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Camping Catastrophes - Preparation is Key

Leave Murphy and his laws behind with careful planning

I've camped all my life, in cabins, trailers and tents with more holes than air vents. And while I'm a far cry from a Sherpa, I can hold my own against the elements. Despite the best laid plans there's often a hitch I haven't accounted for.

Wildlife RefugeWildlife RefugeI remember forgetting matches one camping trip. Happened to be the same trip we came back to our tent after a late night walk to find our bedding floating in a couple inches of water from a storm earlier in the day. That was a trip I'd rather forget.

Since camping season is upon us, it might be time to dig out that contingency plan along with the sleeping bags and camp stove. If you and your gal pals have a camping adventure planned for Memorial Day, read over my (hard-earned) tips and see if any apply to your camping gear:

Tents

  • Rolled up tents can hold more than their share of surprises.
  • Unroll your tent and pitch it outside for a good airing out.
  • If it smells rank, check for mold or mildew. A gallon of water mixed with ½ cup of bleach (or lemon juice) will get rid of most mold. Sit in the sun to finish the job
  • Treat seams with a seam sealer (available at most camping supply stores). Don't forget seems on the tent fly.
  • While you're checking the tent for leaks, blow up that inflatable mattress and make sure it holds its air. Nothing worse than waking up at 2 am with a root wedged between your shoulder blades.

Cooking Gear

  • Clean the lines on your camp stove and lubricate pumps and seals if needed. Test the pressure and fire it up for a test run of marshmallows on the patio.
  • Ready your water purifier by replacing the filter, lubricating the O-rings and checking the pump. Don't forget to test the batteries and pack a spare set.

Speaking of Batteries

Make a list of all the equipment you're taking that requires batteries and then pack a second set. There's nothing worse than stumbling around in the dark when you're camping.

First Aid Kit

Think like a boy scout and make sure your kit has everything you need:

  • Scissors
  • Mirror
  • Magnifying glass
  • Tweezers
  • Splint
  • Thermometer
  • Assorted adhesive bandages
  • Athletic / medical tape
  • Blister pads (e.g. Moleskin)
  • Gauze pads and wraps
  • Compression bandages
  • Tensor bandage(s)
  • Antiseptic cream / ointment (e.g. Polysporin)
  • Disinfectants (hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol)
  • Aspirin / Tylenol
  • Antihistamine
  • Calamine lotion
  • Prescription medications / Epi-pens (if required)
  • Imodium

Got any camping stories to share? We'd love to hear them!

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