Planning a camping trip to further parts of the continent? Consider this your ultimate packing guide before hopping on a chosen transportation and heading to either of these wonderful destinations! These are the things you simply cannot go camping without.
Before You Go
Be selective about the camping destination. Look for an energy-friendly campground. The sad truth is, many campers do not consider the environment when they are planning a camping trip. They fill their travel kits with plastic dishware, drinks in cans, and paper product which leave a mess.
Look for a campground that has air blowers in the restrooms instead of paper towels. Inquire about compost sites on the campground that you can contribute to. Know how to recycle and how to use renewable energy in a new area. Here are some easy tips to employ when you are packing.
Do not carry paper plates, or plastic cups and utensils. There are many camping kits that are lightweight, compacting, and washable. They will take up less space and will not end up in the trash or worse being burned in your fire.
Use solar-powered flashlights, camping lamps, and portable heaters if needed.
Camping gear stores sell small washer bags for clothes and towels. The bag is made with a washboard inside an open weave bag. You place the clothes in and using the lake or stream, rub them clean in the water. Then you can hang the clean and wet clothes in the sun for the sun or wind to blow them dry.
Let’s focus on the warmer destination - if you are going to the New Mexico, Southern California, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas or Florida and that means the weather can be HOT! Stick with cool fabrics that can dry quickly to avoid letting the heat get the best of you. Shorts, dresses, t-shirts and breathable hiking shoes are all necessities. Pack smart not big, you won’t be in a mood of taking too much stuff around!
We all want our electronics. If you are camping in a remote and new area, a cell phone, flashlight, and weather radio are pretty important. Do not opt for battery powered chargers. There are plenty of “green” options.
For example, the VOTO charger uses the carbon from your campfire or barbeque to charge a fuel cell. This can be used to charge your gadgets or use the built-in light that will last up to 30 hours. Wenger, the makers of a Swiss Army Knife makes a foldable solar mat. You charge it in the sun and it can power your chargers. The mat has a built-in USB port. If you add a 3-watt bulb, it can also be used as a flashlight.
Don’t forget a hat to protect your head from the sun, and a good pair of UV blocking sunglasses. Sunscreen goes without saying, but you might be surprised at just how cool the nights can be. Make sure to pack a light sweater or jacket just in case.
Forrest hiking and camping.
The natural beauty of Northern American forests is beyond pretty. It is something astonishingly unique. If you’re headed into the thick of the trees, this is what you’ll need.
We have to add here that mountain climbing can be extremely dangerous and you have to take extra care of yourself. You should always have an emergency number with you, and consider having good insurance in case of unfortunate events that will cover medical costs.
Know the rules about waste disposal in the area you are traveling. If your campsite has a compose, gather your food waste in a container with a lid and take it to the compost before you leave. If it does not, take it with you until you find a proper disposal site.
Human food is not good for animals. Do not think burying it is a good idea. Animals will smell the food and dig it up. The basic rule while camping is “Leave no trace”. When you leave your camping area it should be as clean and unlittered as it was before you arrived.
If you do not like the idea of carrying a bag of smelly trash with you, here are some tips:
Plan your food and only bring what you will eat
Remove as much of the packing as possible. For example, if you bring dry soup, it may be in a plastic bowl which is inside a cardboard container. Remove the cardboard container at home to have less waste. If you are really a dedicated lover of the planet, put the contents in a washable container with a lid and dispose of all the packaging.
The smartest campers bring supplies that do not require cooking. Trail mix, dried fruit, and jerky are some examples.
Once again, the heat here is going to require lighter clothing. Suntan lotion, mosquito repellent, a towel and a dry change of clothes are all a must. You WILL get soaked, and you might not want to know what happens when you leave your sweat-drenched clothes on.
Tennis shoes are a-ok, but you might prefer to wear more rugged hiking shoes for the terrain in this location. The nights are even colder here, so you are going to need a warmer shirt or sweater once the sun goes down. If you’re used to 10 degrees Celsius weather (50 degrees Fahrenheit and below), then you’ll be just fine.
What You Will Need for Both
Water is the single most important and most challenging part of the journey. Bring bottled water if at all possible. Assume the water in the lakes is unsafe. If you find yourself with an empty water bottle, run the water through a filter. You can buy a water filter, but a knee-high stocking is just as good, cheap, and you can carry it in your pocket. Strain the water and then add water purifying tablets to it.
Stay In Your Lane
So you are being a responsible camper. You are limiting your waste and using the sun, wind, and water to provide the energy you need. What more can you do, right? There is one more thing you should respect.
The trails through the environment are there for you to use. Regardless of how they came to be, that is the expected place for you to walk. Why is this important? The forests are more than just plants that are there for your enjoyment. Trees provide an entire ecosystem for animals and man. One tree puts off enough oxygen in a day, to supply 4 people with oxygen. The trees are shelter, food sources, and they absorb carbon dioxide and other gasses. When you venture off the path, you interfere with the natural order of the forest. Simply put, you do not belong there.
The planet we live on has everything we need to sustain life. As a society, we must reduce wastes, and use renewable fuel not just while camping, but in our day-to-day life. It is within our power to contribute to the “going green” campaign. It is not just a good idea, the future of our world depends upon it.