How-To: Guide to Camping
Every year, history teacher Anthony Del Puppo takes a group of senior girls on a camping trip for a weekend, complete with a 4.5 mile hike up the Massanutten Mountain to the campsite. This year, a few of my friends and I thought it would be fun to go on this camping trip. I had expectations of the usual cliché – become one with nature, while roughing it for a couple days. And my expectations were definitely met, seeing as the trip turned out to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Here’s just a few of the lessons I learned about taking on the “great outdoors:”
If your camping trip involves hiking to your campsite, this means that you will have to carry everything you bring on your back. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that you bring with you the bare minimum of necessities, especially if the hike is on a rocky path up a mountain. Every little thing you pack in your bag will start to add up, so choose wisely when packing. Otherwise, the hike will be extremely miserable and your back will be sore for a few days afterwards.
Water, Water, Water
Our campsite didn’t have any accessibility to water. That meant we had to carry all of the water we’d need with us. And it didn’t help that it was almost 90 degrees and there was high humidity. If you are camping under similar circumstances, you must make a conscious effort to conserve water. While hiking, sip your water instead of gulping, and when eating, drink once you are finished instead of in between bites. Also, make sure all lids are on bottles tightly to prevent leaks and beware of spills – two problems we faced on our trip. Furthermore, beware of dehydration – be sure to balance conserving water with simply not drinking at all.
Push Through the Pain
Let’s be honest. Hiking up a mountain is tough, especially if the path is steep, covered with large rocks, and if it’s 90 degrees and humid. Depending on how much stamina you have, after a little while, you are bound to get pretty worn out. But, if you just keep pushing through it, once you get to the top, you’ll feel so accomplished and it will all be worth it. Plus, once you’re up, the climb down is a piece of cake.
Expect the Unexpected
To have a successful camping trip, prepare for the elements that you’ll encounter and be ready to take them on. On the weekend of our camping trip, there was absolutely no forecast for rain, so we didn’t bother putting the rain tarp over our tent (which had some screen portions on the roof). But, at 4:30 in the morning, we woke up to the dreaded splash of a few drops of water. Yes, it had started to rain. And yes, we had to get out of our tent in the dark and put the rain cover on our tent.
Erin Hanratty can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.