In just a few short months it will be time to start using those basic camping terms that every novice camper needs to know. If you are just starting to discover what all the hype is about, the following 10 basic camping terms will make your life and your first camping for beginners experience much more enjoyable.
A state or national park is probably the best location for your first couple of camping outings. Once you have a little experience, most hard-core campers prefer to camp in the backcountry. The backcountry refers to a more primitive isolated area with few roads, no maintained buildings, and little (if any) cell coverage. You need to hike into the backcountry carrying all your camping gear. Backcountry camping rarely offers the basics, such as shelter, pit toilets, or even running water. Not the easiest camping style for beginners!
Cache is another camping term that you need to become familiar with. Once you set up your campsite, you need to store or stow away your extra food supplies (cache) meant to get you through the duration of your trip. This needs to be done in a safe manner to protect both you and your supplies from uninvited guests such as bears and other wild animals. Many national parks have very specific rules regarding how to store your extra food because they are wildlife habitats. Research your camping site to find out the best way to protect your cache.
3) 4 Season Tent
Even in the summertime, nights get cold above the timberline. In addition, many campers don’t let the seasons dictate when or how they camp. A sturdy 4 season tent is your best defense against the elements and will keep you safe and comfortable even during the coldest of nights. These tents come with high strength aluminum poles that won’t buckle in the wind. Extra insulation will keep both the elements and the noise out while keeping the warmth in to help you sleep through the night. Most 4 season tents come with both a vestibule and a rainfly. 4-way tents are more expensive than regular tents, but experienced campers report that they are worth the extra investment.
Related: Top 10 Best Camping Tents
Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts are the go-to snack for experienced campers. GORP is easy to pack, easy to eat, and provides protein and carbs when your energy begins to fade. Many campers personalize their GORP with chocolate pieces, granola, or other dried fruits. Even beginning campers should start with a big supply of GORP. A great website with lots of variations for GORP can be found here.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that can affect campers with very serious consequences. When your body can not produce heat faster than it loses it, the core temperature drops. Once it drops below 95 degrees, your body begins to shut down. Left untreated, this can lead to heart and respiratory distress, and even death. The people who are most at risk for hypothermia are the ones who get wet when the temperature drops and have no way to dry off and/or warm up. This is one reason even novice campers must include the proper equipment and knowledge to keep yourself safe.
One of the joys of camping is the nighttime campfire. Unless you pack in all your campfire supplies, you need to start your fire with kindling. Kindling is the material that you use to get your campfire started such as pinecones, twigs, or dried bark. Any highly flammable material that will burn long enough to get larger pieces of wood going can be used as kindling. Even larger pieces of wood can be split to create kindling if you have the proper tools.
The US National Park Service is referred to as simply the NPS by experienced campers and hikers. The job of the NPS is to care for and protect our national parks and monuments, public lands, and wildlife for future generations. Before you choose your campsite on public lands, you need to check with the NPS to ensure that camping is allowed and what restrictions are in place. You can go to their official website and search by state for places you are interested in setting up camp.
Contrary to what you might think, a rainfly is actually something you might want to have around. The camping term for an extra sheet of canvas surrounding your tent is a rainfly. This sheet provides an extra layer of protection against the wind and rain. Having a tent with a rainfly will keep you dry and comfortable even when the weather takes a turn for the worst. Most 4 way tents come equipped with a rainfly.
Another basic camping term is the vestibule. A vestibule is usually an extension of the rainfly, and provides a covered area to stash your wet gear before you climb into your tent. Unless you are one of the lucky few campers who can afford a 4 season tent large enough for you, a companion, and all your gear, a vestibule is a vital addition keep your camping gear dry and protected from the elements. The best 4 way tents come with a vestibule.
10) White Gas
White gas can mean a couple of things. In the camping world, however, this is a generic camping term used for any gas used to fuel lanterns and camp stoves. White gas, or naphtha, is a pressurized canister liquid gas that can be used to fuel almost any camp stove. It burns clean and evaporates at a low temperature, which makes starting your camp stove easy. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended type of fuel for your specific lantern or camp stove.
Learning and using the correct lingo is part of the whole camping experience. Before you can join the elite club of hikers and campers, every novice camper can start with these basic 10 camping terms.