Have never considered camping as your recreational activity? We understand that everyone feels differently about things and you probably have negative perceptions towards camping, especially the idea of putting yourself in a strange environment full of unknown factors. Gladly speaking, you are not alone as we all have been through this. We admit that outdoor camping can be challenging sometimes, unlike staying in a 5 star hotel where you can get a hot shower and room service by pressing a button away. Believe it or not, once you try camping, the experience is transformative. We know your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone is always the hardest. We are ready to walk you through all the baby steps that help you conquer the obstacles. Here’s the top 6 common camping fears, followed by solutions.
Don’t let fear stop you.
1. “Where should I p…?”
You will probably ponder how you should answer nature’s call whilst wild camping, where there are no proper sanitation facilities. Oh well. You really need to do it naturally in the wild. Small tips here: Check your surroundings and find a spot away from the path and water source(it might be your drinking source!), dig a hole to deposit your waste and toilet paper then cover it back well with soil and dry leaves. Finding it gross? Don’t force yourself. Simply stick to those campsites which are well equipped with sanitation facilities here. You can give a call to the campsite to ensure their facilities are complete.
2. “I’m scared of wildlife. Especially SNAKES!”
In Malaysia, it is common to have all sorts of animals’ footprints due to the high biodiversity of our tropical rainforest. However, wildlifes do not normally mess with you. Small rodents such as mice and squirrels will only be attracted if you have leftover food sitting out for a period of time, and snakes love mice, so make sure you pack your food appropriately. Humans are possibly born fearing snakes, but surprisingly snakes are shy creatures that do not attack humans unless it is provoked. And still, try to avoid pitching your tent at the deadfall or heavy brush, which are the prime hiding spots for snakes. A camping without campfires is bleak. Not only for the sense of comfortness, it might help repel wildlife. Most species find the light of campfires to be uneasy, therefore it is good to have campfires that might set the animals at bay.
3. “I hate insects and all sort of creepy crawlies”
Unless you are an entomologist, people do not normally appreciate the beauty of insects. It is almost impossible to avoid bugs outdoors, similarly you can’t 100% get rid of mosquitoes inside your house right? Assuming you do not have a serious phobia of insects, usually bugs are bearable. I personally hate mosquitoes and leeches, because the itchy bites are extremely irritating, nevertheless I never turn down any opportunities going outdoors. The good news is, insect repellent is really effective in keeping the bugs away, especially for those containing the chemical DEET. A bug-repelling patch or bracelet is a good option for children as they should avoid DEET. Other than wildlife, campfires are equally effective in deterring insects. To equip yourself with full protection, you may wear long sleeves during/after the sunset when the mosquitoes are mainly active, however you might find it hard to tolerate the stuffiness during warm weather.
4. “What if it rains?”
Even if you have checked the weather forecast weeks ahead, in Malaysia, rain is just unpredictable. The location where you pitch your tent is the key. Find a spot that is above ground level and further away from rivers. Prior to pitching your tent, you may want to observe the ground and check if there are dry water routes. Next, equip yourself with gears that are water resistant. The fundamental rule here is to keep your tent and belongings dry and clean. String up a flysheet right above your tent as a protective roof and make sure there is tension on your flysheet so water doesn’t pool on it. You may want to create an additional front porch to keep your wet stuff and prepare your meals. Some places are closed during the monsoon season because of the heavy storm, you might want to avoid camping at places like hills and waterfalls.
MUST-HAVE gears for camping in the rain:
• Waterproof clothing and footwear
• Additional plastic bags
Now, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the sound of rain beating.
5. “I will be so bored without internet connection.”
Have you ever spent a day without technology? It’s like the time when you’re back in childhood. Why not take this opportunity to escape from the usual day to day routine and challenge yourself to experience days without any technology? In fact, separation with technology devices once in a while gives you a piece of mind. You will be surprised by the benefits of digital detox. Life can be so simple and happier when you are getting back to basics. You get the chance to connect with nature, do some readings at the riverside, have a long chat with friends and enjoy stargazing under the open sky. You will not realize you are actually part of nature until you go camping. You start taking care of the environment and keeping nature natural. Camping is more than fun, it expands your horizon and appreciation for the wildness and mother nature.
6. “It is dark and creepy!”
Did you know that humans developed a tendency to be scared of darkness through evolution? We are scared of the dark mainly because we are not able to see what is around us, we fear the unknown especially in unfamiliar environments. Odd sounds and shadows in the darkness throw us off balance, imagining it to be a ghost,spirit etc. that makes us frightened. But all of these are solely mental monsters we made up. To overcome the fear, we have to acknowledge and confront it. Go camping with those who you can trust and rely on, share your thoughts with them and let them get through this with you. Headlight and camping lanterns can be very useful to ward off the darkness during camping.