Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On Camping

For a number of people camping is the favorite, and, sometimes the only way of relaxation. But is it easy to go camping? As the experience of those who enjoy this wonderful pastime says - not at all. As an outdoor activity, camping became popular in late nineteenth century and its idea was and still is to enjoy the nature and those of its places where human’s feet never stepped before. And there’s no wonder that it’s popular for such a long time: despite the fact that it’s interesting and intriguing (a lot of people have no idea how it feels to live in the open green for several days), it also affects health and strength of the body in a very good way. There is a variety ways to go camping, from survival camping with minimum equipment to motorhome camping, which provides almost country house conditions. In this essay, a case with standard, three-day camping in forest for a company of five persons will be described.
When planning the tour, the first thing to think about is location. It is important to thoroughly study the climate, weather broadcast, terrain, and the most important thing - reviews of the people who used to go camping nearby the planned location and know it well. Such reviews, as well as another important information, can be easily found in the Internet. At this point, anything can matter since camping is considered an extreme sport, because in case of emergency there is nobody but other members of the team to provide the first aid. It is not less important to know if anyone of members has a latent disability or a disease which symptoms can appear in such conditions as staying outdoors for a prolonged period of time. That person and a team must decide whether there is any sense for him to go and if there still is, which steps should be taken to prevent incidents. Naturally, all campers must have at least one first-aid-kit (which I will mention in the list of important things), but in some emergency cases it is nearly useless, therefore, rule number one for all campers is to be careful and aware of anything bad that can potentially happen.
For a company of five, a lot of equipment will be needed, but still all the things can be carried in hands and backpacks. First of all, each member and a group together should think on what they don’t need. As practice says, all the equipment can be placed in backpacks, one for person and in bags, also one or two for person. Take out anything fancy, unimportant, or those commonly-known things which might be used, and might not. Cut down on bathroom needs, taking only a toothpaste and a toothbrush. For an overnight trip, the number-one important thing is a tent. Tents usually accommodate two or three persons, hence for a group of five, one two- and one three- person anti-mosquito standard-size tents will work very well.
Security measures should be taken into account, too. Not that each tent must have its fire evacuation plan hanging inside, but a lot of important things should be considered. For example, if there is even a slight possibility of meeting a wild animal, a fire should never be extinguished during all the stay at particular place, and there must always be at least one person to guard others when they sleep and to wake them up in case of emergency. Also, somebody must always keep an eye on fire and never let it stop or damp. As practical experience shows, there were a lot of situations when a camp in woods was surrounded by wolves, who, afraid of fire, did not came closer or attacked people. For the fire, five or six pills of dry alcohol, newspaper and waterproof matches will be enough. Dry brushwood could be easily found in any forest even after rain (dead branches and sticks parch up very quickly after the rain stops). If campers choose such a kind of place, hunters’ weapons should be taken for better protection as well. For example, predators can attack people on their way to campsite or on their way back. During such a meeting, people must not panic. Weapon should always be ready to hand, and usually it is not important to kill the predator: in most cases animals run away scared with loud noises of shooting and too afraid to come closer afterwards.
The backpacks and bags themselves must be also chosen very carefully: before purchasing them, all the equipment should already be purchased and ready to pack, so it could be understood how big the bags should be for all the things to be placed in them. Only those bags which are designed for camping and made of special waterproof fabric, such as tarpaulin, should be chosen. Remember that a lot of things which should always stay dry will be packed inside, and even if the weather broadcast announces a sunny weather for all the next week, it can be wrong anytime.
Another important thing for overnight camping are sleeping bags, which are very convenient in field conditions. Sleeping bags should be chosen personally since there are no “universal” bags which are comfortable for everyone, however, they also must meet special requirements, such as, they must be light, take as less space as possible, be waterproof and nonflammable for security purposes since tents should be placed not far from fire, and despite the fact that there always is a person who watches the fire, security reasons must me among all (ignoramus who watches it can fall asleep).
After choosing the bags, it’s time to think about food. For this kind of activity, the best choice is canned and pre-pack food. The choice is huge: from dry spaghetti to half-staff puree, from canned meat to condensed milk. Potatoes and sausages can be cooked on the fire at campsite. Coffee, tea and sweat cookies is also a good idea. It is always important to know if somebody from a group is allergic to a particular type of food: even a “hidden” allergy can appear anytime, which is very undesirable in field conditions.
As it was announced before, one of the most important things to take is first aid kit. A standard car kit will be the cheapest and most optimal choice: there is no necessity to collect any medications, because everything necessary, with a clear instruction on how to recognize the symptoms and use the drugs is packed inside. What is more, there is no opportunity to forget something important. Such kits can be purchased in any pharmacy. Always look on shelf life and expiration date: overdue drugs can cause a serious damage to health and state of the body, such as stomachache, headache or vomiting, same thing with overdue food. Remember that on-field conditions is considered a severe pastime, and even if a team travels in a van, there is still nobody to help in case of emergency. A soap should be packed as well: it is a universal antiseptic. The best choice is a hand soap made for children.
While packing the things, think how the room inside the bag can be used in most convenient way. Nobody wants to carry a half-empty bag with a lot of air in it. To use the space inside the bag properly, put heavier and bigger things on the bottom, and lighter (or smaller) things on the top. This way, it will be easier to pack and to unpack a bag. Another smaller items, such as anti-mosquito body spray, camping tableware (for cooking on fire and eating), lanterns, pills or other drugs and ropes can be packed in person, depending on what each member of the group needs. Everyone should think on what he might need during the three-day hiking away from home, and thoroughly plan the weekend of visiting nature.
After collecting everything necessary, a company must decide how to pack it all and who carries what. Usually, members divide the equipment in equal parts and put them into backpacks and bags: each person carries one backpack and one or two bags. If nobody took anything extra, everything easily fits inside.

Now the company is ready to go. Its members should leave urban areas early in the morning, preferably with sunrise, so there will be more time to find an appropriate place for campsite before the Sun falls and the dark comes. During the summer month, the length of the day is around sixteen hours, which for nearby camping is more than enough. On the way, the time should be spent wisely: each member should do his best to adapt to local environment and conditions. A short halt can be made every three to four hours. Obviously, be aware of swamps and marshes: the better the map of the terrain will be studied beforehand, the safer the hike will be. Usually it takes about ten hours to get to the chosen place (people usually choose the most distant place from urban areas to get full impression from camping), but it must be taken into account that some unforeseen circumstances can occur. Members of the team can have GPS or compass, but outside people’s usual habitat (actually, sometimes inside it too) anything can happen. Stay safe, and enjoy your camping!

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