WHEN SHOULD I CAMP?
Tent camping (backpacking or car camping) in Florida is best enjoyed between October and March, when the muggy nights with high temperatures yield to a cool evening chill. Backpackers will find Florida’s backcountry most comfortable in January and February.
WHERE SHOULD I CAMP?
In an established campsite, unless you’re in a place like the Ocala National Forest that allows random camping except during general gun hunting seasons. To protect yourself, don’t camp on the banks of a stream, lake, or pond—alligators do roam at night. To protect yourself and your food supply, use a bear bag or bear canister in bear territory. Hanging your food isn’t just to foil the bears, but to outwit the wily raccoons that congregate near established campsites.
HOW DO I COOK?
Wildfires spark easily in Florida, so please refrain from building a campfire unless a fire ring is available. Use a camp stove for cooking. Our favorite for backpacking is the Jetboil.
WHERE’S THE BATHROOM?
At a developed public campground, you’ll find a bathhouse, usually with flush toilets. At most free public campsites and backcountry sites, if there’s not a vault toilet, it’s time to use your backcountry bathroom skills: liquids on the ground, solids in a hole. If privies are available, use them. Otherwise, dig a hole at least 400 feet from any campsite or water source. Pack your toilet paper or wipes out in a zip-closure plastic bag.
HOW DO I CLEAN UP?
When camping in a primitive campsite, particularly an undeveloped site, follow Leave No Trace ethics. Leave the site as pristine as when you entered it. Eliminate any signs of a campfire unless there is an established fire ring. Be sure to pack out all garbage from your campsite.
WHY’S MY TENT WET?
Florida’s heavy humidity means condensation will occur even when it’s not a rainy day. Your single-wall tent will get wet on the inside. Take a break the next day and set it in the sunshine to dry.