Hiking and camping are an amazing way to relax and recharge but these are a few things that will definitely help your time with Mother Nature go smoother.
Do your best Not to get to your campsite after dark. This counts double if you have never been to this particular campsite before. Setting up camp incorrectly or in the wrong spot can ruin your entire trip. Arriving in the daylight will help you avoid many pitfalls and issues.
Setting up your tent and camp in the dark is Not a good idea. It's twice as difficult. Make sure you have set up your tent at least a couple of times before you get to the campground. You don't want any surprises when you get there. Also, make sure your tent is waterproof, that will pay off next time it rains. Also, don't underestimate the importance of a ground pad. It will give you added comfort plus protect you from the cold or wet ground.
Unless you are an extremely experienced camper or hiker do Not camp or hike around alone. It's easy to get lost, hurt, or dehydrated. You don't always have to go with a group but going with just a partner or friend is safer.
Do Not leave your food out, especially over night. Animals have a keen sense of smell and they will follow it to your food! Do Not store food in your tent if at all possible, they will find a way in to get in. It's best to store your food in enclosed places such as a cooler, your trunk, or your car. If you are in bear country there is a whole different set of storage and safety rules.
Warm clothes, do Not forget to bring them even in the summer. Unexpected storms and cold nights can chill anyone to the bone. Better to "Be Prepared:" than frozen. Do Not forget about the dew, anything left out overnight will be wet in the morning unless you are in a very dry climate. Clothes, towels, swimming suits, whatever will be wet if left out.
Do Not pick the campsite right next to the bathrooms or bath houses if at all possible. It's very convenient but remember everyone else at the park will be walking or driving to them also at all hours. This is where planning ahead really helps.
Do Not bring equipment that you don't know how to use properly. We don't want anyone spending their outdoor adventure time at the ER instead.
Do Not bother your fellow campers or hikers. They are there to relax just like you. Clean up your trash, don't play your music to loud or to late, don't drink to much, keep your animals on a leash and at your campsite. Basic courtesy goes a long way anywhere but especially at the campground.
Do Not forget ice, firewood, trash bags or TP. Also, bug spray and sunscreen. There is not always a supply place close by for items any camper cannot do without.
I know this is a long list and does not include everything but if you will follow these suggestions your camping adventure has a higher chance of safety and success. Please remember to "Be Prepared" and "Leave No Trace"!
Do have a wonderful camping and hiking adventure soon!