There is no reason that prepping has to be a drudge or a chore. As a matter of fact, preparedness can be combined with a hobby and actually be productive and fun at the same time.
What kind of hobbies? Some examples include fishing, hunting, biking, hiking, crafting (for example with paracord), reading (survival fiction!) and of course, camping. I know that I tend to be repetitive when it comes to extolling the virtues of combining hobbies with prepping but the fact remains, doing so is the very best way to coast a reluctant spouse, partner or family member into the preparedness lifestyle.
Each of these hobbies, in one way or another, helps hone a skill that could become valuable in a post SHTF world. Even reading can be considered skill-building. As you get into the mind of someone who must make life or death decisions, you are challenged to think about the actions you would take if faced with a similar situation.
But I am getting off track.
Test Your Preps – Go Camping!
When it comes to camping, I have noticed there seems to be three types of people: Those that have never camped; those that have camped before but have not gone in a while; and those that go camping on a regular basis. If you are a prepper and fall into either of the first two categories, it is time to pack up and head out to the field!
One aspect of prepping you need to keep in mind,is if you did not personally test it, it does not work! Camping is a good time to test your preparedness items, as many of the things you need for your emergency preparedness kits are either directly used in camping, or are closely related.
Going camping is like putting yourself into a controlled survival situation. The advantage, though, is you are in control of the situation and can always go back to the comfort of your home at anytime.
Much of what you need when you go camping is a direct parallel to being prepared. You need to provide things like your own shelter, food, water, a way to cook, sleeping bags and pads, and the like. You also get to test and improve your survival skills, like starting a fire, forecasting the weather, cooking over an open flame, dealing with sanitation in a field environment, and many others. Even learning to deal without electric light is something that you need to do when camping.
If you have not camped before, start out by going to one of the established campsites that have toilets and running water. This makes it much easier to get used to being out in the great outdoors. Once you think you are ready, try going to a primitive camping area, where you need to bring everything you need, such as all of your water, a way to make an expedient toilet, a way to keep your food cold, and so on.
Camping is also a great way to take your kids exploring and getting them used to doing things the “old fashioned” way. If your children are young, teach them survival skills appropriate for their age, such as what to do when lost and fire safety, and staying away from dangerous insects and animals. As kids get older, survival skills like starting a fire, making a shelter and other field-craft can make them a more confident person as they grow up.
It does not matter when you go, as you should try camping at different times of the year. Different seasons call for a different way of camping. For example, winter camping is completely different than the other seasons and should not be tried by the novice camper, though you should not let the cold and snow thwart you from having a fun and educational time.
You do not even have to leave your home to go camping. Camping at home in your backyard, or even in your living room, can be a good way to ease younger children into the idea of camping in the wilds. Most kids, though, would love the backyard adventure of sleeping the night in a tent. Even for the novice camper, this is a good way to learn things like how to put together your new tent, figure out how the cook-stove works, and test out the sleeping bag to make sure that it is warm enough, without having to worry about having to sleep in the car if something goes wrong.
Also, as a beginning camper, you will need to start acquiring the necessary equipment. Tents, sleeping pads and bags, a cook stove, outdoor camping gear, and water containers are some of the things that you will need when camping.
Even for experienced campers, going out to the wilds and setting up a camp for the weekend leads to new discoveries. It also helps you figure out how to do something better such as learning what to bring next time so you are either more comfortable or have more convenience.
Whether driving to a campsite across the state or setting up in your backyard, camping is a great way to test your preps and build experience using your gear.
The Final Word
In the old days, meaning the 1980’s, my idea of camping was staying in a hotel without room service and a bathtub. Seriously. Then I bought a boat and learned that it was a lot more fun to rough it while anchored in remote cove with limited water, limited power, and a minimum of sanitation facilities.
I think camping (or boating) is a great way to learn to MacGyver – meaning fix stuff using your wits and whatever happens to be available in the moment. As a matter of fact, I have been compiling a list of all the reasons camping will help you prepare for emergencies but being the tease that I am, I will hold those for another day.
As always, I want to thank Rob for his tips and invite you to visit his website at The Preparedness Podcast.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: A good way to shop for camping (and thus prepping) gear is to go to the Amazon Top 20 in Camping & Hiking – Perfect for Preppers page. I added the “Perfect for Preppers part. Here some other items and for the record, I recommend them because I own them!
Rothco Type III Commercial Paracord: You can get 100 feet of Paracord for about $8. This is a real bargain but be aware that price can vary substantially depending on the color.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. There is also a larger sized LifeStraw Family currently available with free shipping.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.
Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp. Many Backdoor Survival have emailed me indicating this is now their favorite knife too.
BYBLight TML-T6: This flashlight is extremely bright, casts wide angle and, when zoomed, a very focused beam. I swear that if there were a rattlesnake out in the desert outside my back yard this flashlight would find it. It’s a sturdy thing with an aluminum casing that is not at all heavy. It has 5 built in modes including the standard high, medium, low plus a strobe and SOS mode. It includes a rechargeable battery and a charger plus an adapter to hold AAA batteries.
Windstorm Safety Whistle: This particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds. I collect whistles and while this one is slightly more expensive than the cheapies I own, this is the one I keep in my bug-out-bag.
Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): You will be surprised at how warm these will keep you. Be sure to test one out in advance so that you have the confidence to trust the blanket in an emergency. You will be amazed at how small and portable these are; a packet will easily fit in a back pocket. About $7 for 10.
Swedish Firesteel: Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version. Again, a bit more expensive than some of the “almost free” fire starters I have but for wilderness survival, this is my choice.
TETON Sports Mammoth Queen Size Flannel Lined Sleeping Bag (94″x 62″, Grey, +20 Degree F) : This is the sleeping bag I purchased. And yes, it is a double with room for Shelly, myself, Tucker the Dog and a weapon. Emergency Essentials also has some great sleeping bags that are well priced.
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