in the night, using a flashlight in one hand might be risky. Our hands have to be free while hiking since they have have to be used for getting supports. In such instances, a headlamp is most necessary. Flashlights can be used at all activities other than hiking. I have made an instructable on 3D Printed Headlamp. Do check it out if you intend to make one good, long lasting and cheap headlamp for yourself. If the source of your light is cells, then carry extra cells along with you. Else you can carry a good power bank to recharge them when they are dried. Remember that night hiking can be dangerous only if you don't know the correct trail or if the trail is prone to wild animals. Do not attempt night hiking unless you are familiar with the place.
If you are heading to an area that is far away from civilization, one of the most important things that you need to bring is a first aid kit. There are high chances that you may end up being helpless in case of an injury or an accident if you don't take one with you. A most basic first aid kit contains at least the following components - adhesive tape, cotton, bandages, antibiotic ointment and solution, extra prescription medications, scissors, safety pins, blades or a small knife, and a small flashlight. Also do remember to check the kits regularly. Replace missing items or medicines that may have expired.
Choose them according to the maximum and minimum temperature of the campsite. Then can be too comfortable to sleep in. Packed sleeping bags are more smaller in size and lighter by weight when compared to a folded blanket. Skip this camping gear if you want to end up spending a sleepless night by shivering in the cold.
Items such as sunscreen, insect repellents, prescripted medications, toothbrush, toiletries, soap are required to ward yourselves away from unwanted diseases. Filled water bottle with drinking water is absolutely necessary to keep yourself hydrated. Remember to refill it wherever and whenever possible.
Apparels and Shoes
Try not to carry too many unwanted luggage in this regard. Just carry what is required for outdoor survival. Great shoes with good grip are critical for any camping activity.
Step 3: Activities During Camping
There are plenty of enjoyable ways to spend a during a camping activity. A little pre planning can ensure ourselves to be occupied throughout the camping activity. Of course enjoying the nature come as a bonus along with all of the below mentioned activities.
1) Building a Campfire
Campfires are the most popular features of any camping activity. A Campfire can be started at any campsite to provide warmth and light. It can also aid us with wild cooking methods. A campfire can also serve as an insect or a predator deterrent. In order to build a campfire, the most essential things that you have to carry is a firestarter like a Fire Lighter, or Matchsticks and some kind of fuel. Keep them in a water proof container. Firewood can be found in plenty at forests. Makesure you blow off the campfire before sleeping to avoid unexpected accidents. I once used readily available hay in a farmland to build campfire. That can also be done.
2) Stargazing or/and Astro-Photography
I never knew that it is possible to watch the mighty milky-way galaxy with our bare eyes until I camped one night. Luckily, that night was a new moon night. Nights with minimum moon light and minimum interference with city lights are the best to execute this activity. I have uploaded a few pics taken from my camera. Don't forget to carry a good camera (DSLR or Point and Shoot) and a tripod stand if you are planning this activity. Some high end smartphone can also capture star trails and milky-way galaxy. Also there are certain Android apps like Sun Surveyor on playstore to track the Milky-Way galaxy.
BBQs and/or cooking Lightfood during camping is also pretty normal. In order to do so, we have to carry extra cooking utensils that add to our luggage. If we are just planning to camp for one or two nights, then a take away or a parcel of food can work like a charm. I feel that one must avoid cooking food items with high smell. Foods that generate lots of odour while cooking catch the attention of wild animals in no time. So again I suggest you to go for packed food.
4) Trekking or Hiking or a Casual Walk
Trekking or Hiking trails often cover a country's most beautiful natural views.One must know that these activites come with great physical demands like walking for hours with a backpack of heavy supplies. This activity is definitely going to be fun.
5) Just Chilling or Crazy Hangovers
At most times, just chilling with friends will be the primary cause for camping. You can just grab so beer and spend some best moments with your friends.
Step 4: Leave No Trace Policy
During some of my trips, I found some location to be very dirty. That was the moment I felt the need to be responsible in tourist spots. Our silly mistakes can ruin someone else's pleasant stay. So we must follow something called as a Leave No Trace Policy. According to this policy, mainly we have to dispose the wastes properly, we should minimise campfire impacts, and we should be considerate of wildlife, nature and other visitors.
Click this link to know more about this policy in detail!
Step 5: Dos and Don'ts
- Check the weather forecast first and then plan the trip.
- Keep calm if you encounter a wild animal and try to escape. Do not attack it first. Remember that they are more scared of us than you are scared of them.
- Do take the permission from the authorities who look after the campsite.
- Do download offline maps of the camping area which can help you with easy navigation.
- Don't hesitate to consult the locals for free tips.
- Do not litter the campsite. If littered, follow the no trace policy.
- Don't forget to take all the things that you need for your survival.
- Do not forget to stop the fire before sleeping.
Step 6: Conclusion
My Camping Experiences
I have gone to a lot of outdoor activities that has involved camping recently. Ever since I went for my my first camping, I fell in love with it. I got to learn a lot of new stuff from the priceless experiences. I get to meet many foreign travellers and listen to their stories. I get to bond better with my close friends. I have just written one blog as of now. You can read it by clicking here. I will write many more blogs which share all of my other camping experiences too in the near future.
Let me know if you want to know anything related to camping. I typically reply within a day for any comment you leave below. A wise man (Don't know who) once said that "No one can be Perfect". So if there are any mistakes that I have made unknowingly or if I have missed anything, the more experienced fellow campers are kindly requested to bring it to my notice for corrections / inclusions. Thank You. :-D