June is National Camping Month and a great time for outdoor adventures with the whole family. Besides providing a heavy dose of fun, camping is a wonderful way to get fresh air,
vitamin D, and exercise. It can also help lower stress and serve as a respite from technology and cyberspace. However, successful camping trips often depend on preparation. “The supplies you bring with you can make or break your trip,” explains Ashley Couturier, owner of Naples Outfitters. “It really is so important to take your time and get properly suited up.”
Effective preparation includes everything from packing the right gear (don’t forget the sunscreen!) to understanding the conditions of the area you’ll be visiting. To take off feeling properly equipped and prepared, read on for Couturier’s tips on important items to pack and vital things to do.
3 Camping Must-Dos
Tell someone where you’re going.
Talk through your plan with a trusted friend or family member, sharing your destination, general plans while there, and your expected return date. If you don’t return on schedule and they can’t get in touch, they’ll be able to notify the proper authorities.
Take a first aid course.
This requires some advance planning but may be critical when you’re outdoors and far from medical treatment. “Having a basic knowledge of first aid never hurts,” says Couturier.
Follow the ART method.
Good camping prep and etiquette can be summed up with the ART method: being aware, respectful, and timely. Couturier reminds campers to be cognizant of factors like weather, potential hazards, and surrounding wildlife—and to prepare accordingly. She advises to respect the environment and to pack and bring out everything you brought in. Finally, don’t rush. “Take your time setting up and then take the time to enjoy what you came to do,” Couturier says. “If you can remember this, you are already ahead of the game.”
5 Camping Must-Haves
First aid kit: “I wouldn’t go anywhere without a really good first aid kit,” says Couturier. At minimum, she recommends it contain pain medication, After Bite (or other itch/sting relief), a stomach soother, bandages, small scissors, burn relief, any personal medications, and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 35.
Water: Bring at least 1 gallon per person per day. “This is an absolute must,” notes Couturier.
Appropriate clothing: Couturier recommends cool, breathable fabrics with a moisture-wicking feature to help prevent overheating.
Sturdy shoes: Besides protecting your feet, these may help prevent a back or knee injury.
Map and compass: “Paper maps are great in case cell service is less than ideal,” advises Couturier. If you’re relying on digital maps, make sure they’re updated for the area and available offline.