As hunters, we may consider camping to be nothing more than a hunting trip… without the hunting. And who the heck wants to do that?
But we’re here to tell you it can not only be enjoyable, but it can pay huge dividends down the road when you are on the hunt.
For starters, it’s time spent outside, away from the TV, internet and white noise of daily life. Especially now, it’s hella important to find ways to get away from screens of all sizes. (Just finish reading this first, please and thank you.)
Peace, quiet, fresh air. Camping has a lot to offer, even without a hunting component.
But what if, dear reader, we could introduce some hunting into your camping? Well now, that would be a whole other matter, no?
Test Your Gear
When would you rather discover that your tent has a leak, your sleeping bag is too snug, or your camp stove is too small? We’d rather find that out on a run-of-the-mill camping trip rather than the first night of the three-day hunting camp you’ve spent all year planning for and dreaming about.
Camping is an excellent time to test new gear, check out your older gear, and just get more familiar and proficient with the whole mess. Set that Artemis Tent up, then tear it down, then set it up. Practice makes…. if not perfect, then at least faster at setting up shelter in the cold dark on a November hillside.
Test Your Plan
Can you really hike in five miles the first day and have time to set up before it gets too dark? Maybe your plan is a bit ambitious, considering the terrain and your walk-in load.
Is the 2200 enough pack for a three-day trek, or do you need to step up to the Vario 33 before the season starts? Do you really need a bed pad? Did you pack your kit in the most efficient manner, or is the first item you may need at the bottom of the pack?
Maybe this is the first season you’re going backcountry. Maybe you’ll be hunting a new section or area for the first time. You don’t know what you don’t know.
New hunts bring new challenges, and those are more easily overcome if you’ve had previous experience with them. Get out there and walk the terrain, watch the wildlife patterns, note which way the wind winds through the valleys, see how slippery the slopes are to ascend. Do it now, when a noisy thrash through the shale and brush only hurts your ego. In other words, fall on your ass now so you don’t ruin the hunt later.
Don’t just look at camping as a cheap hotel room with lousy room service. It’s a great getaway to nature and a chance to reset and recharge. But beyond that, it’s a practice run for the meaningful trips later this year.
Go nuts! Break in those new boots now. Try out a new recipe for baked beans over campfire (the secret ingredient is love and starvation).
Lastly, take a good hard look at your old gear. Modern gear is smaller, lighter… better. That could mean an extra mile in, or a few more pounds of meat out in the fall.
It may be time to toss the stuff you’ve been tolerating onto Facebook Marketplace and get something you’ll actually love. Just tell that old gear, “It’s time we saw other people,” and step up to the latest tech.
Fortunately, we know a place where you can get a good jump on upgrading your gear. Maybe you’ve heard of it? BadlandsGear.com?
Remember, a cluster**** of a camping trip now can mean a legendary hunting trip later on.