Whether you take an RV or a tent, camping is an exhilarating experience. No other adventure offers the opportunity to be this close with nature and truly unwind and unplug from the stresses of everyday life.
But especially if you’re new to camping, you may not know where to get started. How can you make sure that you maximize your experience, while at the same time keeping a certain level of comfort and fun at all times? Here are 9 nature hacks that can get you started.
1) Keep those Mosquitoes Away
Nothing sours campers on their trip more easily than countless bug bites. Fortunately, a number of tricks help you prevent that from happening, and some of them are directly connected to the nature around you.
A number of herbs, for example, can keep mosquitoes away without having to resort to chemicals. Citronella, Lavender, Catnip, and Peppermint are particularly effective. Take them with you, or find them at your camp site for a more relaxed (and less itchy) nature experience.
2) Building Your Fire
Nothing says camping like a bond fire to gather around and maybe even cook some food. But how do you build it? Rather than taking your grilling equipment with you, make use of your environment.
Dried moss, for example, makes for an excellent fire starter. Dry leaves have a similar effect, but tend to burn more quickly. These tricks can give you more ideas on how to build a camp fire that makes your inner pathfinder proud.
3) Know Your Berries
How much fun is it to pick your own desert while you’re camping? Of course, if you don’t know which fruits and berries are actually good for you, that fun can quickly turn into a trip to the local ER.
Instead of letting it get that far, follow the common tests of poisonous berries available online. For example, 90% of berries that are white, green, or yellow are poisonous, while the same percentage of black and blue berries are safe. Red berries tend to be a 50/50 shot, so you might want to stay away. This website can help you find and identify the poisonous plants in your area.
4) Understand Poisonous Plants
Nobody wants to start (or finish) a camping trip getting in touch with the wrong plants. Before you know it, you won’t even need bugs to make you feel itchy all over and ruin the trip.
To prevent that from happening, study what the leaves of poisonous plants such as poison ivy look like. Even better, always wear long pants when exploring the woods around you, even if you think you know exactly where you’re stepping.
5) Wear the Right Shoes
Seriously, we cannot stress this enough. Chances are that when you go camping, you pack lightly. That means limiting the amount of shoes you’ll take on your trip. But when you do make those choices, make sure you pack the right way.
When in doubt, pack heavier, waterproof shoes. You don’t want to end up in an unexpected rain with soaked feet and no way to change (or dry) your footwear. Muddy terrain is also possible, and your shoes need to account for that fact.
6) Enjoy a Nature Bathtub
Courtesy of Gear Patrol comes a delightfully comfortable nature hack: if you camp near a sandy river or lake, it’s easy to build a nature bath tub.
Simply dig a whole in the ground, and line it with a ground sheet. Then, use your camp fire and a kettle to heat up some water. Pour it in, recline, and enjoy.
7) Build a Bear Bag
Depending on the region in which you’re planning on camping, you may be worried about black or brown bears disturbing your natural experience and eating your food. A bear bag can help.
Here are some tricks to get you started. The key is not just to find a location (such as hanging it from a tree or wedging it in-between rocks) that’s difficult to reach, but also using material that bears can’t open.
8) Learn How to Predict the Weather
At this point, do you trust general weather announcement? Let’s be honest: they tend to have a 50% chance of being right. So why not try to predict whether on your own?
A number of quick ways can help you predict the weather to plan for the near future. For example, the shapes of clouds can forecast rains and storms. Similarly, a rainbow in the west means a greater chance of rain coming your way.
9) Find the True North
For thousands of years, and before a compass existed, people have been able to determine the general directions in which they’re going. If you want to feel like you’re truly in touch with nature, follow their lead.
Using nothing but a stick, the stars, or your watch, you can determine north, east, south, and west. Use these methods anytime you veer away from your camp site to always find your way back.
When you go camping, you want to be in touch with nature. At the same time, especially if you choose the RV life, you still want to maintain a level of comfort that can be difficult to achieve. Using these nature hacks, you can make sure that your trip will be memorable and authentic without losing out on fun.