Improve your camping experience with these pro tips

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illuminated tent in woods Bastian Sander / Shutterstock

Camping has come a long way since the days of pup tents and kerosene lanterns. But while we can’t get behind the glamping trend of trucking every creature comfort to your campsite, there are a number of ways to make roughing it a more memorable and hassle-free experience. Here are 10 tips to make the most of your time in the woods this summer.

Pick the proper tent for your excursion

If you’re in the market for a new tent, you can purchase it based on how many people you’ll be sharing it with. But keep in mind that there’s no industry standard for per-person tent dimensions, so if you’re claustrophobic or you simply value personal space, consider sizing up. That’s especially true if you’ll be sharing your tent with dogs. The real consideration when it comes to size, though, is how you’ll be transporting your gear. If you’re driving to your campsite, you don’t have to worry about a standing-room tent weighing you down. But if you’re hiking into parts unknown, you’ll quickly regret any extra weight. For some camping trips, a simple hammock tent might be your best bet.

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Keep mosquitos at bay

The campfire’s faded to its final embers, the woods are quiet, and you’re drifting off in your cozy tent with a full belly and a calm mind—or at least you would be if it weren’t for that faint humming of a mosquito. The one thing worse than swatting away mosquitos while you’re singing John Denver around the fire is being forced to hide in your tent all night because they’ve infiltrated your campsite. Enter the Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller, which creates a 4.5 meter zone of protection from mosquitoes. It’s lightweight and compact for easy packing, and it uses the same isobutane gas canisters that you’ve already packed for your stove.

Store your food like a pro

Nature is a competitive place, so you can bet that if you leave your food unprotected and unattended, there’ll be plenty of critters competing for it. Bear canisters are a bomb-proof solution if you’re not carrying your gear deep into the woods, but if weight’s an issue, a bear bag is your next best option. Opt for one that’s water- and odour-proof, and be sure to close it tight and hang it from a sturdy tree. Some campsites also come equipped with bear poles (for hanging) or metal food lockers. If you use a locker, make sure the latch is secure—the local animals have had plenty of time to practice.

Photo by Mat Hayward / Shutterstock

Prepare for the worst

There is nothing worse than setting up camp after a long day of hiking only to find you have no bandages for your poor blistered toes! Save your feet, and be ready to treat bee stings, burns, and all other minor outdoor injuries by ensuring you have a first-aid kit on site.

Pack a portable water purifier

That clear stream near your campsite might look pure, but even clean-looking water can be brimming with bacteria and parasites. For the sake of safety, pack a portable water purifier to make sure you’re never without drinkable water. If you’re traveling with a group or heading out for an extended trip, try a gravity filter to keep your water clean. You can also grab a bottle-sized purifier that takes just 30 seconds to make water potable.

Stay charged up

While we don’t necessarily support playing Candy Crush on the trail, we do understand that many campers want to make sure their phone, camera, or GPS device is always fully charged. Luckily, you can now purchase compact solar-powered charging devices that easily fit into your backpack.

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Go for hands-free lighting

Ideally, you’d have your campsite set up before sundown, but since unexpected holdups can hamper your excursion, make sure you you have plenty of lighting options ready. You might think a flashlight is all you need, but headlamps are far handier when you’re fumbling with tentpoles in the dark, or making your way to the loo for a late-night bathroom trip. As a bonus, you can wrap your headlamp around a plastic jug of water, turn the beam inward, and create a handy lantern for your tent. And if you’re looking for a proper campsite lantern, go for a double-duty option like Thermacell’s Trailblazer Mosquito Repellent Camp Lantern, which creates a 15-foot mosquito protection zone while offering 300 lumens and up to 50 hours of LED lighting.

Photo by thermacell.com

Feel the pressure to shower

Nothing makes you appreciate the marvels of modern life like that first at-home shower after a long camping trip, but if you’re hitting the trail hard, a mid-trip shower might be ticket—at least for the sake of your fellow campers. Reward yourself for all that hard work with a portable pressure shower that you can pump with your foot.

Don’t sacrifice comfort

Sleeping with nothing but a sleeping bag between your spine and the forest floor is fine until about the age of twelve. After that, you’re going to curse every achy step of the next day’s hike unless you find a better solution. Some campers swear by roll-up foam mats, but a quality air mattress can be more comfortable and lighter. And in case you think your bunched-up hoodie will make a decent place to lay your head, do yourself a favour and bring an inflatable pillow. Your neck will thank you.

Photo by Yevhen Prozhyrko / Shutterstock

Bring biodegradable toilet paper

Speaking of comfort, keep your backside clean (and the forest free of litter) with a pack of biodegradable toilet paper. You can get specially made camp TP that is more compactly rolled and comes in water-resistant packaging. Trust us: this item will make your next campsite extra comfortable.

Thermacell provides zone mosquito protection that keeps mosquitoes up to 4.5 m away, stopping them before they can bother or bite you. Thermacell’s zone repellent technology eliminates the need for messy lotions or sprays, so you and your family are free to enjoy the outdoors, without worrying about mosquitoes or the harm they may cause.