12 Essential Camping Tips for Beginners
Have you ever gone camping before, or thought about going camping but didn't know where to start? This blog post is for beginners – people who have never been camping before or don't know much about it. I'm going to share some tips and advice that will help you have a great time on your first camping trip! So whether you're a seasoned camper looking for some beginner advice, or if this is your first time considering camping, read on.
- Write a to-do list
Meal planning is essential to any successful camping trip, especially if you’re going more than just one night. If you’re not used to cooking outdoors, it’s easy to underestimate how much food you need. To avoid this, plan out how many meals you’ll be eating (and snacks!) and figure out what ingredients you need to buy. It’s also a good idea to plan simple meals that don’t require too many ingredients and don’t need a lot of cookware or extra utensils. Camping is fun but it should never be too much work! If you want some inspiration, check out these delicious recipes for your next campout.
Have to remember everything that needs to get done before you can leave? Write it down! This will help you focus on one task at a time, instead of looking around and feeling overwhelmed. It also helps to write down what time things need to be done by — I’m sure we’ve all been in the situation where we thought we had all morning to get ready, when really we were supposed to hit the road an hour ago! Here’s a good starter list:
Select a camping spot
- Bed sheets/blankets
- Cooking equipment
- Eating utensils
- Tupperware food
- Bug spray
- First-aid kit
- Cell phone
- Alarm clock s
- Seeping bag
This is the fun part. You can pick any place you want! There are so many different kinds of places to camp, from oceanside beaches, to mountain top views and everything in between.
Before you even start looking though, think about what kind of environment you want to be in. If it's your first time camping, I'd suggest finding a campground nearby (probably within an hour or two) that has bathrooms and showers available. If you're not sure where to look, just search online for "campgrounds near me". That will show the nearest ones on Google Maps.
Once you find some potential campgrounds, check out their websites and see if they offer any activities that might interest you like hiking trails, swimming holes or fishing areas.
As far as picking your campsite goes, there's not right or wrong spot - just pick one that looks good to you!
Learn how to set up your tent.
The first time can be tricky. The key is to practice at home first! It will take some time before you learn how to assemble your tent quickly and correctly. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and watch videos online so you understand which poles go where and how the rain fly is attached. It might also help to lay out all the pieces of your tent beforehand to orient yourself.
Buy the Right Tent
- The first thing you need to do is take the tent out of its bag and lay it out on a flat surface. If there are any poles that came with it, set them aside but don't set up anything yet. You want to make sure everything is there before you start building.
- Next, look at the instructions and see what they say about setting up the tent. Most tents come with poles, but some can be hung from trees or even attached to your car. Make sure you know what type of tent you're working with before you get started.
- If the tent has poles, take those and fit each one through the loops where they belong. The instructions should tell you which poles go where, but if not, just look for the loops and try to fit them together until you have something that resembles a tent shape.
- Now that you have your basic structure set up, start feeding the poles through each loop until they're all in place. The final step is putting all of these pieces together in a way that makes sense for your sleeping situation.
The number one rookie mistake for camping is not having a tent that's the right size for your needs. If you're planning on sleeping more than two people, you'll need a multi-person tent (which usually have some extra storage space as well). If you'll be camping with kids and pets, check out a family-sized tent to make sure they have enough room to hang out comfortably. But don't buy a tent that's too big — it may be tempting, but it will only add extra weight and bulk to your camping gear which you'll have to haul around during the day.
Make Sure the Tent Is Waterproof
If you've never been camping before, you might not know that tents are not waterproof by default. Most tents are made of nylon and are treated with durable water repellant (DWR) so that they can withstand rain and snow without leaking or getting damaged, but over time (or if you get a cheap tent) this treatment wears off and needs to be reapplied in order for your tent to stay dry. The good news is that there are many products available for treating the fabric of your tent that range from sprays to seam sealers to wash-in.
Ask for help if you need it
It may seem embarrassing to ask someone else how to do something when you're camping with friends or family, but most people are happy to help if they see that you're interested in learning. If no one is around to ask, there are plenty of other resources that can help you learn the basics of camping.
Go prepared with safety items
The best way to ensure a safe camping trip is to bring along some basic safety items. You should always have a first aid kit and know how to use it. Every group should also have a whistle to signal for help if needed, especially if you're hiking in remote areas or are separated from your group. A light source of some kind is also essential. If you plan on venturing out after dark, bring flashlights and spare batteries. If you're looking for an emergency light that doesn't require batteries, consider a crank flashlight.
Plan your meals
If you plan to cook while camping, make sure that you have the right food supplies to last the duration of your trip. Do not forget to pack the right utensils and cooking equipment too. If you are going on a long camping trip, do not forget to pack salt, pepper and other spices that can add flavor to your food. If you prefer simpler foods, such as burgers and sandwiches, bring them along with some chips. Buying food from a grocery store might be expensive, so try preparing simple meals before leaving for the campsite.
Pack according to the season and region of your camping trip
If you're going somewhere cold, be sure you have all the appropriate clothing, sleeping gear and other supplies for that destination. There may be certain gear restrictions depending on where you're camping and what time of year it is.
Practice Setting Up Camp at Home
If you’re new to camping, try setting up your tent in your backyard (or a friend’s) before your trip so you can get the hang of it. This will help you learn where everything goes and how each piece fits together. It also gives you time to read the instructions if needed, and identify any missing parts before you head out into the field.
To make this practice even more useful, spend one night sleeping in the tent after it is set up. This will give you a chance to see whether there are any leaks or other problems. If something doesn’t work, there will still be time for adjustments before you head out on your trip.
Follow Leave No Trace Principles
Leave No Trace is an ethics-based set of principles designed to minimize your impact on the land and its inhabitants [source]. They're taught by government agencies, nonprofits, and outdoor organizations around the world. Here are the seven principles; we've included our own interpretations below:
Never camp alone, especially if it's your first time!
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire)
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors.
Camping with other people is not only more fun, but it's also safer. If someone gets hurt or something goes wrong, you'll have someone to help you out. You might also have an extra car to use as an escape hatch if you need to leave early or get supplies that you forgot at home.
Practice starting a fire
You probably don't need to practice building a fire in your backyard, but you should know all there is to know about doing so. You can find plenty of tutorials on the internet that will teach you how to start a fire, but nothing beats hands-on experience.
The best way to get this experience is by starting a campfire at your home before you go camping. However, please try to start the fire in a location outside that is far away from any combustible items, always have a fire extinguisher close by.
This can also be an excellent opportunity for you to practice cooking over a campfire.
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The best part of camping is getting back to nature and "roughing it." That being said, the more prepared you are, the better a time you'll have.
There are many reasons why you may not get a camping experience. You might not know anyone who camps, or you may have no idea where to go. But there is a reason why you should go camping sometime soon. It is extremely beneficial for your health and well-being.
Hopefully this article have taught you a bit more about camping. Next time you go camping, take these tips to heart and remember that no matter your level of experience, there is always something new to learn. And by the way, if you need some recommendations regarding the best sleeping tents for camping, we have a few suggestions to help out.