16 Camping Tips from Frequent Campers

Friday, 16 May 2014 - 8:54pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Planning a camping trip for the first time? Here are some tips to help you
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There are lots of tents available, which may weigh between two-and-a-half kg to five kg depending on their size and features. There are some nylon tents that once pitched, will be sealed from all sides and won't let even an insect in. There are also three- and four-season tents, monsoon tents that are water and snow resistant and summer tents with better ventilation that are perfect for camping within Maharashtra.

Carry a good backpack. A 50-75liter backpack is ideal and available in any adventure sports store.

Depending on where you're camping, you might not want to carry a sleeping bag, especially if you're taking a trip in summer within Maharashtra. Instead, you can use a one-centimeter camping foam mat that can be rolled up and strapped to your backpack.

There are several organised camp-sites, where you can find tents, sleeping bags and meals readily available. And you don't even have to worry about going potty in the bushes. But for those who want set up camp and live the rough life, make sure that you research adequately. If the place you decide to set up camp at is private property or even if it's in the wilderness, you may need to pay and may require prior permission. Unless of course you're all right with camping out at the local police station.

If there is a river near by, set up camp at a slightly higher altitude than the river. Avoid pitching your tent on river banks; this way, in case the water level rises, you won't be swept away in the flood. This is important, especially if you're camping in the Himalayas. For hygiene reasons, avoid camping near stagnant water.

Pitch your tent on flat ground and make sure it's anchored properly. You can use rocks to hold it down so that you don't have to wave goodbye to your tent while attending to something else.

Make sure you explore the area; have a barbecue, try fishing or trekking. Get to know the place. But while you do, don't get too curious about cracks in rocks or grassy areas–you never know if there's a friendly scorpion or snake just waiting to say “Hello.”

Stick to your camp. Don't wander around and don't add another meaning to losing yourself to nature. Don't get too friendly with the locals. You are a stranger to their culture and hospitality. Also, avoid drawing too much attention to yourself.

Ensure you put off all fires well before you turn in for the night. If the wind blows from north to south, set up your cooking tent or your bonfire in the south direction and your staying tents in the north. This way, no sparks can fly and set your tent on fire. Make sure the staying tent is 15-20 minutes away from your kitchen tent or bonfire. That way you know your safe even if the wind changes direction. That way you won't have to run around howling “Fire in the mountain, run run run!”

Don't keep leftovers near the tent. It could attract wild animals or wild dogs. You could end up with a missing shoe or worse, may be a missing foot.

Avoid using disposable plates or cutlery. It's better to wash your plate after eating than carrying around trash or leaving your mess around. Washing will get rid of all smells. If you want to dump perishable waste, dig a pit and bury it.

When you set up your eco-toilet, make sure that you dig a pit in the place you are going to set up your eco-toilet tent. Every time you go, make sure you cover it up with the mud you've dug out.

Clear the place and don't leave any trace of your presence before you leave. You can be sure that the next camper would want the place as spotless as you found it.

Know where the nearest hospital or chemist is, in case of emergencies.

Ensure you've packed a yoga mat for laying on the ground to sleep, a torch, extra batteries, basic medicines, cap, garbage bags, stove, extra plastic, spare clothes in case you take a dip in the river or in case someone pushes you in, ropes, food, flip-flops and shoes, a float in case the person you pushed into the river does not know how to swim and needs to be rescued, utensils for cooking, sunscreen, match box to light a fire.    

Carry a lot of water. In case you run out of water and plan to take a sip out of nature, make sure the water-body you drink from is not stagnant.

With inputs from Raksha Shetty Martis, Travel Master Gogo and M. Asif, Nature Knights


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