The joy of wild camping should be shared with kids at an early age. It will help them develop and be much more active. Camping should be taken seriously though. Every year there are thousands of people who end up in trouble while camping.
Always be prepared
The easiest mistake to make when camping is not being prepared and that does not just mean that you forgot the wine bottle opener, I mean, not being prepared for what Mother Nature throws at you. This is especially true in the UK where the weather can change very quickly and you can get lost because you are not familiar with your surroundings.
Tip – Draw a map of your camp once you have setup and give copies to every member of your party. Make sure you include land marks and where water and shelter is located, just in case it is needed.
If you get the opportunity, take a camping and survival course. Your outdoors centre is sure to be running some as we approach the warmer months and can give you information about what is on offer and who it is aimed at. But to get you started, below are suggestions as to what you need to take with you and points to consider prior to your wild camping trip:
- Proper clothing
- Water proof matches
- Sleeping bags
- How will you use the toilet?
These are just some of the very basic things you must have to survive. The weather can turn quickly in the wilderness and can become dangerous to your family. You also need to know what the indigenous wildlife is where you will be camping. Example; camping in a forest with larger animals provides a different set of rules regarding food preparation and storage.
Camping is the best way to get to know your kids and commune with nature. Camping can be done anywhere in the world. No matter where you are you must be prepared and have the right equipment. Always remember, it can happen to you. Be prepared for whatever comes your way while camping.
Compass or Handheld GPS?
The traditional use of a compass as a navigational tool is quickly shifting GPS navigation, or Global Positioning System. For anyone traveling to a new destination for vacation, a GPS unit might be a worthwhile investment to help you navigate through the unfamiliar territory. Or, if you are headed to an outdoor holiday such as hiking, or wild camping, a GPS unit could save you a lot of headaches if you become lost at some point.
However, it is still a good idea for hikers to learn how to use a compass as they are often far less expensive than a GPS device. Also, GPS units do not work in every area so you may very well find yourself in need of an old-fashioned compass at some point.
History of the Compass
Compasses date back to a few centuries ago when it was discovered that the Earth’s magnetic field was responsible for turning a piece of metal floating on a leaf in certain directions. That knowledge eventually brought us the modern compass available today, which can be quite sophisticated.
How a compass works
A quality compass will provide a detailed and accurate set of degree lines, while most paint tip pointing north a red colour to set it apart from the tip pointing south. However, magnetic declination prevents most from pointing to the true geographic north due to a significant amount of ore beneath the surface of the Earth. Though some compasses allow you to adjust for the deviation, you will want to consult a map to determine the extent to which you need to adjust your compass.
The deviation for most areas is minor. Usually, you are mostly concerned with your general direction and not the exact direction. If you are traveling for a holiday trip, for instance, your goal is probably just to get to the landmark or general vicinity of the target destination.
Learn to use your compass
A good way to learn how to use a compass is to become familiar with some basic knowledge in combination with what you will see on the dial. Since the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, you can easily determine the East-West directions. When you face the sunlight early in the day, you will be facing the East, or at least approximately. Likewise, if you face the sunlight later in the day, you will be facing west. Of course, your latitude can cause this to vary so keep in mind that this is not definitive.
This should go without saying, but obviously the East is to your back when you are facing west and vice versa. You should now draw an imaginary line in that direction and compare it to the compass. Though no reading can be absolute, the more information you have is always better. When you are traveling around winding trails, for example, it is easy to become disoriented. Having a general idea of the direction you are heading can be a terrific help.
Now that you are more familiar with your compass, navigate your way to new, self-catering vacation spot and put it to use!
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