Camping’s IX commandments for fun and safe adventures

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Camping’s IX commandments for fun and safe adventures


It is a classic dilemma for Korean parents: Summer vacation season has arrived and you haven’t made any plans. All the hotel rooms around the country have already been booked and your kids keep asking where they’ll be going.
Sounds like a good time for a classic solution, camping. Yes camping, as in cooking your dinner with a burner, not having your own bathtub and putting up a tent in a park somewhere close to a beach.
It’s a great way to appreciate nature up close. Pensions and “condos” are a safe choice, but being able to see a forest from your veranda just isn’t the same thing as waking up in the middle of one, surrounded by chirping bugs and burbling streams.
While there’s no access to creature comforts, you might find that roughing it provides its own pleasures. Children get out and get some exercise, while adults are reminded of the glory of electric lighting. Just about anyone who can get their tent poles to stand up on the first try will feel a deserved rush of pride; anyone who sleeps in the long shadows of a mountain can feel a natural sense of awe.
Camping is all about preparation. Simply follow the “Nine Commandments” of happy camping, as put down by the vacation planner Han Hyeong-seok, who specializes in outdoor activities.

1. Thou shalt be organized. Before you pack your bags, clear your car trunk first. The chances are you’ll have to pack depending on the size of your trunk. Take items that you absolutely need. One tip is to get cardboard boxes used for instant noodles from a supermarket and stow your items, one box for each type. That way, it’s easy to find your belongings, as well as to store them. The art of packing is to arrange things so that it’s convenient to take out and put in any items you need. Be careful not to overpack your trunk.

2. Thou shall not take more food than is needed. Don’t take a whole bundle of green onions and eggs. You are likely to throw away many of the ingredients you’ve stashed in your ice box at the end of the trip. If you’re traveling in a group, ask everyone about their eating preferences, whether you should bring chicken rather than pork, or fish rather than meat. Minimize the main menu, and take advantage of small side dishes. The ingredients must be ready to dump into your tin pans (potatoes are a handy camping food). Rule number one for camping recipes is to cook as conveniently as possible.

3. Thou thalt use thy senses. If you’re wary of cooking your rice on a burner, bring a pressure cooker. It saves time and money spent on gas. You can also use one to steam potatoes, corn and yams. Keep your spices in film canisters. They’re 100-percent water-proof and take up little space. They’re also resistant to temperature changes. Don’t forget to bring a plastic basket. You’ll need them to wash your vegetables.

4. Thou shalt check thy tent equipment before thou leavest. Make sure your portable stove is working, your utensils aren’t rusted and your tent is clean. Practice pitching your tent at home to make sure it doesn’t have any problems. Make sure your poles aren’t broken, and the tent isn’t torn ― nobody wants rain dripping on their face while they try to sleep. Many holes in tents are caused by cigarettes and can simply be taped over.

5. Thou shalt find an ideal place to camp, choose somewhere with spacious parking lots where thou hast access to water nearby. But search around ― don’t just look for a mountain or lake with a nice view. Choose a spot with a theme, and see if it has a famous temple or historical site nearby. Internet Portal sites have clubs and cafes with plenty of information on camping. To find a place to pitch your tent, avoid slopes and find some place in the shade. It’s a safe bet to put up your tent on sites where other people have camped before. If you see a large patch of grass free of pebbles or stones, you’ll know it’s a good place.

6. Thou shalt avoid any place that’s too secluded. You could get trapped in emergency cases or weather changes. Find a spot where you could easily explain the location over the phone or have landmarks nearby. Get a number of a nearby hospital, especially if you have any children. Call them first to see if they have emergency services. Carry a first-aid kit and mosquito spray.

7. Thou shall be get stressed out by doing the preparations by thyself. Ask for help when you drive, pitch a tent, cook and wash the dishes. Get your kids or co-campers to hold the poles and wash vegetables. The kids would gain confidence by helping out.

8. Thou shall find out the regional specialties of the place you are camping. You could easily find local ingredients in local markets and use them to cook dinner.

9. To avoid traffic, thou shalt leave before 6 a.m. It saves time and fuel, because the traffic is slow. When you are coming back to Seoul, leave after 9 p.m. Look around the camping sites. Find a spa or famous restaurant near the area.

by Baik Sung-ho
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