Camping Basics

Camping Basics
Camping is an outdoor activity that can be engaged in by individuals alone or with their families and friends. There are some basics of camping that should be followed to make the camping experience more pleasant. Knowing how to choose a campsite, start a campfire, cook while camping and deal with ticks can make a camping trip much more enjoyable.


The campsite should be level, and there should be enough trees close by to provide reasonable shade. The drainage of the area must be considered in case it begins to rain. A campsite needs to be close enough to restrooms and showers for the campers to be able to walk to them. Water needs to be accessible and a place to dispose of garbage must be available. Before choosing a campsite, the size of the tents that will be erected must be taken into account. There must be a place for a fire if a campfire is going to be built, especially if it will be necessary to cook meals. Picnic tables need to be close, and it is prudent to camp within sight of whatever vehicle was used to access the campsite. Equipment such as folding tents, tent poles and tent stakes, tarps for ground cover, sleeping bags, sleeping pads to put the bags on while using them, wool blankets, and flashlights and lanterns are basic camping gear for any campsite.



The campfire provides a source of warmth, and meals can be cooked over it. Building a campfire requires enough wood to keep the fire going for the desired amount of time. Dead branches and not green wood should be chosen for the fire from the surrounding terrain. The wood should be stacked nearby the area intended for the fire. Larger rocks should be used to form a ring within which the fire will be built, clearing the ground in the area first and making sure the fire is not in close proximity to any tents. There must always be a bucket of water and a shovel close by in case the fire begins to spread. Fires can be started with the use of tinder, which is a term that describes dried grasses, leaves, small twigs and sticks, and anything else that will burn easily. Light the tinder with a match or lighter, and once it begins to burn slowly add smaller bits of wood--also known as kindling--until the fire begins to burn stronger. Once the fire is burning, larger pieces of wood can be added either in a tepee fashion around the fire or crisscrossing the fire. A campfire should never be started with the use of flammable liquids and should always be attended. The fire should be extinguished completely when the time comes, dousing it with ample amounts of water while stirring the embers until it is out beyond any doubt. Basic campfire equipment includes waterproof matches and a container to hold them, old newspapers to use for tinder, a plastic pail to hold water and a small folding shovel to use to cover the fire with dirt when it is extinguished.


Foods such as stew, chili, soup and chowder can be prepared at home, and then frozen before taking them camping where they can be reheated in a pot. Other meals should be stored in ziplock bags and labeled clearly. All pots used while cooking should be covered to keep any insects and dirt out, and this will also speed up the cooking process. Fireproof cooking equipment is a must, and all handles must be treated with care to avoid serious burns. It is imperative to cook food thoroughly; cooking over glowing coals will provide a more even and steady source of heat. Some of the equipment that can make cooking less of a hardship while camping include a camp stove if desired, fireproof pots and pans, a cooler or ice chest to hold food and blocks of ice, charcoal, camp grills, folding chairs and tables, and pot holders. Cooking utensils such as wooden spoons, cutlery, can and bottle openers, tongs and spatulas will get plenty of use.


Ticks can be avoided more easily when campers stay on marked trails and stay clear of grassy spots where ticks thrive. Light-colored clothing should be worn so that ticks can be more easily detected. Long-sleeve shirts and pants that can be tucked into socks can keep ticks from gaining access to a camper's skin. Campers should always check each other for ticks. If a tick does attach itself to a person, it can be safely removed using tweezers. Grabbing the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling it out is the optimum way to remove one. Anywhere a tick has been attached needs to be completely washed out, and then a disinfectant should be applied to the area. Any strange rashes that appear where a tick has been attached should be seen by a physician. Antiseptic creams, tweezers and insect repellent should always be brought on a camping trip to deal with ticks.


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