What to expect when camping

By Kristen Finley
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First and foremost, it’s enthusiastically recommended that all campers, new and experienced, enlighten themselves to Leave No Trace’s seven basic principles to keep all forms of natural land free of human waste and pollutants (this includes campsites). The less respect we have for our natural land, the less likely we are to have it available for future generations. It is no one’s responsibility but our own to keep our world pure for the next band of nature enthusiasts. The best mark to leave is no mark at all.

Shopping List Part 1

  1. Road Atlas: Even in the age of advanced technology, there are places that satellites have a difficult time sending and receiving GPS signal. Therefore, it’s a clever and little-known trick to plan an adventure the old fashioned way (or to at least have it as a back up). In the event of getting lost and not having the signal necessary to plan the next move, an atlas will be a trusty substitute. Just be careful to make sure it’s up to date and to be educated as to how to orient yourself on a map.
    • A road atlas is preferred because it displays recreational areas available for camping, off-roading and hiking. Road atlases of specific areas are available for purchase at ranger’s stations of national parks and forests, or online.
  2. Emergency Medical Kit: Not all emergency kits are the same. It’s important to make sure that any medical kit in your car or on your person contains the following items:
    • Rain poncho(s)
    • Gloves – both for warmth and for medical scenarios (ie. latex or nylon)
    • Medical Supplies
    • Scissors
    • Bandages
    • Gauze
    • Antibacterial wipes/antiseptic cream
    • Styptic powder (to help stop excessive bleeding)
    • Medical tape
    • Batteries
    • Road flares
    • Reflective hazard triangles and vest
  3. Rechargeable Jumper Pack: These are preferable to jumper cables due to the fact that a person is no longer reliant on another running car to put power back into a dead battery. There are several different brands that offer just as many sizes – as long as the jumper pack can charge a 12 volt battery, it’s not necessary to buy the biggest size possible for a truck or an SUV. Before heading toward the next adventure, it doesn’t hurt to confirm that the charge is full.
  4. Flashlight: This seems like a no-brainer, but it remains one of the most commonly forgotten tools for campers and explorers alike. Out of the two types of flashlight bulbs, LED and incandescent, LED is quickly claiming the victory as the best type of flashlight on the market. With a higher output that requires less input, batteries for LED flashlights last longer and shine brighter than traditional flashlights. LED flashlights are also typically rechargeable, making it a little more convenient since batteries aren’t as necessary. Another big difference, however, is in price – LED flashlights are generally a lot pricier than incandescent flashlights. The deciding factor should be what would be demanded of a flashlight (ie. hiking, emergency use only, off-road or camping). If a flashlight is going to be a large part of the adventurous equation, then an LED would be the better option. If a flashlight is something that’s going to lay mostly unused, then an incandescent flashlight (with spare batteries, of course) would do just fine.
  5. Batteries: LED flashlight or not, it’s sensible to have spare batteries for any and all electronics that call for them.
  6. Tools: To fix anything that needs repairing, or to compile things for the campsite. Such tools would be:
    • Hammer
    • Axe or hatchet
    • Screwdrivers – both Philips and flathead
    • Knife

Tune in next week for more must-haves on your first camping trip such as kitchenware, camping attire and hygiene items. Don’t forget to look at last week’s article that was chalk full of important first time camping tips!

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