10 tips to help with your next outdoor getaway.
1 Pick the Perfect Spot
If you’re looking to escape city life — or just everyday life — look no further than Colorado campgrounds. It’s important to pick your Colorado camping destination with both scenery and activities in mind. From the plains to the Western Slope, you’re bound to find the camping spot you’ve been daydreaming about. Find a site with lots of trees that offer ample shade and protection from high winds and harsh weather. Research in advance where campsites can be found along the trail. Consult a guidebook or online resource, then discuss your options with a ranger when you pick up your backcountry permit.
2 Set Up Shelter Before Dark
One of the most important camping tips is this: Always pitch camp before dark. It gets dark fast in the mountains and with limited light it’s best to set up shelter first. Although they’re probably the most basic shelters for camping, tents can be rather comfortable with the proper preparation. Keep in mind that with tents, bigger isn’t necessarily better — you’ll have to lug it to your campsite, after all. Be sure to try your tent out at home to detect any problems so your camping trip doesn’t turn into a nightmare. Make sure to put a tarp underneath your tent in case of rain.
3 Dress for the Unexpected
Even though it’s the perfect season for getting outdoors, the mountains do see their fair share of inclimate weather. It may be bright and sunny in the afternoons but it’s best to prepare for the worst. Dress light so that you can add on layers throughout the day. You want to stay as dry as possible. Always pack a waterproof poncho to protect you from the rain; the last thing you want is to get your clothing drenched. Wearing wet clothing could cause hypothermia. Then, there’s footwear. When you’re camping, you need to protect your feet. Wear closed-toe shoes that have some sort of moisture- absorbing lining this way you can trudge through various terrains.
4 Get a Fire Going
A quick and easy way to get a fire going bring dryer lint and a toilet paper roll. Make a teepee of firewood and stuff the dryer lint into the toilet paper roll. Light the dryer lint and voila, you should have a fire going in to time. Maintain your fire by occasionally tossing a medium sized log on top. Reduce your fire to embers before attempting to cook anything. You don’t want to melt your pot. Make sure you abide by Colorado state fire laws and keep your fire controlled and contained and always be sure to completely extinguish your fire before going to sleep to prevent forest fires.
5 Cookin’ in the Kitchen
A list of camping tips wouldn’t be complete without mentioning food. Cooking outdoors can be very simple if you just plan ahead. When stocking up on food you only want to bring the bare necessities. Make sure to bring an ice chest and pack it with snacks like fruits, meats, cheeses, and beer. Prepare and store meals in plastic bags ahead of time. Chicken Fajitas are a cheap and easy meal to bring camping. Just let them marinate in the bag and cook them in a frying pan over a grill rack, once their done just serve them in tortillas with a side of avocado and enjoy!
6 Bring Lots of Clean Water
This one should seem like a no brainer but it is so important to bring plenty of clean water. You are going to be using lots of water while camping for things like hydration, cleaning, personal hygiene, putting out fires, etc. Unless you have access to clean tap water or a spring you know is safe to drink from, you should carry bottled water with you. Or, you can bring packets of iodine to sanitize water you get from the backcountry or any questionable source. You can also run the cleanest water you can find through a water filter or boil it for at least 10 minutes.
7 Avoid the Hazards of the Wild
Proper storage and disposal of food helps keeps bears from crashing your wilderness party. Secure food items in your car or high above the ground, such as on a rope or very tall tree branch. When pitching your tent or setting up another type of shelter, be on the lookout for wasp nests and other insects and bugs. If you’re hanging out near vegetation, it’s a good idea to wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. It won’t hurt to apply insect repellent either. Check yourself frequently for ticks as well.
8 Don’t Get Lost
It’s a major mistake campers make, but you can avoid wandering too far away from your campsite by carrying a few simple tools at all times. A compass, map and GPS device can keep you from disappearing into the land of the lost. Of course, none of these tools will do you any good if you don’t know how to use them. So, take some time well in advance of your camping trip to learn how to read a map and use your compass and GPS. If you’re walking on trails just be sure to pay attention to signs and trail markers.
9 Keep Warm at Night
Temperature drops drastically after the sun sets in the mountains and it’s not uncommon to experience high winds at night. Make sure your tent can endure strong winds and if necessary, strap down a tarp over your tent you help block the wind. Buy a quality sleeping bag, one that can keep you warm below freezing temperatures. If you can’t afford a sleeping bag bring plenty of blankets… heavy blankets.
10 LEAVE NO TRACE
This is the most important tip on the list. Colorado gives us the opportunity to experience getaways to the most gorgeous landscapes and it can’t be more stressed to protect and preserve the nature we visit so that you and future generations can enjoy it again and again. Leave no trace, meaning pick up after yourself to leave the ecosystem undisturbed. Clean up thoroughly after meals and secure your food in your car to not attract wildlife.