Camping 101

Campfire

Camping means living without our normal amenities, and what better way to prepare ourselves for an apocalypse than a taste of the wild? Sure, we probably won’t have as much beer and activities planned, but we could! Just keep in mind these sections and continue to improve upon them every trip (that’s the goal!)

We went camping for the first time in 2016, and it has me all stoked about camping trips the rest of the summer. My family always camped; we didn’t fly to beaches, we packed our van and headed to Wyoming. It is definitely a vacation and has that vacation feel for me. We have our camping crew that has complimentary gear and we have a rhythm down at this point that save for weather or buying the wrong kind of boxed wine, nothing stops us from having the perfect camping weekend.

But we had a couple join our crew this time, and I forgot that not everybody camps every open weekend they get, and has that synchronized rhythm. A mission of AT is finding independence and survival on every level. So whether you are a pro camper, or just getting started, I drafted a checklist of sorts to help you stay on top of your trips.

…save for weather or buying the wrong kind of boxed wine, nothing stops us from having the perfect camping weekend

Camping basics- tent in the woods

Camping 101: Tips, tricks and thoughts

Preparation Station

  • Always check the weather and plan the right area. Make sure the trails you want to camp on are open and dry, and be flexible with your weekends.
  • Prep your gear. I used to just throw everything together the day before camping and called it good. It was good, but it took more time and energy packing and unpacking than necessary. Now I have a combined camping and GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag that I know exactly what is in it and it all goes. The bags prepped: Hygiene, Survival, and Food. I consider them the basics. I still throw clothes together the day of, and could refine that system… Can you think of any other sections that would rock a camping setup?
  • Know how much water and food you have. I err on way too much water, but follow the basic prepper rule: one gallon per person per day. That is for hygiene and consumption.

Out and About

  • Always set up camp first. Claim your spot and get it done before sundown (if possible). Sometimes it is wonderful to wake up never having seen a location. Just saying. But for newbies, just get it set up. Pick a camping spot with flat areas for your tent, and far enough from other spots that you don’t see their campfire.
  • Plan activities. Day drinking around nature can be fun and we’ve all done it, but isn’t it better to do things that get your heart rate up and force you to explore? Our favorite is rock climbing, dirt biking, hiking, fishing… Whatever is fun that gets you out of your campsite and adventuring. You’ll wear yourself out, sleep better, and grow some of that inner strength!
  • Improve that campsite. Pick up glass, rearrange the fire pit, leave firewood for the next campers, little things to make a big difference. It’s karma, it’s good habit, it’s kinda fun. And on that note, definitely pack out trash and recycling.

Newbie campers- what else about camping are you interested in learning about?

Seasoned campers- what else do you make sure you do that elevates your camping experience?

Editor’s note from our Facebook Discussion: The campfire is important. A detailed blog post is in the works on this, but here are some quick points:

  • Never hurts to bring a fire starter of some sort
  • A lighter or AT Matches should live in your camping gear
  • Know if the area you are traveling to has wood available to chop down, or if you need to pack in firewood
  • When choosing a campsite, care about the quality of a camp ring. You can and should make it better (see above), but notice how much work it’ll need. In the detailed blog we will go over building a camp ring from scratch.