Camping, like anything else, requires a lot of preparation. To many people being able to perform when the time comes is the most important part of any task. Lost in that mindset, however, is the preparation needed to put yourself in the best position to succeed before you attempt it.
Anything you do in nature, from a leisurely stroll through your local park to climbing Mount Everest, requires a certain degree preparation in order to be successful. While a walk in the park has become a saying for something that is so easy anybody could do it, it is not as simple as it may sound. Could you get up off your couch right now and take a walk through the park? Yes, I’m sure you could. But what if it’s too hot, or cold, or windy, or you get hungry, or you see your ex-boyfriend there? These are things that you think about before you go outside. You have to check the weather and grab a jacket more often than not.
While this is small-scale and extremely intuitive, it creates a building block for everything else you do. Increasing any of the variables of your trip can drastically alter what you need to prepare for. If you decide to make your walk last for a couple of hours, now you need to start thinking about sunscreen, if you are wearing the proper footwear, bringing food and water.
Now your walk through the park is getting more complicated, inching closer to an expedition climbing Mount Everest. While hyperbolic, there is truth to this. The planning process for both is largely the same. You choose a route to take, check weather forecasts, gather supplies, coordinate with the other people on your trip. The success of your trip almost always depends on the preparation and very little on your performance. Even a world-class marathon runner can be knocked out of a race by dehydration.
The best way for you to prepare for your trip is to leave nothing up to chance. Create a checklist for essentials so you never forget a thing. It can seem overkill for your walk in the park, but it teaches good habits for when you need them. When the time comes for planning a multi-day trip into unfamiliar territory, you’ll have already figured out what you need to bring to be at the top of your game. Maybe you need to bring an extra layer because you don’t deal with cold as well as everyone else, or an extra pair of shoe insoles because you wear through them in no time. But you were only able to know this because of the countless times you took a walk in the park and figured out what you need to bring specifically for you.
Oftentimes your trips will not be solo, and the person you are going with will recommend a basic list of necessities to bring. These lists are just that, basic. You need to know what makes you tick differently from everyone else.
Another part of preparation is practice. Trial and error is the greatest teacher humans have and when you are out in the wilderness there will be a lot of error. This is not a reason to get discouraged, it means you are progressing. Everyone starts at the same point and has to learn, and that is an advantage. There are tons of resources online that will let you learn from other people’s mistakes, so you don’t have to make them.
So get out there, make mistakes, and enjoy the great outdoors.