Camping: the great American pastime. If you haven’t really immersed yourself in the vast experiences that nature has to offer, then you are overdue. It can be intimidating to venture out of the paved and structured life of the city, but fear not. A few expert pointers are really all you need to tackle the great outdoors once and for all. While you might be worried about what gear you need or how to make a fire, it turns out that the whole process is much easier than all of that. What you’ll find in these do’s and don’ts is that you have it within you to be a great camper. You just need to know how to get started.
DO Make New Friends
Bears, cougars and wolves are only grumpy because they don’t get enough cuddles. One of the primary reasons to ever go camping is to get in touch with wildlife, and the best way to do it is with open arms. After you hug a new wolf cub, you’ll find your window into a way of life you’ve never even imagined. While you’re at it, there are a slew of animals that are so often left out of the joys of domestic life. Skunks, for instance, are remarkable adorable and have much softer fur than you think. Raccoons are some of the smartest pets, and when you really stop to think about it, when was the last time you saw anyone give a little affection to a trout? The main point here is that you make friends with excessive physical contact, and once you do, feel free to take home as many of the animals as you can. They’re sure to enrich your life, and they’ll help you keep the joy of the wilderness with you when you return to civilization.
DO Share With Your New Friends
Cuddling is great, but if you really want to impress the animals of the forest while camping, the best tool in your arsenal is food. I mean, who doesn’t love a hot meal? In general, anything you eat is perfect for any animal, but a few items will really up your popularity. Bacon, it turns out, is not just a human delicacy. On that topic, meats in general will help you attract a reasonable array of different animals to pet on your camping excursion. Desserts are another classic that always goes well. In general, you want to entice them with food they won’t normally get in their natural habitat. As for actually supplying animals with food, there are a few techniques. Some of the more timid creatures may shy away from hand feeding. A more reliable delivery is to just leave the food out in the open and pretend to go to sleep. When they think you aren’t paying attention, they’ll try to sneak a snack. If you want to see something really impressive, put your food in a cooler that doesn’t lock and watch how bears and raccoons grab a snack as readily as you do from your own fridge.
The ultimate pitfall for beginning campers is planning too much. Checking the forecast is silly since weather is unpredictable anyways. You don’t want to pack too much food or equipment either, because learning to live off of the land while camping is invaluable. Once you’re out there, your survival instincts will kick in. It’s also important not to get too settled on a camping destination. Maybe you wanted to see a natural treasure, but the real pros just follow the trail wherever it leads. As you get more experienced with camping, you’ll come to realize that anything forgotten is just an opportunity for a great story and a possible adventure. Speaking of adventure…
DON’T Forget to Have an Adventure
Sure, sure; camping is about getting in touch with nature, unplugging and enjoying the simple life. At least, that’s what we put on the high-minded checklist. It’s really about adventure. If you spend a whole night, or more, away from the city without taking a joy ride on at least one bobcat, then you’re really not trying. Every good camping trip has a quality treasure map, and you should expect some fierce competition while you’re out there. Don’t forget the swashbuckling equipment and mining dynamite if you plan to do this thing the right way. Every good camping trip results in a series of life-changing events that are eventful enough to make for a good movie. The best part, of course, is that you find that the real treasure comes from your personal growth and bonding with your camping mates.