Your Camping Survival Guide Checklist

May is considered one of the most pleasant months of the year in terms of weather. It's no longer cold and the heat of summer has not yet arrived. And generally, there is not as much rain as we had during April.

All this adds up to May being a great time to go camping. June may be National Camping Month, but why not get a head start by camping during a very pleasant time of year? 

For many of us, this will probably be a weekend venture with only one or two overnights. For others, we may want to spend five to seven days experiencing the great outdoors. 

Today I want to provide you with some reminders about what to make sure to take with you on your next camping trip, regardless of its length.

If you are one of the 40 million Americans who goes camping annually, it may have been a while since you've done it, so I don't want you to forget anything important.

21 camping 'musts'

Everyone's list of camping essentials will be different, but here are some basics I think everyone would benefit from having on-hand: 

  • A sturdy, waterproof camping tent
  • Sleeping bag, pillows; blow-up mattress or sleeping pad
  • Extra clothes including socks, swimsuit, etc.
  • Toiletries and toilet paper
  • Cellphone
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Power banks for your phone and other electronic devices
  • Survival knife
  • Compass
  • Compact cooking stove
  • Fire-starters
  • Non-perishable food, including granola bars and healthy snacks
  • Water and water bottles
  • Cooler for perishable food and drinks
  • Disposable cups, plates, utensils
  • Cleaning supplies, dish soap
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Extension cord, tarp, bungees
  • Paper clips¬†(handy as a zipper pull, eyeglasses repair, makeshift compass, & more)
  • Fully-stocked first-aid kit
  • Sunscreen, bug spray (or dryer sheets for insect repellent!)¬†

Some folks may want to include a weapon in their camping gear, assuming they have a concealed carry license.

Making memories in the outdoors 

People who have never gone camping may not understand its value. Why sleep on the ground outdoors when you could be in a nice comfortable bed? 

But what they learn after they try it is how therapeutic it can be to leave the stress of their lifestyle behind for a few days and get back to nature. The change in environment can be a significant mood booster. And basking in nature's beauty relieves anxiety.

Camping trips are about making memories with family and friends. You'll enjoy new experiences that would be impossible to duplicate back at home. And you just may learn a few survival skills that will come in handy down the road. Including fire-starting and cooking over a campfire.

Many people come back home from camping trips being bonded to others better than ever before. Your shared experiences, late-night chats, and early-morning walks all combine to bring you together as a cohesive unit. 

A bug-out scenario rehearsal

A couple more things about camping. While it's important to take everything you need on a camping trip ‚Äď especially one lasting longer than a couple of days ‚Äď you don't want to overdo it.

If you end up taking a bunch of "just in case" stuff that you don't end up requiring, it could bog you down and tire you out.

Even more important, try to look at your camping experience as a dry run for a potential bug-out scenario. Surviving in the wild with a limited amount of food, water, and other items will be much easier to deal with if you've already practiced this type of thing while camping.

Oops, looks like I failed to mention the most important thing of all ‚Äď s'mores. Yeah, you can make and eat them at home too, but it's just not the same.

Happy camping!

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