Camping is a tradition as old as time. People worldwide lived as nomads for thousands of years, traveling from place to place with only the essentials of their lives.
Without the advantages of advanced camping gear, they carried their dwelling and the few tools they had for survival, barely scraping by as they battled against the elements while fully encapsulating the outdoor experience that modern outdoorsmen (and women) crave.
In modern society, camping is a vacation. It is a time to unwind and unplug from the world that is always buzzing in your ear as you connect with nature. Unplugging from the digital world, including the phone, can do us more good than we might think.
Still, to enjoy this experience thoroughly, you must be ready for any possible situation that may arise so that your excursion is not cut short by a lack of preparedness. It's easy to forget something essential.
Before we get started, here are a few fun outdoor activities to consider while you prep for the Outdoors:
Try These Fun Outdoor Activities
If you're new to the outdoor and camping scene, you might not know what fun activities to bring. Although there are an endless number of things you can do, here's a short list of our top outdoor activities:
- Fishing / Bowfishing
- Campfire stories
- Making smores
- Bird watching
- Outdoor games like cornhole or ultimate frisbee
Consider all possible factors while planning your camping trip and choosing the gear. Weather, temperature, the season of the year, and location will all affect your packing list. Without these considerations, a camping trip can turn out to be miserable.
Prepare for Rain
After choosing your desired locale, deciding where and how you will sleep on your camping trip should be your next priority. Tents and sleeping bags are available in all shapes and sizes and are rated for different weather types. Some people camp out of their vehicles, while others pop hammocks into their backpacks and sleep between trees under the stars.
Extensive rain can put a significant damper on your plans to enjoy your trip if you aren’t equipped to protect yourself and your belongings in a sudden downpour. Your next step should be to check the upcoming weather forecast. The history of temperatures and weather complications in the area where you plan to camp and the time of year you intend to be there should also be considered.
Waterproofing your camping trip is essential to getting the most out of your vacation. Here is a list of camping gear to help you do just that:
- Purchase a waterproof tent that can withstand higher wind speeds. You might want to consider waterproofing the seams of your tent as well. Even a trickle of rain in a tent makes sleep more difficult.
- If sleeping under the stars is your ultimate plan, pack a tarp and paracord to create a shelter just in case you need a last-minute reprieve from a storm.
- Pack a waterproof sleeping bag or a waterproof blanket.
- A waterproof jacket, rain poncho, rain boots, or water-resistant work boots should help keep your body dry.
- Choose a sturdy bag with a waterproof lining and a water-resistant bottom for storing your essentials that must stay dry, like your keys, wallet, and any necessary electronics or paper.
Prepare for Snow
Later in the year, a sought-after camping trip can be disrupted by a winter storm very quickly. Temperatures can drop suddenly, and snow can cover your campsite before you can pack it all up and head home. If you have the right survival gear to stay warm and dry, you don't have to cancel your plans and give up a chance to fill your freezer.
Remember, lacking cold-weather gear can lead to hypothermia and other dangers. You must wear layers, keep your head warm, and have the proper footwear.
Signs of hypothermia (From the CDC):
- Memory loss
If you can't get to a hospital immediately, get to a shelter if possible. If not, set a fire. Remove wet and cold clothing. Drink hot water or tea. Wrap in a warm blanket (preferably an electric blanket). Once you can get to a hospital, someone must drive you there for immediate medical attention.
Here is a beginner list to help prepare you for last-minute snowy weather on your camping trip:
- Bring appropriate cold-weather clothing, including warm gloves, a hat or head warmer, long-john underwear, thick socks, water-resistant or waterproof boots, pants, a jacket, and a thicker coat, so you can alternate depending on the level of movement that you require per different activities.
- Get a sleeping bag rated for colder temperatures.
- Always pack an electric blanket in the event of hypothermia
- To be prepared with a heat source, know how to build a fire in snow or bring a small propane space heater.
- Pack extra food that is easy to warm up or eat in case you can't leave your vehicle or tent during the worst parts of the storm.
- Pocket-size hand warmers come in handy to keep your fingers from freezing.
- Stay Outdoors Longer makes a survival kit that includes the essentials to help you stay warm and dry in wet and colder temperatures.
Prepare for Heat
While snow and rain can sneak up on you, it is typically pretty obvious when your desired camping location will be hot and sunny. Suppose your intended destination has a recorded history of scorching temperatures and doesn't provide much coverage or shade. In that case, you should be prepared with the outdoor gear necessary to protect yourself from getting overheated.
Planning to be near a clean water source should be a priority in this situation; that way, you don't have to pack too many extra liquids to stay cool and hydrated. Spending too much time in direct sunlight in the middle of the day can cause heat exhaustion, which is very dangerous for your health. It is essential to stay in the shade as much as possible, so pack an extra pop-up canopy or a tarp for shade.
Remember, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very dangerous for your health and the health of those you're camping with. Stopping the trip might be necessary if anyone is showing signs of these signs.
Signs of heat exhaustion (from the CDC):
- Raised temperature
- Higher sweating
Signs of heat stroke (from the CDC):
- Higher temperature
- Dry skin
If you can't get to a hospital, soak in cold water, move to shade if possible, and place wet clothes around your head, neck, and armpits. Once you can get to a hospital, someone must drive you there for immediate medical attention.
Here is a list of items that are necessary for hot camping weather:
- Sunscreen to protect your skin
- Moisture-wicking, breathable clothing to keep you dry when you sweat
- A neck gaiter to help regulate your body temperature and keep you cool
- Plenty of water and electrolyte drinks to stay hydrated
- Insect repellant and netting because mosquitoes and other biting bugs love hot, muggy weather
Being Prepared With the Right Gear Will Save Your Camping Trip
Camping is the perfect vacation if you desire a deeper connection with nature. To get in tune with your wilder side, you should be prepared for nature to throw you some curveballs regarding weather and temperature.
Remember that it's essential to prepare to enjoy the great outdoors and keep yourself and your family or friends safe from heat stroke, heat exhaustion, hypothermia, and more.
Luckily, it would help if you didn't have to battle all weather extremes simultaneously, so checking the area's weather report and knowing what you might be up against should lighten your packing load quite a bit. Researching your destination and prepping yourself with the correct equipment for inclement weather will allow you to fully relax and prevent you from battling the elements without the proper camping gear or cutting your camping trip short.
Online retailers like Hinterland Outfitters have everything you need, from tents to sleeping bags to survival gear! Shop online to ensure you and your camping party are prepared for anything.
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.