Planning a camping trip is no easy job, you require lots of patience and alertness for it. You also need to decide whether you’re going backpacking or camping in your car. If you’re a novice, go for the latter option as you get to carry more camping equipment and food in your car. If you’re an expert, try primitive camping as it’s the true test of your camping skills! It’s also the most thrilling experience.
Camping is also a way to meet locals and tribes to understand their way of living, their food choices, and their cultures. We always take our urban life for granted since there’s constant electricity, water, and other comforts at our disposal. It’s during camping that we truly value the material comforts we left behind and start seeing the abundance nature has to offer. You’ll emerge a much wiser person after a camping trip, but before that here’s how to prepare for it!
The first thing to decide much in advance is which camping destination to travel to. If you’re new to camping, try to look for a destination that’s closer to home. This way, if you fall sick or injure yourself, you can come back. There are many scenic camping destinations near Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. Simply choose a destination that’s nearest to your city.
On the other hand, if you’re a pro camper, look for destinations that challenge you, like base camps, riversides, snowy regions, and places near wildlife sanctuaries. You also need to decide what kind of camping experience you want and prepare for it. If you want to interact and socialize, go camping with a travel agency where you’ll meet like-minded people. If you want some me-time away from everyone, go camping solo!
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The last thing you want on your camping trip is to be bored! Decide what you want to do in advance, if you want to indulge in activities like biking, rafting, rock climbing, etc, look for campsites that offer these services. Carry board games or a deck of cards so you don’t get bored inside your tent. If you like reading, pack a book!
If you’re camping with kids, book a campsite that’s kid-friendly and has a children’s playground to keep them entertained. Pack glow sticks and bug catchers as they can also be a good way to keep kids engaged. If you’re going camping during peak tourist seasons like Diwali or Christmas, book your tent in advance. Zero down on a camping destination and proceed with calling different campsites to compare facilities and prices. This won’t be a problem though if you’re carrying your own equipment and camping far away from the commercial campgrounds.
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Make a detailed camping checklist weeks prior to your camping trip as it’s difficult to gather all your supplies one night before your trip. There are tons of apps on the internet to help you plan your essentials, tick them off until everything is taken care of! You need to plan harder if you’re going camping all by yourself. Solo campers have to set camp from a scratch so don’t forget your tent, stakes, ground cloth, shade tarp, tent map, ax or hammer, etc. You don’t have to worry about these things if you’re going with a group to an existing campsite since such sites already have tents waiting for you.
If you’re shopping for your camping trip, there are some things you should keep in mind. If you’re buying a tent, buy one size larger than what you intend to. For example, if you need a tent for two adults, get one for three, the extra space always comes in handy when you want to store camping gear or when you want to move around inside the tent.
Research the kind of camping gear you need, most of it depends on which place you’re going to. If you’re going to colder places where you expect snowfall, you’ll need waterproof equipment and sleeping bags with extra insulation to keep you warm. At the same time, don’t buy the stuff you won’t be using, like investing in a cooking stove when meals can be arranged locally near the campsite. Also, if you go on camping trips once in a blue moon, buying expensive camping gear might not be the best idea. Look for camping equipment rental options online or physically when you’re near your destination.
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Imagine reaching your destination and realizing the heater or the cooking stove you got along doesn’t work! Nightmare. Worse yet, what if one of the tent stakes is missing or broken! A sure-shot way of testing if your tent and kit are in good shape will be to do mock camping in your garden a few days before your camping trip. Set the tent and check if nothing is amiss and that everything in your kit is in good condition. If you don’t have a yard or garden, test your tent in the largest room of your house.
Repair anything that can cause a problem later on, even if it’s something like your tent’s zip. An open zip is an invitation to bugs, you sure don’t want them as tent mates! The same goes with your torch, portable charger, battery-operated lantern, and compass, check if they work. If you’re new to camp stoves, practice making at least one meal on it before your camping trip. Be a master of planning and checking so that you’re in control of your camping trip.
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Camping is no easy job, you’ve no room service, no in-house cafe, or a kitchen. If you’re going camping with a tour or a travel company, they’ll arrange humble buffets or lunch boxes for you. But if you’re going solo or with a small group of friends, you have only your cooking skills or the locals to rely on. Prior to your camping trip, check out if there are locals who provide meals to the campsite or check if there are any restaurants nearby (make Google Maps your best friend).
If there’s no sight of a human for kilometers at a stretch from the place you plan to camp, carry all your kitchen weapons! Setting up a makeshift kitchen isn’t that tough; pack a stove with fuel, campfire grill, measuring cups, paper towels, aluminum foil, cooking oil, pots, and of course, food supplies! One night prior to your trip, chop the vegetables and store marinated meat in ziplock bags. This saves you time and effort while cooking on your campsite. If you’re going for a longer camping trip, carry canned meats, dry fruits, tea bags, protein bars, and instant noodles. Maggi on a mountaintop, anyone?
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Pack insect repellent, sunscreens, cold creams, etc but make sure none of these has a scent as it attracts insects and wild animals. Pack a sleeping bag and an extra pad for some cushioning. Careful about what you place under your neck because a random plastic bag rolled into a pillow can give you a neck sprain. It’s better to pack an inflatable pillow so that you wake up fresh the next morning. If you’re going in the rainy season, pack a rain shower curtain, an extra set of clothes, and rain gear in a waterproof bag. Take care of your devices by sealing them in ziplock bags if you’re going camping in the monsoon.
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Don’t assume that only extreme weather conditions can ruin your camping plans, even tiny changes in the weather are enough! The best example of this is camping in the monsoon in India, if the wind is blowing steadily in one direction when you set up your tent and then changes its course, your tent will be wobbly all night! You should also research the geography and climate of your camping destination and see if it’s unsafe in a particular season.
Look for campsites that have concrete platforms and are away from water bodies or else you risk finding your tent in marshes. You’re highly exposed to weather changes while camping in Himachal Pradesh, it can snow overnight and leave you stranded. To avoid situations like these, scroll through weather forecast news as if it were Instagram. If there’s a storm warning the day you leave for your camping trip, abort the mission, camping can always wait!
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If you’ve seen the lost and found, survival, and rescue shows on the Discovery Channel, you know what we mean. Not trying to dampen your excitement, but you should seriously pack for trouble. Wear a jacket that camouflages with the topography you’re going to to stay one step ahead of the wild animals. At the same time, pack a jacket that’s fluorescent to wear if you get lost (helps the rescue operation since it’s easier to spot you in a fluorescent jacket). Carry a physical map and a compass since you might lose network or your device battery might run out.
Never forget a first aid kit, a box of medicines, a power bank, and dry snacks. Watch survival shows and educate yourself on what to do if you get lost. Read about what to do if you find yourself in close proximity to a wild animal. Try to learn the basic way of telling directions by looking at the stars; this helps if you’re lost in a jungle or a desert. This point can be waived off if you’re going to a camping destination in city limits or if you’re going with a huge group. But it’s of utmost importance if you’re going camping in off-beat places in Himachal Pradesh or in the densely forested regions of the Sahyadris.
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Whether you’re camping solo, with friends, or with family, always inform someone of your plans. Ring the neighbor the morning you leave for your trip and tell them about your plan at length. It’s also better to keep a close friend informed and updated, it’s okay to spam them! Update them when you leave for the trip, ping them when you reach the campsite, and so on. Most friends themselves keep checking on you when you tell them you’re going camping. If you’re a young adult going camping with friends, keep your parents in the loop.
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We know most of us don’t carry cash anymore because every payment is digital and the remotest of villages accept digital payments. But you never know when you might lose network connectivity and end up stranded with no cash and no internet. It’s better to account for your expenses budgeting for petrol if you’ll be driving to your campsite. Pay via digital modes at petrol stations and at restaurants you eat at, keep cash aside for emergencies. Keep the cash in safe places like tucked inside socks or inside tiffin boxes.
Your camping trip will always be successful with prior planning, the right equipment, and the company of good camping mates. Once you tick a particular camping destination off your list, start planning for the next one because adventure should never stop!
Now like a conscious camper, take care of the sites you park your camp at. Leave no trash behind, carry reusable bottles, bury your human waste and carry biodegradable soap to wash hands. Finally, don’t feed wildlife and be respectful of your surroundings. You’re camping to be close to nature, better not disappoint your host!
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What’s So Interesting About Camping?
Camping is beneficial to your overall mental and physical health. The time you spend away from your monotonous life helps you regain your energy and creativity. That’s because you use limited technology while camping and sleep in utmost quiet. Camping also teaches the youth lessons of survival and is a great way to bond with your family.
Where To Go Camping In India?
Chandratal Lake in Himachal Pradesh, Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, Solang Valley in Manali, Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, Nameri Eco Camp in Assam, Wayanad in Kerala, Pushkar in Rajasthan, and Cherrapunji in Meghalaya are some of the best places to go camping in India.
Also Read: 8 Amazing Places To Go Camping In Rajasthan
Is Camping Safe For Solo Women Travelers?
If you’re cautious and alert at all times, camping is safe for women solo travelers. It’s safer when you set your camp in designated campgrounds and do not stray away too far. Always keep the contacts of local police saved on your mobile devices. Finally, don’t camp in a place with zero mobile networks and no locals in sight.
Can I Cook My Own Food While Camping?
Yes, you totally can! Most campsites offer buffet meals and food services but also encourage campers to cook their own meals if they like. If you do plan to cook your own food, carry the supplies and kitchen equipment with you. Set up your makeshift kitchen away from your tent to prevent fire hazards.
Can I Set Up My Tent Anywhere I Like In India?
There are no policies when it comes to camping in India and you’re legally allowed to camp anywhere you like. Just be conscious about trespassing into private property and don’t camp in places that are notorious for wildlife sightings. There are greater threats to your camp from elephants and gaurs than from wild cats.
How Much Does It Cost To Go Camping In India?
This depends on whether you’ll be camping alone or with a travel agency. It’s cheaper to travel with an agency as it covers the cost of equipment, transport, and food. If you camp by yourself, consider the price of a tent, camping kit, kitchen equipment, and transportation.
It’s hard to give an average idea about camping costs in India because it differs from one region to another. It also differs according to your camping preferences, glamping will surely be costlier than the traditional way of camping.
How Many Days To Go On A Camping Trip?
Most people go camping for 1-2 days as they consider their weekends and plan accordingly. There’s no cap or limit on how many days to set aside for camping trips, if you’re a full-time traveler, you can camp for months without a worry! That’s because backpacking and camping is the cheapest way of traveling through India.
Why Is It Important To Carefully Plan Your Camping Trip?
It is necessary to carefully plan your camping trip as you may have the chance to explore more challenges on your way, so it is better to be prepared.