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Camping is a marvelous way to enjoy the outdoors and escape the pressures of everyday life. Camping trips can be tailored to the skills and daring of the adventurers involved, and can be wonderful for families, couples, or even girlfriends' getaway vacations. For the camping novice, researching basic camping equipment can be a major part of preparing for the great outdoors. By understanding even the barest amount about tents, supplies and other camping equipment, a trip can be made safer and more fun for all involved.
Unless plans include sleeping outdoors, a tent is likely to be the most vital piece of camping equipment. Tents are available in many different models and sizes and can offer a wide variety of features. Most tents will come with instructions on how to build the structure, but these can be famously difficult to understand. Once a tent has been acquired, practice putting it up and taking it down a few times before leaving on the trip.
If camping is to take place in an area where weather conditions are liable to change quickly, consider purchasing a three-season or rain-resistant tent. Many campers who have been soaked will attest to the importance of keeping rain out of the tent. Tents are available for purchase at many sporting goods and camping stores, and vary in price depending on size, quality, and features.
The importance of reliable light sources cannot be overstated. At the very least, campers should always bring flashlights and backup batteries with them. Lanterns, wind up lights, and solar-powered light sources may also be advisable pieces of camping equipment. After an evening of scary campfire stories, a flashlight on the way to the bathroom may be of great comfort. In more serious circumstances, a flashlight or lantern can help a lost camper draw attention or find his or her way back to camp.
Another vital piece of camping equipment is a canteen or other water-carrying device. Unlike plastic water bottles, canteens are recyclable and often easy to clip onto backpacks or belts for easier carrying. If campers intend to use local freshwater sources, such as rivers, for drinking water, camping equipment for water purification should be included. Water treatment pills or filters can remove bacteria that may cause illness, and are available at most camping supply stores.
Unless a member of the party is an experienced hunter or forager, bring enough food for the duration of the trip. Remember to also include washable utensils, plates, and cups. If bringing food, it is important to bring camping equipment for proper storage. While many camp sites offer locked food cabinets, some may warn you to suspend food from a high branch to ward off the attention of bears or other wild animals. Be certain to include sturdy rope and garbage bags or pillow cases in order to keep food out of the reach of hungry critters.
Camping in wild locations will always entail a certain amount of risk. In case of injury or accident, bring a first aid kit with basic supplies. At the minimum, this important piece of camping equipment should include bandages, antiseptic cream or ointment, pain medication, and tweezers. This can allow campers to treat minor injuries without ruining the trip, though any serious or worsening injuries should receive professional medical attention at once.