Camping out often conjures images of long distance treks to inaccessible parts of the world: Patagonia, Everest, the Amazon. But you can find adventure without having to pack your passport by exploring the wilderness near home.
Nothing beats experience in the wilderness
Gathering equipment is helpful, and knowledge is power, but few things are more important than experience. Doctors are taught: ‘learn one, do one, teach one.’ They mean that once you learn how to do something, you need to start doing it to improve your skill. Then, to attain mastery, you need to know a skill well enough to be able to teach someone else how to do it.
Sometimes we build up in our minds that a camping trip ‘doesn’t count’ if it’s too close by, or was preceded with hours and hours of planning and travel. But sometimes you just need to get out and start using the skills you’ve studied. And, there’s no easier way to do that than camping out near home. It’s cheap, fun, and always some sort of adventure.
Gear works when you use it
I’m probably like you – I love checking out new pieces of gear, and researching or buying the latest bit of kit for camping or survival. But good gear is defined, not by some website or magazine, but by whether you are comfortable using it. You gotta get out there and try out your latest little gizmo and gadget! Instead of filling a bag just with new toys and waiting for months to finally get out and give it a test run, just go.
Find a great spot nearby
There are tons of ways to find a great local spot to camp. Depending on the size of your city, you could start with a local camping/outdoor shop like Cabela’s or REI. You could drop in to your local fishing/bait shop and ask about places nearby to go camping. A quick search online can also find you some great local, state and national parks that have camping available.
Try calling the ranger station at a local park too, and ask them about “backcountry and wilderness camping.” In some places there are areas where camping is allowed anywhere, for free, as long as you follow a couple rules. You local park ranger will be able to get you down the right path.
And when you get out there, make sure you have a way to stay in communication with the ones you care about.