1 Give yourself plenty of time to set up camp before dark.
2 Choose a level spot and sweep it free of debris. If you have to sleep on an incline, sleep with your head uphill.
3 Look above your site for potential falling rocks and dead tree branches.
4 Don’t park or camp under a lone tree, especially on high ground. It will be a lightning rod in the event of an electrical storm.
5 Unroll your sleeping bag right away, so that when it’s bedtime, the bag has puffed up and is ready to offer full insulation.
6 Stake your tent down. Even a minor storm can blow your tent away with everything in it.
7 In rocky soil, where tent stakes won’t work, use rocks inside the corners of your tent to anchor it securely.
8 Check for potential hazards such as anthills, wasp nests, or piles of rock, branches, bark or leaves that snakes or scorpions could call home.
9 Never make in a natural watercourse. A rainstorm, even miles away, can turn your camp into a raging river.
10 Camp where the morning sun will hit your tent or trailer as it will make those chilly mornings warmer.
11 People love camping near water, but if the water isn’t moving, you are likely to have issues with insects.
12 Locate your tent or trailer upwind of your intended campfire so smoke doesn’t blow toward and fill your sleeping quarters.
13 Always use a ground or tarp below your tent. It’s another layer of insulation and moisture control, and it will protect your tent floor from excessive wear and tear.
14 In hot, buggy weather, orient your tent door toward the prevailing wind to help cool the tent interior. It also helps keep mosquitoes away from the door.
15 If stormy weather is predicted it is better to face the front of the tent away from the wind and help keep rain from blowing into the door.
16 Practice setting up a new tent before leaving home.
17 Seal the seams of your tent — you’ll have a drier night. Some tents come with a tube of sealer. It’s also available at outdoor-equipment retailers.
18 Some tents are overrated in sleeping capacity. Three feet of width per person is ideal for a comfortable sleep.
19 Clean, dry and air your tent after each trip. It will last longer and not mildew.
20 Bugs are attracted to brightly colored clothing – so tone it down for a better time outside.
21 Stick to high-quality wool-blend socks for hiking. Cotton traps sweat next to your skin.
22 Layering is the key to proper camping attire. Have a base layer, a mid-layer and a rain jacket on hand.
23 Break in those new boots long before you hike a mile in them.
24 A hat is essential. It keeps the sun off your head and face during warm weather, and keeps heat from escaping from your head during cold weather.
25 Keep your stove clean — especially the burners and gas fittings. Clogged burners are inefficient. Dirty fittings can leak and create a fire hazard.
26 Have at least two flashlights, and spare batteries for each.
27 Consider binoculars a basic camping tool – you will see more for sure!
28 Take a collapsible shovel – works great for everything from latrine duty to managing your fire.
29 LED headlamps are really handy when trying to use both hands in the dark.
30 Use stacking storage tubs to organize your camping gear. It will keep it clean and all in one place.
31 Down sleeping bags are best for insulation, but when wet, can lose loft and heat-retention qualities. Synthetic-fill bags are generally less expensive and a good choice for family campers.
32 Wear a cap at night. It will help conserve body heat.
33 Don’t go to bed cold. Do something to get warm before crawling into bed.
34 Wear a base layer like long underwear to bed.
35 A sleeping pad is essential for warmth. Without it the ground can suck the heat out of your body.
36 Wind steals heat. Keep your tent closed up. If you must, vent the tent on its downwind side or place your camp in a naturally sheltered area.
37 Keep the next day’s clean socks and underwear inside the foot of your sleeping bag. They’ll be warm for the morning.
38 Drinking alcohol might give you a warm fuzzy feeling but actually robs you of body heat.
39 Dental floss works as good as a toothpick, and is strong enough to work as thread for fabric repairs or as emergency bootlaces.
40 Carry a roll of duct tape. There are tons uses for duct tape, ranging from automotive, first aid to tent repair.
41 Bring a compact pair of scissors or a multi-tool. It’s good for all kinds of uses — first aid, equipment repairs, etc.
42 I always bring a small sewing kit. Great for everything from wardrobe malfunctions to medical uses.
43 Drink plenty of water. You won’t know you’re dehydrated until it’s too late, so prevent it by constantly rehydrating.
I have always loved camping, ever since I was eight, and was forcibly stuffed in a trunk and dropped off in the middle of the forest. My dad was a complex man, but I believe he was trying to show me the value of camping.