In my last post I talked about my first time camping adventure. It took me out of my comfort zone and closer to nature. The clean green air, and, the peacefulness that comes from being so close to the elements is a transformative experience. My assessment is that with a little bit of planning and pre-preparation, you can have an awesome time. It always helps to read up a bit about the area you are going to, as it helps in deciding the kind of clothing and gear to carry, and prepares you for the kind of experience you might have, and the wildlife you will encounter. There is no bigger damper to the spirits than being caught out in an unprecedented rain with inadequate clothing!
Thinking about it, I thought of putting down the essentials that would make life easier for any first time camper, and ease those jitters. So here are my Top Five essentials for surviving a camping adventure as a first timer.
1. Carry comfortable clothing: This one is actually a no-brainer but it is essential to carry the right clothing. Carry lightweight, track pants , cotton tights, or capris, that make it easy to hike in the bush and walk around in rough terrain. I would not suggest shorts, even though they are comfortable, because of the insect and mosquito bites that you would attract. Similarly, a pair of jeans sounds perfect but one downpour and it will be heavy like a sack of potatoes, taking forever to dry. I highly recommend lightweight clothes that keep you covered to avoid sunburns and insect bites. Wear sturdy covered shoes for walking around the bush, as summer season is snake season! Also, always carry a weatherproof windbreaker incase of sudden changes in the weather. Ensure that everything fits into a small backpack that you can easily carry yourself.
2. Do not forget the essentials: Sunscreen (lots of it), insect repellent, moisturiser, lip balm, hat, fly net(AS wore this even though it made him look super dorky!), handy flash light, hand sanitiser, wet tissues (they have more uses than you can think of), hand wash, raincoats, and your gorgeous smile. Carry plenty of drinking water as most sites do not have water, and if they do then it needs to be treated before drinking. It’s also good to carry some fun card games and a portable music player to have some activities to do at night.
3. Stock up on all the meals: With a little bit more planning you can avoid carrying extra food which ultimately goes to waste if, its of the perishable variety. Keep dry snacks like biscuits, energy bars, muffins, chips, nuts, handy, as they have a long shelf life. Plan what you are going to eat for each meal and carry adequate amount. For e.g. carry pre cooked noodles with vegetables like green beans, carrots, onion, kale etc. which cook quickly in minutes. Make a spice mix using dried chilli flakes, dried oregano, sea salt, dried thyme, and crushed pepper. You can use this to season noodles or pasta or meat. Fruits like banana, apple and pears are good choice as they stay fresh for longer. Carry sausages or marinated meats which stay fresh for a couple of days in a well packed ice cooler. Peanut butter and bread is a good option for breakfast. You can camp and eat well, there really is no reason to rely on cup-o-noodles anymore.
4. Research on facilities available at the campsite: This one is super essential to having a good time at camping. While I am all for surprises, when camping, I like to know what I am going in for. It’s good to know the toilet/bathroom situation so that you prepare yourself for going in the wilds if you have to. Similarly, the availability of water is good to check on. Also, read up on the flora and fauna of the area to know of any poisonous plants or dangerous wildlife to be vary of. Do carry a first aid kit with you, and always let friends and family know where you are going, and in how many days you will be back.
5. Arm yourself with spirit of adventure and a good book: Be open to the experience. Enjoy the roughing out phase and you might discover you like it, like I did. It’s fun to let go a little, let those track pants get covered with dust, while you lie down and gaze at the clouds floating by in the bright blue sky. Listen to the sounds of nature, the stream trickling by. the birds chirping, some insect buzzing, and the stillness all around you. It is quite magical if you just open yourself to it. And arm yourself with a good book, or a notebook to pen down your thoughts, and drift away while listening to your favourite music.
So these were the essentials based on my experience. Have you been camping? Do let me know your camping essentials, tips and must haves in the comments below..