Go Camping: Get Real-World Experience
When it comes to preparedness, testing, practice and real-world experience is everything. If you have a closet full of gear, but you’ve never really put that gear to the test then why bother even having it?
Camping, fishing and hunting are all great ways to relax and spend time with the family; they’re also great ways to improve your survival/preparedness related skills. Only by testing yourself in a real-world setting, can you truly understand what it will take to survive a real-life disaster.
Good old fashion camping is a great way to get in shape, discover how you’ll do with limited resources, and introduce children to the idea of preparedness.
JUST DO IT: Reading a book is not a Substitute for Real-World Experience
Reading about survival is one thing; actually practicing the skills your reading about in a real-world setting is entirely different. The only way you can truly be proficient in anything is to get out there and do it. Think about it; when you first learned to ride a bike, did you do it by reading about it in a book or did you get out there and practice?
Reading a book or a website about survival is not the same thing as getting out there and using that knowledge in a real world survival situation. You need to start putting your knowledge to use.
It Doesn’t Take much… You have a Backyard Right?
Personally, I’m a big fan of renegade camping or boondocking (trekking out far from civilization without modern hookups or conveniences). But not everyone shares my enthusiasm for really roughing it, and those who lack real-world wilderness experience really shouldn’t try it there first time out.
You don’t even have to leave your home to go camping.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to trek miles away from people to benefit from camping. If you have a backyard, or even a living room, you have everything you need to get started – especially if you have small kids.
Camping at home can be a great way to ease younger children into the idea of camping out in the wilderness. A backyard adventure is not only an experience they will remember forever, it will start them down a path that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Preparedness skills that you can practice while you’re out camping:
For the beginner, things like learning how to put up a new tent, figuring out how the cook on an outdoor stove or fire, and testing out your sleeping bags are all great first steps. Once you have the basics down, you can then start to throw in some other wilderness survival related training.
Learn how to Start a Fire
Learning how to start a fire is a skill that everyone should have; but learning how to start one is only half the battle. Just like all aspects of preparedness, practice makes perfect.
Take the time to learn how to not only start a fire, but how to start one using various different fire starting techniques. Once you have that down, really start to study how different tinder, woods, and stacking techniques affect the fire.
Lean how to Construct a Good Tarp Shelter
I love making tent shelters; they’re fun, easy to make, and can really make a difference during an emergency situation. While building shelters from natural materials is always an option, tarp shelters are something you can practice in your backyard, or even in your living room in a pinch.
Make your Breakfast in a Thermos
During an emergency, where power and gas may be hard to come by, a thermos can be a great way to cook a wide variety of slow cooking foods. They are also awesome while camping.
Using a thermos can be a great way to save fuel when cooking foods that have a long cooking time. If you’ve ever cooked with a crock pot, then the concept of cooking with a thermos is pretty similar. It allows you to simmer foods for a long time, with only the fuel that’s required to boil some water.
Practice Making Survival Traps and Snares
If you have kids, you need to be careful with this one. That being said, knowing how to find and procure food is going to be essential to your ability to survive during a long-term survival situation. In order to get enough calories, you’re going to have to find foods high in fat and protein; that means you’re going to need a way to hunt and trap game.
The best survival traps are usually very simple to make, and can constructed with natural materials — if you know what to look for.
Camping Safety Tips:
If you do decide to trek out into the wilderness and camp for a couple of days, there are some safety tips that you need to keep in mind:
- Pack a Good First Aid Kit: First Aid Kits are one of those preparedness items that people often forget about. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to receive the same amount of attention that things like survival knives, guns and bug out bags get. Check out our article on 30 Things you should have in your First Aid Kits.
- Have a Pre-trip Plan: One of the most important parts of any backcountry camping trip is your Pre-Trip Planning. Planning will help ensure your camping adventure goes smoothly, and will allow you to account for any threats you may face out in the wilderness. Here are the safety steps I take before any Backcountry Adventure.
- Fill out an Emergency Plan Sheet: One of the best ways you can prevent becoming another statistic is by filling out a detailed trip plan. Should something happen, and you fail to return home at the agreed upon time, your plan can help search and rescue teams know exactly where to start looking.
- Bring Extra Emergency Supplies: In addition to a First Aid kit, make sure you pack things like a map, compass, flashlight, knife, duct tape, waterproof matches, whistle, blankets, and a solar or hand-crank cell phone charger.
- Stay hydrated. Being out in the elements can take a toll on your body. Make sure you pack enough water for your entire campsite. If you like to hike and be on the move, we recommend carrying a portable hiking water filter.
- Stay Alert: When you’re out in the wilderness keep your eyes open. Just like all aspects of survival, situational awareness is the key to staying safe.