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The Ultimate Checklist For Your Next Camping Excursion

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With the warm weather months in full swing, the outdoorsman (and woman) looks to these days as the perfect opportunity to experience nature.  If you’re one of those people, or you’re a greenhorn that wants to experience something new, properly preparing for your trip to the great outdoors can assure that you have a great time and a lasting memory.  Going on your journey with a map, a plan for the sleeping arrangements, an emergency kit, food, and anything you may need if you plan on hunting or fishing (such as ammo and a fishing cart) is a great start to having a worthwhile trip into the woods.

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A Map

This one is self explanatory, but if you’re about to traverse the various twists and turns of the forest, it’s best to have a legend of the terrain in order to help you from getting completely, hopelessly lost.  Pack a map, which should be available at any of the local visitor centers, as well as a compass.  Once you set up a campsite, you should explore, taking note of how long it takes you to get to any discernable landmarks, such as a river or lake or an identifiable rock or tree.  It’s also a good idea to keep the traveling after sundown to a minimum.  The best way to get lost is to wander around at night.

Sleeping Arrangements

Whether you decide to take to the great outdoors with a comfy, luxury tent or you intend to rough it to the extreme with just a sleeping bag on the ground and the stars above your head, you won’t want to forget packing either.  Make sure you can fit in whatever choice you make; you won’t want to find out on that first night that you can’t fit into that extra small sleeping bag you bought on sale.

An Emergency Kit

Part of the experience of being in the great outdoors is braving the elements, but it’s obviously one of the biggest dangers you’ll encounter.  You’ll want to be prepared for any sort of emergency that you may come across, especially if you happen to be camping in a pretty remote location.  Your basic campground will most likely be patrolled by a park ranger, so having the basics such as burn ointments, gauze, tourniquets, and band-aids may be able to suffice.  If you are going deep within the woods, however, you’ll want to pack more.  A way to reach emergency responders can also be part of your emergency plan; a CB radio can work wonders in a place where there is no cell phone reception.


If you’re going up to hunt or fish, the point of the entire camping trip may be to catch and kill everything you wind up eating, but you should have a backup plan.  Fishing and hunting can both be hit and miss, so you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to eat.  Packing light to keep your appetite satisfied between catches can be just enough to keep you from starving.  Bringing along a field guide with a detailed resource for local vegetation can also come in handy.  It’s important to read it carefully, though, as there’s plenty of vegetation that is harmful to humans when ingested.

Everything You Need to Go Hunting and Fishing

Of course, if you don’t plan to do either, you won’t need it, but if you plan on hunting or fishing, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need.  Having the appropriate license should be the first on the list to make sure you have.  Other than that, an adequate amount of ammo, repair kits, and any storage such as a fishing cart should be packed before you head out into the forest.

Camping can be a great way to spend a weekend with nature, but it’s always important to go prepared.  Remember to also stay within your means and skill level and it can be a great experience.

David Bloomer has always been a fan of the outdoors. He loves sharing his advice with his friends and readers

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