Luxe camping might be all the rage but what if you want to experience the great outdoors the old-fashioned way? Finding a campsite and pitching a tent seems easy enough but there are some rules and regulations that every smart camper must follow. Here, Monica Prelle from About.com's Guide to Camping, shares five tips to help you have a comfortable and enjoyable camping trip.
1. Camping Gear Essentials – For a comfortable camping trip, you need a shelter, a bed and cooking equipment. There are a number of great tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and camping stoves on the market today, but if you are on a budget, you can use some equipment from home that isn’t specific to camping. Also pack a flashlight, a camp chair, and warm clothes.
2. Choose a Camping Destination – Consider what else you will do on your trip. Make sure your destination has activities that fit your interests. Look for state or national park campgrounds, or U.S. Forest Service areas. Make sure the campground has availability and the facilities you require, such as toilets, water or showers. If you want more amenities, you should consider a private campground or RV park.
3. Setting up Camp – It’s best to arrive at your camping destination during daylight. You’ll need to check in at the campground office, even if you have a reservation. Park your car and look around for the perfect campsite. Select your spot according to your preferences, like proximity to the restroom or trailheads. You’ll need a flat area for your tent and you’ll want ample shade. Once you have found your site, report back to the campground office to give them your preference, license plate numbers, and to pay if you haven’t already.
4. Camping Etiquette – Always read the campground rules and area information and follow all regulations. Keep your pets on a leash and don’t allow them to bark. Make sure to store your food properly so wildlife doesn’t get into it, and keep your trash secure. Don’t walk through other campsites and be aware of quiet hours. Follow campfire regulations and leave the campsite as clean as you found it, or cleaner!
5. Campground Cooking – You can make delicious camping meals by preparing ahead of time. Marinate any meat that you plan on grilling, pre-wash vegetables, and pre-cook anything that may take a long time. Bring plenty of snacks and water. For the ice chest, freeze a large jug of water and use it for your cooler along with regular ice. When the jug melts, you can use the water for drinking or dishwater.