1. Blankets that you use on your bed at home are not going to be warm enough while you are camping.
2. Wet firewood tends not to catch fire.
3. There will be spiders. They will stay in your tent, with you. Sometimes they will get cute and try to snuggle with you. Keep the hysteria to a minimum; it annoys fellow campers. These are not folks you want to piss off. They know how to wrestle with bears—successfully.
4. Remember when you were a kid and you didn’t mind being dirty and/or smelly and/or going for days without food more sustaining than trail mix and juice boxes? Those were good days, weren’t they? Well, they are over now. You are a grown up and it’s okay to admit that you’ve grown used to bathing. Everyone else has grown used to you bathing as well.
5. Never underestimate the power of a good meal, warm bed, or crisp $20 bribe to dispel many an unpleasant situation.
6. The best garlic knots you will ever eat in your entire life are located in a pizzeria in Hadley, Massachusetts. Not technically a camping tip but more of a public service announcement. Hey, you’re welcome. My pleasure.
7. Bringing flashlights is a good plan. Something that also works is reaching and setting up your campsite before dark. However, some of us like the challenge of building a really huge tent for the first time in the dark by headlight. Speaking of which…
8. You do not need a three-room tent which is big enough for ten people if you’ve only got two. Especially if one of those two is a really big scaredy-cat and could not sleep by herself in the woods if there was a SWAT team stationed around her.
9. No, you cannot get a Wi-Fi signal in the woods.
10. If you’re going to get insect repellant all over your hands, and then you’re going to rub those hands in your eyes like an utter fool, and if you are also going to have a secret allergy to said insect repellant, and if that allergy is going to cause your eyeball (not the skin around your eye; your actual eyeball) to swell and actually start oozing out of its socket a little bit, alarming the hell out of your traveling companion and causing you yourself to worry that maybe you’re going to go blind, then for God’s sake at least make sure that this happens somewhere that a) a hospital or b) a kindly pastor is likely to be located. In my case, we had (b) and it was a damn good thing, because the nearest hospital was a half hour away and we never would have found it without divine intervention.
More details to come, and I am sure you are all on the edge of your seat.