I know, I know…going camping isn’t always the first choice for a suburban socialite! But when it comes to outdoor pursuits, camping is, and always will be super popular. And don’t get it twisted: Camping has experienced a renaissance of sorts, thanks to HUGE outdoor music festivals (Hello, Coachella!), and the emergence of glamping, or Glamour Camping, where campers have super decked out, luxurious tents (or tree houses) and access to comfortable amenities. With that said, there are some skills that many first time campers could do with learning ahead of their first time, and plenty of skills old hands can hand down to others.
Camping and glamping are great ways to get back in touch with your adventurous nature. Sleeping under the stars, getting familiar with animal noises, and watching the sunrise are all beautiful things that are inherently associated with camping.
Most people will be happy in a quick pop-up tent. That only works when you know the night will be warm and the ground isn’t too hard. What you need to think about is that it could rain, it might snow, it could potentially flood. The weather can usually be reasonably predictable, but there are always times where it’s just not going to go your way. You should be able to find shelter if your tent falls apart, gets blown away or you just can put it up. Pine tree branches with the pines on layered up can make an effective temporary shelter until you get back to civilization.
For the suburban socialite, there are plenty of super chic tents and setups that can make your glamping experience feel like a night at The Four Seasons! An inflatable (outdoor) air mattress, high thread count bedding, rugs, and tons of throw pillows, can make your tent beautiful and comfy!
Setting up a tent is camping 101, so it is wise to practice a few times before you head off. And where possible don’t risk buying a tent on the way – sometimes they don’t have all the parts, and your trip will be ruined.
Map reading is pretty essential if you intend to travel around while you are in the woods, and of course, if you don’t have any phone signal, you’ll be grateful for that skill. Compass reading is also worth knowing. Did you know you can also read the stars for directions too? It might sound a little bit like Peter Pan. However, the night sky can really tell you a lot. Much like the stars, the sun can help guide your way. After all, it rises and sets in the same place every day. And, if you carry a mini sundial, you’ll be able to tell the time too.
Cooking & Eating
The chances are you’re going to bring a lot of canned food, but you can ditch the can opener in favor of a decent knife. Chris Reeve knives are sturdy enough to pop open a can, trim down branches and help with cutting meat, etc. If you don’t have a knife, you can smash a can open with a big rock and some patience.
The campfire is probably going to be what you cook with. So, of course, you should learn how to build and light one safely. Here is a couple of things that knowing will help you not burn your food, or end up with food poisoning.
- Learn how to cook over the direct flame
- Learn how to cook in a pot in the ground
- Find out how to set up a pot rack
On the subject of fire, you need to know how to identify what wood is suitable for firewood, and what isn’t. You’ll be looking for old dry bits of wood, in varying sizes. Try and stockpile some wood when you arrive in the daylight hours, this will save you needing to go out and get some if the fire goes out. And, you should also learn how to manage to put the fire out safely.
There are many plants in the vast wild world, and most of them are harmless. However, there is a couple that if you consume will cause you a few issues. Pick up a book on forging to help you learn what you can eat, and what you can’t. If you are lucky enough to have a signal, then you can download an app to help you too.
Even if you don’t intend to eat the fish, there is no harm in learning how to fish in different water types. It is a skill that takes some time so don’t be discouraged if you don’t come home with a juicy fish for dinner.
Depending on if you might be hunting, you might like to learn how to deal with the game properly. There is a fine art to killing, cleaning, and preparing things like deer. As well as doing all of that, you need to be very sure that you have stored it safely because the smell will bring in much larger predatory animals.
You won’t bring hundreds of bottles of water with you. You’re going to need to learn to source water and boil it. By boiling it, you will be sanitizing it enough for it to be drinkable and safe.
First aid is particularly useful, trips and falls are pretty common and so are small injuries. If you can safely wrap a cut, then you should be fine to stay out in the wilderness for a little while. A good one to learn is how to set a broken bone. Learning how to make a splint from branches is a great thing to do. CPR might be invaluable too, so make sure you know that one too.
Believe it or not, there is an art to hiking. Learn what the best footwear is, how to keep your ankles supported, how to take care of wet boots, blisters and the well-distributed weight of your bag.
If you are planning a glamping experience, be sure to book early for the best accommodations and locations. Visiting glamping concierge sites can be helpful!
Keep an eye for the types of animals that are in the vicinity. You’ll learn this by watching for tracks, droppings and the type of carcasses that you might encounter.
Another important skill is learning how to follow a river or a stream. If you get lost in the woods, which isn’t unfathomable, then you should be able to follow the water, or the sound of water to get you somewhere safe.
Both camping and glamping are a lot of fun, and there are so many skills that you can learn – but you need to remember to be respectful of the environment.
See you next time!