An Intro to Camping & Hiking

An Intro to Camping & Hiking

Open skies, mountain ranges and crashing oceans have an no city on Earth can match for me. Living in Australia we’re surrounded by the most amazing landscapes and terrains and I just can’t understand why everyone doesn’t evacuate to the great outdoors every weekend

It takes a bit of an effort to plan and pack for an adventure but man it’s worth it! We all have our own reasons for getting face to face with nature – for some it may be a challenging mountain bike ride, for others a simple hike is enough to satisfy.

I was introduced to the outdoor life as an ankle biter by my old man. When I look back now he took some risks and by today’s standards very rarely enough gear! A basic canvass tent was our shelter any time of year and our emergency gear consisted of a box of matches and a stick. But heck we had some fun and those flying by the seat of our pants adventures gave me a passion for outdoor life I’m truly grateful for.

Getting outside you really do get close to nature and can understand the natural order of the world around you. Waking up in the silence of a forest is magical to me. With ever-demainding jobs and a world constantly connected by e-mail, text messages and cell phones the only true escape can be to get outdoors with your backpack and tent.

Even for the most basic hiking and camping adventures you’re going to need some outdoor gear. At first you might borrow this from a mate or gatecrash one of their adventures but once you have the lust for outdoor life you’ll soon want your own. A two or three season tent will serve most people as a starter and you can add to your gear as you go along and become more adventurous.

Wherever you live there are plenty of great camping locations within a reasonable distance. The type of adventures you want will guide you as to your best location. Is your ideal campsite surrounded by undisturbed nature or other families? Do you need a hot shower to start the morning or will a dip in a nearby stream get you going? Are you ready to face camping in the wilderness or do you want the security of camping civilization nearby?

There are some practical things to think about when you start your first camping adventures too. Do you need running water and laundry facilities or do you want to be really out there and filtering your own drinking water? It goes without saying you shouldn’t run before you can walk. If you are going the more adventurous route know what gear you’ll need in advance and know how to use it!

An Intro to Camping & Hiking

Depending on your experience and level of fitness, a hike in the woods can be invigorating or induce a heart attack. If you’re taking the family along think about how your ankle biters will deal with the conditions. Not just whether they can live without their latest video games and satellite TV for a week but whether they’re physically up to a hike! You may love the idea of scaling rock faces but you may find you have to carry little Jonny after the first mile.

The thought of getting out in the elements has a great appeal to many people but the elements can soon get you down if you aren’t prepared and the weather turns. One of my first hikes in Kosciuszko National Park was pretty miserable after two days of rain and struggling to find a pair of dry socks to wear.

If you literally want to get away from it all and leave the family at home take necessary precautions as well as the right gear. Leave an itinerary at home so people know where you’re going and when you should be back. Take everything you need including maps, compass, clothing and boots for the conditions and enough water and tucker. Don’t go thinking you’re the Bushman and can cope with the basics – that’s a surefire way to put yourself off camping for life!

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