Use these 7 Camping Tips to make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable.
There have been a few occasions while camping where I had to learn some things the hard way.
After having witnessed so many campers fall into the same traps and suffer through them, I thought it would be a great idea to share some ideas with you.
A hike from our campsite to Silver Lake Mine near Silverton, Colorado
Sometimes a small camping tip can make a world of difference.
I’ve never shared these tips with anyone before….until now. Review these pages before heading out to camp and maybe there will be an “oh yeah, I remember this” moment, when you’re out there camping.
#1 Time to drain the excess melted ice water out of the cooler. – At some point during you’ll need to drain some water out of the cooler from the ice that has melted.
The best method is to unscrew or pull the plug, depending in which type you have. Eventually the water will stop pouring out. (Don't drain out all the water. Leave a couple inches of water in the cooler.) See additional tips on that in the "7 tips on how to keep ice from melting so fast while camping" page.
Important Camping Tip: Before putting your freshly drained cooler back in the car, Don’t forget to close the drain plug! Otherwise, any additional melting ice will flood your car!
(Check out his article to learn more about selecting the right camping cooler for you.)
#2 Protecting the bottom of your tent – For all my tents I use a "footprint" which was designed for the tent. (BTW: The footprint should be placed shiny side up.)
A footprint is a piece of material cut to the shape of the tent's bottom side, to protect that surface from dirt and moisture.
If you don't have a footprint and decide to set up the tent on a tarp or canopy, no problem, but, be sure to not let the tarp stick out from under the perimeter of the tent.
If it decides to rain all the water will run and pool under the tent and you'll get soaked!
Best method: Roll or fold the excess material under the tent. You'll have a much better night of sleep if it rains.
#3 Battle with the bugs - Unfortunately, you’ve arrived late at the campground and need to set up camp after sunset. Once the tent is up you'll be ready to place the sleeping bags and pads inside. Be sure to: Zip up the tent door before turning on the flashlight! or….Suffer....
By leaving the tent door and screen open while the light on – every bug, fly, mosquito and/or moth in the forest will be in your tent with you in less than 10 seconds.
And, they WILL go out of their way to have fun with you all night long!
#4 Where not to set up your tent – Be aware, by setting up your tent under a tree and it rains….it will continue to rain under the tree long after the rain from the sky had stopped.
Also, most trees whether leaf type or pine, drip a lot of sap! Pine sap is particularly tough to get off of any material without leaving a permanent mark.
To remove sap spots it's best to place the tent in the freezer to chill for a while. Then, use an old toothbrush in a circular motion on the sap spot. Using sticky or duct tape to lift the spot works too. Don't use any harsh cleaning liquids as they will compromise the material's ability to resist water.
The best thing to do is set up your tent in open areas where the first morning sun will shine. Those first rays of sunshine will help dry the tent.
Note: Keep in mind that tree sap is tough on car paint too! And, difficult to remove.
#5 Securing your camping spot - This is one of the more important camping tips. I've fallen victim to this a couple of times!
Let’s say you arrive at a campground in the morning. You found a freshly vacated campsite. You register at the entrance. Drop your filled out envelope with the money inside into the metal drop box. You return to the campsite and place the pay stub on site number post. Very good so far!
But, because you’re in a hurry and want to see the sights, go hike, fish or whatnot, you didn’t leave anything at the campsite! Big mistake! Always leave something there!
(This guy's campsite shown in the photo on the right, is set up perfectly.)
I usually leave a tablecloth or my tarp on the picnic table and put something heavy on it, like rocks, so a gust of wind doesn’t blow it away. Even a chair will do.
This camper secured his campsite...perfectly! Chaco Canyon, NM
This is what may happen……
Other campers driving by looking for a campsite will not stop if they see an item there on the table. If they don’t see anything they stop and may or may not look at the date stub. Or, they look at the stub date and wonder….what is the date today? When I travel, I usually don’t know the date either.
It’s even happened to me that the campground host did his morning rounds, took my stub without looking at, and tossed it. He didn’t think someone checked in before he made his morning rounds.
It's best leave something, of little value, at the camp site.
#6 Setting up the tent? Is the ground really hard? - One of the most difficult things about setting up any tent or canopy is driving those tent or canopy stakes into hard ground.
Often by the time you’re done you’ll have a tent stake bent at a 90 degree angle and a hand that’s numb from the vibration! Less expensive tents come with stakes that will most likely bend when you drive them into hard or rocky ground.
Something worth looking into is buying stakes that are made of steel rather than aluminum. Or, even the type that resemble large nails. You can buy them at many hardware stores. You can almost drive those nails into asphalt if you need to!
With this camping tip....I've made neighboring campers envious many times over!
#7 Tent stakes and an important beach camping tip. - When setting up your tent or a canopy on a sandy beach and you're driving in the tent stakes to hold the tent in place, be sure to pound the stakes "all the way in" so the top of the stake is below the sand surface!
It's really easy to step on an exposed tent stake while barefoot or run a toe into one. Save yourself some potential screaming pain by making sure the stake is completely covered!
Bonus camping tip: Cooking a meal? Following a recipe? Don't have a measuring cup?
No Problem. I checked it out the other day after following some directions on a box and did't have anything to measure with.
This is one of those camping tips you don't think too much about until you're out camping somewhere and need to measure something for a recipe!
As it turns out a coffee mug, filled almost to the top is the same quantity as a measuring cup. If you have one of those super-sized coffee mugs, those are two cups.
So, no need to go out and get a measuring cup for camping.
Hopefully you’ll find some of these camping tips helpful.
Please check back from time to time for updates and new additions. If you have a camping tip that you’d like to share, let us know.
One measured cup
Two measured cups
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You might also like reading these additional Camping Tip articles......
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