Camping Made Easy: Exploring Nature 101

Written by Steve of Out On The Prairie.

The last time you went out you made a list of everything you forgot. Next you had to take it into town and get everything, wasting a lot of time. Wait, that isn’t the easy way to go and enjoy nature. What you really needed was to make a list of everything you needed to take in the first place.

There is not much nature to explore at a discount store. This will give you a few pointers I like to use. I tend to go out at the drop of a hat. Now if I didn’t pick up that hat and put it back in my camping stuff, I won’t have one.

As pointed out before, make that list. Keep it simple, but also make sure and have what you will need. If you haven’t been camping talk to someone who has. Perhaps you can get them to join you or even let you borrow some of the basic equipment, like a tent to use. First time using a tent, it is best to set it up in your yard before you leave just to get a hand on what it takes to do this. If it is a new tent, water-resistant means it will do a fair job, but it is best to spray it with water repellent to be on the safe side.

Figure what you need to sleep on. I always take a sleeping bag, but in cool weather an extra blanket and in warm a sheet. Mattresses come in a variety of sizes, but many enjoy the firmness of the ground. There are some pads to use, and they don’t deflate and need patches. I use a cot that doubles as a chaise lounge.

Clothing is something you may never change while out, depending on the amount of days. I always take a few extra pairs of socks and extra pair of shoes anticipating getting wet. I like a hooded sweatshirt in warm months just in case it does get chilly. Keep everything to a minimum so as not to take up a lot of room. I keep a plastic tote with my essential weekend clothes and figure if I stay out longer I can hit a Laundromat.

Cooking supplies are simple; you need a fry pan if you are even going to cook much. I like to use foil and not do dishes and I am famous for cooking right in the can on a few charcoal briquettes. Again I pack my kitchen in a tote to have it ready. Don’t forget a knife and can opener. What you eat with can be the same bowl, fork and spoon. I also have paper towels and soap to use when I wash dishes and myself. Add a couple towels and toiletries and this tote is universal for kitchen and bathroom.

Now determine activity since hopefully you left the TV home. Bikes, a boat, binoculars, fishing stuff all take room but can be a pleasure to have along. If only a few days, will you use it all? Check online to see if the park has any activities before you leave. This is where you need to modify that list, before you leave. If you have kids along remember they go brain dead at home so when getting ready they can do the same. Pack with them to make sure they have clothes. Look over the weather and see what you will need.

So now you think you are ready? Where did you put that list? When you find it again check off by looking, not by memory. Now you are ready for that big adventure! Did you bring planned meals? I still have the smores I didn't fix last time, along with a variety of canned goods. One can of stew has gone along quite a few times. I tend to eat sandwiches a lot so I don’t have to cook. Next week is an annual campout where I catch trout for all my meals and bring beans and butter to go along with this. I tend to pass a lot of great restaurants when traveling from stream to stream and really don’t need much more.

So that first trip may be an experiment to see what you do need and can do without. Once you have been out it becomes old hand with what you do need and really shouldn’t have brought along. I try to go light since I don’t want to carry it home like my famous can of stew. Having fun is what you want to do most. I have one place I like to go where I have seen the same couple each time I am there, so it has a nice feel to see each other. Maybe the next time I go I will have them over for some stew, wait I better check that date.

This article was written by Steve of Out On The Prairie. If you'd like to read more of his work, follow this link to find Steve's blog. Leave him a nice comment to let him know you were there.
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  1. Great tips, Steve. Probably time to use that stew though. And make sure you have something to start that fire and keep it in a waterproof place.

  2. I agree....very good tips to make a camping trip more enjoyable. If you are camping in the South don't forget the bug spray. That bear is scary!


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