Properly Preparing for a Trip in the Wilderness

Whether you are a beginning camper or an experienced one, it’s always good to have a list of camping equipment you need to take with you. In fact what I do is have a trunk-like plastic container filled with the non-perishable supplies that I always take camping. This way everything is ready to go. Once a year in the beginning of camping season, I update the items and do a supply check.

Food – It’s a good idea to have easy to prepare food. Make a list before you go of meals you want to prepare and go shopping. You can always check the internet for good camping recipes. Have on hand dry condiments such as salt, pepper, spices, sugar, and powdered cream. Be sure to bring staples such as coffee, bread, potatoes, catsup, mustard, onions, bacon, eggs, and marshmallows. Camping convenience foods you may want to include are granola bars, instant oatmeal packs and peanut butter and jelly for quick eating. Don’t forget something to drink.

Sleeping Equipment – As you are aware, the tent is a very important part of camping. Make sure it is waterproof and has a canopy for rain run off. Include a tarp or ground cloth for under the tent. Make sure the tent is always stored in a dry place to keep it free of mildew. Include sleeping bags to keep you nice and warm and an air mattress to keep you off the ground. Don’t forget the pillows.

Lighting – There is nothing worse than walking around a campsite without light. Bring a lantern either powered by propane or batteries. Include a good heavy duty flashlight and it’s always good to have a spare one. Don’t forget the extra batteries.

Cooking Utensils – Include a frying pan, camp stove with fuel, pot with lid, grill, spatula, coffee pot and tongs.

First Aid Kit – A great ideas is to put together a waterproof container filled with the following supplies that you keep stored with your camping equipment and is always ready to go. Be sure to include Tylenol or other pain reliever, antibiotic cream, antiseptic, band-aids/bandages, tweezers, allergy medicine if needed, sunscreen lotion, bug repellent, antacid tablets and a box of pre-moistened towels such as baby wipes.

Personal Items – Once again it’s a great idea to keep these items stored in a waterproof container for easy accessibility. Include bar of soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, razor and shaving cream, deodorant, comb/brush, makeup bag, washcloth and towels.

Miscellaneous Supplies – Here are some things that will help make your camping experience a good one.

 

Preparation for Hiking

1) Plan your hike. You are more likely to have a safe and happy hike if you “plan your hike, and hike your plan”. To rush out on a big hike w/o proper planning is asking for trouble! ALWAYS notify someone close to you where you will be and how long you will be gone.

2) Know your terrain. Use every resource available to get to know your hiking trail before you set out. This will prepare you for the walking conditions. “Are there streams to ford?, Elevation changes?, Is terrain rocky or smooth?”, Just some of the questions that can be answered BEFORE you set out.

3) Know your climate. Hypothermia is real, dangerous, and misunderstood. Hypothermia can strike in relatively warm environments. Hypothermia plain and simple is a rapid cooling of the body. This can be caused by cold, wet or a combination of both. Hypothermia can easily be prevented with proper preparation.

In The Pack Essentials

1) Potable water. Always have fresh water available, on any excursion. It is also a good idea to bring along purification tablets and/or a filtration device. Having the ability to produce drinking water can be just as important as the water you pack in. I also bring along some protein snacks, just in case.

2) First Aid Kit. Although an obvious choice, it is surprising how many folks go in the wilderness without one. Items as simple as pain relief tablets can be a welcome addition when you are far from civilization. Other items are bandages, tweezers, moleskin, antiseptic, needle and thread (for repairs).

3) Fire and light source. Matches and a lighter are essentials for me. I usually pack along a small piece of commercial starter stick for quick fires in moist environments. I also pack a small conventional flashlight and an LED light, as well.

4) Clothing. It is always wise to pack some extra layers. The weight of these items will be dictated by the environment, err to the side of caution, as temps can fluctuate greatly, especially in mountainous environments. An extra pair of socks can be life savers.

5) Orienteering. Packing along a map and compass has gotten me out of a jam more than once. I also carry a cell phone, even though I may not get reception in most places, in a pinch, I may be able to get a call out.

The single most important item to pack on your next hike is common sense. Making sound decisions while on the trail will keep you out of most troubled situations. If you hike with your family members, especially children or seniors, remember that they may not have the stamina handle the same level hike as you, and you ultimately must make the right decision.

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