The onset of spring and summer brings a new yearning for the great outdoors. Camping provides an excellent escape for serious adventurers and casual explorers, as well as a much cheaper alternative for an invigorating vacation. But in order to make the most out of your trip, it’s best to pack strategically. Most of the contents in your backpack go without saying: sunscreen, bug spray, s’mores ingredients and the like. Be sure to remember these common sense items that may pass right over your mental checklist before you hit the road. Camping expert Maux Gitto shares her essentials for an enjoyable experience.
Maux Gitto, whose outdoor writing goes under the name ‘Maux-Jave,” is a California resident with a love for the outdoors. She takes advantage of the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life by venturing up the I-15 to Las Vegas. Her writing reflects personal experience with hopes of “avoiding the speed bumps” she came across while out in the ‘unknown.’ She assumes the camping trip will be RV-free and in a site out of cell reception.
Flat tires are never fun, but a flat in the middle of the desert can be downright dangerous. The last thing you’d want is to be stranded on a desolate road 200 miles away from your nearest town or gas station. Get your tires checked before long trips and make sure you have a fully functional spare tire and tire-changing equipment in your trunk.
Don’t rely on GPS to guide you. Chances are your phone will lose signal in the wilderness, leaving you out of luck if you make a wrong turn. Print out a map of the campsite and surrounding area beforehand. Even if you are certain that your GPS system is fail-safe, this precaution will save you in a worst-case scenario.
Flashlight or Lantern
City lights aren’t there to guide you come nightfall. Sifting through your tent and backpacks becomes almost impossible in total darkness, and adjusting anything in your campsite without light is practically futile. Bring a flashlight and spare batteries, or a lantern that follows fire codes. One of the best tools is a wind-up lantern, which requires no battery power, but rather a simple hand motion to recharge.
No matter how hot or cold you think it’s going to be, bring layers. Deserts are prone to getting very hot during the day and very cold at night, so it is best to prepare for both. In addition, hiking and other outdoor activities raise the body temperature, so what may start out as a chilly adventure may leave you sweating after the first mile. For your base layer, clothing that wicks sweat [Under Armour material] is best for physical activity.
A Sense of Humor
Camping inevitably involves hiccups, mishaps and accidents. Being able to laugh about them makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Go into your trip with the mindset that not everything will go according to plan. As long as you roll with the punches, you’ll live the life worth living.
Related: Winter Camping Guide For Las Vegas
Benjamin Brown is a food journalist and schoolteacher currently residing in Las Vegas. Graduating with a degree in journalism from USC and moving to Sin City with Teach for America, Ben gravitated toward all things food and has since become a expert of restaurants on and off the Strip. His work can be found at Examiner.com.