Common Sense Tips for Tent Campers

Common Sense Tips for Tent Campers
Whether you are interested in camping in a Forest Service campground next to your car in the heat of summer, or want to hike several miles to camp in the winter backcountry, several tent camping basics remain the same. Being organized and efficient with your equipment and setup will make your camping experience more enjoyable.

Check Your Gear

Before embarking on a camping trip, thoroughly inspect your gear to make sure it is in proper working order. Make sure your tent has no holes and that you have adequate tent stakes and a ground cloth to pitch it. Make sure that you have working water filter, or verify that the campground you are staying in has water. Check your stove and make sure it fires up and burns smoothly, instead of sputtering and turning off. Unroll your sleeping pad and sleeping bag and make sure the bag still has loft and the pad, if it is inflatable, has no leaks.

Pack Efficiently

When packing, keep essential items, like a headlamp, somewhere they can be reached without having to dig. Pack your tent somewhere it is easily accessible, especially if you are headed into the backcountry and need to keep it dry. Keep the sleeping bag somewhere it won't get wet. Pack extra clothing where it can be easily reached and grabbed if you need to change. If you are packing in white gas, also known as stove fuel, make sure the container is properly sealed and not leaking. Do the same for any water you are carrying.

Arrive Early

While experienced campers can set up their gear in the dark in a blowing storm if they have to, they also know it is easier to setup if you arrive at your campsite early, with plenty of daylight left. Try to get to your campsite by mid-afternoon, so you have plenty of time to set up the tent and the sleeping pad and sleeping bag, as well as daylight with which to cook food. When setting up camp, make sure to securely pitch the tent before unpacking anything else. Secure any other items, like a jacket, which may blow away if the wind picks up.

Do Not Feed Wildlife

Do not feed animals, whether they be small rodents like pikas or marmots or larger animals like deer. After cooking, make sure to put all food in a stuff stack and hang it from a tree branch at least four feet out from the trunk of the tree and 20 to 25 feet off the ground to prevent bears from getting at it. Tie one end of cord to the bag and the other end to a small rock, then throw the rock over the branch and pull the cord until the bag is hanging at the ideal height, then tie it off to the trunk of the tree.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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