15 Tips for Summer Camping

VW_Car_camping_1969Summer is camping season. Students are on break, families are taking vacations, and campsites across the country are brimming. Camping isn’t hard to do. The only way to fail is by staying home. Camping well and having an enjoyable experience is a different story however. Here are some car camping tips for your summer camping trip.

Choosing the right camp site is key. Set up camp away from standing water to avoid mosquitoes, under trees for shade and protection from the elements, and make sure your site is flat without a bed of rocks or saplings.

Leave the rainfly at home. Not literally. You will want to have it packed just in case of rain, but setting up the tent without a rainfly will help keep your tent cool at night.

Set up some shade. The summer sun is hot and dangerous. You will want to escape the sunshine. A sunshade or a tarp are great ways to get out of the sun.

Bring bug spray. Ticks, mosquitoes, and chiggers are the bane of campers. Keep them at bay with a little bug spray.

Bring sunscreen. UV rays can cause sunburns and otherwise damage your skin. Be sure to reapply when necessary.

Pack pants and long sleeves. If it’s hot, it’s hot. The length of your sleeves won’t change that. Keep yourself safe from the sun, mosquitoes, and poison ivy, and abrasions with protective clothing.

Pack your cooler with dry ice. This will help keep your cooler cold for as long as possible. Also, be sure to eat the most perishable items first.

Instead of bringing your big mummy bag on hot nights, sleep with blankets or a sleeping bag liner instead. Unless you have a summer bag, blankets or a liner will be the most comfortable option.

Yes, you should bring it. When it comes time to pack, many campers often try to pare down what they pack. They choose not to pack certain items, and end up wishing that they had. If you’re car camping you have the room to bring whatever it is you’re thinking about bringing. It’s better to bring it and not use it, than not have it and need it.

Check for burn bans. We’ve had plenty of rain this spring, but drought can hit during the summer months. Don’t head out planning on cooking your dinner over an open flame only to find out that you’re not allowed to build a fire.

Bring extra water. You need more water to stay hydrated in the summer. You will also need water for cooking, cleaning, and putting out the campfire, so be sure to pack plenty.

Check for camp site availability. Summer is the most popular camping season. Many of the camp sites that you can drive up to and claim last minute during the winter won’t be available during the summer. If you’re going to a maintained campground, call ahead to see if there are available sites or to make a reservation.

Watch for snakes. Snakes are most active in the early morning and the evening. During the peak hours of the day, snakes are usually hiding in cool spots under rocks, logs, or in water. Always check for snakes before reaching into any dark cranny or crevice

Clean up camp before hitting the sack. Don’t leave food or other items out over night. Even if it’s not food, it may smell like food to wild animals, and you may end up waking to critters in your camp.

Be safe. Pack a first aid kit, take breaks from the sun, and stay hydrated.

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