For some, outdoor sports like hiking and camping are a test of endurance. It is about the challenge of ‘roughing it’ in the great outdoors. For others, hiking and camping are about relaxation and having a good time.
Regardless of whether you’re in nature for relaxation, thrill, or a combination of the two, you never want to find yourself lost or in a dangerous situation. This article will teach you everything you need to know to enjoy your net excursion—without leaving yourself unprepared.
Hiking and Camping for the Minimalist
Even if you are looking to practice your survivalist skills, you should take precautions before going out into the wilderness. Here is some gear that you should consider.
Learning to read a compass is one of the first things that Boyscouts, Girlscouts, and other troops learn. A compass is a little more reliable than the sunrise and sunset, especially if the day happens to be overcast. In the age of technology, you can also download an app on your smartphone. This is a good alternative if you want to rough it, but you still want to be prepared. Be sure to download an app that works without GPS, especially if you are going far off the grid.
Whether you are trying to rough it or relax in comfort, having a good pair of hiking boots will help you tackle obstacles you’ll come across when hiking or camping. Hiking boots should protect you from hazards, having adequate traction to help you grip surfaces and ankle support to keep your foot steady. They should also be comfortable if you don’t want to end up exhausted by the end of your trip.
Being safe should always be your top priority. Be sure you have access to clean water when hiking or camping, even if it means lugging your own bottles. If you are roughing it, bring a container to boil water in. Having a safety flare and whistle can also be helpful when you are in the wilderness in case you get lost.
Camping and Hiking in Style
If you favor relaxing over roughing it, there are several things that you can bring along on your trip to help you have an easier, better time.
When you are in the great outdoors, there are a lot of sights if you take the time to slow down and see them. Whether you are hiking up the side of a mountain and want to take in the landscape or looking to the sky for birds, pocket binoculars can let you experience the beauty of nature in a new way. If you don’t want bulky gear, then consider a pair of compact binoculars. These still let you take in the incredible views without weighing yourself down.
Being out in nature gives you unlimited opportunities to find a new appreciation for the world around you. Even things like the coloring on the rocks in a mountainside or wildflowers can be seen in a new light once you slow down to appreciate them. A high-quality camera will help you capture each of these moments. If you don’t want to risk having your cell phone distract you on your trip, consider a high-quality disposable camera or a digital one.
You should always be prepared to provide yourself with shelter in the wilderness. The shelter will keep you protected from elements like wind and water, especially if it storms. It can also keep critters out of your food at night. The easiest types of shelter to set up are tents. For people who want to go more rustic, bringing along a tarp is an option.
Preparing Your Campsite
An impromptu hiking or camping excursion can be a great way to escape for a weekend. Even when the outing is last minute, you should take the time to prepare beforehand. Make a list of the things that you need on your outing, as well as anything you want to bring along to have a good time. This will keep you organized and stop you from forgetting things in the excitement.
Preparing the Campsite
The first thing that you should do when you get to the campsite is set up your shelter. You will want to have this ready before it gets dark. Then, set up your campfire. A campfire will help keep you warm when temperatures drop at night. It also repels critters like mosquitos and spiders.
Store Food Properly
Before you go inside for the night, be sure to pack up any loose food that might lure bears and raccoons to your campsite. If you store them inside a cooler or another airtight container, you can leave them outside or store them in your tent. You should also be sure your tent is zipped all the way if you don’t want ants and spiders crawling inside.
Know the Area
Finally, if you are not camping with all the amenities, make sure you are familiar with the area you are camping in. Know about the wildlife in the area, bring along fishing line if you plan to fish, and know the vegetation like berries or edible mushrooms you may find in the area. If you are unsure, do not eat anything. There are many poisonous plants in the wilderness. Additionally, you should always boil your water beforehand to avoid getting sick.
Preparing for a Hike
You can prepare for a hike like you would if you were going on a camping expedition. Start by familiarizing yourself with the area. Know of wildlife in the area and the edible mushrooms and berries if you are planning a long excursion. Be sure you have water and food otherwise. If you are hiking a mountain or through the woods, know if there are trails in the area. If you are planning on going off the trail, find out what landmarks are in the area. This will help guide you, so you do not get lost.