Tips to go camping in the great outdoors this summer

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Caragh McErlean/Staff

As the weather gets warmer and more pleasant, the idea to sleep underneath the stars may pop into your head. However, it can seem like a daunting and expensive task to spend time outdoors when instead you could stay inside and watch Netflix. Choosing to stay at home would be the real mistake, as camping can be a great adventure where memories are made — and it would give you something you can tell people about when they ask what you did this summer. Use these simple tips to keep your camping trip an enjoyable adventure.

Plan ahead

There may be the romantic notion of running out into the wilderness with your intuition as your only guide, but it is a potentially dangerous one. Without planning and checking out your chosen campground, you might run out of food too quickly or worse, be in an area that requires a permit and incur hefty fines for being there. Planning doesn’t ruin the adventure — instead, it helps to make sure that the adventure goes smoothly with a planned-out menu for each day and a general itinerary. It can also help to find excursions around your chosen campsite to go on cool adventures while camping (for example, hikes to beautiful vistas).

Bring a tent

Sleeping under the stars is great, but sleeping exposed in the rain and wind is terrible. A tent can provide shelter from the elements while also giving windows so you can still see the stars as you sleep. These can be costly, but if you ask around there is probably a friend willing to have you borrow theirs or you can buy one for the entire group and, if you keep it in good condition, have it for years to come. If neither of those options works for you and you know that the weather will be nice, at least bring a tarp and some stakes to have a clean spot to rest that isn’t just in your cramped car.

Don’t over-pack

In the outdoors you won’t need every item in your room. For a weekend getaway, you will probably only need enough personal items (clothes, hygiene products and things to entertain you) as will fit in a carry-on bag for an airplane. The more stuff you pack the more you have to carry and move around to find that one thing you need that is at the bottom of your bag. Just look at the weather and what you will be doing — take only what you need for that and you will be happier.

Go to a state or national park

Camping becomes all the better when done out in incredible nature. California is filled with these parks and it guarantees gorgeous views (the general rule for national parks is you know you have entered one when your jaw hits the floor) as well as worthwhile hiking trails. Also, if staying in a tent isn’t your speed but you still want to spend time outside in nature, many national parks offer motels and hotels with shuttles into the park where you can stay. Some parks I would recommend are Sequoia National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore and the classic Yosemite National Park. But be wary on holiday weekends, as they may already be booked and will be quite crowded, which may not be the case for state parks.

Allow yourself quiet moments

Urban life can be noisy with the constant sounds of traffic outside and pinging from our phones. Nature doesn’t have the urban sound-maker distractions and therefore can be truly quiet. So take a few minutes while camping to enjoy the quiet and serene beauty of nature. Slow down and enjoy the lack of stimulus and notice the world around you. It can help clear your mind and remove all that pent-up stress from UC Berkeley.

So, go outside and experience the wilderness the next time you get the urge this summer. If you follow these steps you’ll see that camping isn’t scary — it is just an adventure, which you have to admit sounds much cooler then binge-watching your favorite show again.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .

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