Lifelong campers and now full-time RV nomads, we’ve put together some tips and logical know-how for your next outdoor adventure.
Leave No Trace – Take care of your garbage. It’s yours, so time to adult and dispose of it in a courteous and proper manner. When you get to your new campsite make sure you understand where the dumpsters are. If you are ‘in the wild’ camping or dry camping make sure you assess what you will do with trash while camping (hang up high off the ground; store in truck) as well as taking it with you when you leave. If you have kids make sure they don’t leave toys, nerf gun pellets, plastic toys like army men or action figures behind (we find more of these than just about anything). When you leave, make sure you leave no trace that you were there.
Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop – Keywords: Your dog’s. Your dog, your responsibility. Dog feces can spread considerable diseases. Especially if left in shared areas or along trails where others walk. Even if in the dog park area of the campground. Pick it up. Dog park areas are not meant as a free-for-all. No one wants dog poo tracked into the RV. Just pick it up, OK.
Pack & Use Bug Repellent – You in the bugs house! Bugs don’t care, they’ll annoy you by buzzing your face or they will bite you because they are mean. Help keep them at bay with repellent. We use a Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller and it works well for our immediate area. Citronella candles are awesome too.
Pro-Tip for Tent Camping: Once you pick your tent location, before you set up the tent, spray a heavy duty bug spray on the ground. Once you’ve assembled your tent spray again around the outside of your tent. This will help mitigate the creepy crawlers taking over your newly acquired space.
Campfire Best Practice – Have water available during all fires, grilling, etc. Understand your conditions. Is it windy? Where possible, try to remove dead leaves or debris near any fire pit. Even one with rocks around the outside. All it takes is one spark! Also, those rocks get super hot during a campfire so remember to advise smaller children about touching them. Ensure you use water to distinguish your campfire completely before leaving you go to bed or leave your campsite.
Pro-Tip: Buy a 5 gallon water jug or a small bucket works too. We have both. And water guns cause… summer with a bulldog. Place your water near your campfire just in case something goes wrong. We use and recommend WaterStorageCube which is a collapsible container with a spigot. Perfect for traveling. This thing comes in so handy. When we travel we put it in the bathroom so we have water to flush the loo when we’re on the road. Multi-functional and we love that!
Respect Wildlife – Encountering animals in the wild is exciting and also one of the quickest ways to end a camping trip with a trip to the ER. Remember, you in the animal’s house! Admiring them from afar is best practice. Sticking to the trail when hiking is always best. Some trails contain fragile ecosystems that can incur irreparable damage if you stray from the path. Remember our #1, Leave No Trace and that includes your footsteps.
Clean Up Your Mess – Any and all food preparation or cooking areas that are outdoors clean them up. Every. Single. Time. Wipe it down, remove the excess food, and deal with your trash before your retire for the evening.
Pro-Tip: Keep your trash bags inside your vehicle if you will not disposing of them before you go to bed. Bugs, animals, bears love our trash. Can you blame them? They want the cheesy goodness from your bag of Cheetos too! Animals can quickly overtake your campsite if your gear, tables, and trash smell delicious.
Always Bring The First Aid Kit – Between us, we’ve been bitten, stung, rolled ankles, hit in the head with a large rock, cut fingers, cut feet, burned fingers, scraped knees, etc. Point is. Accidents happen. Often. Be prepared.
Pro-Tip: Pack your first aid kit when going on hikes. Just this past week we had an incident where we didn’t do this and regretted it! Watch out for that first step. It’s a doozy.
Ask The Locals – Are you in search of unique experiences? Google is great, sure. But if you’re unsure of where the cool spots are, ask a local. When getting supplies we often find someone and ask, “Where do the locals go?”. You’d be surprised how many awesome things we’ve discovered from a simple question.
Pack All The Lights – Good rule of thumb is that if you will be in an area for more than 30 minutes you should have a light within reach. Even during the day time, you’d be surprised how often you need a light source when camping. Sitting by the campfire? Put a flashlight in your chair pocket. Taking a hike? Bring a small flashlight. Ready to go to sleep? Have a light in your tent.
Pro-Tip: Hang those camping lanterns high on a tree to cast more light over your campsite area.
Trust Your Instincts – Whether you’ve got a bad feel about the location, people nearby, an animal encounter, or inclement weather, it’s really worth it to trust your gut. Too many times a trip can go awry because someone wasn’t more safe than sorry. Be safe. Be smart. Have fun. And most all, respect the environment and wildlife. Remember you’re in their house.