OSU’s OAC dishes out the details to car camping like a champion.
This one goes out to everyone who considers walking to and from classes “hiking”, or whose closest encounter with nature is The Oval…when it’s under construction. If you love Mother Earth and have always want to get all up in her scenic business, but also consider hiking boots to be more of a fashion statement rather than a practical form of footwear for outdoor adventuring then sit back and relax because here is (most of) the information you need to become basic birches.
I was able to sit down with Tyler Young, the coordinator at the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) on campus, and talk about all the do’s and don’ts of camping and hiking. All these trail tips and tricks will help you have fun, be safe, and keep the Earth a beautiful place if you decide you’re Bear Grylls enough to venture of campus and into the great unknown.
What is car camping?
In the traditional sense, car camping is considered to be when you pack everything up in your car and drive to a campsite where you can set up a tent or something of the like and just have your car parked next to the campsite. However, it is possible to “camp” (basically sleep) in your car if you have a van or RV.
What are three things you should do immediately when you arrive to your campsite?
Put up the tent clear of dangerous debris, getting out the headlight that way you know where it is for night time, and decide what you are going to do with your food.
(Bear box, in your car, etc.)
What’s the biggest mistake you see first-time campers make?
Setting up the campsite improperly seems to be the biggest mistake. Easy fixes include: make sure to put the rain fly on over the tent (helps to keep out dew even if it doesn’t rain); make a list of supplies before you leave that way you don’t forget essential materials; put all food materials, toothpaste, and deodorant inside your car or bear box; and don’t set your campsite up under a “widow-maker.” This is a tree that is dead that has big ole’ branches that could fall down and smash you in the middle of the night (pretty wicked name, am I right?).
How do you deal with bugs like mosquitos?
Skin So Soft. Also, there is the idea that if you just chill out and don’t raise your body temperature by swatting and flopping around like a lunatic, the bugs will leave you alone. Don’t wear perfume or eat sweets. Bug spray with no more than 30% DEET.
Favorite camping meals for after a long day on the trail?
If you wanna get ~fancy~ with it: REI has freeze dried meals that you just add hot water to and let sit for a few minutes. Apparently, the lasagna is “freaking awesome.” [Other options include] meat and veggies in foil then put in the fire for a while to cook, roasted weenies, and PB&J sandwiches.
Can you talk tips on keeping your campsite clean and leaving “no trace”?
Leave no trace is important because: 1.) it preserves and sustains the environment so others can use it in the future, and 2.) it keeps animals from relying on humans and it doesn’t remove them from their natural environment.
The Seven Principles of Camping
Plan ahead and prepare; pick up food and trash whenever you are done with and immediately properly dispose of it (check requirements of your campsite); camp on an established site; keep the noise level down; respect wildlife; minimize campfire impacts; and leave what you find.
What are the campsites/hiking trails that you guys visit most often?
Hocking Hills; Alum Creek Park; Battelle-Darby park for hiking; Red River Gorge in Kentucky; John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs.
Tips on building a fire for the first time?
At many places, you do need a permit. Check with the place you are going for any restrictions, or call the ranger station. Make it in an already existing pit, keep it small with logs (the thickness of baby arms), flint with dry leave and bark, self-starter sticks (Kroger, REI), and ALWAYS make sure it is completely out before you leave (fully drenched and sometimes even put dirt on it). [You could also try a] “nalgene campfire” (rig a headlamp to the bottom of a Nalgene water bottle) for when campfires aren’t necessary and you just want some light.
What are some necessary materials to have an enjoyable hike?
Good supportive boots (above the ankles), socks that can wick away moisture, weather appropriate clothing (possibly a warmer layer), plenty of water and snacks, and make sure someone knows where you are.
The OAC provides services and rental materials to Ohio State student and the campus community, not the general public. If you are interested in learning more about camping or other outdoor adventures, the OAC offers clinics where the schedule can be found on their website at recsports.osu.edu.