With fishing, hunting and overall lush forest green season upon us, many of us want to know what to focus on for our outings. Southern California, with its uniquely dry, rocky terrain, requires several specific considerations for adventure seekers. In a store with a world of choices to decide upon, here are some tips from Bass Pro Shops camping manager Bowman Bloport for the best items Angelenos need to pack for their summer camping trip.
Tip 1: Hydration Packs
Southern California’s rugged terrain is very rocky and dry. We are both blessed and cursed with year-round high temperatures. During winter and summer alike, unexpected sunny breakthroughs can quickly lead to extreme temperatures that are dangerous for over-exposed campers. They call Joshua Tree National Park’s lowest elevation “Death Valley” for a reason. Make sure you have adequate hydration packs, canteens and at least one type of water purification system if you plan on camping at any time of year.
Tip 2: Snake bite kits and hiking footwear
Whether you are forest or desert-bound, rattlesnakes are definitely not a thing of the past. Regardless of the temperature, if the sun is out, it is not uncommon to see a rattler coiled up on a rock catching some rays. Besides an anti-venom kit for the worst-case scenario, invest in a hiking stick. Not only will this assist you on rocky terrain, but you can use it to hit bushes and other foliage in your path so that snakes can get away safely. Also, rattlers will use their rattle sooner if they can hear you coming. Most snakebites are on the ankle or foot, so investing in thick hiking boots is worthwhile. Ankle-covering boots will also protect you from injury if you fall, helping to prevent rolling on the ankle.
Tip 3: Tick and mosquito repellent
Tick bites are common and potentially dangerous. Besides overall discomfort that goes with any insect bite, Lyme and other diseases are a real threat to campers’ health. “Having a good repellent would make camping more enjoyable,” Bloport stresses. He recommends any repellent with DEET. Although such repellents are not good for children, they are decidedly the most effective.
Tip 4: Pack a compass
“Know your viewpoints or pack a compass,” Bloport advises. Pay attention to landscape markings as you travel. Many campers return with stories of a trip gone awry due to a loss of direction. “Just like the parking at Disneyland, your whole trip can be ruined if you forget where you parked.”
Tip 5: Pack light
You might not need a full backpack for a day trip. You definitely do not want to be carrying excess weight if you’ll only be gone for a day or two. Know your trip and gauge how much time you’ll be walking and trekking from site to site. Many campers will pack everything they need to be comfortable and well fed, but this may lead to a heavy load and less pleasurable experience.
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Danielle Farve is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.