Top Tips For Newbie Campers
Most outdoor enthusiasts perceive being out in the wild as a transcendent emotion. It’s an exhilarating mix of conquering and overcoming. Buckling up and slowly reaching the highest peak is an experience like no other. When you’re out there, you can unleash the Bear Grylls in you with dogged determination to survive.
If you are feeling the blues lately and could use small victories to get your focus back, you’ll find comfort amid the greens as a way to win in life again. Especially if you have kids and you’re doing the usual juggling act of a working parent, you should definitely carve out the time to get that much-needed catching up and reconnection with them.
There are so many things that can happen out in the wild. If you happen to be a newbie camper, your patience and will are bound to be stretched to the limit. Whether you’re planning a trip with friends or family, there are a couple of things that should be prioritized above everything else to ensure your safety and survival.
Make a Checklist of Things to Buy and Pack
You’d be surprised to discover later on how prepared you thought you were before the start of the trip—only to realize how unprepared you really are when you’re right in the middle of the hike.
For beginners, you need at least two to three months’ worth of preparation before the actual hike. You need time to consider your options and decide which outdoor stuff you have to buy now and which ones you don’t have to for your first trip.
Start with a shopping list of hiking gear. You can’t go on a hike without a decent pair of shoes, a tent, and a backpack, and a sleeping bag. Get these items out of the way first, and buy what you need by checking out the nearest outdoor store.
Always ask one of the personnel for assistance. More often than not, the people working in the store know the products that they sell. Also, most of them are probably outdoor enthusiasts themselves, so they’ve tried some of those products during their hiking trips.
When you’ve bought them, try them out at home, especially your shoes. Try walking or running a few miles with them. They need to feel worn in so you won’t get blisters during the hike. Do the same for your kids and for the rest of their gears.
As for backpacks, you can never go wrong with waterproofing them regardless of the season. A pack liner is a good investment, but you can put off buying that later on. When you’ve made the decision to pursue the outdoors as your and your family’s passion, then you will have to buy more gears to support it. But until then, you should be fine with the four-piece gear. You can rent other types of equipment, like cooking gear, portable chairs, and tables.
Or better yet, if you can join other hiking groups or close family friends, then that will make the trip much more manageable. Instead of renting, you can each have an inventory of gear you can bring and pool your items later on. This way, you won’t have to carry too much load on your backpacks. You can just share the gears that you have and take turns in using them.
Survival Food and Kits
You can prepare for any eventuality during a hike, but some things will always be out of your control. Water, snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent are the basics—never leave the house without them. A ponytail beanie, whistles, and first aid kits too can make the trip easier and safer.
As for food, try to avoid milk-based meals as they tend to spoil quickly. Instant meals are always the best way to go about it when you’re dining from high altitude. But it doesn’t mean they’re the only option out there.
Since you’ll be traveling in groups, you can efficiently distribute the weight of your food to each person. You can precook a few slices of steaks or lean chicken breasts and pack them nicely in sealed containers in the backpacks of your fellow hikers so you won’t have to carry all the food by yourself. Same goes for home-cooked pasta and other dishes. When you get to your campsite, you can heat them over a portable stove, just get them warm enough for everyone to enjoy.
Prepare Your Body, and Pace Yourself during the Hike
As you will be taking your kids with you, it’s crucial that you are physically able to do the heavy lifting and go the distance without losing your breath. You’ll be the designated leader of the pack, so you need to brace yourself for the hike and do a couple of cardio and strengthening exercises before the trip.
Jog a few miles each morning before you go to work. You can also practice walking with your backpack on and add in a couple of weights in it to build up your stamina and endurance. Assuming you’ve never done long-distance hikes before, it’s vital that you go through physical training sessions so you won’t feel worn out easily. During the trek, always remember to take five- to ten-minute breaks every hour or two.
During the hike, it would also be fun for the kids to take turns in leading the pack. This will help them develop confidence and learn how to earn trust. Also, you can assign each kid to head a mini committee during the trip and divide them into groups for food, tent pitching, trail navigating, and pre- and post-cleanup.
When you camp, you can expect to spend more time preparing than going through the actual camping. Most tips will seem like common sense, but you won’t think that way when you’re already at the helm of the outdoors. The real goal is to make the trip as memorable and absolutely as fun as possible, despite the obstacles you’ll most definitely run into along the way. Before you embark on your journey, consider these tips for beginners so you won’t miss out on anything.