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Camping 101

Are you new to camping? Experienced, but want to make sure you have everything you need for your trip? Read on for some helpful tips and reminders brought to you by OAR.

1. Find a campground. Most campgrounds in Southern California let you reserve a campsite online. It’s a good idea to do so since they can fill up quickly. Check out Reserve America to get started.

2. Know your destination. Are you going car camping? Probably a good idea to bring a cooler to keep your food fresh. Backpacking? Forget bringing heavy canned food, but do check to see if potable water will be available on your trail. Each campground and park will have different fire restrictions depending on the season and some may even require a permit, so plan ahead and research your campground in advance.

3. Bring the right gear. What’s the lowest forecasted temperature on your trip? Bring a sleeping bag rated for 20 degrees cooler than that, and consider a sleeping pad to insulate you from the ground. Expect rain? Bring a rain jacket. Lots of sun? Consider a shade shelter. From folding chairs for sitting around your campfire to snorkels, masks and fins for the beach, OAR has everything you’ll need.

4. Arrive during daylight. Give yourself enough time to set up camp during the daylight. Set up your tent first to make sure everything is in working order. If you’re cooking dinner over a wood or charcoal fire, start it early and give it some time to heat up.

5. Enjoy yourself. Plan your trip in advance so you can be relaxed and stress free for your time outdoors. Bring balls, frisbees, cards, or other entertainment, and don’t forget the marshmallows.

Want more advice? Look over this checklist from LoveTheOutdoors.com before you go or drop us a line at outdoor@usc.edu for more recommendations, questions, or advice.