By Andrea Dulac
Camping is a great retreat from the stress of everyday routines. A night out in a tent under the stars will help release worry and take in the meditating sights and sounds of nature.
Not sure if camping is for you or haven’t done it since you were a kid? There are plenty of ways to dip your toe in the water with outdoor overnights before you dive into an off-the-grid excursion. Reaping the benefits of being “away from it all” can be as simple as a staycation in your own backyard!
From the backyard, to the campground, to a hike-in primitive campsite in the woods, these tips will help you get started or take the next step with your girlfriends or family.
Peace of Mind
- Maybe more important than any camping gear you bring along is an open mind and positive attitude for a relaxing and fun time away
- Do a little research ahead of time, ask around for advice, build your own checklist, and you’ll feel calm and prepared when you head out
- Don’t over plan, though! Allow unstructured time to explore, enjoy the slow unfolding of a sunset or sunrise, stargaze, and relax by the fire
- Leave your mirror and makeup behind. Enjoy the freedom of not worrying about how you look or what other people think
- Unplug and unwind. Taking a break from technology slows down your sense of time and helps you enjoy the present moment
- If you’re nervous about getting out of your comfort zone, then think about how accomplished and confident you’ll feel once you’ve tried something new and made it through!
Safety and Comfort
- If you’re going to an area with spotty cell service, bring two-way radios or walkie-talkies to use with your group. Leave a list of specific locations and times for family members at home to know where you should be and when.
- Prepare for any weather by dressing in layers: a base layer that pulls moisture away from the skin, an insulating layer for warmth, and a water/wind resistant outer shell. Choose synthetic materials, fleece, wool, or down. Avoid cotton because it dries slowly.
- Wear shoes or boots with a waterproof coating, like GORE-TEX. Use a waterproofing spray to maintain shoes or boots after use. Sprays can also be used to rejuvenate the waterproof coating on your jacket, tent, and other gear.
- Keep rain and dew out of your tent with a rain fly above it and a tarp folded to the size and shape of the base placed underneath. Don’t touch the insides of the tent walls as this can cause condensation to drip or leak through.
- Practice setting up your tent at home first, so you can confirm you have all the parts and will know what the steps are once you get to your campsite.
- Start with kindling (dry twigs, pines needles, paper, and dryer lint work well), then build up around it with dry, aged sticks and a few larger logs. Avoid fresh, green wood.
- Hot coals are ideal for cooking. So, be patient and let the flames die down.
- Pie irons and foil packets offer great next steps up from hot dogs on a stick.
- Don’t forget marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate for the S’Mores!
Give it a try!
- Enjoy a relaxing girls’ night out under the stars at Stark Parks’ annual Wild Outdoor Women campout September 12-13, 2015. Experienced guides will be there to help and offer tips for cooking, tent set up, and lead fun activities including archery, yoga, and hiking!
- Spend a night at the Bridgeport Quarry Trailhead while hiking or biking the Towpath Trail. This primitive campsite has space for several tents right next to the Tuscarawas River, a picnic table, fire ring, and a portable toilet.
- Visit StarkParks.com for details and more outdoor activities!
Try these easy campfire cooking ideas at your next backyard campfire or camping trip!
l Cut up fresh veggies and your favorite meat
in 1” cubes
l Place food in the center of a large piece of
heavy duty aluminum foil that was sprayed
with cooking spray
l Fold foil into a pouch, adding 1/4 cup water
l Place on hot coals, not open flame
l Cook for 20-30 minutes
l Remove and enjoy! (Beware of steam and
hot foil when opening)
l Open package of store bought biscuit/pastry
l Cut into long strips
l Roll in cinnamon sugar
l Wrap around hot dog stick that was sprayed
with cooking spray
l Roast over hot coals, not open flame, until
l Remove and enjoy