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Avoid Camping Conundrums: Advice for Beginning Campers

May 13, 2008
If you're new to camping, it's is a fun way to get away from it all, but it's advisable to do your homework before heading out into the great outdoors to ensure a safe and enjoyable time for all.

One of the most tempting things to do after purchasing your tenting gear is to try it out for the first time at the campground. Many a first-timer camper has fumbled for hours trying to set up a tent. Set tents up in the backyard before leaving for your camping vacation. Make sure the lanterns, camp stoves and other gear work properly. Try out the sleeping bags with an overnighter in your new tent prior to your trip. Another words, become familiar with your camping gear.

Find yourself feeling a little crowded in the new tent? It's important to make space and comfort a priority when choosing a tent. For family camping, consider purchasing a tent with a capacity rated two higher than the number of campers that will use it. For example, a family of four should choose a 6-person tent. This is going to be your home away from home, so make sure the tent is big enough.

A checklist is an invaluable tool for campers. Imagine reaching the campground and find you've forgotten something. A checklist keeps you organized and prepared. Keeping a camping gear checklist will ensure you leave nothing behind. Use it while you're packing up. As you become a more experienced camper, you can revise the list as needed.

First-time campers should consider arriving at the campground early to become acquainted with the layout, amenities and rules. This also gives you time to set up camp during daylight hours and meet your neighbors. Things go much more smoothly when you can see what you're doing.

While you may be camping, this is not the time to skimp on meal planning. Figure out how many meals you'll be making and prepare a menu ahead of time. Once a shopping list is made, head to the store a day or two before your departure. It may save you money as well. Snacks and treats at the local camping store may be more expensive than your local grocery store.

If the weather forecast is predicting foul weather, reconsider your camping plans. Nothing is more uncomfortable than sitting in a tent while the rain pounds down. And rain-soaked campsites can be muddy and messy. If stormy weather is in the forecast, reschedule your camping trip for another time.

For your first camping trip, choose a campground close to home. You may find out after a night of sleeping on the ground that you are not cut out to be a camper. You may run out of food or have gear trouble. The weather may change for the worse. Any number of things could happen to make you want to go home early. Camp close to home the first several times to work out any kinks.

When it comes time to break camp and head home, use a whisk broom or rags to wipe off gear as you stow it. Pack gear as you had it when you came to the campground. Make sure the campfire has been dowsed with water. Use excess water from your cooler to put the fire out completely. Gather all the trace. Your goal is to leave the area cleaner than you found it.

Here are some items that no camper should be without:

1. Bug Spray - nothing can spoil a camping trip faster than bugs
2. Batteries - Make sure batteries are installed in equipment that requires them and bring spare batteries too.
3. Bungee Cords - Cords can be used to bundle firewood, secure lids to coolers, and as clotheslines
4. Plastic Garbage Bags - Campers should keep a clean campsite and garbage bags are perfect for collecting and disposing of trash.
5. Lighter/Matches - Bring along extra lighters and matches and you'll never be without a fire. Plastic bags are ideal for keeping them dry.
6. Utility/Camping Knives - whether you need to fillet a fish or trim a rope, knives are the handiest tools to have when camping. Multi-purpose models carry utility blades and accessories for a host of outdoor duties. Choose knives that easily tuck away for added safety.
About the Author
Safecutters Inc., provides an online store of utility knife box cutters for opening shipping boxes and shipping packages, as well as safety knives to open moving boxes and packages. For more information about Klever Kutter and other Safecutters products contact us!
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