Camping Guidelines: Become One with the Great Outdoors!

By: Toni Cunningham | July 2, 2013

In the words of my favorite comedian, Jim Gaffigan, “Hey, wanna burn a couple of vacation days sleeping on the ground outside?” In other words, wanna go camping?

I won’t lie; I enjoy the comforts of air conditioning and running water. However, I also love camping! My family and I went nearly every summer of my youth, and I’ve gone on several camping excursions since then. If you’re planning a camping trip yourself this summer, please take a look at these helpful hints before heading out into the wilderness:

  1. First of all, let’s clarify the definition of “camping.” If you roll in with a giant RV or sleep in a cabin, I hate to break it to you, but you are not camping. Camping means pitching and sleeping inside of a flimsy tent that will provide a thin veil of security from both the elements and/or wild animals. Go big or go home.
  2. Be prepared, within reason. Obviously, you should probably have a first aid kit, some extra water, etc. on hand just in case. But I’m almost certain you won’t find yourself in need of, say, a hairdryer or portable TV.
  3. Skip the dehydrated astronaut meals. When my family and I started out camping, we were chowin’ on Cheetos and Coke for breakfast. After a few years of practice, we got the hang of it and worked our way up to a lovely dinner of grilled chicken complete with a salad bar. Yep, a salad bar out in the wilderness. You too can eat like a king beneath the Beech trees!
  4. Unless you have a death wish, probably stick to camping at actual campsites. I’m not advocating the “put on your backpack and hike out into the woods with one match” kind of camping, as that sounds incredibly dangerous. And not the slightest bit fun.
  5. Remember, this is Michigan. Thus, you’ll probably spend the entire day clad in a swimsuit and slathered in SPF, yet by nightfall, your teeth will be chattering. Sleeping bags aren’t all that cozy in the first place (what with sleeping on top of rocks and all), and being freezing in addition to that makes for an unpleasant evening. Pack some extra blankets to keep you warm. You’re in the middle of the great outdoors, after all!

The ins and outs of camping really aren’t that mind-boggling. You simply need to be prepared, and you’re guaranteed to have a great time! Don’t forget to take some pictures of that beautiful sunset, too.