What to pack
When you’re camping in the middle of a national park or forest, there are quite a lot of things to pack. Remember your checklist:
Clothes suitable for the weather. Pack some extra warm clothes.
Shoes or boots suitable for the terrain.
Tent, stakes, hammer, rope
Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camping pillow
Flashlight, batteries, lantern, first aid kit, bug repellent
Toiletries, toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, towels, toilet paper, hand sanitizer
Matches, cooking pots, frying pan, eating utensils, bottle opener, can opener, sharp knife, plates, mug
Food and water
Map, compass or GPS, phone, portable charger, ID
Check your camping gear
One of the most important things to do before you set off for your camping adventure is to check your camping gear. Your tent should be of the right size, depending on the number of people going. Set up your tent in your backyard, make sure everything is in good condition. Check your tent for any tears, damage or holes. You don’t want bugs to get in through them and camp inside your nostrils or ears. Your tent, the stakes and rope shouldn’t be too old- you don’t want everything to give way when you’re sleeping and land on you in the middle of the forest.
Check the campsite beforehand
There are campsites and parks where campers have been attacked by wild animals. So don’t decide on just one campsite. Make a list of a few, and then enquire about the safety, animal range, if or how isolated the park is. Check the campsite upon your arrival. If it’s too isolated or you could hear the cries of wild animals, you might want to relocate elsewhere. You’re in their territory and it wouldn’t be wise to linger around. Camping is fun, but if you don’t be extra cautious, it could cost you your life.
Check the weather
Always check the weather forecast before camping. It might be summer, but it could be cool and even drizzle depending on the altitude and area of the campsite. So be prepared for any sort of weather. Pack some extra warm clothes.
Don’t camp alone
Camping alone may sound fun for solo travellers, but when you’re spending the night in the middle of a forest, it’s best to stay on the safe side. It’s easiest for wild animals to attack when their prey is alone or vulnerable. It’s easy to get lost or wander away from the trail too. You could lose your footing and end up in a ditch with broken bones. If anything should happen, at least you won’t be alone. Make sure you know how to apply first aid beforehand and not to learn it on the campsite if you’re scratched or bitten by something.
Speaking of your safety, keep your flashlight and knife close to you inside the tent. If you’ve built a campfire, then don’t put it out. Feed it plenty of firewood from time to time to keep it burning. However, don’t build such a large fire that it turns into a bonfire and then ultimately into a forest fire. Make sure you don’t build the fire close to any bush or tree so as to prevent any sparks from falling on them. You’re building a fire to protect yourself, not to burn yourself and the forest to cinders.
Keep in touch with someone
Always let your loved ones know where you are and what you’re up to, whether you’re camping alone or not. They should be updated on any extra activities you might do, like hiking, swimming or trekking.
Know how to handle yourself in the wild
When a wild animal approaches, remember the rule of “Don’t move a muscle.” Don’t scream or throw anything at the animal to frighten then away. On the contrary, it won’t be frightened. It’ll only get aggravated, angry and become defensive. You’re in the animal’s territory and animals are very territorial, especially if they have their young ones nearby. Always have the contact numbers of the authorities of the park or park rangers. Don’t do anything to harm the animals either. Half of their habitats are being destroyed and you don’t want to add to their troubles!
Don’t leave a mark
While leaving, make sure you clean up the area. You know what plastic does to animals- you’ve seen plenty of heart breaking pictures. Collect any plastic or bottle waste in a bag and discard it properly. Don’t leave behind any of your personal property either.