Getting a Head Start on Next Years Camping Trips!
Camping is an enormous amount of fun and it can be hard to explain to anyone who has not done much camping why the act is so addicting and entertaining. I remember when I was very young, before I had the taste of camping firmly between my jaws, I would lament being out in the wild and away from civilization, but as I grew older and went out more frequently, that all changed. This is mostly because camping is not just sleeping in the open. Sure, that part is a lot of fun, but there is also a variety of different fun activities that you can do, both before the sun has gone down and once it has come back up. Camping is the ultimate outdoor experience and planning in advance can help make the overtrip more enjoyable! You get to spend time out in the wild and also do a bunch of other things at the same time. Here are some of those things.
To begin with, there are the basic camping activities. Once you have everything you need, you travel to the place where you intend to do your camping and start setting up for the night. Put up your tent and other sleeping equipment first. You do not want to be stumbling around in the dark when you are tired trying to set up a tent. Next, assuming there is no ban, get a fire going. Start small with some tinder at the center of a fire ring and then a tent of sticks set up around that. The tinder (Dry grass, paper, etc.) will burn easily and ignite the stack of larger sticks. Once the sticks are burning well, set up some larger logs leaning against each other around them. These will take longer to burn but should be going once the sticks are finished. Once the fire is going (And sometimes a fire is optional, though only if you are okay with it not being a real campout), it is time to get food on the go. There are easy meals to cook like tinfoil dinners, hot dogs over the fire, or reconstitutable packages of powder. Then there are more complex meals that are not so easily cooked over a fire or camp stove. So far, this has just been work. It can be fun work, but it still works nonetheless. From here on out, it is up to you what you spend your night doing, but the quintessential campout activity is sitting around the campfire, talking, telling stories, or singing. It is a wonderful feeling to spend time with others around a fire. Even if you are camping alone, the fire will fill you with warmth and a content feeling that is hard to explain and even harder to ignore.
But there are also some very specific things you can do while camping which I think most will find exciting and fun once they try them. The ultimate activity to combine with camping is hiking across the land. In fact, these two things go together so well that there is an entire activity known as backpacking (Which you are probably well aware of). However, you can do your hiking on either end of the campout itself. Either put your camping equipment together into a backpack and hike until you get to the place where you want to spend the night or prepare a daypack for the day after your night of camping using your car and just wander around whatever surrounds your campground. Of course, how successful you are in the latter activity depends on where you pick to go camping. If you just find any old place along the road and set up a tent, there might not be much to see. If you go to a campground in the mountains, the morning is going to bring you a plethora of different options as far as hiking trails. Whatever you decide, hiking adds invigorating activity to the lazier act of camping. For the latter, you are just staying in one place, setting things up for the long haul (Or just a single night).
The most fun I ever had camping was when I and my scout troop decided to camp out next to a river. Once the morning came, after a night of hanging around a campfire and a morning of a sturdy breakfast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes, we set out towards the river with the supplies to build several rafts. Basically, all we had was some twine, some netting, and a whole bunch of empty bottles. Personally, I had a wooden frame and two massive water barrels normally used for rain collection. After a few hours of work, we had a number of functioning rafts that could actually float across the water and keep us dry above the surface. The river level was somewhat low and there was a fair amount of dragging across the bottom of the river, but when we got to deeper parts of the water, the rafts worked without any problem. This is something you can do as well. All you need is something that will hold air and a framework to keep it together. We used recycled water and soda bottles (And the water barrels) but there are a lot of different options. Just be careful that you do not lose a bunch of plastic down the river. We took special care not to do any accidental littering. But I have to say, floating along that river on a raft of my own creation was an unforgettable experience.