This past weekend I had a great opportunity to go camping. Here in the mid-Atlantic states we have had almost constant rain for the last three weeks or so– so I was super excited when the thunderstorm clouds broke and we were able to dry off and get out of town. We went camping in Pennsylvania, to my all time favorite spot for camping. I want to keep it all for myself, so I am not going to tell the general internet world about it.
I have only been camping for a few years, and I can still remember being a fresh first-time camper learning the ways of the wilderness. I thought I would take this opportunity to fill you in on a few basic camping tips:
- Make peace with the fact that the outdoors has dirt and you
mightwill get some on you. There will be a shower and a big load of laundry at the end of this adventure so don’t worry.
- Keep your first camping trip short. 1 night at first is plenty. That way if you decide that it is really not your cup of tea you can tough it out and say you tried it without too many hard feelings (or trauma).
- Campsite location is important. You will want to choose some place with shade and good atmosphere. Crowded does not equal fun (usually). Picking the most crowded campsite is a good way to ensure that one of your numerous neighbors will do something that annoys you (camping doesn’t usually involve fences).
- To have a great camping experience you don’t need a ton of gear. A sleeping bag, a tent (preferably a Coleman Tent with a welded bottom), a cooler filled with cold drinks and not easily perishable food is really all you need to get started.
- Concerned about starting a fire at your campsite? You don’t have to be a boyscout to have a great fire. Invest in dry wood (buy it near your campground to help prevent the spread of invasive species), and some fire starters. Fire starters are made of super flammable (but relatively safe) paraffin wax and saw dust. It is never O.K. to start a fire with gasoline or lighter fluid. This isn’t a “real campers grunt while setting fires” thing, but a safety issue.
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