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Camping Lesson Number One
Preparation is key

©ARA Content

Camping is your chance to get away from your daily duties and spend a little time relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. For most, it takes a little preparation to get there, but the rewards outweigh the work. The following tips from camping experts KOA will ensure that you'll be spending more time unwinding than hunting down forgotten items.

Before you hit the road remember to do a full check on your vehicle. Take a minute to walk around and look for leaks, flat tires, or anything that may cause a problem down the road. It's not a bad idea to check the oil or test your battery ahead of time. Doing a routine check now can save you from being stranded later.

Sit down and make a list of the things that you will need during your stay. If you are planning on cooking from your campsite make sure to bring either coals or a gas stove, cookware, plates, silverware, cups, napkins and extra garbage sacks to store trash. If you are taking perishable items with you, keep them in airtight containers that are out of reach from nature's critters. Something to hold water in may come in handy if you need to clean or wipe off dirty items. Make sure to bring a can opener, waterproof matches and duct tape for repairs. Stock up on plastic zipper-lock bags which can be used to repackage food from bulky containers, store dirty silverware, transport wet swimsuits or loose items. You can also use the bags to store pre-measured portions of laundry detergent, or to separate toiletries from clothing items in your luggage. If you are transporting fragile items, consider rolling them up in a sleeping bag.

Lay out everything that you are taking with you before you begin packing up your vehicle. It's much easier to see all that you're up against, rather than just throwing things in and running out of room later. For those that do not already own their own camping equipment, you might want to try renting before purchasing. That way you know what you need the next time you go and can make room for it.

Plastic shower curtains or a tarp can come in handy in case it rains or the ground is wet. Both can be used as ground covers under a tent and carpet remnants make great sleeping pads. You can also bring along extra sheets to line sleeping bags to help keep the bags clean. And for those sticky zippers, remember that silicone or wax can help get them unstuck.

If you are planning on staying at a campground, make reservations ahead of time. KOA, Inc. offers a web site and toll-free numbers that allow you to make reservations in advance. These campgrounds are great for new campers, or for those who enjoy extra amenities such as hot showers. They supply bathroom facilities, so you may want to bring along a backpack or something to carry toiletries to and from the showers.

Arrive at your campground as early in the day as possible to allow enough daylight time for settling in, exploring and greeting your neighbors. Keep campfires small, and trade fireside tales. And remember to extinguish all fires before turning in. Finally after your stay is over, take a few minutes to double check that your area is free from garbage and that you have not left anything behind.

More great travel tips can be found in the KOA Directory Road Atlas and Kampground Guide, available at any KOA Kampground, or on-line at

Courtesy of ARA Content
Photos courtesy Laurie March

masthead photo courtesy




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