What I learned from my first camping trip
1. Everything you hear about camping is true . . .
But experiencing it is completely different. You are sleeping in the wilderness. Therefore, there is wildlife, changing weather, and other unexpected variables that will cross your path. You are actually expected to survive and live off these types of living conditions.
2. Peanut butter is always the answer...
Eat peanut butter for breakfast, snack, lunch, and probably even dinner. Eat it on fruit, on bread, with sweet food, and it never gets old. In addition, it will keep you full and can easily be sealed!
3. Know what your equipment should look like before so you can fix it...
When my camping group first set up the tent, I tried to help set it up but it was my first time putting one up. I tried to copy what my fellow experienced campers were doing, but I was struggling all because the string inside the pole was unattached. It was a quick fix, but if the others did not know how the poles worked, it would have been quite a struggle to pitch the tent.
4. Filter water bottles are super-duper handy and help keep you hydrated!!!
5. Know your way to the bathroom before night time...
This makes the nightly trips to the bathroom way less scary especially if you are alone.
6. Layers are key!
Especially while being active during the day and when sleeping at night.
7. Milo and Tim Tams are an amazing combination and should be imported to the States...
Milo is basically the Australian version of hot chocolate (but with less sugar of course.) Tim Tams may appear to be your average chocolate coated cookie. But when you want to eat the two together, you bite off each end of the Tim Tam. Then to properly snack on this, you need to use the Tim Tam as a straw and slurp up the Milo. This will slowly melt the Tim Tam, leaving the cookie to dissolve to chocolaty goodness in your mouth.
8. Experiment with cooking and other food while camping...
One of my amazing group members, Jack, and I decided to add a little pizzazz to our mainstream camping dinners and made ourselves a treat for our last night camping. While the other kitchen groups were cleaning up their dinner, we were just starting dessert. We bought a bag of brownie mix, despite the fact that we did not have any eggs, and decided to put in the pan. After waiting for half an hour, we realized the brownies were not getting any thicker, so we continued to stir it. We then began to add peanut butter in an attempt to thicken it, but no luck there. By the end of the night, we settled on making fudge and letting it harden overnight. In the morning, it did not harden, but it was still chocolatey goodness (even the original haters indulged.) Jack then added some left-over Rice Krispies (the Australian version) to the batch of fudge. This fudge went to good use that last day of canoeing. It was put on toast, rice cakes, fruits, and many peanut butter and fudge sandwiches were made.
9. Be grateful for beds while you have them
10. Divide responsibilities...
My camp group that consisted of Jack and Taylor was a good one. I was the only one in the group who had never been camping, so their experience was extremely valuable. Taylor loves camping and back packing, so she was always on top of setting up the tent. Jack loves to cook, and was eager to try out new recipes (see #8). I helped out in both departments of cooking and setting up when I could, and I felt increasingly comfortable each night.
11. Be prepared for rain...
If you have layers, a rain jacket, and pitch your tent correctly, the rain is not that bad. I even began to find falling asleep to rain drops relaxing on the second night.
12. Maximize airflow...
“Ever since a young age I have been interested in the subject of airflow. I’ve been in the constant pursuit of positive airflow since I was a young man and it just came naturally to me, while camping, to pursue the highest amount of airflow possible. Therefore, I developed a strategy for camping in which maximum airflow can be achieved. This simple arrangement for sleeping involves diagonal use of sleeping bags and is used to create coolness around people. Many have called me the young air flow prophet since I was a young boy and it came to me to develop a new way to sleep in tents.” –Griffin (edited for logic)
13. Don’t stress about packing...
Everyone is gross and disgusting so no one cares what you wear
14. Pay Attention!!!
On the second night, I was walking to the dock to wash some dishes. As I was walking, I realized both Jack and Eric were on the other dock. I screamed out, “Guys I’m—,” and then all they heard was a huge slam and hysterical laughter. I walked off the dock, and by some miracle I landed on three canoes perfectly aligned in the water. My glasses somehow stayed on and I lay there with all my limbs stretched out shaking with laughter, and terrified that if I moved I would fall in the river. If the canoes were set up any differently or if the wind was blowing a different way, I easily could have ended up falling in the water or hitting my head when all of my body weight slammed on the canoes. In my opinion, I ended up falling off the dock in the best way possible, and am extremely grateful that nothing worse than a few bruises on my arms came out of it.
15. Bring a Dad chair @Jack
16. Don’t be afraid of starting fires and I highly recommend learning how to light a lighter before camping
17. Ask questions about the known unknown...
I feel that all the stupid questions I asked are one of the reasons that I had such a valuable experience. Asking all of the questions allowed me to make the most of the experience and be way more helpful later on.
Example question 1: Is this pole in the tent supposed to bend?
Example question 2: Is yurt an abbreviation for yogurt?
18. Respect those around you especially at night time!
Moving around in a tent with two other people leaves one with extremely limited space. Understand that everyone is in the same position and everyone wants to be comfortable and get a good nights sleep as well
19. Your sleep schedule will begin to revolve around the sun and the birds...
I never really understood that I would be ready to be in bed by 7pm and eager to wake up at 6am, with a little help from the songs of the kookaburra.
20. Embrace the struggles and learn to laugh them off...
Little things such as getting lost or forgetting something is not the end of the world. Any hardships we faced as a group made us all closer and united as a team. Going through my first experience camping was made 10X better with the people around me and helped contribute to an overall positive and meaningful experience.