Fourth of July in the Outdoors: Tips to celebrating in the woods

Image from AWOL’s Road Trip Episode

Image from AWOL’s Road Trip Episode

It’s that time of year again! Where people in the USA pull out as much red, white and blue they own, put American flags on everything, gather with friends and family, fire up the BBQ and end the night with a literal bang in the sky. For those headed to to the outdoors, we want to offer a few tips so you can enjoy the 4th while following the rules of the wilderness.

1: Leave No Trace: We think this is the most fitting first rule to remember. Whether you’re visiting a local city/county park, heading to a state park, federal land or local campground, it’s important to remember (since alcohol might be involved), to plan to pack everything you take in, out. All these areas will be working overtime to keep up with the much larger volume of visitors that come with such a popular holiday so to help them out, bring your own trash bag to haul your waste out.

2: (BOYTP) Bring your own TP: Speaking of waist, as long as you’re using established facilities, portable toilets, bath houses, or vaults, you don’t need to worry about hauling that crap out. We do recommend packing a roll or two of toilet paper. Again, lots of people will be visiting recreation sites and TP is often quick to run out when that many people are eating and drinking all day long. If you’re off the grid, remember to dig a sump and cover it back up so animals or humans don’t walk up on something yucky.

Image from AWOL

Image from AWOL

3: Pack more water than you think you need, then pack some more: If you’re headed with with the family to a place that may not have access to potable water, packing extra will just help you enjoy the day safer. If you’re doing some hardcore adulting (aka, drinking), you should aim to drink at least 2 glasses of water for every adult beverage you consume. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are a menace in the summers, but on popular holidays, the number of cases that need medical attention skyrocket. Don’t be a statics and look out for yourself and your crew.

4: Fireworks + Camping = 99% of the time it’s illegal: It’s illegal to set off fireworks at State Parks, Federal Land, National Forests, most public lands and most privately owned campgrounds. Always ask before hand, they might allow sparklers or even have “firework zone” but likely, if you want to see some rockets redglare, you’ll need to find a local show nearby and drive to it. The fallout from various fireworks can burn peoples tents or worse, cause a forest fire. Nobody wants that.
Camping Fireworks Alternatives!!!: We totally get fireworks are a huge part of celebrating July 4th but you can still have some fun with fire and lights.

Image from AWOL

Image from AWOL

  • Campfire colors!: There are several minerals that you can toss into the fire to cause some cool colors to burn into the night. You can read how to make your own campfire colors, or order some online. These are pretty common, most camp stores will carry pre-made packages.

  • Twing/Stick light writing: To be honest, we don’t know what to call this, but you’ve likely seen the end result on any newly married friends Facebook/Instagram page where they’ve made the shape of hearts or names in the air with sparklers. Well, you can sorta do the same thing with a long stick. Just put the tip into the fire, leave it until the end is on fire, blow out any flame, step away from anything flammable like tents or other humans, then quickly, move your stick around in the air and watch the faint amber glow and create trails of light. If you have a camera, you can even try capturing these aerial works of art!

5: If you see something, say something: Nothing is more important to the outdoor community that looking out for each other. No matter if you’re in your city park or miles away from cell service, if you see someone being unsafe, looks to be injured, or anything out of the ordinary, say something! A simple, “hey, how’s it going, everything ok?” is a great way to check in without overstepping with a stranger. Just remember, never put yourself in a compromising position, so if you can’t help, or you don’t feel safe confronting a possible hazardous situation, go get help for the pros.

We hope you enjoy this 4th of July in the great outdoors and which everyone the happiest of adventures.

Angel Verde