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Camping for the First Time? Essential Tips for the Perfect Experience

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Imagine having a campfire under the starry sky and you sitting around it with your friends and family, roasting the marshmallows on your sticks and enjoying a warm cup of coffee. Sounds lovely right? There’s something special about embracing the great outdoors; being in touch with nature and enjoying the simple life. It’s a time of watching a majestic sunrise, of falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing and waking up to birds chirping. This is what camping is all about but for some people, it is a scary thing.

12 Essential Tips for the Perfect First Time Camping Experience 

Spontaneity is all well and good when camping, but a lot of effort can go into getting you from A to B. It is therefore essential that you are preparing well and good to have a good time at the camp. This is especially true if your time is limited to the camping trip. Well, then gear up for essential tips for people who are camping for the first time. This would help you in planning for a perfect camping trip with your family or friends.

1. Research about the Campsite

Camping is undoubtedly meant to be relaxing and fun but it will not be that way if you are not prepared for where you are going. If you are first time camping, you might that all campsites are created equal and so wherever you camp would be the perfect so. But, here’s the truth – all campsites aren’t equal and you need to research more about the spot before you go for camping.

what to take camping
Research about the campsite well in advance(Source)

The problem that most of the first time campers face is that they get stuck in a spot which offers no grass and no shade. So, when it comes to camping for beginners, it is imperative that you know about where you are headed to, the conditions there, weather and facilities available.

Know all about How Should Beginners Prepare for Camping Basics

2. Create a Checklist and Use It

It is quite common for the new campers to completely overlook a checklist. But, then what if you get to the camping site and notice that you forgot something? This is the reason why it is essential to make a camping checklist to remain organized and to ensure that nothing has been left behind.

You can you this camping list while you are packing and then keep checking off each item as you pack it. Keep updating and revising the list as and when required. Also, if something breaks or wears out, replace it. If there is something that you feel doesn’t get used as much, take it off the list.

Read about the Camping Essentials List - Checklist for your Next Hike

3. Familiarize Yourself with the Camping Gear

When first time camping, nothing could be worse than reaching the campsite and then finding out that the must-have camping gear that looked really simple, requires you to be an expert in order to set it up. Or maybe, it doesn’t work after all and that was something you needed for cooking. Doesn’t sound good right? A lot of new campers think that it is really simple to set up a tent; you just take the tent out of the bag and just set it up where you want to.

Well, to hit you with reality again, that isn’t usually what happens.

You need to practice a lot of times before you can successfully set a tent up. Practice in your backyard and if you are bringing kids along, practice with them. Trying your equipment out in advance, in the comfort of your home is really essential. Other than setting the tent up, check the operation of lanterns and camp stoves to make sure they work properly. Try your sleeping bag one night on the living room floor to see how well you sleep in it.

Check the Must Have Camping Gear - Camp Like a Pro With These Items

4. Purchase a Spacious Tent

Another issue that a lot of new campers face is that of a smaller tent. When you are purchasing tent, comfort, and space should be your topmost priority. Most of the tents would generally fit in the trunk of your car so the weight and the size shouldn’t be the concern here. If you are going camping with your friends, it would be a good idea to get a tent with a capacity rated two higher than the number of campers that will use it.

Also, learn about How to Use Tent Heaters

tent camping 101
Inside view of a spacious tent(Source)

5. Don’t Rely Completely on the Campfire

When it comes to first time camping, the most exciting part about is campfires and eating those toasty marshmallows. This is something that people of all age groups are usually eager about. But, when we talk about camping for beginners, it’s good to know a few things before you plan on cooking every meal over the open fire. The first thing is that it isn't as easy to cook on an open fire as it seems.

Campfires can take a significant amount of time to build up sufficiently for the purpose of cooking. If you are planning on putting up a camp oven in coals, you need to know that the coals need to be very hot and that takes quite some time as well. If you can do it and aren’t pressed for time, it’s great.

If you still want to know about a campfire, learn How to Build a Campfire!

But, if you are in a hurry, have a backup plan.

You could use BBQ’s instead, the small ones which can be carried from one place to another.

camping for beginners checklist
Campfires take long to build up!(Source)

6. Bring Enough Clothing

If you are wondering how to prepare for the first camping trip and what all you are supposed to bring, remember that bring enough clothing would be the wisest decision that you would ever make. When it comes to first time camping, a lot of people things that bringing a few extra pieces of clothing won’t be required. But, wherever you would be camping, there would be no laundry facilities.

Other than that, the weather condition is also a matter of concern. In case it rains, you would require a rain suit while if you are planning to go swimming, you are going to need a swimsuit. For those pleasant and cool evenings, you might need a jacket or a sweater. You are going to be carrying the items in your car, so carrying extra clothes which is one of the essentials for camping won’t hurt.

By the way, you can also try Car Camping?
Check Car Camping 101 - Essentials and Tips for a Worry-free Adventure

7. Plan out your Meals in Advance

Don’t be that camper who stops at the quick mart to buy food on the way to the campground. It has been seen that a lot of people who go out camping for the first time do not put enough thought into planning their meals in advance. But, it can be extremely beneficial to figure out how many meals you would be making throughout the day and for how many people.

 what to pack for camping
Plan your camping meals(Source)

If you love cooking, you could search for a few great camping recipes and put together some menu ideas. Shop for the items that you are going to need at least a day or two before departure so that it remains fresh.

Well, prep yourself by knowing about the Camping Food Ideas you Should know!

8. Do not Forget the first-aid Kit

Whether you are camping for the first time or for the hundredth time, you can never be immune to scrapes and cuts in the outdoor. Between hiking, riding and running around, someone or the other is bound to get hurt.

Know all about the First Aid Kit and Stay Prepared with these Items!

So, whenever you are going to go camping, always make sure that you have packed the first aid kit. A better idea is to keep it in the car. This way even if you forget to pack it, you will have it in the car.

first camping tips
Carry first-aid kit(Source)

9. When Camping, Lighting is Essential

When you are first time camping, it is quite obvious to think that just the campfire and the light of the moon is going to be enough. The thought of camping itself sounds so exciting that a lot of new campers tend to think that just carrying hand-held torches would be enough. But, what are you going to do when it is time to prepare a meal and you need to look for all the items and prep for the meal? Do you think that the faint light of the headlamps and torches would be enough?

Read about The Best Flashlight for Camping

Also, what if the battery runs out? Did you bring enough batteries with yourself?

When you are going camping for the first time, it is imperative that you bring battery-powered lanterns with yourself. You could also consider getting LED Lighting. Remember that you can never have too many lights. Being able to see around the camp isn’t as easy as you think and tripping over ropes, branches and rocks are definitely something that you wouldn’t want happening at the beginning of an amazing adventure. Include a minimum of 5-6 batteries in your camping packing list depending on the number of days you are going away for.

Also, get you battery basics right? Know all about Lithium vs Alkaline Batteries

10. Always Arrive Early at the Campsite

Whatever you do, always arrive early at a campsite. This is especially true for new campers as you would probably be unfamiliar with campground amenities and rules. By arriving early, you would be able to give yourself some time to learn about the layout of the camping ground. Also, if you arrive early when there’s light all around, you would be able to see what you are doing. If you arrive late, there is a high chance that you may not be able to get a spot.

To be honest, there can be nothing worse than a long trip and then drive around and around a campground look for a spare spot as the light fades away. You cannot hope that a spot would appear in front of you miraculously especially during the peak time. In some campgrounds, you can only camp at designated spots and if they are full, you will have to leave that campground, and head off somewhere else. In the dark, this is something that no camper wants to have to face. Think smartly, arrive early and always have a backup plan.

Also, check the List of Cool Things to Bring Camping for Complete Fun

11. Don’t Leave Garbage and Food Accessible

With the arrival of the night and a quiet campsite, you are most likely to get nocturnal visitors about whom you hadn’t thought of. Foxes, possums, kangaroos and if you are camping in forests, there are chances of bears attacking garbage and food items. The best solution would be to store all the food items in plastic tubs and lock it away.

Garbage can also be locked away or you could consider hanging it high from a tree. While you are researching about the campsite, read about which animals frequent that site more. This way you can be prepared.

As a responsible camper, know all about the Leave No Trace Principles

12. Try Camping Close to your Home

When you are first time camping and do not wish to take any chances, consider camping closer to your house. After you have spent a night sleeping on the ground, you might find out that you aren’t really someone who can do that. Or, it could be that you ran out of food or the weather could change drastically.

Literally, anything could happen and when you are a new camper, there is no chance that you would be prepared to face all that. Camp close to your home for the first few times and you would be glad that you did that.

When you are camping, don’t forget that you are there to have fun, enjoy the beautiful surroundings, spend time with your friends and family and experience a few peaceful days away from the suburbs. All it takes is proper planning and wise thinking. Remember that you cannot learn everything the very first time.

From your first camping trip, you are going to learn a lot. Laugh at mistakes you make and do not get upset if your early camping experience is not perfection. Have fun and you would cherish this experience forever.

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