How to Prepare for the 2019 Camping Season
Are you ready for it? June is National Camping Month - also known as Great Outdoors Month. Yay! And what a long way tented vacations have come since leisure camping became a thing instead of a pioneering necessity.
Now we have multi-room tents that can be erected in minutes, RVs and trailers that enable us to create a home from home, and even posh sites with luxuriously furnished, fixed accommodation from tents to yurts - better known these days as "glamping".
But as many campers have learned from bitter experience, it pays to plan ahead for your trip. That doesn't mean you have to shoehorn your fun into a tight collection of must-do happenings. But having a well-planned excursion can make a big difference to a successful camping trip.
Your Camping Checklist
What you take depends on many factors - where you're going, who's going, whether you take your temporary home with you - be it a tent of RV -- or rent it, whether or not you're staying on a site with all the facilities or living in the wild, and the all-important comfort factors of outdoor life.
With that in mind, here are some of the things that should be on your checklist, depending on the circumstances:
- Agree on your destination, with other travelers if necessary. Don't forget to check out nearby rural and historical attractions and leisure parks for things to do.
- If you're planning to stay on a site, identify it, research its reputation and check availability and price. Check things like Wi-Fi availability (if this is important to you), water supply and power (for on-site for phone charging etc) and other hookups. If going off the grid, take the necessary supplies to sustain you
- Check and use coolers and other insulated containers, then create your grocery shopping list. Create an outline menu for your stay-away period. Unless you love to cook outdoors, prepare as much as you can before you leave and then opt for simple meals like hamburger stew and hearty breakfasts. Pack plenty of fruit, high-protein snacks and long-lasting bakery products like wraps. Don't forget the personal hygiene items!
- Check any equipment you plan to take with you like a barbecue or Dutch over.
- Create an emergency pack including a first aid kit, waterproof matches, spare batteries, flashlight and portable radio.
- Plan your journey, allowing plenty of time to reach your destination or stopping-off points. Make sure you have good paper maps if you're not going to be able to rely on your phone, GPS or other devices.
- Also, plan a list of activities. You don't have to stick to it faithfully but it'll give you plenty of ideas to fall back on, especially if you have young children.
- Allocate tasks both in preparing your trip and during your stay. Agree this before you leave and you won't be looking for volunteers when you arrive.
- Make all the necessary communication arrangements, so friends, neighbors and family know where you're headed and how to contact you.
- And arrange a meeting place for your vacation party so that everyone knows what to do and where to go in an emergency.
- Never let a member of your party go off by themselves without your knowing exactly where they're headed and that they have food, water and some means of communication if things go wrong.
There's more, of course, much more. Here are a couple of links to useful checklists: https://tinyurl.com/camp-list-1 & https://tinyurl.com/camp-list-long
A Word About RVs
If you're an RV enthusiast you probably already know how important it is to run through a separate checklist as soon as you dewinterize. The details should be in your vehicle manual. But you'll also find a good rundown at https://tinyurl.com/RV-check-now
The key tasks are to:
- Inspect the vehicle's exterior, awnings and tires, making any necessary repairs and replacements.
- Clean and test appliances and the generator.
- Check the battery and water lines for leaks and corrosion.
- Inspect dump and sewer hoses for leaks or wear.
The Benefits of Camping
Mostly people either love or hate camping - and that can depend on how much you have to "rough it" in terms of comfort and personal hygiene needs.
However, there are lots of benefits. For a start, good weather (see below) and fresh air, as well as all the exercise involved are good for your physical and mental health.
Secondly, it's usually an opportunity either to meet up with old friends or make new ones, as well as bonding within your own family.
Third, if you're adventurous, it's an opportunity to take on challenges and explore unfamiliar places.
And if you're really adventurous, it's a tempting opportunity to switch-off big time. Could you survive without using your cell phone? Why not give it a try?
The Great Unknown
In addition to the great outdoors, we have "the great unknown", aka the weather. Despite the huge advances in meteorological technology, the weather people still don't always get it right. Because, well because, sudden changes in weather are by their nature unpredictable.
So yes, take a long range view of the weather prospects before you plan your trip, and keep tabs on it as departure gets closer. But you really do need to be prepared for sudden storms or excessive heat, so make sure you take appropriate clothing and skin protectants for all eventualities.
Ensuring Peace of Mind
You might be wondering whether your camping trip is insured. Almost certainly, your homeowners or renters insurance will cover you against the same risks you face at home.
But it won't offer you financial protection if you have to cancel and many of the other features that travel insurance protects.
If you're pulling a trailer, it may or may not be covered by your auto insurance depending on the type of trailer. Motor homes, of course, require their own insurance.
With all these different aspects to think about - as well as the trip itself - it makes sense to speak to your insurance agent to check on the extent of your current coverage and any recommendations for additional protection.
Here at Kirby Insurance, we'll be happy to answer questions from existing and potential clients. Just give us a call.
And what happens at the end of Camping Month? Well, if you have the time and the inclination, the fun just goes on. Happy camping, or glamping. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy!