June is National Camping Month but most of us will be taking advantage of the summer months to hit the road in search of adventure in the great outdoors.

More seasoned outdoorsy types typically have a system in place but if you are fairly new to camping or only set up a tent once a year, you will need some tips to pack with you.

Here are some general camping tips for National Camping Month:

  1. Be ready to weather the weather.   Before you make solid plans for the perfect spot to roast marshmallows and hot dogs, make sure the weather cooperates with your plans as well. In fact, bring the weather radio with you should you need to seek shelter during your adventure.

2. Arrive in plenty of time to set up camp well before nightfall.   The last thing you want to do is try to pitch a tent in the dark or unload sleeping bags and food using only a flashlight. This might mean you will have to break up your road trip but that’s part of the adventure, right?

3. Don’t forget the first aid kit.  Keep a basic first aid kit as a part your standard camping gear and know some basic first aid such as treating a burn, cleaning a wound, and even how to deal with poison ivy or poison oak.

4.  Avoiding and identifying dangers in the great outdoors.  No one ever forgets the first time they contracted poison oak, ivy or sumac but for those that don’t, you will want to know how to avoid it at all costs. Here is a handy guide on how to spot them on a trail or campsite. Leave wildlife in the wild. Squirrels and birds are awfully cute, but interfering with animals in their natural habitat is a BIG no-no for many reasons. And taking any souvenirs with you can result in some hefty fines.

5.  Fire it up safely.   Many states and areas are under a drought and that means an innocent campfire can lead to wildfires. ALWAYS check for fire regulations AND ALWAYS follow instructions for use of campfire pits, rings, etc. AND NEVER leave a campfire unattended. If you are staying at a state park, check with the rangers about the current rules and regulations including locking up and disposing of food.