25 Unusual Lessons From Long-Term Camping

long term camping

If you’ve ever gone long term camping, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement, and then will have plenty more observations to add to this list. The more camping and outdoor skills you have, the better. Just a few days ago, I was contacted by a man who is now homeless and plans on living in his car as well as a tent, when the weather is conducive.

  1. Snails can CEMENT themselves to nearly anything, and often they will do it in the least expected places.
  2. You MUST make peace with the giant spiders. They eat mosquitoes.
  3. Raccoons have no respect for personal property. They can taste pretty good, though!
  4. If you fall asleep in in the open, don’t be surprised if you wake up with wildlife curled up with you or on you. Of course the wildlife could range from a squirrel to an ant swarm.
  5. Nothing shiny is ever safe in the open from raccoons.
  6. Armadillos like to lick plastic and exposed toes.
  7. Make peace with skunks or your life will stink (literally).
  8. Always look where you’re taking a squat (answering nature’s call) at least three times before going. You’re pretty vulnerable in that position, so you want to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises.
  9. Make sure you know what bull thistle looks like. Sharp thorns but, surprisingly, quite edible.
  10. Don’t allow people to throw cigarettes in the latrines, if that’s what you’re using.
  11. Cedar smoke may be hard to live with, but mosquitoes are much harder to deal with. Burning cedar bark is a natural insect repellent.
  12. Don’t camp by still waters. If you do, you’ll only do it once. (See #11 above.)
  13. Clear well the area where you put your tent. Rocks, briars, and twigs don’t disappear just because you put a tarp over them. If your camping is truly long term, weeks or longer, every bit of gear you have needs to be treated with care. You may not have the money or opportunity to get it replaced.
  14. Racoons will chew through things they cannot open easily. It’s easier to appease the raccoon than to keep buying new things.
  15. Given time, mice and rats can chew through things you might think were rodent proof. Be on the lookout for telltale signs of their chewing.
  16. Shake your clothes and shoes well before putting them on.
  17. Wet tobacco makes fire ant stings stop hurting.
  18. You may not react to the first, second or 100th fire ant bite, but someday you will and get huge welts from them. Chigger bites are almost as bad.
  19. Don’t camp anywhere near fire ants and know what their mounds look like. You’d be surprised by how many problems can be avoided just be carefully selecting your campsite.
  20. No matter how awesome that spot in a valley looks, and no matter how much your significant other likes it, don’t camp there. Water ALWAYS goes to the valley.
  21. Do not attempt to burn American literature books. It won’t work. However, over time you’ll develop survival hacks that DO work, or you can just buy a book like this one from expert Creek Stewart.
  22. Raccoons can chew through sterilite containers. (Yes, raccoons again.)
  23. You cannot protect your valuables from raccoons unless you half bury a box in the ground and set a small boulder over it.
  24. Dont piss off blue jays. They remember and have no inhibitions in attacking you.
  25. ALWAYS, I repeat, ALWAYS check your shoes before putting them on.
See also  A List of Common Poisonous Plants

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10 thoughts on “25 Unusual Lessons From Long-Term Camping”

  1. Forget what the internet says you should have for gear! Pack to your skill level and what your experience or lack thereof dictates you will really need. When I was fresh out of the military I could hike for miles, sleep rough in the bush for weeks, could push the limits, and knew what they were, but with exertion and cold soon got so hungry that I was having blackouts within three days time. Having a fit body and low BMI back then showed me though a lack of calories where to focus my efforts, which is MUCH more important for physical and mental health as well as survival once you get older. These are sanitation, shelter, fire, water, food, situational awareness, safety and mobility. You can’t compromise on any of them.

    Once you get past the recreational weekend outing scenario and experience the down on your luck, real world living on your own for weeks or months, how can you do so without outside assistance, in the wet, filthy, steaming hot, bug infested, or freezing cold, in wild or unfamiliar dangerous and urban places that you may forced to exist in until you can change the situation.

    Being out of work for a year in a depressed economy, having to make a major career change and moving 1000 miles to follow the work is a challenge. In my case the marriage didn’t last, but I got past it and eventually prospered. Embrace the suck and move on.

  2. Know how to make Hammocks from 140 ft of paracord or a plam tree You can tie hammocks to chain link fences and or jail cell bars being off the floor and closest to door or gate makes you the guardian of that fence post gate and /or the first one out of the jail cell a hammock can be string inside bushes where you can not be seen 360* around you when not in use the hammock can store supplies in trees away from Bears and Alligators both can reach UP four feet from on the ground If you are in water one to two feet deep a Bull can JUMP / push off the bottom of the water the same distance as he is long plus the water depth so the food most be ten feet up if you are near some bulls./ oh If Cattle or pigs will be near by set small fires around the tree that you be sleeping in the smell will help with bugs and the animals they are not for light or heat but just for the warm coals

  3. just a couple of real simple suggestions.
    it really isn’t necessary to go out and buy a tent that costs hundreds of dollars. unless you are ‘specialty’ camping, climbing everest or camping in the extreme conditions of the north pole or Antarctica? a tent from walmart or target will serve just as well as a highly priced one, providing that you take care of the tent.
    never trust the manufacturers stated sleeping capacity. what says sleeps 2 adults is more apt to be comfortable for a 12yr old. “unless” you are VERY close, intimate or and extreme cuddlier!
    OH!! and camp dry is miracle stuff that you spray on the outside, on the walls of your tent and tent fly!!! you will be soooo grateful not to wake and find yourself in a puddle!!!

  4. Making sure that if you have “neighbors” you all agree to get along. Otherwise, find another camp site. Don’t get drunk – you won’t have the brains to get out of trouble if it comes to you – and it will! It also keeps the blood in your extremities instead of your core where you need it to survive extreme temperatures.
    Always carry an axe, a saw and 2 knives (1 big, 1 small) with a diamond sharpener. Know how and when to use and to sharpen them. Get and wear the best boots you can. Treat them well!

  5. Don’t bury anything if theirs raccoons,boulders,rocks,stones DO NOT WORK!! Bring pepper spray or a gun !! BOOM !!

  6. Clear fingernail polish dabbed on chigger bites helps with the inflammation.

    Mentholated chest rub will soothe most insect stings.

    Burning Big Basin Sage will repel insects.

    Using a small paperbag to create a false hive keeps wasp to a minimum. Loosely stuff and hang from a branch where it is visible and swings freely.

  7. *zip lock bags are a must for food
    *i used “totes” from Walmart to keep clothes in and critters and bugs out. (also helps with organization, use different colors for each person)
    *baby wipes are very useful when you can not take a real shower
    *flies hate pine sol, so my table and camp chairs are wiped with pine sol before bed at night
    *stay organized (you do not want to be hunting for flashlights, clothes and shoes at 3am because a storm blew up.)
    *tarps are handy. can be used as a shade above the tent, put tent on tarp to keep floor dry, can be used as a sun screen or wind screen, can be used to keep gear dry

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