Sometimes even thinking about camping amid all the chaos and stress of daily life provides our minds a small getaway. Escaping to a bit of green, shedding our responsibilities and breathing in more oxygen sounds like bliss, especially with this pandemic raging on. Throwing ourselves into the arms of nature in any forested area as soon as the "new normal" began after mandatory lockdowns suddenly became our most important and immediate need.
Then began the slow easing into our usual ways of work, and we found ourselves longing for a vacation.
Especially people living in hustling and bustling metropolises had very few chances for a respite in nature during these past few months and instead were forced to vicariously experience nature through their computer screens. Despite shorter or no commutes, many of us continue to complain that we do not have enough time or energy to find a place close-by, yet we keep dreaming of the day we will buy a tent and run away from it all for a few days. But this is not as difficult as it is thought – all you need is some determination and certain equipment. Of course, you'll first need the essentials: a tent, a sleeping bag and a comfy mat.
However, camping does have its own set of rules and philosophies, in the sense that it is a bit different from your regular picnic. The rules you need to follow while camping are of nature, and you must immerse yourself in them. Of course, do not take this literally – you do not have to wear camouflage clothing and hide among the trees. Let's see what you will really need to know for your first camping experience and get accustomed to the philosophy of camping
Be in harmony with nature
You need to be in harmony with Mother Nature while camping in the vast outdoors. We need not forget that we are merely a guest of hers for a few days, and we are not the owners of her lands. We need to comply with her rules for our own safety and the order of nature. For these reasons, the first thing we need to do before gathering or buying any camping equipment is to choose the right campsite for ourselves. For example, camping at the edge of a body of water is a very romantic and refreshing idea. On one side, there is the sound of flowing water and on the other is the sound of trees rustling in the wind. However, as beautiful as it sounds, camping near water can be dangerous enough to cost our lives. Water levels that suddenly rise after a downpour can drag us with our tent. Unfortunately, there are many campers who have lost their lives in this way. At the same time, animals are likely to come to the water's edge to drink water, so it is best to set up camp a little farther away as not to invade their space. Once you find a suitable and safe campsite, preferably shaded and sheltered, comes the next step: determining the type of equipment you will need.
When one mentions camping in nature, what comes to your mind first? Of course, it is the basics: the tent, the foam mat and a sleeping bag to curl up in. It is important to get acquainted with all of these materials because you have to make a choice based on the climate and season of your camping destination. The tent will provide you with a safe area to sleep, which is essential. When it comes to choosing your tent, know that there are different types for different uses. Tents are divided into three, four or five seasons to accommodate different kinds of weather conditions. While the three-season tent is more suitable for spring, summer and autumn as it is lightweight, four-season tents are more appropriate for harsher weather conditions. The higher the number the more expensive and heavier the tent will be. The five-season tents are mostly reserved for mountaineering activities at high altitudes and extreme weather conditions. Three-season tents will be more useful for those who will be camping for the first time.
The next item on your shopping list should be a sleeping bag. There are different types of sleeping bags according to seasonal conditions, just like tents. When you buy a sleeping bag, you will want to check the temperature ranges written on it. Of course, the same logic applies with the tents, and you should choose accordingly. This way, you will not be wasting money on the wrong sleeping bag and will not have to carry unnecessarily heavy loads.
And last but certainly not least is the foam pad or mat for a comfortable night's sleep. Thanks to the cushiony foam under your sleeping bag, you will be less likely to feel the bumpiness of the ground you lay on and will pad stones that could bruise your sides.
In addition to these essentials, if you are going on a longer trip, you will also need a portable stove to heat up water and cook, a compact and easy-to-clean dining set and a headlamp. But the important thing to remember here is the rest is all trial and error. The more you camp, the more you will be able to determine your shortcomings and shape your gear list accordingly.
Reconnect with yourself
Of course, the technicalities of it all can be a bit boring, as with any subject. Especially for first-time campers, tent types and sleeping bags can be confusing. But camping means getting out of your comfort zone. It is not at all difficult to decipher, if only you allow yourself to have new experiences and embrace the unknown.
One other benefit of this experience will be the chance to rediscover yourself and be alone with your thoughts. You will start noticing that there is a certain way that you walk and a way you speak to yourself. Sometimes you might find it hard to hear your own inner voice among the noise of crowded cities. For this reason, these short getaways will give you the opportunity to dwell in the serenity of nature and help you put things into perspective. In that sense, these camping trips will be more like an inward meeting with ourselves rather than a getaway.
One last warning
After deciding where to camp, you must inform your relatives or close friends about your location and duration of stay. And also, it may be better not to go on your first camping trip alone as a newbie. Happy camping!
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