As the summer sun pounds down on us, a cool camping getaway is a must for Arizonans.
Lucky for us, that means not having to drive too far for the calm and cool woods. There are two words for this trip: Be prepared.
Of course, the essentials are water and food, but there’s more to it. Here are our tips for being in the wilderness.
Finding the perfect camping grounds
Sometimes the biggest challenge is picking the right campground. What’s the weather like? What kind of animals are nearby? Is it popular or secluded? How can one even get there?
These are all nagging questions campers can come across and, luckily, there are resources out there to help. The Dyrt is a review platform where users can also learn about campsites.
“We are the Yelp for camping,” says Sarah Smith, The Dyrt cofounder.
The Dyrt has the dirt on roughly 35,000 U.S. campgrounds, Smith says. They’re linked with pictures, videos and reviews, a service that was in high demand, Smith says.
About “60 million Americans go camping every year and a lot of them have been really frustrated with the experience of looking for campgrounds online,” she adds.
But more so than just another review platform, Smith says The Dyrt has formed a community. The Dyrt offers prizes for guests who post reviews. Those who are higher on the leaderboard win a prize.
“People are so passionate about camping and it’s so fun to see these people come together and share their tips and just building an amazing community of outdoor enthusiasts,” Smith says.
Meal time for backpackers
Campers may enjoy the isolated adventure, but they still need to eat.
Jetboil is a lightweight gas-fueled portable stove that’s shaped like a large cup. Using a small fuel canister to light a fire, Jetboil warms food with hot water.
Accessories include a lightweight coffee press, replacement lids, mesh strainers, support and stabilizer kit, pots and pans, utensils and plastic plates, and a tool for puncturing holes in used fuel canisters prior to recycling.
Keeping bugs away
Anytime the woods are involved, there’s the risk of being attacked by bugs.
Rescue Pest Control’s GoClips to the rescue. It is a small and compact bug repellent that protects the user from ticks, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets, depending on which product is purchased.
Stephanie Cates, director of marking and communications, says the goal here is to use something that is safe.
“We want to be responsible to the environment, but then effective against the bugs. We believe we can have all three in a product,” she says.
Cates says Rescue GoClips uses all-natural plant oil to create a pleasant scene for humans, but one that repels bugs.
Unlike other bug repellents, Rescue GoClips doesn’t need to touch the skin. Cates says it is easily attached to a person or a child’s collar or backpack and it can be put back into a resealable package, which can help it last up to two weeks.
Rescue GoClips also helps dogs as it can be easily attached to their collar.
“Some of these insects like mosquitoes, biting flies and ticks will go after dogs as well as humans and you can apply the GoClip to a dog’s collar or harness,” Cates says.
Another choice is Rescue Pest Control’s Repellent DecoShield Lantern, a repellent lantern that uses natural essential oils to confuse a bug’s antennae and deter it. The lantern can keep bugs away within a 300-square-foot campground, with up to four days of protection.
Water is important
For most avid campers, taking a leisure hike is always part of the deal. Enjoying the outdoors and exploring the beauty nature has to offer is one of the best parts of camping but like every adventure, it can be dangerous if one is not careful.
Make sure to bring a small camel-pack for day hikes is important. A 2- or 3-liter bladder should always be inside the pack and should always be filled before taking off for a hike.
For those who will camp remotely and away from safe drinkable water, make sure you bring enough water for the whole trip. The amount of water that people need varies. If campers are close to a leak or stream, make sure to bring a filtration system.
It may take some elbow grease but having a filtration system means campers won’t run out of drinkable water. In addition to the filtration system, a LifeStraw, a small water filtration system that you can use to suck and drink out of any stream, is the perfect accessory. Keep it around your neck or attached to your pack in case you unexpectedly run out of water.
This seems obvious, but hikers need to keep altitude and air into consideration.
Depending on how far you travel, air may become thinner and breathing can be more difficult than normal. You don’t have to travel far to notice the difference.
The difference in elevation between Phoenix and Flagstaff (which is a three-hour car ride) is roughly 5,800 feet. If campers are not used to changes in elevations and don’t have enough time to acclimate, it is recommended they bring supplemental oxygen.
Boost Oxygen provides supplemental air to people who have respiration problems or are about to participate in a demanding physical activity. Robert Neuner, CEO of Boost Oxygen, recommends campers and hikers who are ascending in elevation use supplemental oxygen when possible.
“If you are going up on elevation and uphill, people get winded and their muscles get sore, and that’s where it (Boost Oxygen) helps,” Neuner says.
Each can provides roughly 200 1-second inhalations. Users put their mouth on it, like a water bottle, press the button and inhale oxygen.
“If you are respirating really hard, you go into anaerobic respiration and you get lactic acid buildup and that’s when you get muscle soreness,” Neuner explains. “Supplemental oxygen helps you stay in an aerobic respiration, so you don’t have the muscle fatigue.”
Camping takes us out of our element and breaks the monotonous urban life of the city. It resets our batteries with fresh air and nature’s beauty. Experienced campers know it can always be an adventure but preparing a head of time will help keep that magic alive.
Knowing the few basics of camping should be every Arizonans’ rite of passage.