Tag

<span>camping</span>

  • Camping is for the Girls

    One of the most common questions I get is about how to feel comfortable camping as a single female so I want to break down some of the barriers here and help you find ways to feel both secure in your surroundings and confident in your campsite selection.

    Before I got married, solo adventuring or trips with my girlfriends was really all I did. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I absolutely love solo adventures and have done some crazy hikes all by myself. But it is critical that whether you are alone, with just gals, or even with your entire family that you do take some safety precautions when camping. Also, knowing some basic info and easing into your outdoor experiences should leave you feeling stress free… just like you should when you are in nature!

    My dreamy campsite in Havasupai

    I do want to let you know that I did not ever camp until I was 28 years old and I started with a serious backpacking trip into Havasupai to see the gorgeous waterfalls. I carried a 40 pound pack (oops), hiked 10 miles in, hiked about 20 miles to various spots within the destination, then hiked 10 miles back out. Every camping trip that does NOT include backpacking, has felt easy ever since. But if I can start at 28 with no prior experience and fall in love with sleeping outside, you can too! If you’re new to outdoor adventures, especially camping and backpacking, it can be really overwhelming and even scary to start. I feel pretty dang vulnerable when sleeping outside, but that’s what part of what makes it so special. I’m hoping by the time you read through this post, you feel empowered and ready to try something new! So, here are my recommendations. Enjoy!

    • A little research on the campsite will put you at ease:
      • I recommend doing some research and picking places that are well regulated early on. When I book a campsite, it is usually via Recreation.gov. This is where I book forest and national park spots but the state parks I’ve stayed at have their own system directly from their own site. When I say “well regulated” I mean this site will have a host who keeps an eye on the property and guests, keeps the campground clean and sleeps on site. This brings me a sense of comfort knowing someone is paying attention to what’s going on around camp and can typically radio for help if needed. I’ve never been to a state or national park that lacked this but when camping in the forest, it’s something I check for. When booking on Recreation.gov you can see if there is a host and check out the other amenities you can expect.
        When booking on Recreation.gov scroll down to “amenities”
      • While you’re looking for a host, look for other amenities you aren’t ready to forgo yet. If a shower is an absolute must for you, pick a campsite that you know has one. If you don’t have a campstove, make sure your site has a grill, if you don’t have a portable table, make sure there’s a picnic table at your site.
      • With the above info in mind, you won’t want to try dispersed camping early on. It’s going to be remote and lack the amenities you will need before you build up a stash of proper camping gear. I also don’t feel safe dispersed camping without a whole crew of people because I just feel too vulnerable. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is some info on developed vs. dispersed camping.
      • I recommend picking a camping spot to start that is close to home.  I live in the Phoenix area so whenever someone who is new to camping wants to try it out, I recommend Lost Dutchman State Park. It’s well regulated, and it’s only about 45 minutes from the heart of Phoenix. If you are having a bad time or feel uncomfortable it’s easy to go home. You can try again another time!
      • If you feel uneasy without being to call 911 or friends/family, pick a spot with cell service. You can always check your carrier’s coverage map. Personally, I just Google the phone number for the campsite, park, forest, etc., tell them who my carrier is and ask if there’s service. The folks who answer the phone are generally very helpful. Use this info before heading out on a hike too!
      • It’s also very important do some research on the types of animals you may encounter in the region you’re heading to. Google and park rangers are great for this! Remember, pack up your food safely and never bring it in the tent. It’s a great idea to see if your campsite has a bear box. I also recommend buying these food storage bags, especially when backpacking. Keep in mind, animals don’t want to have an encounter with you just as much as you don’t want to have one with them!

    • Don’t go if nobody knows
      • When camping, or even hiking or road tripping, you need to tell a friend or family member where you will be.
      • If going out on a hike as part of your camping adventure, send a selfie at the trailhead or before you lose service (if you have it at any point) so they know exactly what you were wearing that day, your hairstyle, etc. If something goes very wrong this information will help rescuers find you.
      • Share your location with someone from your phone. This will help them know where you are and if it loses tracking capabilities while off the grid, at least it gives a good idea of where you last were. Again, think in terms of helpful hints for rescuers in the worst case scenario. 
      • If you are going on a long drive to your camping destination, share your driving instructions so your friends and family can be aware of your route.
      • This is very important- if the plan changes at any point and you pick a different site or take a detour, make sure you keep your contact updated!

    • Invest in a GPS satellite messenger if you won’t have service
      • Search and Rescue crews have told me success survival stories that started with the SPOT GPS device Basically this little device about the size of a pager tracks your location and if you need help you can push a button and alert the proper authorities that you need help. Here’s the manufacturer’s description of the products:
        • “SPOT determines your GPS location and sends your location and pre-programmed message to communication satellites. Communication satellites relay your message to specific satellite antennas around the world. Satellite antennas and a global network route your location and message to the appropriate network.”
      • There are models starting at about $50 at the basic end and up to about $200 for a device that even has messaging capabilities.
      • Additional payment is required to turn on the tracking abilities.

    • Pack Protection
      • When camping, I carry a knife my dad gave and I won’t go on a trip without it.
      • At night, I actually keep my keys close by so that if I hear something outside my tent and I fear it may try to make its way inside the tent, I sound the alarm and scare it off. If something did make it inside, I have a headlamp within reach to disorient (whether a person or animal) and my knife as a last resort. (Oh and bring a headlamp for camping, always!)
        Our van was named “Stevie” and I took her to Lake Elsinore, CA for the 2019 Superbloom

    • Don’t camp in a tent if you aren’t feelin’ it
      • If you don’t feel safe in a tent, try something with a hard shell and locking doors… a vehicle.
      • There are numerous van rental and RV rental companies you can check out. I have used Boho Vans based in Tempe, AZ and had a great experience camping with a girlfriend and our dogs!
      • Here are some rental companies, you can try:
      • Glamping is an option too and it’s a great way to ease in to camping without sacrificing so many comforts. Here are a couple of sites to check out:

    • Trust Your Intuition
      • This is my #1 rule! If anything EVER feels “off” about your campsite whether it’s the animal tracks you saw, the guy staring at you while setting up your tent, or anything else… if you get that feeling that you got to go, get out of there. I have left campsites before and booked a hotel because my intuition was screaming at me to leave. It’s ok to depart and try again another time. Your safety is more important than anything! Just make sure you let someone know your plan has changed if/when you have service.

    Now that you know some steps you can take to feel safe, it’s time to relax and enjoy all your new hobby has to offer.

    Camping in Sequoia National Park with a Huss Brewing Koffee Kolsch and my Eno Hammock

    If you have any questions at all, shoot me an email to kgkeogh@gmail.com or send me a DM on Instagram @KristenKeogh.

     

     

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