Calling all first-time campers, (or those who haven’t camped in ages): Your next outdoor adventure away from the hustle and bustle is calling your name. The final days of summer and early fall, make for some fantastic camping weather, as well as the opportunity for some epic outdoor workouts.
Warm days, cool nights, solo or surrounded by your tribe, camping out is a fantastic way to disconnect, recharge, and simply reset your mind. Not to mention, rest for the body and mind can help break through some of the toughest fitness plateaus.
“By seeking out new campsites, you can discover places that are off the beaten path, and experience things that are often hard to experience otherwise,” shares Danielle Dorrie, registered Maine recreational guide and owner of Skyline Maine Adventures.
However, there’s more that goes into camping than popping up shop in the woods, especially if you want the best experience possible.
So, whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the experience, Dorrie is here to make sure your next camping trip is stress-free and fun for everyone.
How to Find a Campsite for Your Next Outdoor Adventure
With these simple tips from Dorrie, finding a campsite for your next adventure will be a breeze!
- Research Locations: Look for campgrounds in your desired location. National and state parks, as well as online camping platforms, offer comprehensive information on available sites. Most offer maps of the campgrounds as well. Download those and pick the site you want.
- Consider Amenities: Consider what amenities you need. Some sites offer running water, toilets, and even electricity, while others provide a more primitive experience. Are you walking into the site or are you driving in? These are things to think about.
- Reservation Requirements: Check if reservations are required. Popular sites often fill up quickly, so it’s extremely wise to book in advance, especially if you have your sights set on a particular site.
Once you’ve found your campsite, it’s time to pack! Here are some essentials to keep you comfortable and make things easier and more enjoyable in the woods.
Grab These Camping Essentials
You don’t have to “glamp” or spend lots of money to have a great time camping. Here are Dorrie’s ‘go-to’ essentials designed to make your next campout a successful one.
- Camping Tote: A camping tote will ensure you know where your stuff is. Dorrie recommends packing everything in one tote and putting your sleeping bag and pillows on top.
- Two Coolers: One for food and one for drinks along with blocks and bags of ice. Blocks for the food cooler, and make sure to store things like lunch meat and hummus in reusable bags to keep them from getting wet.
- A Tent: Dorrie recommends choosing a tent suitable for your group size and weather conditions. Some sites may have lean-to’s (shelters).
- Sleeping Bag: Opting for a sleeping bag appropriate for the season and a sleeping pad for comfort will set you up for success. Dorrie encourages a sleeping pad cover as it’s helpful in all seasons. “During the Summer I will often use my sleeping bag as a blanket and sleep directly on the pad,” she says and stresses how important it is to select a high-quality pad.
- Cooking Gear: The basics are needed here, portable stove, utensils, and cookware. “Firepits are a luxury for cooking and are not always available,” says Dorrie. Don’t forget your propane as well.
- Food and Drinks: Non-perishable foods are great but Dorrie recommends bringing fresh fruits, vegetables, and snacks which will store well in a cooler with packs of ice.
- Gallons of Water: These will serve as drinking water, cooking, coffee-making, brushing your teeth, and more.
- Trash Bags: Leave no trace and don’t be a litterbug. Beyond storing trash, trash bags are also good for food storage.
- Clothing: Pack weather-appropriate clothing, including rain gear. Remember extra wool socks and sturdy footwear. Sandals and hiking shoes.
- Body wipes or baby wipes are also great for sanitation.
How to Set Up Camp for Success.
Setting up camp is more than popping up the tent and calling it a night. Here Dorrie shows you how to get the most out of your chosen spot.
- Tent Placement: Choose a flat, dry area to pitch your tent. Avoid low-lying spots that might collect water. Make sure you pick a spot with good views if possible. Watch for trees that could present danger around you. (They are called widow-makers for a reason!). Always remember to keep your tent zipped up so that bugs don’t get inside.
- Sleeping Gear: Match your sleeping bag to the season’s temperature. Dress in layers for optimal comfort during chilly nights. Bring a pillow if you’re car camping or canoe camping. You’ll be glad you have it.
- Food Storage: Keep food in sealed containers to prevent attracting wildlife. Hang food or use bear-proof containers if necessary. Use bungees to secure the tops on your totes and coolers. These are always good to have as they have many uses such as hanging tarps and clothing, and trash bags. Dorrie has never regretted having too many bungees.
Don’t Forget These Camping Safety Measures
Lastly, but most importantly, Dorrie stresses the importance of taking safety measures that reach beyond band-aids and flashlights.
- Pack a First Aid Kit: Have a well-stocked first aid kit that includes essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any personal medications.
- Navigation: Bring a map and compass or GPS device, especially if you plan on exploring off-trail. Download your maps in advance while you have service in case you have no service where you’re camping destination is. Do not rely on technology Make sure you know exactly where you’re going and have a plan to navigate.
- Emergency Contacts: Share your itinerary and campsite details with someone reliable in case of emergencies.
- Wildlife Awareness: Learn about local wildlife and how to safely store food to avoid unwanted visitors.
- Plan for Weather: Check the weather forecast before you leave and be prepared for changing conditions.
- Campfire Safety: If fires are allowed, follow campfire rules and keep fires small. Never leave a fire unattended. Learn how to make a campfire before you get out there.
Camping is a fantastic way to make new memories, so be sure to snap some shots and follow these tips for the best camping experience you can have!