We’ll be the first to say it – being prepared for a camping trip doesn’t mean bringing your entire medicine cabinet, buying the whole shelf of bug spray at your local drugstore, or lugging your stocked pantry up the side of a mountain. Here are some tips to help you - “weather” your outing is rain or shine.
Understand What You May Encounter
Knowing the area where you will pitch a tent is vital to staying safe and preparing for all aspects of the great outdoors. Researching the weather, wildlife, trail maps, and local resources before your trip can help you pack accordingly. Looking back at recent weather occurrences can also give insight as to what you could encounter on the trail – if there was a recent storm, there could be downed trees or the trail could be slick with wet, fallen leaves.
When accounting for weather, start with what you are wearing. For instance, late fall in New England can have drastic temperature variances throughout the day with anything from mild temperatures to snow. Starting the day with a hike could mean bundling up for a few hours and then needing to shed those layers as the day progresses and temps rise, which means you will need to carry what you take off. Wearing quick-dry, moisture-wicking clothing will help to regulate your temperature and keep you comfortable.
Regarding wildlife, a good resource is the local fish and game website to get a sense of what may go bump in the night. Always secure food and thoroughly clean up after any meals or snacks. Many animals that hibernate will be bulking up before their long winter nap and their end game is just that…no matter how they achieve that goal.
Beginning with the larger items to pack - a tent that includes a rain fly, a tarp or two, a sleeping pad, and sleeping bag rated for the weather you may encounter - are all items that fall under a must-pack item list. Other essential items include a first aid kit, sunscreen, bug spray, and reusable waterproof bags to protect any electronics you may have with you. Setting up camp near a water source is always best, while packing simple, healthy meals and snacks such as sandwiches, trail mixes, meal bars, and dehydrated foods can keep you fueled for hikes and activities.
Leave No Trace
Ensure other campers can enjoy the surroundings for years to come by leaving no trace. Plan to carry out all trash, and make sure to douse all traces of a fire according to fire safety guidelines before retiring for the night or leaving the campsite. One trend park rangers and fish and game authorities urge campers to avoid is stacking rocks to make “natural sculptures.” Although thought to be harmless, this disturbs the natural habitat of some bugs and critters and can be a hazard if the sculptures are unsteady.
Regardless of your personal camping experience, it is always best to do research and gather as much information about the surrounding area as possible to truly enjoy your time in the great outdoors.
We hope this inspires you to lace up those hiking boots and sleep under the stars this fall! Have any camping tips to share? Reach out to us at WinniWanderer@winni.com. Hearing from you will make our day!
By Staff Contributor
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