Tent PadNeed to know: When setting up camp 1 of 11
A tent pad, often a tarp, is used to protect the bottom of your tent from rocks or sticks that can rip the fabric. It can also be used as a thin barrier between the cold ground and your sleeping pad on cool nights.
FreestandingNeed to know: When purchasing equipment 2 of 11
This is a type of tent, but the name can be deceiving. It requires no ropes, but you still need to assemble stakes and poles to keep it in place. "? The tent supports itself—the poles are tensioned by inserting them into pockets or grommets on the tent, and then the tent stands," says Joe Jackson, the Gear Guy for Outside Magazine.
R ValueNeed to know: When purchasing equipment 3 of 11
This value reflects the effectiveness of insulation in a sleeping pad, sleeping bag or tent. While not every manufacturer uses the exact same R-rating scale, the higher the number the better insulated the product will be. For four-season comfort, the rating should range between 3.5 and 5.0. If you do a lot of winter camping, look for products with a higher on the rating scale.
Bear LockersNeed to know: When choosing a campsite 4 of 11
No, these don't keep bears locked in. In fact, they are the only thing keeping them out—out of your food and drinks. Not all campgrounds provide bear lockers, and not all regions need them; these are most popular in areas with high bear populations. If your campsite doesn't have one, lock your food in a storage bin or cooler.
BlazeNeed to know: When hiking 5 of 11
This is a technical term for trail markers, or signs that guide you along a trail. This can be a physical sign or a symbol painted onto the tree. If you trek a quarter mile without seeing one, turn around, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy; "In some areas, blazes are almost always within sight; in areas managed as wilderness you may encounter only four or five per mile."
Cardinal PointsNeed to know: When hiking 6 of 11
These are the four main points on a compass: North (360 degrees), East (90 degrees), South (180 degrees) and West (270 degrees). Always bring a map and compass on your camping adventures in case you get lost or your GPS system loses a signal.
Lean-toNeed to know: When choosing a campsite 7 of 11
This simple structure has three walls and a roof, making it the perfect addition to your campsite in the event that it rains. Not all campgrounds have them, but try to get a site with one if the campground you're staying at does. Sunapee State Park in New Hampshire is one of those campgrounds.
DaypackNeed to know: When hiking 8 of 11
Take your daypack on every hike. You can use any backpack you have at home, though some newer packs offer more organizational options and provide a more comfortable fit. Remember to always fill your pack with the basics: water, sunscreen, bug spray, a compass, map and snacks.
DevelopedNeed to know: When choosing a campsite 9 of 11
This is the most common kind of campground. Most developed campgrounds take reservations, and have bathrooms and a fire pit. If you've never been camping before, or have only gone a few times, it's best to stay at a developed campground where rangers or campground managers are available to help you.
RemoteNeed to know: When choosing a campsite 10 of 11
Only experienced campers should pitch their tent in remote areas. Here there's little to no interaction with people outside your group and the only resources available are the ones you bring or can find in the wilderness. However, it can be a peaceful and refreshing experience when you're prepared.