The hope of camping out that comes over one in early spring‚ the laying of plans and arranging of details‚ is‚ I sometimes think‚ even more enjoyable than reality itself. As there is pleasure in this‚ let me advise you to give a practical turn to your anticipations.
Think over and decide whether you will walk‚ sail‚ camp out in one place‚ or what you will do; then learn what you can of the route you propose to go over‚ or the ground where you intend to camp for the season. If you think of moving through or camping in places unknown to you‚ it is important to learn whether you can buy provisions and get lodgings along your route. See some one‚ if you can‚ who has been where you think of going‚ and put down in a notebook all he tells you that is important.
Have your clothes made or mended as soon as you decide what you will need: the earlier you begin‚ the less you will be hurried at the last.
You will find it is a good plan‚ as fast as you think of a thing that you want to take‚ to note it on your memorandum; and‚ in order to avoid delay or haste‚ to cast your eyes over the list occasionally to see that the work of preparation is going on properly. It is a good plan to collect all of your baggage into one place as fast as it is ready; for if it is scattered you are apt to lose sight of some of it‚ and start without it.
As fast as you get your things ready‚ mark your name on them: mark every thing. You can easily cut a stencil-plate out of an old postal card‚ and mark with a common shoe-blacking brush such articles as tents‚ poles‚ boxes‚ firkins‚ barrels‚ coverings‚ and bags.
Some railroads will not check barrels‚ bags‚ or bundles‚ nor take them on passenger trains. Inquire beforehand‚ and send your baggage ahead if the road will not take it on your train.
Estimate the expenses of your trip‚ and take more money than your estimate. Carry also an abundance of small change.
Do not be in a hurry to spend money on new gadgets. Every year there is put upon the market some patent knapsack‚ folding stove‚ cooking-utensil‚ or camp trunk and cot combined; and there are always for sale patent knives‚ forks‚ and spoons all in one‚ drinking-cups‚ folding portfolios‚ and marvels of tools. Let them all alone: carry your pocketknife‚ and if you can take more let it be a sheath or butcher knife and a common case knife.
Take iron or cheap plastic spoons.
Do not attempt to carry crockery or glassware upon a march.
A common plastic cup is as good as any thing you can take to drink from; and you will find it best to carry it so that it can be used easily.
Take nothing nice into camp‚ expecting to keep it so: it is almost impossible to keep things out of the dirt‚ dew‚ rain‚ dust‚ or sweat‚ and from being broken or bruised.
Many young men‚ before starting on their summer vacation‚ think that the barber must give their hair a "fighting-cut;" but it is not best to shave the head so closely‚ as it is then too much exposed to the sun‚ flies‚ and mosquitoes. A moderately short cut to the hair‚ however‚ is advisable for comfort and cleanliness.
If you are going to travel where you have never been before‚ begin early to study your map. It is of great importance‚ you will find‚ to learn all you can of the neighborhood where you are going‚ and to fix it in your mind.
So many things must be done at the last moment‚ that it is best to do what you can beforehand; but try to do nothing that may have to be undone.
Wear what you please if it be comfortable and durable: do not mind what people say. When you are camping you have a right to be independent.
If you are going on a walking-party‚ one of the best things you can do is to "train" a week or more before starting‚ by taking long walks in the open air.
Finally‚ leave your business in such shape that it will not call you back; and do not carry off keys‚ &c.‚ which others must have; nor neglect to see the dentist about the tooth that usually aches when you most want it to keep quiet.
For convenience the following list is inserted here. It is condensed from a number of notes made for trips of all sorts‚ except boating and horseback-riding. It is by no means exhaustive‚ yet there are very many more things named than you can possibly use to advantage upon any one tour. Be careful not to be led astray by it into overloading yourself‚ or filling your camp with useless luggage. Be sure to remember this. The Book of Camping
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