These Boots Were Made for Hiking
Now that you’ve tackled that mountain of summer paperwork, why not climb a real one? A mountain, that is. The best thing to do after all those summer projects may be to take a few days for yourself, clear your head and disconnect with the help of Mother Nature.
Camping is a fulfilling activity that lets you take a step back and just be present—which is truly hard in today’s society of social media and constant activity. While being in the great outdoors is relaxing, trying to remember everything you need to be prepared is hard. Here are some tips and tricks to keep preparations simple.
Before you decide where to take a trip, do some research on the campsite and grounds that make your short list. Study a map of the grounds, find out how the trails are marked, and how far you will be from emergency services. Bring printed maps, a compass, and trail markers just in case you get lost. If you’re hiking, plan out how long the trail is, how many miles you’d like to hike per day, and how far you want to be from your campsite, especially if you plan to hike from your site and come back in the same day. Also, check where the water sources are in relation to when you’re going to pass them and where you will set up camp at night. Check your cell service! You may not have service in some places.
When packing your clothes, pack for practicality. If you’re camping in the summer, shorts can be great, but if you plan on hiking, wear long pants to protect yourself from the elements, scratches, bug bites, and poison ivy in heavily wooded areas. Additionally, if you’re camping or hiking in the winter, wear multiple layers—the outermost being a hard outer shell (such as a rain jacket or windbreaker). Layers are the easiest way to keep warm and still have the ability to control your body temperature. Without them, you’ll exert too much energy and not even know it. When camping, regular tennis shoes or outdoor sandals are fine, but if you plan on hiking, hiking boots or heavily treaded tennis shoes are the best shoes (with the exception of water hikes—use water repellent shoes, or water shoes). However, don’t buy a brand new pair of hiking boots or tennis shoes right before you go—you’ll have bruises and blisters less than a mile in. Buy a pair to break in a few months before, and wear the shoes in many different settings (day to day wear, walking outside, to the gym). Also, bring thick socks—the best being Merino wool. When packing for a trip don’t go overboard on the clothes— pack the essentials: under clothes, an extra shirt, and items you can wear more than once or wash out. And don’t forget the unscented baby wipes to easily wash up.
Once you’ve decided where you want to camp, study up on the wildlife in the area. If you’re camping in the winter, it’s likely you won’t see as much wildlife, but don’t be alarmed if you do. Before leaving, don’t forget to tell your family and friends where you are going, when you are leaving, and the day (and hour if possible) you will be home. Post it on social media if you like; just make sure people know where you are. Finally, bring practical gadgets that can double as necessary utensils and safety mechanisms. Items like a double edged hunting knife with a blade on one side and a saw on the other, a small hatchet (some come with a sheath for personal safety), and a small pocket knife are good to keep in reach. And just in case, bring a small first aid kit—just the essentials: triple antibiotic ointment, bandages, maybe gauze and wraps. (A flask of whiskey can double as a disinfectant and heat source in the winter.)
Even if you plan to hunt game and cook it on site while camping or hiking (don’t forget to check the local game seasons), bring some basic food and water necessities. Granola and protein bars are essential. They can double as meal replacements or snacks to keep your energy level up. Also, “just add water” types of food are great to bring: rice packs, to-go pasta, etc. For your water supply, bring 1-2 water bottles and a water purifying kit. And for the people who can’t live without coffee, don’t forget the instant coffee.
These are some pretty basic tips for camping and hiking to get you on your feet and out of the office. The internet has endless resources when it comes to outdoor activities; take advantage of that to search for any other questions you may have. And enjoying Mother Nature is even more fun with friends, so ask your buddies if they’d like to skip movie night to get a good night’s sleep under the stars.
Here at Cypress, we have compiled a list of everything you may need on your adventure:
Tent, poles, stakes
Mallet or hammer (for tent stakes)
Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
Extra tarp or canopy
Sleeping bag for each camper
Sleeping pad for each camper
Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
Headlamps or flashlights (extra batteries)
Lantern fuel or batteries
Fuel for stove
Matches or lighter
Firewood ( if allowed, plus saw or axe)
French press or portable coffee maker
Roasting sticks for marshmallows, hot dogs
Food-storage containers, bags
Water filter or treatment tablets
Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
Sponge, dishcloth, dishtowel
Extra bin for washing dishes
Multi-tool or knife
Clothes for daytime
Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
Extra layers for warmth
In-camp sandals or booties
Campsite reservation confirmation, phone number
Maps, area information and guidebooks
Solar phone charger and external battery
Pet supplies and food