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5 Tips for Camping in the Santa Monica Mountains

The Santa Monica Mountain Range offers several pristine campsites that provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. This natural feature is one of the most popular places to camp in California, and most of the campgrounds are set up with showers, toilets, drinking water, and fire rings to make camping easier for visitors. Before you ascend to your campsite and start pitching your tent, there are a few tips you should know that will help make your camping trip safe and unforgettable.

1. Pack Enough Food and Water

If you’re heading up into the mountains for a few days, there won’t be any supermarkets or fast-food chains nearby to provide you with sustenance. When you are planning a camping trip to the Santa Monica Mountains, planning out your meals before you leave home can make cooking at the campsite easier and more enjoyable. Make a checklist of nutritious, satisfying foods, and don’t forget to bring some of your favorite snacks. A 45 quart cooler is perfect for most camping trips.

2. Follow the Rules

Each campsite in the Santa Monica Mountains has different rules and regulations regarding campfires, dogs, gathering wood and other natural resources, filming, and fishing. You must understand and follow the rules of the campsite to keep yourself and the environment safe. If you are staying in a campground run by the National Park Service, campfires and wood collecting are prohibited. If you are staying in a park that allows campfires, you must follow any California fire danger restrictions that are in place during your trip.

3. Dress Appropriately

Weather can be unpredictable, and without a roof over your head and the comfort of central air, you have to rely on your clothing to protect you from the elements. Even if you’re camping in the hottest part of the summer, it’s wise to bring warm clothing. Temperatures can drop significantly in the mountains at night, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Bring extra clothes in the form of long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, socks, and a jacket, and you’ll be prepared for whatever Mother Nature decides to bring. It’s also a good idea to bring a rain jacket and plenty of dry undergarments.

4. Pack the Proper Gear

The list of items you need to take on your camping trip is extensive. Flashlights, tents, sleeping bags, headlamps, cooking utensils, chairs, and recreational gear are just a few of the things you’ll need to bring with you to the mountains. You can make or download a camping checklist to help you remember everything. You can pack heavy, light, or somewhere in the middle, but using a camping checklist will ensure you don’t leave home without the essentials. If you are going to one of the parks in the Santa Monica Mountains that prohibits fires, be sure to bring a camp stove if there is no grill onsite.

5. Make Safety a Priority

You should follow all the safety recommendations listed on your campground’s website so you can prevent getting sick or injured. Bringing a first aid kit, wearing bug repellent and high socks, and using sunscreen are just a few things you can do to protect yourself while you’re in the wilderness. Stay alert at all times to potential threats, whether it’s bad weather, bad people, or wild animals. Be sure to pack the proper medical supplies along with your regular medications. You should also bring personal hygiene items so you can stay clean while camping.

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