Know Before You Go: 5 Tips for Foolproof Camping-Panergy
To ensure a stint with nature that’s memorable for the right reasons and keeps you out of harm’s way, follow the guide below — perfect for any neck of the woods.
Figure out what to bring based on how much room you have, your mode of transport, and the amount of time you’ll be gone. If you’re hiking to the campsite, be mindful about the weight and bulk of what you’re carrying. Nobody wants to schlep a 50-pound pack up a mountain.
This checklist from Montgomery Country Parks should help you stick to the absolute essentials and leave the fancy extras for when you next go camping in a car.
Pick your pack
Choose a backpack based on the length of your trek and the length of your spine. Manufacturers list the volume of their packs in liters. Multi-day packs are 60 to 80 liters, and these are perfect for 2- to 5-day hikes.
If you’re driving to day hikes from a base camp location, a small day pack will be more than enough for daily provisions and supplies to tide you over while you’re out and about.
Don’t forget the tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad (for extra cushion!), and pillow. Being an adventurer doesn’t mean waking up with a crick in your neck.
The size of the tent (🍆) depends on how many people are squeezing in. It’s also sensible to make sure it’s weather resistant, because… well, you’re going to meet some weather, aren’t you?
A lightweight three-season tent is made for spring, summer, and fall conditions — designed to keep people dry during light snow or rain while keeping the bugs out! If a winter camping spree is in the cards, go with a mountaineering tent that can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Unless you’re planning to subsist on PB&J sandwiches alone, pack these in your car to bring to your designated campsite:
- some charcoal (for campsite grills)
- fire starters
- a propane stove
- cups, bowls, and plates
Always check to see if the site allows campfires, and use fire rings if they’re available. Keep sand and water nearby in case the fire needs to be put out quickly.
Dress for success
Cotton is great for staying cool in the ‘burbs, but it’s not your friend in the woods.
Instead, choose moisture-wicking clothes and synthetic or wool socks to keep the bod dry and sweat-free. Just in case, don’t forget to pack: