Having a properly set up camp can make your outdoor sojourns pleasant and enjoyable experiences. A poorly planned camp can turn your trip into a disorganized, dysfunctional and possibly dangerous circus. Some people’s idea of a campsite selection is to find a semi flat spot and a pretty view. To be a suitable home away from home, several things need to be taken into consideration.
A comfortable camp may not have all the amenities of home but it should have all the necessities. A warm shelter, a comfortable place to sleep, a proper cooking area, a way to clean dishes and to bathe will keep the troops content. If you want the little lady to continue to go camping with you, provide proper toilet facilities.
You don’t need expedition quality camping equipment for a week long hunting trip or a weekend of family camping, but on the other hand, cheaply made equipment will cause you nothing but aggravation. A tent that leaks or gets blown down in the middle of the night, a camp stove that won’t stay lit, or cold baths in an icy stream can put a damper on the whole trip. Buy the best equipment that you can afford.
When selecting the place to pitch your tent, take into consideration that you’ll need shade from the sun and shelter from the wind. Make sure there is a good supply of firewood nearby and if it rains, where will the water drain. Make sure there are no overhead dangers that may come crashing down, piles of debris that can house scorpions and other nasties or heavy grass and brush that could hide venomous snakes. Be observant and aware of any potential dangers.
Even if you buy a good quality tent, you may have to replace the stakes that come with it. Many decent consumer tents, although of good construction, have cheap aluminum or even plastic stakes. If you can find them, buy heavy duty steel stakes or make your own out of rebar, sharpening the ends with a grinder. In loose or sandy soil use a dead man by tying the lines around rocks and burying them.
Everybody has to eat so have a good stove or grill. Propane is the fuel of choice and if you get an adapter to hook up to a 5-gallon tank it is very economical and you can tee it off to run lanterns and heaters if you desire. A proper ice chest is a must and there are many good ones made now at reasonable prices. Block ice will last much longer than cubes and it’s a good idea to have a separate, smaller chest to store the cubes for drinks.
A well set up and organized camp is a delight but even experienced campers run into surprises. Be meticulous in your preparation and when you find out what you’ve forgotten, make a mental note, make do and continue to enjoy the outdoors. Make a Yahoo search for camping tips; you’ll find many sites with a wealth of knowledge and advice. Happy camping.