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How to Camp like a Champ This Summer

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Kate MurphyGuest Blogger
June 13, 2016 · 2.7k Views

There’s a lot to consider if you want to spend your next getaway sleeping under the stars. The thought of packing the proper equipment and supplies alone is overwhelming. You also have to make sure to comply with the various regulations set up by campgrounds. Here’s a checklist of Dos and Don’ts to make sure you are completely this summer’s big camping trip goes as smooth as possible.


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1. Do A Thorough Gear Check

First think about the kind of camping you’ll be doing. If you are backpacking to campsite, the last thing you want is 60-pound bag. Bring only the camping essentials and determine what you need for the amount of days you’ll be out. 

2. Do Check Campsite Availability

During peak season, campgrounds fill up fast, especially on the weekends and holidays. Call ahead and make a reservation if needed. The last thing you want is to be turned away from a full campground after traveling for 5 hours.

3. Do Dress the Part

You’ll want to invest in proper outdoor attire. Avoid cotton and go for synthetic materials that stay dry as you start to sweat. The best clothing should be soft, lightweight, and moisture wicking.

4. Do Arrive Before Nightfall

Have you ever tried to set up a tent in the dark? It’s not easy. So make sure you arrive with plenty of daylight left to set up a safe and happy camp.

5. Do Pack a Map and Compass

Be sure you have an accurate map of the area and a compass to guide you around. Exploring a woodland forest is fun, but getting lost in one is not so fun.

6. Do Pack Enough Food and Water

Determine how much food and water you will need based on the size of your group and how many days and nights you will be camping.

7. Do Plan For Meals

One of the best things about camping is cooking. Think beyond s’mores and hotdogs and plan for a communal dinner to be enjoyed with your camping buddies. It’s a rewarding way for everyone to come together and refuel after a long day on the trails.

8. Do Check the Weather Ahead of Time

Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Getting caught in a storm is dangerous and can cast a dark mood over the rest of your trip.

9. Do Let Your Loved Ones Know About Your Camping Plans

Leave a detailed itinerary with a friend or family member before you leave. They love you and want to see you to come back.

10. Do Be Courteous of Your Fellow Campers

After a day of hiking, most just want a restful night sleep. So be aware of noise level, especially if you have children and/or dogs.

11. Do Comply with Alcohol Policies

All campgrounds have different policies when it comes alcohol, and it is your responsibility to comply with the laws and regulations.


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1. Don’t Pack Unnecessary Items

Leave the laptop, iPad and other electronics that you don’t need. It not only goes against everything camping stands for, but these are expensive items and could get damaged.

2. Don’t Forget the First Aid Kit

This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many campers show up with just a couple of band-aids. You want to be prepared if something happens.

3. Don’t Leave Food Out

Make sure your campsite is free of open food before heading out for a hike and going to bed. Waking to a bear outside your tent is not a good way to start the day

4. Don’t Leave A Campfire Unattended

Follow the campground’s guidelines for fire safety. Take special care in building your fire if the site does not have a fire pit. Make sure the fire has burned to ash before calling it a night.

5. Don’t Choose a Campsite by the Bathroom

This is going to be a high traffic and loud area. Campers will be making bathroom runs all night long, which means you’ll be up all night long. Look for campsites farther out and be assured a peaceful night’s rest.

6. Don’t Let Kids Run Around Other Campsites

Camping should offer respite from the stress of daily life. Kids running around and screaming is discourteous and nerve-racking to other campers. Be sure to bring activities to keep the kids occupied, especially in the evening.

7. Don’t Leave Any Evidence of Your Stay

The saying “leave only your footprints” means to leave the environment just as you found it. This belief is instilled in all good campers. Check the campsite thoroughly before leaving to make sure no remnants of your stay are left behind.

When it comes to camping, rules are not meant to be broken. Follow this list of Dos and Don’ts to as you plan for the next great escape. You’ll not only have a safe and fun trip, but you’ll be a smarter and courteous camper.


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Kate Murphy is a native of Pennsylvania. After receiving a degree in art history, she moved to New York City to test the waters. She enjoys writing about art, culture, fashion, design, and travel. In addition to writing, Kate works with artists, leads, street art tours, and moonlights as an illustrator.

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