Who wouldn’t love to spend a night in the amazing outdoors, sipping campfire coffee, counting the stars, and letting Mother Nature soothe them to sleep? Seriously, this could be a dream come true for many of us!
Unfortunately, there are still those who keep avoiding camping getaways because they think that the whole thing takes too much effort, gear, or requires one to be a pro. Of, course all travel will get you doing some work, but tell you what, camping got its own rewards. If you know someone who can lend you their camping gear, you will cut costs too.
But don’t let anyone deceive you that you need to be an expert to sleep in a tent. Even the most prominent campers started from somewhere. They made mistakes and learnt from them.
We understand if you feel a little scared. Sure, leaving your home to go try something new can be overwhelming.
But don’t you worry. We have prepared handy tips to make camping for beginners a memorable adventure. These pointers should inspire you to enjoy the outdoors life, be in touch with nature, and embrace the tent like a pro! Ready?
1. Gather Information About Where You Are Going
Camping is supposed to be fun but if you don’t take enough time to prepare, you might end up regretting why you left your home in the first place.
Research where you will be going – how are the weather conditions? What facilities are there? Are there poisonous animals, insects or plants? What is allowed and what is not?
Having this information beforehand will guide you in deciding what to wear, what to carry, and what items should go into your first aid kit.
Facilities like showers and access to clean water are also a huge factor when packing for your first time camping. If there are no bathrooms around, you may consider bringing a camp shower. Also, bring a few bottles of clean water just in case the provided water source is not clean enough for human consumption.
Getting this information doesn’t have to take hours. A simple five-minute browse on some websites, email, or phone call can get the job done.
Some camping destinations will require you to book in advance. Find out the availability and costs early enough so you don’t end up spending your precious vacation time looking for a campsite.
2. Make A Checklist
When camping for the first time, it is important to have a list of everything you need for the trip and check things out once you have acquired them. There is nothing worse than arriving at the camping grounds and realizing that you forgot some of the most important items at home. This brings unnecessary panic especially if you are camping in a place away from home or don’t know anyone in the campsite who can lend you their gear.
So stay organized by keeping a checklist so that nothing is left behind. Update or revise the list if necessary. If some of the equipment is broken, replace it. If you think you won’t be needing some of the items on the list, just cross them off so you don’t bring unnecessary luggage.
Ditch those electric chargers because you might not get a power outlet to plug them in. Instead, invest in a solar charger. This one is cheap and will power your smartphone and other essentials like your portable speaker perfectly.
And if you still have your hair straightener on your camping list, kindly cross it off. No one really cares how kempt your hair looks, so reduce your baggage by leaving such items at home.
If possible, list the activities you expect to do when you get there too. If your trip will be taking more than a week, you may want to have each day organized so that you don’t have to do the same activity twice.
If you will be camping near a coastline, it’s a no brainer, you will need a couple beach games organized beforehand. If you love kayaking or other water spots, specify a day for this and bring the right kayak and gear for the day. Camping near mountains? Have a few days set for mountain climbing.
Some of these activities may need special equipment and keeping a list is the best way to ensure that you have obtained everything you need and enjoyed your first time to the fullest.
3. Try Your Gear Before You Leave
It would be so frustrating to get to your camping spot only to find out that even those pieces of gear that seem too basic actually need a user’s manual to operate. Others are faulty and are crucial to your food prepping!
Okay, here is the thing. There is nothing wrong with being inexperienced. Every camper was at some point in their life, but reading instructions on how to get things done when you are already at the campsite can do you more harm than good. Ever thought of what could happen if your instructions got lost or flew away just when you really are in need of them?
That’s why we insist – test your gear before you pack it up. It will help you understand how it works and hey, you won’t look like a complete novice while you are out there.
4. Don’t Rely On Your Campfire
There is no camping without a campfire. But camping for beginners requires one to learn a few things about open fire before relying on it for camp cooking.
See, campfires take their sweet time to build up well enough for cooking. Even to use a charcoal oven, the charcoal itself needs to be extremely hot, which takes a while. It is nice if you have the time to wait, and will get those chicken butts cooked just fine, but if you are not the patient type, we recommend bringing a gas grill or camping stove instead.
Also, the time of the year you are set to go camping can dictate whether you will be setting up a campfire or not. Information on fire bans will be indicated on your local fire authority website. Make sure to check it out before you go.
If you will be having open fire, familiarize yourself with tips for campfire safety. The last thing you want is to set your camp on fire!
5. Buy Quality, Not Cheap
We all want something of high quality. Unfortunately, not all the times we have the money to buy such. Similarly, when go shopping for a camping trip, sometimes we find ourselves purchasing cheap equipment only to get frustrated later on.
If you are preparing to go for a camping getaway for the first time and some of the equipment you need is too expensive, it would be wise to hire it instead of buying something of low quality. Later when you have learnt all ropes of camping and the quality of equipment needed, you can invest in high-end equipment.
However, not every cheap equipment is of low quality. There is plenty of good camping gear out there selling at reasonable prices. To know which is best for you, read customer reviews.
If possible, talk to a camper who has used similar equipment before and find out how long it has served them. In simpler words, know what you are putting your money on – whether it is a dumpsite or something real.
Speaking of, you may want to consider buying previous years’ gear models. Consumer goods keep on changing as manufacturers release new ones in the market. If you are on budget and want something of good quality, say like a tent, look for models that were released a few years back. Yes, they might not have all the features you find in current tents but they may be hugely discounted.
6. Think About The Weather
…and bring the right gear for it. It can get really cold at night and the best way to avoid shivering in your tent is to bring something to generate some warmth for you.
Start by getting the right bedding. Wrong sleeping bag will make your night miserable. Different sleeping bags are made for different weather conditions.
If you are camping during summer, you don’t need something too heavy but if you are making the trip during winter, you may consider packing up a winter sleeping bag. A camping air mattress alone will just leave your bum freezing the entire night.
Bring a warm coat, pair of socks, gloves, and hat for nighttime. Pack a raincoat too, just in case. Avoid cotton at all costs. If your cotton sweat pants get wet, they will make you cold and you will have a very long night.
You will need to bring something for your feet too. Get boots for the day and flip-flops for nighttime bathroom breaks.
Do research on the right gear for your kind of weather. Don’t just rush into buying something without thinking about it and later end up ditching it because it doesn’t suit your camping style.
And don’t rely on help from sales staff from your local store. Some of them are just there to make money and they will sell you anything just to put some bucks in their pockets. Therefore, go to the store with the right information about what you want. This will keep you from being lured into buying equipment you don’t need.
7. Plan Your Meals Properly
One of the biggest mistakes new campers make is to fail to plan their meals before heading to the camp. If you really want to have a smooth getaway, then you need to put some thought into what you will eat while you are away.
Start by finding out how many people will be joining you and how many meals each will take. Call everyone for a meeting and let each one of them contribute a menu idea they are comfortable with. That way, no one will be forced to eat something they don’t like.
If you will be bringing some snacks with you (of course you will) prepare these a day in advance and pack them nicely in your lunch cooler. Shop for your groceries a day or two before you leave and add these to the cooler to keep them fresh.
Have a soft cooler for your drinks? Fill it up, as you will need something to cool you off after a long day of duck hunting, swimming, or hiking in the woods.
If you are planning to bring some meat, cut it into small eatable pieces so that you won’t have to do it in the campsite. This will save you time and in the long run, it will reduce your luggage because you won’t be bringing a chopping board.
Having your meals planned and bought ahead of time is a good thing because you won’t need to stop along the way to your campsite to buy food and other munchies. That way, you will be able to arrive in your camp early enough, have ample time to find a good spot, and get your gear organized before the light fades.
8. Arrive Early
So you have arrived a few minutes to sunset, your kids are hungry, you need to offload the car, set up the tent and collect wood for the campfire, all before dark! You need to answer a call of nature but have no idea where the washrooms are, or whether there are some in the first place.
You start to panic because you had hoped that your first time camping would be a smooth walk. There is nothing more frustrating than a long trip and then having to set up your gear using a lantern or when other campers are retiring to their shelter.
The early bird catches the worm, they say and turning up at the campsite early gets you catching the right spot for setting up your tent and have your gear sorted out in good time. Camping for beginners should never start with late arrival. Unless the late turn up is caused by an emergency, you should make a point of getting there in good time so that you can have your spot organized and everything set up before dark.
You don’t want to be looking for trees to hoist your hammock when everyone else is snoring, neither do you want to be looking for a spare spot in the dark since the one you had booked earlier is too small for your tent.
Peak times like holidays and long weekends will find campsites full even before the holiday begins, and those who arrived earlier will not be so kind to you trying to squeeze yourself into their space at nighttime. So arrive early and save yourself all this trouble. Also, it would be wise to have a plan B just in case all spots are taken.
9. Put Your Food And Garbage Where You Can See It
When booking your camping spot, these guys will never tell you that you will be receiving some nocturnal visitors while you sleep. It’s a good thing that you are reading this post before you plan on your first time because you will get a chance to know things that most trip advisors forget to mention.
So yeah, come nightfall, when the campsite is quiet, you may have some hungry creatures visiting your camp. Bears, chipmunks, and rodents will not sleep until they find where that chicken aroma is coming from. If you have not followed proper camping and backpacking food storage techniques, these uninvited guests can chew into your tent or even turn it upside down looking for food.
Put your munchies in bear canisters. Lock the garbage in a bear bag and hang it on a tall tree branch or hide it in your roof rack. Otherwise, those hot dogs you made for breakfast will be nowhere to be seen by the time you wake up and your garbage will be littered all over the campsite. Camping for beginners is meant to be fun and there is nothing funny in waking up to such a mess!
Naturally, you should take all the trash with you when you leave the camping ground. It can be disgusting to carry a bag full of filth in your bag, we know, but please do so because it will keep the environment clean for wildlife and next campers.
Once you are outside the park, dispose the garbage in a bin and if there isn’t one anywhere around, just take your trash bag home with you and dump it with the rest of the trash. Just don’t leave any litter at your camping spot.
10. Bring A Book (Just Kidding)
Don’t be boring! Your first time should make memories and not just memories but fun filled ones. Bring a camera or this trip didn’t happen people!
Forget for a minute that your home exists and live the moment. Let kids collect shells and build sand castles in the beach. Get your clothes dirty. Do things you never do in the suburbia. You want to feel different and that’s why you are having this trip in the first place, right?
Mingle with other campers and make new friends. It is fun and who knows, you could pick some important camping tips along the way!
Enjoy spending time with Mother Nature and your family. Laugh at your mistakes and don’t beat yourself up if the trip doesn’t turn out as expected. There is always a next time and it will be much better because you know what you did wrong first time.
Globo Surf Overview
There you have it, ten amazing tips for making camping for beginners fun and adventurous! As you can see, first time in the wilderness is not at all intimidating. As long as you have prepared enough, obtained the right equipment, and practiced how to use it before you go, you will have an easy time at the campsite.
Of course, you will make a few mistakes on your first day but you will also learn a lot from them. There are many stories on the internet about blunders that campers made in the past when they embraced the tent for the first time. Best part? All these are followed by success stories, so do not be afraid of failing.
We hope that this article will empower you as a first timer and give you the courage you need to make your camping dream a reality.
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