Camping is an outdoor recreational that all of you may have participated in at some point in your lives. It’s a popular pastime in this day and age, filled with bustling cities and busy lives, because it allows people to escape to the simplicity of nature and just enjoy the forest, the mountains, the lakes, and other scenery that the wilderness has to offer them. Some people camp under tents, others in no shelter at all; some people go out into the woods to camp, while others prefer to do it in national parks.

Camping can be a fun and enjoyable activity
if it's done carefully and safely.
There are many different kinds of camping that you can participate in. Some people like survivalist camping, where you go out with the clothes on your back and a few survival instruments and “live off the land,” i.e., find your own food and shelter as you go along. Others prefer recreational camping, where you bring things like food, water, and shelter along – in this case, the fun is that you’re spending time out in nature away from the hustle and bustle of city life, not in the act of survival. Car camping is a type of recreational camping that involves camping close to your vehicle. Most often, camping – especially recreational camping – is enjoyed in conjunction with other types of activities. These can include fishing, mountain biking, hiking, swimming, or canoeing.
There are “permanent” camps set up, such as hunting camps or summer camps, but staying at these places is generally not considered “camping.” That term usually refers specifically to staying out in the wilderness, for example in a tent, and just enjoying the wilderness.

Since people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy camping, camp sites may be equipped with a variety of different amenities to suit your needs. For those who like survivalist camping, they can just pick a forest, set a course, and go on their way. For those who prefer recreational camping, campgrounds may include such things as:
  • Fire rings, where fires can be safely made
  • Barbecue grills
  • Utilities
  • Shared bathrooms/laundry
Even if the campsite doesn’t have these amenities provided, campers today have access to a wide range of technologies that can make their experience easier, more fun, or more enjoyable. They might bring along comfortable travel mattresses, compact chairs, solar-powered satellite phones, interior lighting for their tent, GPS, or so on. Some people even like to go camping in recreational vehicles (RVs), which come equipped with electricity, bathrooms, air conditioning, showers, and home theatre systems!

Campsites that just have space for tents and perhaps some simple amenities like a fire ring are generally much cheaper than those that have a full range of amenities, and they are usually directly accessible by car.

When you go camping, it’s important to be prepared, especially for survivalist camping, which should not be undertaken without the proper knowledge and preparation. Even if you are only camping recreationally, these are some of the things you might want to bring along:
  • First aid kit
  • Tent
  • Hammer (to help set up the tent, if necessary)
  • Sleeping bag and/or blankets
  • Lantern or flashlight
  • Hatchet, axe, or saw to cut firewood
  • Some sort of ignition device to start a fire with
  • Folding chairs
  • Rope
  • Tarp (to protect the tent and/or campsite from rain)
  • Hiking boots
  • Trash bags
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Cooler (to store perishable foods)
You may also want to bring dishes, utensils, pots, and pans from home, or purchase sturdier varieties that are specifically made for the rigors of camping.

Although recreational camping is generally a very safe and enjoyable activity suitable for the whole family, it is important to note that being out in the wilderness has its dangers, and any camper should be prepared to deal with these. For example, you may get lost while out hiking in the woods and be unable to find your way back to the campsite. It is important to know at least some basic survival skills in case of emergencies like this.

One of the most important rules to remember in a survival situation is the Rule of Threes. This states three basic things to remember regarding food, water, and shelter:
  1. Humans cannot survive more than three hours exposed to extremely low temperatures.
  2. Humans cannot survive more than three days without water.
  3. Humans cannot survive more than three weeks without food.
The Rule of Threes is important because it helps you set your priorities: the most important thing to do first is find shelter, then locate water, and lastly find food. Keep in mind that these priorities might change as your situation changes. With that in mind, always remember STOPStop, Think, Observe, Plan. This is how you should deal with any survival situation.

STOP – Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. Stop what you’re doing.
THINK – What are your priorities? What needs to get done first? Do you have shelter? Water? Food?
OBSERVE – What’s going on in your surroundings? Can you hear water nearby? Do you see anything that could be used as shelter? Is this a safe location?
PLAN – Take the information you gathered and decide what you’re going to do next. Remember to keep your plan flexible as conditions may change.

For more detailed information on survival skills, check out the “Want to know more?” section.