Going camping for a week in the wilderness can be an awfully big transition for people who’ve never experienced it before. The thing is, a lot goes into creating a comfortable home away from home, especially when you second home has no electricity or the other creature comforts of a house. To reduce the stress that comes with preparing such an eventful trip, here’s an easy-to-follow guide to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable vacation in the woods.
Think about the daily routines and rituals that seem almost brainless to you when you think about your day. Now consider everything you thought of and narrow that list down to only the essentials. A vital daily requirement for every person is food, three meals a day and water too, which means creating a space that is comfortable and convenient for you to prepare meals in, thus eliminating a lot of your envisioned stress.
A kitchen area that has everything you could need, from five gallon jugs of water, buckets for dishes, a cooking stove, a shelving or cubby unit for your utensils, cups and all other requirements from mini salt and pepper shakers to Lysol wipes.
Find a large storage container with shelves or separators to make organization a breeze, and then find your camp stove, which is quite possibly the most important part, then you can plan the rest of your kitchen around that. If you pick a camp stove that stands alone, like the Camp Chef Explorer, then you will have more table space, but make sure you bring enough propane for the length of the trip!
Another daily routine that people don’t really acknowledge is using the bathroom and showering. If you’re going somewhere where there’s water you can always wash in the water and even use the lake or river water in big buckets to do your dishes from camp. However, if you won’t have running water, you’re going to want to bring extra water with you and a camp shower of some sort. These camp showers range from basic solar-heated hanging shower bags, to instantly hot, high-pressured water cubes, which are extremely handy for dishes. But by all means, stay within your budget and always consider how often you will be camping and the quality of product you might need.
As for using the bathroom, you might shrug your shoulders, grab a roll of paper and stomp off into the woods in search of the perfect log … but that gets a little old after day one of your seven-day camping trip. The easiest thing to do is to make an outdoor porta-potty. It’s easier than you think. First, make a trail leading out of your camp into the woods. Mark the trail clearly or line it with a long extension cord so you can hang a light bulb at the end for any late night visitors. Dig a deep hole and set a portable seat stand over the top. Leave the dirt mounded up beside the hole so people can kick a little in from time to time and keep all your toilet paper and baby wipes (do not forget the baby wipes) in a large Ziplock baggie to keep little critters and excess moisture out. The easiest part is, if you decide your hole is full enough, just cover it back up with dirt, walk about five steps to the left or right and dig another hole.
If you’re staying in the woods for a week or more, you are going to need to take your sleeping arrangements seriously. First, invest in a sleeping bag that is rated for the actual temperature you’ll be camping in. Generally, anywhere from a zero degree bag to something rated in the negatives works well for cold mountain nights, but if you live somewhere hot, bring a back up, like a summer bag that’s light weight and easy to toss in. If you use one bag, the other can always be rolled out underneath for extra cushion.
Other than your bag you’ll need to invest in either a cot or a Therm-a-Rest, depending on the type of tent or trailer you’re staying in. If you don’t have a lot of room, sleep on a Therm-a-Rest that has holes in the underside to keep you elevated off of the ground. The ground is where the cold comes from, believe it or not, so many of the pads that go under you are meant to create air pockets between you and the earth so your body can stay warm and the cold air will filter out.
Cots also help if you want to ditch the tent and sleep under the stars. A hammock is never a bad idea either as it can double as a lounger during the day and swinging bed at night.
Other than your bed, you’ll want to also make sure you bring enough chairs for sitting around the fire or on the water. If you don’t want to bring firewood with you, which you’ll want to bring quite a lot if there isn’t a local burn ban, then check to see if you can harvest wood in the area your camping. This will reduce the amount of weight you’re bringing with you on your drive up and reduce the cost of buying wood from somewhere around home.
Alright, now that you’ve got the basics down, I bet you’re starting to think that spending a week in the woods away from work, chores, traffic and phone calls doesn’t sound too bad after all. Camping is all about enjoying time with friends and family, playing board games, going on adventures and reminding yourself how much you appreciate Mother Nature.