Camping has been around for quite a lot of years and it stands out as one of the most fantastic ways you could spend the time out in mother nature.
Whether you are doing it as a pair with your significant other or you’re out as a group of friends, it’s one of the most constructive ways via which you could use your free time. Now, just like any other outdoor activity, camping for beginners demand that you get everything right from the start.
So, how do you go about this?
Well, first, to clear things out, there is more to camping than just tents and bonfires. You need to weigh out a lot of options such as the type of camping you want to take part in, the season and also where you are going to do your camping.
There is clearly a lot that should be considered and it is not easy to get everything right the first time on your own which is where our camping for beginners guide comes in. Get to know about all the essential camping gear you will need, the most important tips and plenty more.
Let’s get started.
- 1 Which type of camping suits you best?
- 2 Tips on choosing a camping site
- 2.1 The size of the camping site
- 2.2 The nature of the terrain
- 2.3 The ground surfaces
- 2.4 The must-haves on your campsite
- 2.5 Are the neighbors really inviting?
- 2.6 Will you really be getting the full camping experience?
- 2.7 The wind
- 2.8 Always do prior research before setting out
- 2.9 Does the law allow you to camp in the area?
- 2.10 Shade is always necessary
- 2.11 Always beware of what is above you.
- 3 Camping mistakes to avoid
- 4 Everything you’ll need for your first camping trip
Which type of camping suits you best?
If you are reading this, you’re probably thrilled to go out on your first camping trip but there is a high possibility that you’re torn apart as to which kind of camping you should try out, right?
Well, there are plenty of camping styles out there and it is of utmost importance that you get to know about all of them before you take chances and end up doing things wrong. So, that being said, let me introduce you to the different types of camping there are out there.
As you have probably already guessed, tent camping is the most basic kind of camping and it is also what people choose to start off with as far as camping is concerned.
Tent camping basically involves you heading out to the countryside after which you can then set up your tent and spend a few nights out there. The reason as to why most people choose to start with this its hat it is less demanding and you can pretty much do it anywhere from the beach to the woods or a campsite.
Tent camping is also less demanding and it’s also the safest form of tenting which is why it would be a good idea for you to start off here if you’re going out as a family. For most people, tent camping is more about bonding rather than exploring the outdoors.
More about tent camping…
Since tent camping is mainly aimed at bringing people together, it is of utmost importance that you carefully choose where you will be camping and comfort is a huge priority in this case. Simply make it your goal to find an area that is flat such that you won’t have any rocks to deal with and it will also be easier to set up your tent on level ground since it is the only way you are all going to get a good night’s sleep.
Yet another thing that most people tend to ignore is the weather. It is the assumption of most that the night is going to be calm without any strong winds or rains which is hardly the case. With this in mind, I’d recommend that you set up your tent in an area that offers water collection just in case a storm kicks in.
Besides the weather, there are animals to worry about as well. When you eat, ensure you get rid of any leftovers properly to keep animals and vermin away.
Whereas tent camping is the friendliest form of camping, survivalist camping, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. With this being the most extreme style of camping anyone could choose, survivalist camping is only undertaken by the experienced camper.
Comfort is out of the picture in this style of camping and the goal is for the camper to be completely self-sufficient in a given period of time. Once you have some experience of camping, you can choose between either base camp or walk out survival camping.
Let’s have a look at these two variants, shall we?
For this kind of survival camping, you will have to venture out to a random and isolated spot in nature where you will all set up camp and then survive exclusively on what nature will offer you. This will go on for a given period of time after which you can then return.
Your source of food will be from the forest, fishing or trapping animals so your survival depends entirely on how much effort you put in. you will also have to watch out for any dangers that bigger animals can pose.
Walk out survival camping
As compared to base camp, this kind of survival camping is much more intense. Here, you will be dropped in a random spot in the wilderness away from any human contact and the goal at the end of the day is for you to get back to civilization.
This means each day will be unlike the previous one since you will need to seek out a new source of both food and water. Even some of the most experienced campers tend to give in when it comes to this kind of survival camping and before you venture into it, consider learning both survival skills and some advanced camping skills.
Most people don’t really know this but backpacking can also be a form of hunting whereby you’ll have all you need inside your backpack and once evening comes, you can simply unpack, set up camp and sleep.
The best thing about this form of camping is that you can camp for as long as you want provided you have all the accessories and what makes it even more interesting for a beginner is that you won’t have to stick to the same place for days in a row. From a few days to several months, it’s equally a good camping style.
This kind of camping will allow you to be self-sufficient and you can go as far away as you want from the modern world just like in survival camping with the only difference here being that you will have some accessories and it will be safer
Something to pay attention to…
The critical thing when it comes to backpacking is how long you’ll be out and as such, you need to pack enough to get you through the whole camping trip. It would also be a good idea that you inform someone prior o where you will be going just in case you run into some sort of trouble and can’t communicate.
As much as it is important to pack enough for the trip, it is also important not to carry too much weight with you.
Speaking of weight, there is also ultralight backpacking which basically involves you carrying only what is necessary and your backpack should have a maximum weight of about 30 pounds. Most of the equipment you’ll be packing will have multiple uses and as for what you don’t have, you will depend on nature to provide this. Ultralight backpacking gets you covering more ground and gives you a more camping experience.
Second from tent camping, yet another style of camping you could go for as a beginner is camping in your RV or your van.
Just as you are getting used to camping, having the convenience of a fast and reliable means of transport while at the same time being surrounded by nature would be quite an experience. Even though it is a little luxurious than tent camping, it’s a good start
Other than mobility, you can also travel to anywhere you like, carry with you as many accessories as you like and you will have more resources than you can exhaust such as cooking facilities, a bathroom and even fridges to preserve your food. You will also have complete protection from the elements and even wild animals.
The downside to RV camping is that your vehicle cannot really get to the hard to reach spots that could otherwise easily be accessed by food.
From the advantages and disadvantages of this form of camping, it’s somewhat difficult to settle on whether this is a type of camping. Whereas some people tend to lean on the fact that you’ll be spending time away from home and in nature, some people disregard this as a form of camping since you are not entirely cut off from the urban comfort such as a bed and a solid roof over your head.
Nonetheless, it is entirely a matter of personal opinion as to whether or not it passes as a type of camping.
It might be less inviting to go for camping during winter as compared to spring but the truth is, you might find winter camping quite fun.
The major advantage of winter camping is that it is much more peaceful and the cold is, in some way, an advantage since you won’t have to deal with bugs and in addition to this, it is less crowded during the winter. To make your winter camping more fun, you could spice it up with some skiing or snowboarding.
Overlanding is more like backpacking with the emphasis here being the journey. From trucks to bicycles, people who partake in overlanding mainly focus on covering a lot of distance especially in remote places.
For most of the day, you will spend your time traveling and when the darkness kicks in, you’ll set up camp and this can go on for months and even years while going across state borders.
What about bicycle camping?
Another form of camping that has got a really close similarity to winter camping is bicycle camping and this basically entails exploring new terrain and setting up camp in either a hotel or a hostel so there’s no limitation on how far you can go. It is economical and with fewer limitations so if you love cycling, you could start off with bicycle camping.
Though it may seem to be one of the most demanding styles of camping, canoe camping, is, as a matter of fact, one of the friendliest forms but you only need to be familiar with canoeing.
Within the canoe, there will be plenty of storage space so you can take quite a lot with you. The main advantage of canoe camping is that as much as you can pack a lot of gear, you won’t have to worry about being fatigued from traveling with it so you can actually cover a large distance while on your canoe.
Despite having the convenience of lots of storage space, it is recommended that for one canoe, you have a minimum of only two people since more than this would mean having to sacrifice some of your accessories to make room for one more.
While on a canoe, one can also be able to reach places that are unreachable by foot which makes it the perfect choice if you want to be cut off from civilization completely.
There are however two major limiting factors when it comes to canoeing with the first one being bad weather. It would be quite unfortunate if you happen to be caught out in the rain since your accessories could be damaged hence forcing you to cut short your camping. Also, though you can be able to cover more ground, your level of skill is the major limiting factor and not until you are confident you can navigate certain waters will you be able to go camping.
Tips on choosing a camping site
As much as packing up all the essentials you need for your camping is important, what most people tend to ignore is the significance of choosing a camping site perfectly.
Depending on where you are going to do your camping for the first time, you can either make or break your camping trip and just like anything else, first impressions do matter when it comes to camping so it’s important to get everything right.
So, to help you avoid some mistakes on your first camping trip, we’ve got the guide below which basically contains everything that should set you off on the right path and ensure you have the easiest time from the very start. Let’s get started, shall we?
The size of the camping site
From my years of experience in camping, the size of the camping site is probably the most important and the last thing you want is to be all cramped up in a small space.
So, since you will probably be tent camping on your first camping trip, it is important to consider the size of not only your tent but also someone else that is accompanying you on your first camping trip. The rule of thumb here is the larger the size of your tent, the more space you need on your camping site.
Besides the size of your tent, you should also consider whether or not you’ll be needing additional space for other camping equipment such as chairs or tables. Whereas chairs or tables may be optional, creating enough room for your kitchen equipment should be a priority.
Something to have in mind…
Most people tend to prefer paying for their first camping sites for the sake of safety and also, with a paid campsite, most of the hard work as far as selecting a camp is already done for you and all you will need to do is simply set up camp.
In such a case, it would be a good idea to first examine the amount of space that is allocated to you after which you can then decide how much you should really pack. Packing too much might get you encroaching into the space of other campers.
Still on that note, also consider whether or not you will be having a campfire in your campsite. If so, ensure you have enough room such that the campfire is not too close to either your gear or your tent and also it is at a far away distance from your tent that smoke will not get into the tent as well
The nature of the terrain
Other than just the size of your campsite, yet another thing to take into consideration is how the land gradient is on your campsite.
As much as most people strive towards getting the campsite fairly flat, things won’t always work out this way and you might be forced to sleep on a hill. Regardless of whether the circumstances force you or it is your choice to pick a high ground for camping, the last thing you’d want is setting up the tent in such a position that you have the blood rushing to your head.
Besides having to worry about your feet being in an inclined position, a major reason you should prioritize getting as little amount of incline as possible on our camping site is checking the direction of water flow. Being in an inclined position during a downpour would mean that water has to get into your tent which is definitely the last thing you’d want, right?
Here’s more to consider…
If you have to choose between camping on higher ground and lower grounds, always prioritize the higher ground since the lower grounds are water collection points.
The ground surfaces
As much as it is recommended to always go for a fairly flat surface, you should also ensure the ground is free of any sharp surfaces that could give you a really rough night.
My go-to choice would be going for a camping site that is covered with sand since you could level it up as you prefer before setting up a tent or alternatively go for a glass-covered surface. In some cases, you go ahead and camp in small depressions to stay away from the wind.
The must-haves on your campsite
Now, once you pick out a camping site with the perfect terrain, you should go ahead and consider whether or not it has got all the essentials a camping site ought to have to give you a seamless camping experience.
It’s difficult to get the perfect camping site that will give you everything but always watch out for the following aspects…
The site’s proximity to water sources
The rule of thumb as far as choosing the ideal camping site is concerned is that the closer it is to water sources, the better a camping site it is. With tent camping, you’ll want the water source to be as close to you as possible.
With the water sources just a walking distance away, camping will be more fan as compared to the flip side of the coin.
Something to watch out for…
Whether it’s a stream, a lake or a river, consider not getting too close to the water source since if the river breaks its banks or the water levels of the lake rises, you’d have to relocate further inland.
The reason as to why most people and probably you would like to go for a camping trip is to enjoy a quiet time out surrounded by nature, right?
If you pick out a paid camping spot, even with the many advantages these come with, it is most likely that you hear some noise from the next camping site. The less you can hear and see of what is going on in the next camping site, the better off you are.
Always make it your priority to camp as far apart from other camping groups as possible but even so, it is recommended that for your first-time camping, you don’t go too far away from other campers which leads us to the next thing you need to consider.
Are the neighbors really inviting?
It’s really rare to get a camping site that is completely independent with no other campers close by unless you want to go really deep into the wilderness.
This being the case, the kind of neighbors you have should enable you to eliminate some of the priorities you need on your campsite.
It would be quite annoying to be around a group of campers with blaring stereos and a generator that is consistently running whereas you would prefer to have a peaceful and quiet camping experience. Well, in such a case, there really would be no point of you trying to cut yourself off from civilization, would there?
Well, since we can’t always pick out who we camp next to, it’s always better to pick out the best camping spots as early as possible and just hope that we get good neighbors.
Will you really be getting the full camping experience?
The importance of paying attention to what is around you cannot be overlooked, right? In addition to observing the kind of neighbors you have, also check whether your camping site of choice has traces of a camp since in such a case, your efforts to have a full camping experience would be rather futile.
There are lots of good things that come with a breeze such cooling us on a hot day, getting the fresh air circulating and blowing off smoke away from your campfire. Well, this is just but a breeze. Strong winds, on the other hand, can be quiet annoying.
From setting up your camp to having an easy time at the camp, strong winds could be quite annoying and the thing is that there’s no telling when they will kick in.
I’d recommend that just to be safe, you go ahead and don’t set camp in an open location but instead choose a camping location that is protected from any winds such as stable boulders or hills, sand dunes and a site thatis surrounded by trees would also do the trick.
Even in such locations, you’d have peace of mind if you properly anchor your tent and secure all your camping accessories before settling in for the night.
Always do prior research before setting out
Thanks to modern technology that it is now possible for us to do a quick “best campsites” search on the internet and then head on to the site the following morning. As much as this is an advantage, it can be quite frustrating since on the internet, you will only be seeing the positives about the campsite which is why you should head on to the area, scout it and decide on whether or not it is good enough.
Still, on that note, I’d recommend that you also check how the weather trend has been in the campsite and do the same while you are still there to save yourself from any inconveniences or relocating.
You should also make a call at the ranger station in the area to know about any restrictions or requirements regarding setting up camp in the area.
Does the law allow you to camp in the area?
Checking in with the lar regulations in the area is probably something that you should do once you scout the area and deem it eligible for camping.
In most cases, BLM land, national parks, state parks, and other state-owned lands have got different restrictions regarding outdoor activities such as camping and the last thing you’d want is being woken up the morning after you set up camp by the ranger with a ticket book. Now, as much as camping restrictions go, you should also check whether or not you need a campfire permit just in case you were thinking of going wild with a campfire.
Other important things to consider would be the maximum number of people permitted, whether or not to have pets, the activities you are not allowed to take part in and much more
Shade is always necessary
Most people would arrive at the camping site later in the afternoon and set up camp in the best possible spot that is well protected from the blazing sun then only to wake up by the morning blazing sun at which point they would have to relocate to another spot.
Well, to save yourself from all this hassle in the morning, scout the area you intend to set up camp in, pick out a spot that offers a fair amount of protection at least from the morning sun.If you’re setting up camp in the desert, shielding yourself from the blazing sun throughout the day is a priority.
Setting up camp in an area that offers a shade is ideal but it’s not always the case that you will come across such which is why you should always consider getting your own shade shelter, set it up good and ensure it is in an area that is well protected from the winds.
Always beware of what is above you.
Even with my years of camping, I would go for clear skies any day and I’ll tell you why. What most people assume as far as camping is concerned is that it specifically has to be in the woods which is not always the case.
As a matter of fact, there’s a lot you need to watch out for besides just wild animals. Before you set up your tent, always have a look at what is above you. The last thing you want is a dead branch falling on your tent. Besides just cutting your camping short due to damaging your tent, it could cause some serious injury as well.
Well, a dead branch could pose less damage as compared to setting up your camp near avalanche paths or areas that are prone to rock slides and even worse beneath a loose rock ledge. As much as mother nature can provide you with food, water, and a camping site, she can be rather unforgiving at times so don’t put your safety on the line by taking any chances.
Camping mistakes to avoid
Even the most experienced survival campers did have their first ever camping trip and without a doubt, it was hard for them as well. Think of how awesome it would be to go around learning the hard way and have it easy for the first time.
Camping doesn’t have to be as hard as most people portray it to be. Camping for beginners could be a little overwhelming at first and it might take some time to make it better on your own. However, we’re about to give you a head start so that you can have the easiest time.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s actually possible so let’s take a look at the major camping mistakes you should avoid and then finish things off with the tips that will make things easy for you.
Not doing enough research
The main goal of camping is to cut yourself off from civilization and have a few days of utmost relaxation surrounded by nature.
The best way one can prepare for the first day of camping would be doing extensive research, something that is greatly ignored by most people hence making camping for beginners rather difficult. read about the water sources, the animals that are present in the area if any.
Depending on how long you will want to spend out camping, also do your research on how far the distance is and upon doing so know whether it’s close enough for a limited camping trip and whether you have enough resources to get you to the camping destination.
For caravan park camping, you should go ahead and reserve a camping spot early enough since other locations are at peak camping in certain times of the year.
So, rather than wasting your holiday time, it would be a good idea to do some research
Always relying on your campfire
For some people, this is what camping is all about. Well, I’ll agree to the fact that a camping fire will definitely spice up the camp. For a beginner, however, here are some things to take into account
First, campfires should not always be the first priority when it comes to cooking since they will take some time to be sufficient enough, they are hard to control and more so, the weather might not be in your favor and once the flame is put off and it’s raining outside, you’ll have to go to bed on an empty stomach.
For cooking, I’d recommend that you go for an oven and through the coals may take time to heat up well, it is one of the best and safest way to get your food cooked up fast.
Campfires are not always allowed at some times of the year so you should check this with regard to where you will be camping. If it is not allowed, the alternative to this would be a barbeque
Try out your equipment before setting out.
This is something that even the most experienced tend to forget to do. Setting up your tent in your backyard and checking for any flaws in it would save you a lot of time and inconveniences.
Go ahead and check whether the camping stove operates as expected. Try out the lights and ensure they’re doing great.
The idea here is basically avoiding reading any instruction manuals behind how certain equipment should work or researching on how to set up your tent while at the campsite and end up wasting a lot of precious time in the process.
Always go for the best quality goods, not the luxuries
Take it from someone who has been there, buying cheap goods can be rather disappointing since there’s a likelihood that they will hardly get you through your first camping trip and definitely not usable in the second camping trip.
The trick here is trying out the items and see whether or not they are of a good enough quality to have on a camping trip.
I’d also recommend that unless you really need something, don’t go spending your hard-earned cash on it. instead, you can also consider purchasing second-hand equipment. The idea here is purchasing the best quality equipment and not the luxuries.
Creating a checklist of what you must have before going shopping could help quite a lot.
Arriving late at the campsite
I like to think of a trip to the campsite as an appointment that is really time conscious. Well, you don’t have to weak up before dawn but instead, you could pack up all the essentials the previous night and then wake up fairly early in the morning then set off and strive to get to the campsite before noon.
Unpacking when the evening is just kicking in or in the blazing afternoon sun can be quite frustrating and tiresome and you will probably have to look for yet another suitable spot the following morning.
Get there early, unpack all your gear, set up a tent and you’ll be good to go.
Not disposing of the garbage
You’ll definitely agree that nocturnal animals can be quite annoying, right? Well, this will only happen if you don’t cover up your garbage well or leave your food accessible and once they’re there on the first night, they’ll be there the following nights to come.
The trick to avoiding this is having everything locked up in a plastic tub before sleeping. Also, for the sake of nature preservation, do carry all your luggage once your camping trip comes to an end. Yes, the garbage is smelly but it will only be a short drive right outside the camping site and you can dispose of it in a bin.
Always utilize any form of light.
Carrying different lighting equipment to your campsite is always a good idea but the thing is most people tend to underestimate how a well-lit camping site really is.
Even with the full moon outside and the campfire lit, it can still be a hassle to cook since you need direct light to get this done which is why you should ensure you only get the very best. As a matter of fact, it would be a great idea if you had rechargeable LED lights.
Don’t forget to have fun
There’s really no point in going for a camping trip then being so hard on yourself and those around you. Of course, camping won’t give you the luxuries you’ll get at home but depending on your point of view, it can be much better or worse.
Since it is going to be your first camping trip ever, it is unavoidable to make mistakes and when this happens, don’t be shattered by them, instead of correct on them and strive to do better next time.
Do enjoy the hikes, the natural beauty that nature has to offer, the long walks with your pals and much more. The best thing about camping is that you’ll get a whole new experience with each camping trip and since it will be lasting for a limited period of time, the best thing to do would to optimize all the time you need before you get back to the city life.
Everything you’ll need for your first camping trip
There is plenty of reason we all decide to schedule a camping trip and whichever yours is, you need to have all the equipment you need so as to avoid making your very first camping trip a disappointment.
There is a cost to be incurred for you to get all the camping gear you need and as we’ve already mentioned, it’s always a good idea to go for better quality rather than going cheap. So, that being said, let’s cut to the chase and check out some essential gear that makes camping for beginners much easier.
Get the best tent
The most important thing when it comes to choosing a tent is the amount of space. For a camping tent, there is no such thing as one size fits all. Instead, you need to consider how many of you will be occupying the tent at a time and then go ahead and pick one that’s got enough space to accommodate you all with your gear.
Besides the size, go ahead and pick one that will protect you from the elements as well as any bugs. For the elements, choose between a 3-season or a 4-season tent if you will be camping in the deep winter too.
Getting the best tent that you won’t have to break the bank for is quite hard, these ones should give you a good head start.
The sleeping bag- comfortable and warm
Where you’ll be camping at and the time of the year should guide you in choosing the perfect sleeping bag. Just like the camping tents, I’d recommend that you go for the 3-season sleeping bag since these will come in handy even during unpredictable weather.
If you prefer backpacking, a mummy ag would do to save on space but if you’re down for tent camping and there is enough space, a rectangular sleeping bag would do.
If you need additional warmth, you could reinforce your mattress with a sleeping pad which gives you added insulation against the cold ground beneath you.
Probably the second most important items on your checklist, you’ll need to be keen not to leave out any cooking equipment.
Whereas stove will help you prepare your meals faster when it’s too much of a hassle to use your campfire to do this, a cooler, on the other hand, will keep the perishables from going bad.
Depending on how big your crowd is, carry the number of cups, pots, plates, spoons etc. Unlike at home where you used chemically manufactured detergents, you should bring a biodegradable soap with you while camping.
Pack the correct clothes
It’s weird or rather ironical how getting dirty turns out to be so much fun as far as camping is concerned. That being said, do pack the right set of clothes. Lean more towards the kid of clothes that are dull colored rather than the brightly colored ones that will show dirt just by you sitting on the grass.
You should also pack warm clothes and do refrain from wearing cotton since you’ll get extremely coldeven in mild humidity. Get a pair of gloves, of course, a beanie and a pair of socks for the night if you have cold feet.
Just in case the weather unexpectedly changes, pack up a rain jacket and shoes that have a good grip on them and will keep out the water.
Don’t forget the toiletries
The significance of a first aid kit and hygiene items cannot be overlooked. You can pack some of your bandages from home and medicines especially antibiotics from your medicine cabinet. Do pack up enough tissue paper, soap, and a small towel.
Yet another thing to pay close attention to are the bugs which can always be put off by an insect repellent. Still, on that note, don’t forget to bring sunscreen with you; sunburns too can be quite annoying.
Camping chairs and tables
These should only be carried along only when there is extra space left after you have packed up the rest of your essential gear. I’d recommend that you pick out the most portable and easily packable camping chairs and tables.
From the safety precautions to the different types of camping and all the essential gear you’ll need to have out on your camping trip, there’s clearly a lot to be paid attention to regarding camping for beginners. I’m pretty sure it’s much easier to get started now, isn’t it?
Do weigh out your options to know which camping style suits you best, list down everything you need for your first-time camping and do vast prior research before setting out to the campsite.
Al the best on your first camping trip. Have a good one.