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Camping and Backpacking Tips for Beginners

If you love the outdoors, nature, or simply enjoy adventure, then camping and backpacking are definitely your thing. These two outdoor activities allow you to spend quality time with your friends and family while exploring and enjoying the wilderness together. Being in the outdoors also gives you a sense of peace and serenity as well as a chance to stretch out those cramped muscles of yours.

The United States is a country that boasts of plenty of campsites, trails, and routes for all camping and backpacking enthusiasts. But in order to enjoy your outdoor trip in the United States, you must be well prepared beforehand. You must be careful with everything -what kind of things you are packing, the location of the campsites, trails and routes, the time to go, and many other such things. Whether you’re going for a backpacking trip or camping trip, the trip doesn’t need to be complicated, but as a first timer, it can be a little challenging and overwhelming. Here are five camping and backpacking tips in USA that will make your life easier.

1. Gather all the camping supplies you will need

A camping or backpacking trip can turn into the worst nightmare if you go unprepared. Whether it’s a day hike, an overnight trip or a week-long stay, it’s imperative to ensure that you have everything you’ll need for an exciting and safe trip. Your camping gear may include a tent, headlamp, comfortable walking shoes or boots, snacks, water, sunscreen, eating utensils, etc.

Including survival gear in your backpack or camping supplies is also vital. Remember that the camping or backpacking trip may turn into a fight for survival if you encounter extreme weather or wildlife, lose your way or sustain an injury. It’s also important to dress in layers just in case the weather becomes extreme especially if hiking in the mountains.

2. Know When to Go

If you are camping at a national park, you’ll need to know when to go. Your experience there can be very different depending on the time of the year. September is a good time to visit because the days are usually warm, there are fewer bugs, and most of the popular spots are not busy. If you’re looking for some solitude and silence, then you can go in the fall when kids go back to school.

If you're backpacking and you see that it’s going to rain, then as a beginner, you may want to postpone your trip. Backpacking in the rain is quite challenging for beginners and is best avoided until when you’ll be convinced that you’re a pro. Pitching a tent on wet grounds, cooking food in the rain and trekking on wet grounds – these are all skills for advanced backpackers that you’ll master in due course.

3. Research Where You’re Going

One mistake a lot of beginners make is not researching where they’re going. Backpacking and camping are meant to be fun and relaxed, but they won’t be that way if you go unprepared for the place. If backpacking, it’s a good idea to buy a local guidebook to learn about different campsites, routes, and trails. A guidebook will also help you learn about the terrain, local weather patterns, wildlife activity as well any parking or passes permits you’ll need. This guidebook will also come with a waterproof local map for directions

If camping, it’s vital to research where you’re going, weather conditions of the place, and what you’ll expect in terms of facilities. Researching doesn’t need to take hours, but a quick look at the campground’s website or an email or phone call will go a long way in helping you understand about your destination and make your life smooth.

4. Try Your Equipment Before You Leave Home

Before commencing your trip, it’s important to try your all your equipment at home and make sure everything is working fine. Pitch your tent in your backyard, find out how the stove operates, and try that new light before leaving your home. Nothing is worse than arriving at a campground and finding out that your cooking equipment isn’t working, or you can’t pitch your tent. Well, it’s okay to be a novice, but surely you don’t want to seem like a total beginner in front of your children or spouse.

If you’re backpacking, test your new boots before you hit the trails. Carrying a 35-pound backpack and walking five miles in brand new boots can turn into a blistery nightmare. It’s also a good idea to test your backpack as a sore back, and strap burns can immensely ruin your trip.

5. Read and Understand Backcountry Regulations Before You Go

A day or some days before you go, make sure you look up the backcountry regulations so that you ensure you have all the supplies you need. Are there fees charged for using a tent site? Do they accommodate RVs? Do all tents have to be pitched on platforms? Are open flames and campfires permitted? Are there any restrictions on fishing? Do they allow feeding of the wildlife? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before going for your tent camping or backpacking trip. The regulations are not there to limit you but to preserve the environment so that others can enjoy its grandeur.

If you keep in mind the above camping and backpacking tips, you will definitely have a great time on your trip.
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