HOUSTON – If you’re trying to plan a camping trip but have zero outdoor experience, keep reading. While connecting with nature can be a great way to unwind and spend quality time with loved ones, it also requires a bit of planning. Seasoned outfitter and owner of Far Flung Outdoor Center Greg Henington shares tips to help you plan the perfect getaway into the great outdoors.
“Planning ahead is the key, and that’s everything from planning the right gear to understanding temperatures are hot,” says Henington. “I have an old saying, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.’”
Big Bend National Park offer more than 800,000 acres of beautiful wide open spaces for adventurers to explore in west Texas. In addition to the many different types of terrain, there are venues like Far Flung Outdoor Center that offer a variety of activities, lodging and rentals for both novice and expert campers.
“Valynda is my wife. We own and operate this little adventure resort - living the dream,” says Henington.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parks, including national parks, closed to deter the spread of the virus. However, as states slowly begin to reopen, parks like Big Bend Ranch State Park are seeing more and more visitors who are seeking to escape densely packed cities and quarantine fatigue.
“We are enjoying a lot of folks coming out to Big Bend right now. They just want to get out of the house and Big Bend is a wide open place,” says Henington.
Though many people fret about the potential of getting bit by a snake or running into a bear, Henington explains those should really be the least of your worries when camping in Texas.
“The dry heat will sneak up on you really, really fast. Getting ahead of your hydration is really important,” says Henington.
And while having 24/7 access to drinkable water is vital, Henington says you don’t need anything super fancy for it. Here’s what he recommends for this and other common camping items.
CAMPING EQUIPMENT: SPLURGE VS. SAVE
- TENT: SPLURGE
- Invest in a trusted brand like Eureka, North Face, REI or other major sporting good brands.
- Dome tents work best. A-Frame tents can’t be properly secured and are not very wind resistant.
- The most important things to look for in descending order are waterproof, wind stability and ease of use.
- Be aware, a four-person tent is often actually best for two.
- WATER BOTTLE: SAVE
- Save, but don’t skimp. Single-use plastic water bottles are NOT recommended.
- Water refill sites are often limited, so bottle should hold a good amount; 1 liter minimum.
- Opt for Camelbaks or something you can hook on to you.
- SHOES: SPLURGE
- Go with a good brand catered to the activities you have planned.
- Don’t buy heavy duty hiking boots unless you plan to do heavy duty hiking.
- Socks are just as important as shoes; choose well and pack extra.
- A bad blister can ruin a good hike, so pack moleskins or other blister treatments just in case.