(NC) Camping is a fun activity for you to connect with nature while enjoying time with family and friends. Whether it’s been a while and you need a refresher or it’s your first time out, keep these essential tips in mind:

Plan ahead
Knowing the lay of the land before you go is key to a great experience. So research potential locations and find out what the rules are surrounding permits, campfires, pets and alcohol. Government websites are usually great places to start, but you can find insider tips and recommendations on dedicated social media groups run by camping enthusiasts.

Prepare for the unexpected
You need to make sure you’re ready for anything that might go wrong, like your car stalling out or your phone (and portable charger) dying. Pack paper maps of your location and bring jumper cables, extra clothing and layers, a compass, medical kit and backup water filter. Also, be sure to write down important numbers and know where your closest gas station and hospital are.

Pack little luxuries

While camping is about the simpler things in life, a few luxury items can help you feel more comfortable and enjoy your mini vacation. Think of your favourite organic coffee beans or your ergonomic pillow and deluxe air mattress so you can get a good night’s rest. A camping table can make mealtime easier, and lawn games can make sure your evenings are full of fun.

Check the weather forecast
When camping, you need weather information you can count on so you’re ready for whatever may come your way. An easy way to keep an eye on the forecast when you don’t have quick access to the internet is by calling Environment and Climate Change Canada’s automated phone weather service Hello Weather at 1-833-79HELLO (1-833-794-3556). This free service replaces the previous telephone service and now offers up-to-date local forecasts for more than 800 locations across Canada. Simply call the toll-free number and select any location from a directory listed by province and region.

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