In our part of the world, public schools are gearing up to start the school year next month, but the summer is hardly over. Which means you still have lots of time to pack your gear and go camping! (Although, really, any time of year is a good time to camp.)
We asked our camping enthusiast friends for their tips on how to enjoy the great outdoors and behave in a way so others can enjoy them too. Before you roll up that sleeping bag and pack your bag, please remember the following...
• You’ve probably head this phrase: Leave no trace. Or maybe: pack it in, pack it out. This means leaving zero litter behind. Take time before your trip to learn how to do this.
• Be aware of other campers’ spaces. Make an effort not to walk through other people’s campsites, or smoke cigarettes where you know they are getting the lion’s share of smoke wafting into their area.
• Hang up your food! You don’t want bears pawing through you or your neighbor’s stuff. (One friend camped next to a campsite that left a keg out all night. A bear found it and had its way with it.)
• Sound pollution: this is a big one. Learn campground quiet hours ahead of time and follow them—but even during non-quiet hours, keep music (and extremely loud conversation in general) turned down. Also, embrace nature and try to leave the generator at home. “Why camp if you’re going to watch TV all night and not go outside?” a friend asks. Believe it or not, she was once kept awake all night by non-stop air conditioning blowing (in a tent)—and a leaf blower going off first thing in the morning!
• Light pollution matters, too. “In an established campground, there’s nothing worse than headlights flashing in your eyes after dark,” says a friend. “Plant yourself at your site before the sun goes down!”
• Prepare for the dark. Besides keeping your food hanging up, one savvy friend recommends tying ribbons or handkerchiefs on rainfly and tent cords to make things easier on you and your friends— “So you don’t get clotheslined in the dark,” she says, should you need to get up and walk around.
• Leave pets where they are happiest. Some dogs make great camping companions; others, distressed, bark all night long. Make plans for your furry friends before you go on the trip. (And make sure the campground allows pets, too!)