If you're thinking about taking a camping trip...

I have lots of camping stories in which something goes wrong and makes one or more people uncomfortable. I have seen kamikaze raccoons, food poisoning and very stupid people do dangerous things with fire. If you plan on taking a camping trip, here's some advice that comes from personal experience.

Ten things you should know

  1. Always bring tarps to put under and over your tent or sleeping area. It only takes one rainstorm to make everything miserable.
  2. If the area is known for having ticks, don't wander through underbrush. You'll get fewer ticks if you stick to established walkways.
  3. Do not feed the wildlife. Ever.
  4. Always put away food in sealed boxes or coolers in your car, if possible, as well as your trash. Raccoons are unbelievably tricky and bold, and they will take anything they can get access to.
  5. Bring wet wipes. Even if a campground has shower facilities, you may not be able to use them if the water is too cold or the water pressure is nonexistent.
  6. Don't drink the water.
  7. Take advantage of the activities a campground has, especially if it is a state park. They usually highlight historical landmarks or noteworthy geographical features of the area.
  8. Make sure everyone on the trip is familiar with basic first aid and the safety procedures involved with campfires and knives.
  9. Don't bring any clothing or possessions that you don't want to see dirty or messed up in any way.
  10. Don't forget the can opener.