Camping For Beginners – Make It Possible On The First Try!
Seasoned novices and beginners alike all over the world every weekend enjoy the simplicity of camping. The idea of camping to some of you conjures up images that may make you cringe, especially those of you who have never camped as a child or have heard horror stories from friends and relatives, and have unfairly decided never to give it a fair go.
How much effort you put into adequately planning your camping trip will determine how successful (and enjoyable) your trip will be. Though some of these tasks may seem tedious and tiresome, the more often you put these tasks into practice the more fun you will have doing them.
Things You Must Know If You Are On The So Called Group “Camping For Beginners”
Beginners are advised to choose locations closer to home so that is easier to fall back in case they face any problems. Plus it is always better to go on a short trip to begin with, just to get the feel of the camping experience. Overnight camping trips are a good idea as by the end of the trip you have a fair idea of what all you need and it will help you prepare a checklist, which can be referred to for future trips. By your third or fourth trip you would have gathered enough to offer camping for beginners tips to others and could probably even graduate to longer stays and more rustic locations.
Choosing a location is the first and foremost thing that one should do while planning a camping trip. If you really don’t have to time to visit bookstores, there are an adequate number of online resources where expert campers provide information on the popular locations, things to watch out for like wildlife and snakes, details of the weather and lots of other important beginner camping tips. Choose a location which is likely to be more populated as you could always do with a little company on your first trip in case you need any assistance.
What To Pack
Next you need to figure out what you have to carry with you on your trip. Determine how many days you are going camping, determine how many sets of clothes you will need for that period, and then cut that number in half. Pack only the necessities, minimal lgear is key to a great camping trip experience. Hauling, packing, storing, and trying to fit everything in the car before you leave for your trip and when it’s time to come home and unload it all is no fun at all. When you pack, fold each piece of clothing – and then roll it up. Rolled clothing takes up less space than stacked, folded clothing.
Websites dedicated to adventure and travel such as ours will be able to provide you with necessary information. How to choose the right sleeping bag, what utensils to carry with you, how to pack and what to do and what not to do at your camping grounds. Some campsites have specific park rules. It is always better to brush up on all the information you need before you head out into the great outdoors and camping for beginners tips provided by online resources or friends are the ideal way to begin your orientation.
All in all, try to ensure you are well prepared, avoid solo trips the first time, check all your equipment before you leave and get some first aid training. It always comes in handy especially at remote locations. Also, ensure you keep all the camping for beginners tips in mind before and during your trip and you are sure to have an exciting camping experience which may just intice you to get away more often and have some real fun interacting with Mother Nature.
Make, Use, and Maintain a Camping Checklist
By making and using a camping checklist you have at least given some thought to your trip and done a little bit of upfront planning. By using the list you will be much less apt to forget something critical to your trip. Take the list along with you and add to it as you think of things that you wished you had brought. This way your list gets better with each trip, and it makes it that much easier to plan the next one.
Beginner Camping Items
If you’ve never been to the outdoors before you’re probably wondering what to take with you. While everyone has different needs and interests in the outdoors the three items below are beginner camping items that are greatly needed by most.
A water purifier is very important before taking a drink in the outdoors. You need to stay hydrated, especially while hiking and doing other activities, but if you drink water straight from the creek/river/lake you are probably going to get sick. No one wants to get sick, especially out in the woods on your first camping trip. If you’re going to be sticking near a campground that provides water that you trust is clean then you can skip this, but otherwise it’s a good item to have around.
A camp stove is another essential. Unless you plan on eating peanut and butter jelly the whole time you want to be able to cook up some nice warm food. You can get packets of instant food that will be light to carry and make having a great meal a simple task. Again, if you’re going to be sticking around a campground that offers a grill or something maybe you can get around this, but you probably still need to bring your own charcoal if that is the case.
Something you can’t get around is your sleeping arrangements. You’ll probably want a tent an inflatable air mattress. Some people will say that you’re not roughing it unless you sleep on the ground, but if you sleep on the ground you’re likely to wake up with a back ache and won’t be able to enjoy your day of activities. A good nights rest is really essential to a great trip. These beds have improved a lot in recent years, you can get flocked tops, raised beds, or ones with speakers for your MP3 player–there are an infinite number of choices out there.
Be Familiar With Your Camping Gear
If you have bought a new tent, lantern, cook stove, or some other gear its a good idea to try these out prior to your camping trip. There is nothing worse than trying to set up a new tent for the first time when its starting to get dark. This is also true for trailers or tent trailers. Become familiar with their set up prior to your trip, and get some experience backing them up, so that you do not have a tough time when you get to the campground.
Set Up Camp Before Dark
Arrive at your campsite early enough the first day so that you have plenty of daylight to get your tent and other equipment set up. This will get you off to a good start so that you can relax and enjoy the outdoors. Be aware that it gets dark much earlier when you are deep in the forest.
Plan Your Meals Before the Trip
Plan your meals before you leave on the trip. This way you will know what food to buy, and what you will need in order to prepare it. Try to avoid getting stuck stopping at a convenience store, far from the city, where items are limited and often very expensive.
Bring the Right Clothing
When packing your clothes make sure that you have enough clothing in case someone falls into the lake and gets all wet or something else unexpected happens. Be sure and bring a swimsuit and towels if swimming is in your plans. Make sure to have some sweatshirts, light coats, and rain gear in case it gets cold and wet. Pack enough, but do not overdo it. Remember you are probably space limited on what you can fit in your car, and to some extent you are roughing it so you really do not need near as much stuff as normal.
Is Your Tent Big Enough?
There is nothing worse than having your family all packed into your tent like a can of sardines. Even though you are roughing it, you can still enjoy a little bit of comfort. If your tent is large enough and you even splurge for some air mattresses you can be sleeping nice and comfortable. We have a 9 ft x 15 ft dome tent that fits our family of four very comfortably. What I like best about having a bigger tent is that it gives us room to walk around the beds, and still have space to stack clothes or luggage. Even though this is a pretty large tent it folds down to a small size and hardly takes up any space, so unless you are backpacking, I would recommend going with a larger tent just to be on the safe side.
Make Your First Trip Close to Home
I would recommend going to a campsite pretty close to home (within 1-2 hours) for your first trip. That way if anything too terribly wrong happens, then you can just drive home. Its always good to get some recommendations on places to go from some of your friends that are experienced campers. They will probably know some good places to go for your first camping trip.
Be Sure and Take Flashlights
Make sure and take flashlights and check their batteries prior to the trip to make sure that they are good and strong. Flashlights will be helpful if you are changing in a dark tent or if you have to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom. We do not want you stumbling around the woods in the dark do we? Lanterns are also very handy, especially if you want to light up your campsite and play some games around the picnic table. These now come with small screw-on propane tanks that are inexpensive and very easy to use.
Check on Fire Restrictions or Burn Bans
Check ahead of time and make sure that there are not any fire restrictions or burn bans at your campground. If you are looking forward to a good old campfire (and what camper is not?) than you could be greatly disappointed if a burn ban is in effect. However, if a campfire is a go, then make sure that you bring some firewood, and some kindling or newspaper to get your fire going, along with some type of lighter. Some parks have firewood available for sale, but not all do, and most parks will not allow you to pick up twigs and branches off the ground to burn.
Check Weather Conditions Prior to Your Trip
If severe weather is predicted for your camping area, and you can schedule your trip another time, then do it. There is nothing worse than being confined to your tent or slopping around in the mud for a few days.
Obey All Park Rules
Remember to obey all park rules and be courteous to other campers. Sound carries much further in the forest, so keep your voice down, especially at night. At the end of your stay, leave your campsite clean and ready for the next camper.
Know the people you are camping with and the amenities that they require, even if it is only for a few days
Do you need a swimming pool, electricity, hot shower and flushing toilets or can you survive with an outhouse and no running water? If you have children, consider their needs as well. Then find a campsite that fits those needs.
Camp with someone who has camped before if possible
You will learn something new every time. Eventually they will also learn something from you. Ask a lot of questions (How did you start that fire? How do you keep the tablecloth down?).
Have some activities planned for your trip
Hiking, biking, river rafting, swimming, boating, fishing and horseback riding are just a few suggestions. Use your imagination and you will never get bored.
Note Your Favorite Campsites at the Campground
Once you have been to a campground that you like and scouted around some, make note of the campsites that you like the best. This way you will remember them for future trips, and if you can reserve a particular site, you will know which ones you are most interested in.
Hopefully this was useful camping information. Enjoy the great outdoors and please leave it the great outdoors when you pack up and go home……next time we expect you to be reading our other camping articles not camping for beginners tips!
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