As we head into the nice weather of spring and summer, campers start to come out of hibernation and begin to plan their vacation getaways. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has long been a popular place to camp and explore, both for Delaware natives and out-of-state visitors.
If you’ve been eyeing this beautiful destination and are intrigued by its stunning scenery, wildlife, and adventure opportunities, then you’ll want to do all you can to ensure it’s a smooth and memorable trip. In order to make this a reality we’ve put together a list of must-have items for those looking to camp and/or explore the Delaware River, no matter how long or short you intend your visit to be.
The very first item you’ll want to make sure you have is a navigational tool of some sort. This is important no matter where you plan on camping, not just for the Delaware River. It’s extremely easy to get lost and confused while hiking through forested areas, especially since so much of the landscape can look the same and it’s so expansive.
When it comes to the best navigational tool to use, the Delaware Water Gap Trail Map is ideal. This is an app that has been specially created for those looking to camp, canoe, or kayak near or on the Delaware Water Gap. The app is able to offer real-time navigation to users. Now here’s the real bonus, this information is provided online and offline. Because you’ll be in the middle of nowhere, cell reception can be spotty at best. The fact that this app doesn’t require reception makes it ideal.
Using the app, you’ll be able to find various points of interest for you to check out, including campgrounds, remote campsites, outfitters, and more. As for the statistics it provides you with, you can view such things as your current paddling speed, your real-time mileage from your chosen campground, navigation to food and supply stores, your real-time arrival time for the points of interest you have plotted, and more.
The app essentially works as your guide throughout your journey.
Reserve Your Site in Advance When Possible
There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at a campsite/campground only to find there is no available space left. Unfortunately, most campsites work on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, there is a handful that allow you to book in advance. This may be the better option so you know you’ve got a space.
There are restrictions on these campsites, though, that relate to how many nights and how far you’ve traveled. You will want to check in advance what the restrictions are.
Make Sure Everyone Has a Lifejacket – It’s the Law
As everyone knows, lifejackets save lives and are extremely important for any kind of water activity. Kids 12 and under are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while on the water. Those over the age of 12 must have a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket on-board, but it doesn’t have to be on.
The problem with this is that if the lifejacket isn’t on you, it can’t work in an emergency situation. This is why it’s recommended everyone wear them at all times, regardless of your age, your ability, and your ability to swim.
Keep the Bugs Away
Just as you would expect, you will encounter plenty of bugs in the wilderness. While it’s impossible to avoid all insect bites, you can definitely cut down on them with some simple items. You will want to pack insect repellent, preferably a waterproof formula since you’ll be on the water. As well, you can purchase mosquito netting for your hat, and netting for your tent.
Even if it’s summer, make sure to also pack pants and a couple long sleeved tops. These will be especially handy at night and early morning.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
There is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to hike, kayak, or canoe when you’re in pain from a nasty sunburn. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you will want to pack proper sun protection. This includes sunblock, a hat, a lightweight long-sleeved cotton shirt for covering up, and sunglasses.
Camping gear has come a long way over the past decade or so, with new technology and materials being introduced. What this has done is make the gear smaller and more lightweight than ever before. There is absolutely no reason to struggle with a heavy and cumbersome backpack, instead opt for something that is lightweight and weather resistant (waterproof is best). Pay close attention to the stitching on the bag, as you want something durable and well-made.
You can also purchase a lightweight tent. The poles will be lighter, the tent will be quick and easy to pack up, and it won’t even feel like you’re carrying anything.
Emergency First-Aid Kit
This one probably goes without saying, but even for the most experienced campers out there, things can still happen. It’s best to be prepared for the worst so in the case of an emergency you can respond correctly. Your emergency first-aid kit should include the following items at a minimum:
- Gauze Pads
- Antiseptic ointment
- Nail clippers
- Water purifying tablets
- Stomach medicine
- Sunburn lotion
- Disinfectant soap
- Surgical gloves
- Sewing needles and thread
- A flashlight and backup batteries
- A magnifying glass
When packing your first aid kit, choose a case, bag, or storage bin that has a watertight seal on it so all items are well protected. As well, you want to be sure you put the kit somewhere that is easily accessible to all. You don’t want to be digging around for it in an emergency situation.
It’s Time to Enjoy Your Trip
Now that you’ve taken the time to gather up all the necessary and must-have items, you’re sure to have an enjoyable and memorable trip on the Delaware River. We hope you have a fantastic time!