Tips from avoiding ticks, being ready when nature calls, lighting your fire, and more.
A toolkit for avoiding ticks.
While enjoying the great outdoors, it is only a matter of time before you become acquainted with tiny, bloodsucking ticks. But according to the CDC, with a little preparation and knowhow, you can greatly reduce your risk.
Treat your clothing and gear with tick repellent containing 0.5% permethrin. While outdoors, wear long sleeves and pants, tucking pants into boots. Use EPA-registered insect repellents such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. But do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
Check for ticks.
After spending an extended amount of time outside and before taking off clothing, check your clothing for ticks. Ticks spend 30 to 60 minutes crawling on your body before burrowing into your skin. Check your skin, especially hair, around ears, in belly button, around waist, under arms, between legs, and backs of knees. Then check pets for ticks so they don’t latch on to you. Shower.
If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove ASAP. Use a pair of tweezers to grab the tick close to its head and pull up slowly. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Place the tick in a sealed container in case you need to identify it later.
If you have symptoms of fever, chills, aches, pains, or rashes after a tick bite, see a physician. A dose of doxycycline within 72 hours of a tick bite can prevent Lyme disease.
Be prepared for everything from minor cuts and burns to emergencies.
Remove the stinger. Wash with soap and water. Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling. Take an over-the-counter pain medication.
Prevent by spraying clothing with repellents. Don’t wear perfumes, and opt for unscented sunscreens and detergents. Don’t scratch bites, or they could become infected. Keep an over-the-counter or homemade remedy close at hand. Apply ice, or try toothpaste.
For minor burns, soak in cool water, then apply aloe vera. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help with pain and inflammation. If the burn blisters, don’t pop it. If a person catches on fire, stop, drop, and roll. Wrap the person in a blanket and pour water over them. Call 911.
Make sure everyone’s tetanus shots are up to date. For minor cuts, apply pressure to the area that is bleeding using a clean cloth until bleeding stops, clean with soap and water, then apply an antibiotic ointment and a bandage. If bleeding uncontrollably for more than 10 minutes or if cut is deeper than a 1/4 inch, seek professional care. For a puncture wound, particularly if it involves a rusty object, seek medical attention.
Dehydration and heatstroke
Rest in shade and slowly drink water mixed with two dashes of salt. Travel with electrolyte tablets.
Begin with R-I-C-E-S. Rest the affected area. Ice for 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. Compression helps prevent swelling. Elevate the area to the level of the heart. Stabilize the area with splint or tape.
Rinse the area with cool water, then apply aloe vera. Drink lots of water and take ibuprofen or aspirin to reduce swelling and discomfort.
What do you do?
Arguably the least favorite part of tent camping is taking care of business. In order to get to the bottom of this crappy problem, we turned to an expert and got pointers out the wazoo.
1. Dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet away from the water source. Doing this properly is key to protecting our natural environments and to preventing wildlife from introducing disease-causing organisms into waterways. Mix in soil with a stick, then cover with soil and leaves. Don’t leave TP!
2. Invest in a portable potty system—the book lists several. At the most basic level, purchase a 5-gallon bucket and snap-on toilet seat. Line the bucket with a disposable bag and add sawdust or cat litter at the bottom. Then, dispose of it properly.
3. Packing it out is an alternative to burial and is more optimal for the environment. There are several biodegradable products to make capturing your doo an easier thing to do. Many highly visited areas require you to pack it out.
How to Shit in the Woods 4th Edition
WordPlay WV, 50 West Main Street., Wardensville, 304.897.2233, $12.99
Rain. It happens. Wet and windy conditions can make starting a fire a frustrating task. Here’s what you need to know so your temper doesn’t flare.
1. Look for a protected area that isn’t out in an open field, like a grove of tall trees, a cliff overhang, or an outcropping of rocks.
2. Find dry tinder. Birch bark has a resin that burns hot even when wet. Dryer lint also works well.
3. Gather small sticks the size of your finger. Dry branches can often be found at the base of evergreen trees. Split wood open with an ax to access the dry inner wood.
4. If it is windy, dig a pit for your fire.
5. Create a teepee around your tinder with dry branches.
6. Keep your lighter or matches out of the rain. Light your teepee with a firestarter that will work even when wet.
7. Once lit, carefully blow air into the flame or use a bellows.
8. Fuel fire by gradually adding larger pieces. Make sure you leave gaps between the pieces so there is enough oxygen to fan the flames.
Bring the marshmallow-y goodness around the campfire in new and interesting ways.
S’MORE BAR THIS AND THAT BAKERY You don’t have to be gathered around a campfire to enjoy these chocolate-covered s’more bars. Layers of graham crackers and strawberry marshmallow filling that are covered with dark chocolate make for a delightfully decadent treat. $4 each
S’MORES SANDWICH COOKIE BEGONIA COOKIE CO. These homemade soft graham cracker cookies, filled with freshly whipped biscoff marshmallow filling and dipped in Ghirardelli chocolate, will keep your fingers clean without sacrificing the yummy s’more flavor. $4 each
CLASSIC S’MORES KIT WARDENSVILLE GARDEN MARKET These darling individual kits will have you enjoying s’mores in no time. $12
BURNING COUCH MARSHMALLOW MODERN APPALACHIAN KITCHEN In honor of the WVU couch-burning tradition, you can now have your couch and burn it, too—without getting arrested. These large marshmallows are sure to add some some laughs! $8