Spring has sprung, and it’s time to explore the great outdoors. The weather in Orange County is unbeatable, and with beach and mountain camping opportunities nearby, there’s no reason not to plan a camping trip with family and friends. Choosing a spot, acquiring the right gear and packing up all your equipment can seem like daunting tasks. Camping expert Randy Garell, owner of The Grant Boys in Costa Mesa, shares his tips for planning and packing for your next outdoor adventure.
Tip 1 – Water
Water is the primary ingredient for life, and your camping trip will be a short one if you find yourself unable to locate or transport water. In your planning stage, look for water sources close to your camp, and when packing, be sure to include equipment designed to carry water from your source back to your campsite. This equipment might include a canteen, water jug, thermos or day pack. Since the most popular camping in Orange County is beach camping where there may not be a fresh-water source, it might be easier to bring water along.
Tip 2 – Plan for Cold Weather
Don’t let the warm spring weather fool you. Weather can be unpredictable in the mountains, and you need to be ready to handle the worst with jackets, blankets, a tent and sleeping bags. When beach camping, there are significant temperature changes from day to night, and light rain gear might be wise to protect against the moist sea breeze at night. If you’re in the mountains, bring extra firewood or an ax with which you can chop extra firewood if needed. Don’t let your camping trip get cut short due to inclement weather. Remember: there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.
Tip 3 – First Aid Kit
A good first aid kit including bandages of various sizes, alcohol wipes and antiseptic should be taken on any trip, and particularly on an outdoor adventure where exposure to the outdoor elements increases the risk of minor cuts, scrapes and allergic reactions. Sunscreen and insect repellent should be part of your first aid kit, and camping in the southwest means an increased possibility of crossing paths with a snake, so a snake bite kit should also be considered. Also, be mindful of any allergies your campers might have, and include necessary medications and epinephrine auto-injectors (epi-pens) for bee stings and other major allergic reactions.
Tip 4 – Food List
Even if you’re a survivalist planning to live off the land, it is wise to bring food along as a contingency. Make a list and get your shopping done prior to packing so you have enough space for food items. Shopping ahead of time also allows you to pack the necessary equipment for preparing and eating your food. These items would include plates, bowls, pots, silverware, grill and materials for cleaning your dishes such as sponges and towels.
Tip 5 – Equipment List
Before hitting the road for your camping adventure, make a list of essential equipment every camper should bring along. This list includes items such as a sharp knife or multitool, a small flashlight with extra batteries, rope or paracord, matches and compass. This list is not all-inclusive, but contains equipment you’ll want in the event your camping trip takes a turn for the worse. Two-way radios and whistles should also be added to the equipment list in the event that campers get separated unexpectedly.
David McDonald is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.