If you’re new to the Georgia camping scene and need some tutoring regarding the “must-haves” for a safe and successful trip into the state’s wilderness, local retailers can offer avid outdoorsmen with significant accomplishments under their belts. High Country Outfitters has been advising outdoor enthusiasts in all of their wilderness pursuits since 1975, when Bubba Sloan and three friends decided that Atlanta needed a specialty outdoor retailer featuring experienced guides and wilderness athletes. One of those guides is the store’s buyer, Glenn Orton, who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 2007, and joined Bubba’s team upon his return to city life.
High Country Outfitters
3906B Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30342
With expertise in everything from high-end wilderness equipment to backpacks and socks for day hikes, Glenn enjoys helping Atlantans with their preparation for what he describes as “an enjoyable camping experience; an exciting trip that promises a great time.” To all customers, he gives a standard list of recommendations for a safe and memorable camping adventure.
Tip 1: Do your homework
Glenn’s first recommendation is that you gather information from the park service about your destination before you go, online and via phone calls, and again when you arrive. What is the condition of the trails? Is there maintenance happening among the trails, campsites or cabins? Is there wildlife present that could cause danger to campers and hikers? Your park rangers and employees have valuable information to pass along to you and all visitors.
Tip 2: Buy the proper footwear and outdoor attire for your activities
Nothing kills the fun of a camping trip faster than blisters on your heels from improperly fitted boots or “rain gear” that soaks right through. These miseries can be avoided. “You want to purchase the right boots, quality wool socks and attire that is going to protect you in the wilderness,” says Glenn. He emphasizes that there is a great deal of selection in quality products, and an educated salesperson can give you excellent guidance about what is right for your activities.
Tip 3: Take a headlamp
These easy-to-wear flashlights have become a critical part of any camping and hiking gear. Running out of daylight during a wilderness excursion is an all-too-common event, and a light for the path or campsite is crucial. If you’re stranded on a trail in the dark, you can easily injure yourself and lose your way back to your campsite. A headlamp will keep you on the trail with a safe footing. Back at the campsite, it will aid you in securing your tent, following pathways and roads to amenities and preparing supplies.
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Tip 4: Carry a first aid kit and sunscreen
The recommendation for a first aid kit might be something you’d expect to hear, but sunscreen is an often forgotten element in the camping/hiking list of must-haves. Outdoor UV rays damage skin cells far below the telltale sign of burning, and can result in skin cancers including melanoma, which is an aggressive form of the disease. Choose a product with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF), and consider whether or not you should use one that is water-resistant or sweat proof. Buy your sunscreen product from your retail outdoor specialist, who will also help you choose a first aid kit that will easily accompany you on hiking trails. Remember, sunburns, insect bites and sprains can all dampen your wilderness experience.
Tip 5: Take plenty of water
Glenn recommends that you discuss with your camping advisor the water carrying and collecting vessel that is right for you and your planned excursion. “The formula for water carrying is at least one to two liters for each day of hiking. The good news about Georgia is that water is fairly plentiful throughout the state, and you can be quite confident in water collection along the way.” If you do collect water from natural sources, you will need to decide on a method for cleaning it to a potable standard. “There are three systems for eliminating bacteria from the water you collect: chemical tablets, mechanical filtration and UV light exposure. Choose an outdoor advisor who can help you decide which is right for you,” he says. Glenn is also quick to point out that water consumption needs are increased in the southern part of the state, where you should plan to take a gallon of water per day.
Di Chapman has been writing professionally for trade journals, audiobooks and a global business clientele since her early 20s. A coauthor of four books and a regular contributor to numerous blogs, she currently lives in the historic district of Roswell, Georgia, in the greater Atlanta area. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.